I love London. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you probably know that. I love London like people love New York. Given the chance to have a vacation home, I’d opt for a fabulous little London flat, which I would rent out during the parts of the year I couldn’t be there. Unfortunately, short of winning the lottery, that’s not bound to happen anytime soon, or maybe in this lifetime. That’s okay though. I count the days I can go back and explore more of the amazing city and what’s around it. Like most touristy cities, there are plenty of places to visit on a day trip, including these that may just be a little more affordable. (A little.)
I’ve never been to the English countryside aside from being on the Eurostar to Paris, but I’m in love with it. Is that weird? Probably. The UK has some of the most gorgeous landscape, in my opinion. It’s picturesque. That’s all I can say, because everywhere you look is like a painting. We had planned a trip to the Cotswolds and Wiltshire (where Stonehenge is located) on this last visit to London, but a hurricane – I kid you not – swept across the island the night before and many of the trains were held up. Somehow, our train would have been fine, but it was delayed by someone on the tracks. So, we never made it to our bus to get out to the country with its storybook buildings and hills. Next time. (Those that are Harry Potter fans might see the inspiration for Malfoy Manor while out in Wiltshire, the home of the character people love to hate: Draco Malfoy)
I’ve not known that much about Manchester aside from its football team, Manchester United, for a long time. It’s the second most popular tourist destination in England and you can take the train from London Euston every 20 minutes. The ride takes a little over two hours, but there’s free WiFi, power outlets and a shop that sells food, beverages and reading material. (Awesome, right?) Manchester has tons of festivals year-round, an emerging coffee culture and a reinvented docklands called The Quay. This where you’ll find a bunch of stuff in a walkable area: shopping, museums, sports stadiums, movie theaters, delicious eats and so many places to just sit and enjoy your surroundings. It’s like the old and the new have mashed together and created this cool new-fangled historic city. Find more to do and great hotel deals in Manchester on Hipmunk.
You’ve heard of Windsor Castle. I mean, who hasn’t? It’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Queen’s favorite residence. This is another place on our almost list. We had to choose between Windsor and Eltham Palace and our guide at Chislehurst Caves pushed us towards Eltham. It wasn’t a bad choice, but now we still have Windsor to cross off our list. I wish I could visit at Christmas time when they deck the Castle in glittering garlands and wreaths. If you know anything about the Magna Carta, you can also visit some of the places where history was made and it was possibly signed. 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, so it’s a big year for it.
I don’t know why, but when I think of New Forest, I think of Robin Hood and the forests of Nottingham (which you can also visit on a day trip). Every picture shows gorgeous trees, fields, thatched-roofed buildings and shaggy horses. How can you not want to visit here? It’s like getting back to the best of nature, but with quaint little B&Bs and tiny family-owned shops. It’s an hour and a half from London and you could easily spend a whole week there relaxing/recharging or camping in the lush scenery, but a day or two might be enough for you.
I never know there was a seaside so close to London. Yes, I know there is the Thames, but technically, that is the river. Just a short 30-minute jaunt on the train from the center of London will find you at Bexhill-On-Sea. I greatly enjoy riding the train, probably because we don’t have anything remotely like it here, but also because I’m never trying to really get anywhere on a schedule. I’m not the least bit jealous of those trying to get to and from work and rushing for the train. Besides the train and the seaside (which is a big draw if it’s not raining), there are a plethora of castles, historic attractions and museums in and around Bexhill that will keep you busy all day long.
Do you have a favorite day trip from London?
Disclaimer: This post was inspired by my partnership with Hipmunk - a great site to find low hotel rates wherever you travel. #hipmunkcitylove