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Best Weekend Breaks from London

One is spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend trip ideas from London. There are so many beautiful places within the UK that are easy to reach from London as well as many cities in Europe that are 1-2.5 hours by flight from London. Listed below (in no particualr order) are some of my favourite cities with the UK which are very easily reachable from London (by car or by train). I like all of these places. Each one is packed with history and has many interesting things to see and do.

Stratford-upon-Avon


Easily reached by train or a 2 hour drive from London, Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of the Bard, William Shakespeare. I love the feel and the atmosphere of this lovely little town.

There is so much to do - you can visit Shakespeare's childhood home or his final resting place (Holy Trinity Church), Anne Hathaway's Cottage or one of the many other historic buildings which are connected to the playwright. Other popular attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon include the Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum, Butterfly Farm (where you can get really close to exotic butterflies) and Tudor's World - The Falstaff's Experience where you can enjoy a scary insight into the life of Tudors. Hiring a boat (rowing boats, self-drive motor boats and canoes) on the river Avon is also very popular activity with visitors especially when the weather is nice and sunny. There are a number of beautiful walks down the Avon as well. All in all, it is a charming little town steeped in history.

Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon

For more information, check out my article - Exciting things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon

Where to stay: The Arden Hotel
Located in the centre of the town, the hotel is an excellent base for a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Bath


Another beautiful city that is also a favourite of mine is Bath. With its beautiful Georgian architecture and one of the world's best-preserved Roman bathhouses, Bath makes for a spectacular city break within the UK. Bath is around 2.5 hours by road or less than 2 hours by train from London Paddington.

The city has lots to see - some of the finest Georgian architecture, iconic buildings, lovely gardens and many museums. The main attractions are Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, the historic Royal Crescent, Victoria Art Gallery ( a lovely collection of art), Jane Austen Centre, Pulteney Bridge (you get great views of the bridge from Parade Gardens), Royal Victoria Park and the Holbourne Museum. There are many other fascinating sites in the city. You can explore the city on foot like we did or go for the sightseeing tour on a hop on hop off bus.

Bath

Bath

Bath

For more information, check out my article - Attractions and Things to Do in Bath

Where to stay: Bailbrook House Hotel

Oxford


Another excellent destination is Oxford. Yes, the main draw for most visitors to Oxford is the University and its many colleges and not without a reason. I love Oxford more compared to Cambridge (the other univeristy) because it is undeniably more charming! The easiest and most practical way to get around the city is by foot although you could hite a bicycle like many visitors and locals do.

The main attractions in Oxford is the Oxford University with its 30+ colleges spread throughout the city. The Museum of History of Science, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Radcliffe Camera are other important attractions. The University Church of St Mary the Virgin is a must-visit especially for the tower tour. The views of Oxford from the top of The University Church of St Mary are stunning.

Another must-visit would be the Oxford Covered Market which was first opened in 1774 and is still functional today. It has a lovely old world charm and is a wonderful place to wander around and spend some time.

Oxford

Oxford

Oxford

If you are in Oxford, then it is wise to plan a trip to Blenheim Palace as well. Located just a few miles north of Oxford, this World Heritage Site is the residence of the current Duke of Marlborough. Set in over 2,000 acres of beautiful parkland, the estate is ideal for a day out. In addition to the Palace, you have the formal and pleasure gardens to explore plus a number of  cultural events are held throughout the year.

Blenheim palace

With so much to explore and do, Oxford (around 55 miles west of Central London) makes for an easy weekend trip destination.

Where to stay: Macdonald Bear Hotel.
The hotel is not in Oxford city centre rather being close to Blenheim Palace. But under half an hour from Oxford, this hotel makes an excellent base to explore the city and its surroundings.

If you are looking to find inspiration for longer (road) trips then it might be a good idea to look at Lonely Planet's book Great Britain's Best Trips (36 Amazing Road Trips). It is packed with excellent road trip itineraries for different regions within the UK.

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