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 particular order) are some of my favourite cities within 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.


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 motorboats, and canoes) on the River Avon is also a 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.




For more information, check out - 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.


With awe-inspiring architecture and an expansive history and heritage, the city of Winchester in Hampshire is an excellent destination for a weekend break.

Undoubtedly the main attraction in the city is the medieval Winchester Cathedral. It has more than 1000 years of history and is the resting place for a number of Saxon royals as well as the much loved Jane Austen.

Winchester Cathedral

Another popular attraction is the Great Hall which is one of the largest 13th century halls in England and is home to the legendary Arthurian Round Table. Visitors also throng to the many inspiring museums in the city like the Westgate Museum, the City Museum and the group of six museums in the Military Quarter. 

For those who love history, a visit to Winchester College which is the oldest public school in England is also recommended.

Winchester College

There are a number of inspiring walking trails as well. If you prefer a guided tour, there a number of official tour guides who run regular tours that take in the best sights of the city.

With a compact city centre, a number of attractions and an array of independent shops and eateries, Winchester is perfect for a weekend break away whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or as a family.

Take a look at this 2-day itinerary of Winchester to help plan your next weekend break.


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.
Howwever you choose to explore the city making the trip from London to Bath is a great way to spend the day




Where to stay: Bailbrook House Hotel


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 university town) because it is undeniably more charming! The easiest and most practical way to get around the city is by foot although you could hire a bicycle like many visitors and locals do.

The main attractions in Oxford is 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.




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. It is close to Blenheim Palace. But at under half an hour from Oxford, this hotel makes an excellent base to explore the city and its surroundings.


The vibrant waterfront city of Portsmouth makes for a great weekend break destination from London. Regular direct train services from London make is easily accessible and with world-class historical attractions & museums, an unrivalled waterfront shopping scene & fabulous places to eat and drink, Portsmouth is great for a weekend break.

Some of the popular attractions in Portsmouth are the Emirates Spinnaker Tower (offering magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour), the Mary Rose Museum, the Historic Dockyard (which is home to HMS Victory and HMS Warrior), the D-day Story Museum, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth Museum and the Southsea Castle.

The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth
Portsmouth is also home to one of the UK's leading premium retail outlets - Gunwharf Quays. Located on the city's historic coastline, Gunwharf Quays boasts of more than 90 premium retail outlet stores offering up to 60% off the original price. There are also more than 30 bars and restaurants in Gunwharf Quays; perfect for fuelling up after all the shopping.

Check out this 2-day itinerary of Portsmouth, to plan your weekend break to this lovely city.

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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