Personally, I think there are a few boxes that weekend getaways from London need to tick. For me they mostly need to be
- Relatively close (ideally no longer than 2 hour flight or 4 hour train ride)
- Small enough that you don’t leave feeling anxious that you’ve barely seen a thing, yet big enough to leave you wanting more
- Easy to get around once you get there so you don’t waste time commuting
- Relatively cheap to visit – let’s say £300 p/person for getting there + accommodation, though that’s more of a stab in the dark rather than any sort of hard rule.
So, in no particular order, my favourite weekend getaways from London are … *drum roll*
1. San Sebastian
This Basque city in the north-west of Spain is a foodie’s heaven! Pintxos, wine, beach and nice walks made for such a relaxing weekend break last year. I’ve been in both winter and summer and both times of year were equally great – that’s not something you can say about most places.
Check out my post from San Sebastian for some serious food inspo and more travel info.
I’ve been to Paris more times than I can count, mostly because I absolutely adore it but also because it’s such a quick train ride away. On my last visit I even caught a Monday morning train – left Paris at 7am and got into London in time to start work.
Check out my guide on how to visit Paris like a local for the best coffee spots, restaurants, things to see and places to stay.
A short two hour flight away with plenty of cheap flight options other than Ryan Air (all hail the much sexier Norwegian Airlines!), I escaped to Copenhagen on a cold winter’s weekend and had such a good time cycling, exploring museums and getting some much needed fresh air.
Copenhagen has a pretty bustling winter vibe about it, especially right before Christmas when all the Christmas markets are out and deliciously warm Gløgg (Norwegian version of mulled wine) is brewing around every corner, just ignore the smell of reindeer cooking :/. I imagine that in summer this city really comes into its own with really long days, outdoor markets, summer solstice festivals and all those beaches.
Make sure you visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art where you get views over the water to Sweden, hire a bike and ride around the city centre (I promise it’s super easy and safe, especially if you’ve ever ridden in London, plus they’re powered by electricity and t come with GPS so you can’t get lost) and explore the great cafes and trendy bars in Vesterbro (shit did I actually just use the word trendy?! I think it’s a symptom of turning 30)
Well, well, well. Barcelona and I have an ongoing love affair. Once one of my most hated cities in Europe, this place has quickly become one of my favourites in the world. What I’ve learnt is that I can’t trust my travel impressions from when I was backpacking around as a broke 22 year old and eating at Subway. The food, the wine, the culture, the architecture, the sun, the beach. It’s all amazing. Don’t be surprised if I accidentally miss my flight home on my next visit and stay forever. Ha. No, really.
I wrote a guide to Barcelona after one of my visits and it’s super thorough so check it out for all my tips and recommendations.
5. Lake District
The Lakes are only a fairly recent discovery of mine. My boyfriend’s grandparents live there so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times this year and I swear it only just gets better each time. Fresh air, hiking, burning stoves and Sunday roasts. The ultimate way to spend a weekend in the UK.
Trains to Oxenholme are really fast with Virgin, you get there in under 3 hours which is amazing considering it would take about 7 hours to slug it there by car. Rent a car from somewhere local and you’re set.
Accommodation in the Lake District National Park does get really pricey, so if you’re on a budget then stay in one of the big towns just on the outside and get a car so you can easily get to wherever you want to go. Also if you want to go on a hike, do your research and pick a few trails before you go. Print off a map or buy one from one of the local shops – there is close to no internet/phone reception on most walks and the trails are often hidden and tricky to find.
But you get views like this one….
So that’s my top 5 weekend getaways from London. Would love to hear what your favourite places are, and if there’s anywhere amazing that you’ve been that you’d recommend I visit?