While there’s plenty to see and do in London, it’s good from time to time to escape the busy city for a quiet afternoon in the countryside.
Best is to hire a car as this will give you the freedom to wander around and explore more than if you were to take the train.
The Cotswolds – area of outstanding natural beauty, 2hours drive from London. Best if you can spend a weekend in the area, however a day trip is absolutely feasible if you plan it properly and know where you want to stop.
Here is a list of our favourite villages which you may want to pin to your map:
- Burford – visit the antique stores and buy something for your home
- Stow on the Wold – have a coffee at the New England Coffee House or
- Upper Slaughter & Lower Slaughter – have an icecream at the Old Mill Museum
- Kingham – stop for lunch at the Wild Rabbit. We’ve stayed with them for a weekend, lovely place and definitely recommended for lunch/dinner. Breakfast is also a treat if you’re staying with them 🙂
- Painswick – stop for a drink or lunch at the Painswick Hotel. They also offer accommodation if you wish to spend the night
- Bourton on the Water – check Bakery on the Water for a coffee and something sweet
New Forest National Park, again 2 hours drive from London. Best if you go in summer when the days are longer, so that you can make the most out of it. The area is know for its heathland, trails and wild ponies. It feels like a fairytale.
Where to stop?
- Beaulieu – do not miss the Motor Museum and the Palace House. You can easily spend half a day wandering around.
- Brockenburst – stop for lunch at the Pig Hotel or just for a drink in their garden. If you decide to go for lunch, make sure you reserve a table in advance. Very busy all year round, but especially in summers
- Lyndhurst – if you fancy an up-scale place for lunch, book a table at the Lime Wood Hotel
I guess Brighton does not need an introduction, it’s the perfect place to spend a hot summer day at the seaside. Best if you can plan a trip during the week, as weekend the city usually gets very busy. And when it’s hot outside, the beach is absolutely packed.
Not to be missed:
- The exotic Royal Pavilion – all I can say is that the former royal summer residence is probably the most dazzling building in the UK. Very surprising indeed, so absolutely worth the visit.
- 64 Degrees – small plate dining in a hip, modern space with an open kitchen. If you sit at the counter, you can check on how the staff is preparing the dishes.
- Have oysters and a glass of bubbly at Riddle & Fins. You might need to book in advance, it usually gets very busy
- Get the best views of Brighton at the BA tower.
- Have an icecream at Boho Gelato
- Stop for a coffee at Coffee at 33
- Have a cocktail at the Artist Residence. They also offer accommodation, in case you decide to spend the night
- Browse for records at Rarekind Records store
Not as controversial and popular as Brighton, but still packed in summer, Whitstable is another option for the seafood lovers. Best to go in summer when the sun is out and days are long.
Things to do:
- soak up some vitamin D, enough to last the long winter 🙂
- have oysters, fresh fish or anything else you might fancy at the Whitstable Oyster Company. It’s advised to book a table in advance, boy this place is popular.
- for oysters & lobster on the grill you may also want to check The Forge
- grab a coffee at Garage Coffee
- have a stroll on the high street and check the local boutiques for goodies
- in summer there is a van selling good icecream, usually located between the Forge and the Whitstable Oyster Company. Could not find it’s name and is not pinned on google maps either. Hope it’s there every summer though. Have a look
Fancy a royal visit? I’ve got 2 options for you here:)
Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of sir Winston Churchill and a UNESCO World Heritage site. With gorgeous interiors and an impressive parkland to explore, it’s easy to get lost and spend half a day around. It’s only 8 miles from Oxford, and 1hour and a half drive from London.
Hampton Court Palace – is a royal palace in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, only 12miles away from London. Check out the spectacular state apartments and the Tudor Kitchens. And of course, do not miss the gardens.
For those who watched The Favourite, I’m pleased to say that key filming locations included the Tudor Kitchens, the Cartoon Gallery and Fountain Court at Hampton Court.