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Escape the City: 5 Day Trips from London

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It's said: If you are tired of London, you are tired of life. But sometimes, the urban energy craves fresh air and a change of scenery.

Luckily, the city is surrounded by charming towns, historical landmarks, and stunning natural landscapes, all perfect for an enriching day trip. So, pack your day bag, hop on a train, and embark on an adventure beyond the city limits!

Oxford: City of Dreaming Spires

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Step into the academic haven of Oxford, a city steeped in tradition and intellectual history. Explore the University of Oxford, one of the oldest universities in the world, established in the 11th century. Peek into the colleges, each with its unique history and architecture, where countless scholars and historical figures like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Albert Einstein have walked the halls.

The Lowdown

Trains from London Paddington station take just over an hour to reach Oxford. Immerse yourself in the academic atmosphere by attending a public lecture or exploring the Bodleian Libraries, housing a vast collection of historical texts and manuscripts. 

Take a punting tour on the River Cherwell, a quintessential Oxford experience, and admire the city's picturesque architecture from a different perspective. As you glide past the colleges, imagine the lives of students and scholars who have shaped the university's rich legacy.

Fun Fact

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of "The Lord of the Rings," was a professor at Oxford, and the city is said to have inspired elements of his Middle-earth legend. Look out for similarities between the university buildings and Tolkien's fantastical architecture, and see if you can spot the inspiration for locations like the libraries of Rivendell or the towers of Minas Tirith.

Brighton: A Seaside Escape

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Seek out the lively seaside town of Brighton, known for its vibrant pier, pebble beach, and colourful beach huts. Escape the city crowds and soak up the seaside atmosphere, strolling along the iconic Brighton Pier, a Grade II listed structure offering amusement rides, arcades, and stunning views of the English Channel. 

The Lowdown

Trains from London Victoria station take around an hour to reach Brighton. Stroll along the beach, feeling the soft pebbles beneath your feet and enjoying the refreshing sea breeze. Indulge in fresh fish and chips, a classic British seaside treat, from one of the many beachfront stalls. Explore the Brighton Palace Pier, a more traditional pier with vintage rides and amusement arcades, offering a nostalgic seaside experience.

Local Delicacy

Try Brighton Rock, a traditional candy stick flavoured with a unique blend of mint and aniseed. Sold by vendors along the pier and throughout the town, it's a sweet and colourful souvenir to take home from your seaside escape.

Windsor Castle: A Royal Day Out

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Witness the grandeur of Windsor Castle, Europe's largest and oldest occupied castle. Explore the State Apartments, used for official ceremonies and royal entertaining, and marvel at the opulent furnishings, artwork, and historical artefacts. Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a display of military precision and pageantry performed by the Foot Guards in their iconic red tunics and black bearskin hats.

The Lowdow

Trains from London Paddington station take just over 30 minutes to reach Windsor. Walk through the extensive Windsor Great Park, surrounding the castle with over 2,000 acres of lush gardens, woodlands, and ornamental lakes. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea at a charming tea room in the town of Windsor, indulging in finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of delicate pastries.

Timesaving tip

Pre-book your tickets to Windsor Castle to avoid long queues, especially during peak season and public holidays. 

Bath: A Roman Bath in Time

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Imagine Roman citizens bathing in the naturally warm spring waters that still flow today and marvel at the intricate bathhouse architecture, including the Great Bath, a vast rectangular pool lined with Roman statues. 

Immerse yourself in the elegant charm and rich history of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Roman Baths, a marvellously preserved complex dating back to the 1st century AD.

The Lowdown

Take a train from London Paddington station, and in just over 1.5 hours, you'll arrive in the heart of Bath. Explore the city's Georgian architecture, characterized by elegant crescents, honey-coloured stone buildings, and grand terraces. Wander along the iconic Pulteney Bridge, one of the few remaining bridges in the world lined with shops on both sides. Don't miss a visit to the magnificent Bath Abbey, a stunning example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture, and climb the tower for breathtaking panoramic city views.

Insider Tip

Don't miss a chance to sample the city's famous Bath buns, sweet rolls traditionally flavoured with orange peel and nutmeg. Enjoy them warm with a cup of tea for a quintessential Bath afternoon treat.

Stonehenge: A Prehistoric Mystery

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This will be a long day trip, but it will bring you back in time to the mysterious prehistoric monument of Stonehenge,.

Explore the ring of massive standing stones, estimated to have been erected between 2500 and 1500 BC. The exact purpose and origins of Stonehenge remain a mystery, sparking debate and archaeological research for centuries.

The Lowdown

Trains from London take around 1.5 hours to reach Salisbury, the nearest town to Stonehenge. From there, you can take a bus or taxi to the site. Join a guided tour to learn about the various theories surrounding Stonehenge and its significance in ancient history. 

Some believe it was a religious site, an astronomical observatory, or a burial place. As you stand amidst the imposing stones, ponder the ingenuity and purpose behind this remarkable feat of engineering from the distant past.

Fascinating Fact

The stones used to build Stonehenge weighed an average of 25 tons and were transported from quarries over 20 miles away. How they were moved and erected remains a significant archaeological mystery, adding to the intrigue of this ancient monument.



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