Mini Hols! 5 Charming Day Trips From London
Filled to the brim with culture, history, and entertainment, London is a difficult city to leave — especially if you, like the Ladies of London, run within exclusive social circles. But everyone needs a break from city life from time to time. So when you find yourself tiring of London, head for one of these five places nearby for a mini holiday with maxi charm.
Historic stone mansions, thatched cottages, rolling hills, and charming Tudor villages with narrow winding streets: the idyllic landscape of the Cotswolds is storybook-perfect England. There’s a good reason Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, and Hugh Grant all have homes here. Hop in the car — it’s around a two-hour drive from London — and explore pretty villages such as Bibury, Burford, or Cirencester with its Roman ruins, leaving time to pop into one of the many teashops for a quintessentially English cream tea.
A little further west, just under 100 miles from London, the historic spa town of Bath, founded by the Romans on top of natural hot springs in the first century, is a must-see for history buffs. Its elegant Georgian architecture and graceful crescents has earned the town UNESCO World Heritage status but it’s the baths that make it one of England’s most popular attractions. Make sure to try the soothing waters yourself, and feel the stresses of city life disappear.
Funky, cosmopolitan Brighton, filled with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, has long been a favorite of a young and trendy crowd. An hour’s train ride south of London, it also draws just about anyone looking to soak up the elusive English sun, breathe in the sea air and experience the classic English seaside resort culture of striped deckchairs, Punch n’ Judy shows and rickety old amusement arcades. While there, don’t miss the incongruous Royal Pavillion, built for George IV in the late 18th century (when he was still just the Prince of Wales) in opulent style, complete with domes and minarets.
Synonymous with learning and home to one of the world’s greatest universities, exploring Oxford and its so-called “dreaming spires” serves as intellectual inspiration to any visitor. Less than an hour by train, it’s easy to spend a whole day here just wandering along the cobblestoned streets, around quiet courtyards and soaking up the colleges’ beautiful architecture. Given that it is a student town, Oxford is also packed with excellent bars and restaurants, which you’ll be glad about when you’ve worked up an appetite from all that roaming.
Finally, make like the Ladies of London cast by visiting the tony Mapperton estate, home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. At a three-and-a-half-hour drive from London, you would be best booking a hotel in nearby Beaminster and making a weekend of it so you can properly explore the Tudor manor house, its Italianate gardens and surrounding woodland. Check the calendar, too, as Mapperton is only open to the public on certain days.