London is a city that offers a truly unforgettable holiday experience for all ages and tastes. The city is home to some of Europe’s most famous attractions, landmarks and cultural events, as evidenced by the tens of millions of people who visit the city and take advantage of London hotel deals every year. But London is not the only place to visit. Indeed, there are many other cities and areas of the country that are only 2 hours away from London, all of which will reveal a new side and character to London.
Of course, with Central London’s many attractions, West End theaters and restaurants near Hyde Park , no one would blame you for keeping Londoncentric on your trip. But if you have the time or the resources, spreading your wings and exploring further can give you a new understanding of not just the UK, but London itself. The English capital does not exist in a vacuum, and it is the monolithic tourist attraction that it is today only compared to the rest of the country.
This blog will outline some of the best day trips Grand Royal Hyde Park guests can take under 2 hours outside of London, and how seeing beaches, home counties and landmarks further afield can enrich your understanding of the most popular capital in Europe.
Arundel is a medieval town on the south coast of England that is well worth a visit for its almost entirely preserved medieval castle and the beautiful river that runs through it – the River Arun. Located just outside the South Downs National Park, the Norman castle in the town of Arundel attracts many tourists, while its surrounding wetlands are the perfect place for a summer hike.
Known as the “London” of the south coast, you shouldn’t think of Brighton as a smaller version of the capital. Indeed, this town bounded by the English Channel is full of unique charm and character. Less than an hour by train from Victoria Station, Brighton makes an ideal day trip and is home to many quirky sights and tourist attractions. Alongside its multitude of shops in its ‘Lanes’, visitors can enjoy tours of the Regency-era Brighton Pavilion, created in the style of a Hindu temple, as well as the hugely popular Palace Pier, packed with entertainment , two roller coasters and an arcade.
Situated on the River Avon, this western city is just under two hours by train from London and has an arts scene that rivals both London and Brighton. The city itself is home to a thriving university population and is the starting point for early explorations of the New World, the legacy of which led to the regeneration of the city’s docklands as creative spaces and historic sites. The town’s main attractions include the Brunel SS Great Britain, a Victorian-era passenger steamer that was the most advanced of its day and has been refitted as a museum. Other tourist attractions include the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery of Edwardian Baroque design, an Arts Council-funded, free-to-visit museum that explores natural history, science and technology, and art from all eras. Lots to see then for a day trip!
From cities to natural landscapes, Box Hill is a valley in Surrey that offers breathtaking views of the countryside of southern England. These sweaty walks are easily accessible from London, about an hour and 20 minute journey from central London. For guests of accommodation near Hyde Park London who are looking for a new challenge on the walking trails, the views, rivers and forests of Box Hill & Westhumble are sure to put your calf muscles to the test.
Cambridge is home to one of London’s oldest universities and its history dates back to the Bronze Age. With a system of canals flowing from the nearby River Cam and a host of historic university-run museums, Cambridge and its world-class university are open for tours, punting trips and city walks medieval all year round.
Another historic waterside town, Hastings was the site of the battle of the same name which saw William the Conqueror invade and take control of England. This hilly, cliff-clad town is not only the site of the ruins of an 11th-century castle, but has a thriving arts scene and a classic English seaside town promenade amidst its cobbled streets.
East of Hastings is Margate, known as the retreat of many British celebrities. It’s not just the seaside celebrity culture that attracts visitors to London, Margate’s Tomorrowland theme park and the Turner Contemporary art gallery are both located on the waterfront of this quaint seaside town. The thriving music and literary scene also attracts fans of British culture.
Easily accessible from Liverpool station, Norwich is a Norfolk cathedral city with a beautiful 11th-century cathedral and a thriving city center full of theatres, art galleries and independent shops. The famous market square is made up of stalls resembling beach shacks selling everything from toast to leather jackets. With a BBC media center located near the centre, Norwich and its surrounding Norfolk Broads countryside is a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of London.
Stratford upon Avon
Located in Warwickshire and just two and a half hours from London, Stratford Upon Avon is a market town that dates back to Saxon times but has become synonymous with the works of William Shakespeare, who was born in the town. This led to the Royal Shakespeare Company settling here and attracting over 2.7 million tourists a year. With revivals of his plays as well as contemporary works inspired by Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon has become a cultural center amid the rolling rivers and green pastures of the Cotswolds.