London is known for being a bustling city, but sometimes residents need a break from the chaos. Fortunately, London is well-connected to many cheap weekend getaways that are just a train ride away. Whether travelers are seeking a beachside retreat or a historic city, there are plenty of options to choose from.
From the north to the south and east to west, there are numerous destinations to explore. Oxford, for example, is a charming city with a long and illustrious history that is just a train ride away. In this article, readers will discover some of the best cheap weekend getaways from London, along with practical tips for exploring these destinations.
- London is well-connected to numerous cheap weekend getaways.
- Travelers can explore destinations in any direction, from beachside spots to historic cities.
- Practical tips are provided to help readers plan their weekend getaways from London.
Cheap Weekend Getaways From London
Oxford is a city filled with 12th-century architecture and 38 colleges, making it one of England’s most iconic cities. The city is home to the prestigious University of Oxford, which boasts stunning architecture, picturesque streets, and numerous museums and galleries. Oxford is unique in that it is big enough to have plenty to do, yet small enough to explore on weekends.
Visitors to Oxford should not miss the Ashmolean Museum, the world’s first university museum, which houses an impressive collection of art and archaeology. A stroll through the beautiful University of Oxford Botanic Garden is also a must. Taking a guided walking tour of the city, discovering the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, or casually browsing the historic Covered Market for local crafts, food, and souvenirs are also highly recommended.
To get to Oxford, visitors can take the Oxford Tube coach service from London Victoria Station, which takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. Alternatively, they can get to Oxford from Marylebone station, which takes just 60 minutes on fast services.
Suggested Stay: Malmaison Oxford
Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is a charming market town steeped in romance, making it ideal for a steamy weekend escape. The town boasts deeply historic streets and old English charm.
Visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon should visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. They can also take a leisurely walk along the picturesque River Avon and enjoy a picnic on the grass, where there are often live music and craft markets in the summer months.
To get to Stratford-upon-Avon, visitors can take a train from London Marylebone, and the journey takes around 2 hours.
Suggested Stay: Baraset Barn Hotel
Brighton is a diverse blend of bohemian culture, independent shops, and energetic nightlife, making it one of our favourite day trips from London. Visitors can explore the exotic Royal Pavilion, a former royal residence with opulent Indian and Chinese-themed decor and design. They can also take a stroll along the iconic Brighton Palace Pier and enjoy the amusements, rides, and arcade games.
Annual events like the Brighton Festival (late May) and Brighton Fringe (May to June) bring together visual arts, music, and comedy in a diverse celebration of culture. Visitors should also discover Brighton’s street art, independent shops, and cafes in the coveted North Laine and The Lanes neighbourhoods.
No visit to Brighton is complete without spending some time on the infamous Brighton Beach. Visitors can try water sports like kayaking and windsurfing or take a jetski ride to get their blood pumping.
To get to Brighton, visitors can board a direct train from London Victoria Station or London Bridge Station, and the journey takes around an hour.
Suggested Stay: Blok 74
Margate has had a resurgence and become one of the trendiest seaside towns on the Kent coast. The town became pretty rundown after the war but has since revived, with its restored amusement park, Dreamland, thriving arts scene, and sandy beaches.
Visitors to Margate should spend a day at Dreamland Margate, a vintage amusement park that has been lovingly restored to its former glory with rides, arcades, a roller disco, and art exhibits. They can also explore the Turner Contemporary, a modern art gallery showcasing the work of local and international artists. A must-visit is the Shell Grotto, a mysterious subterranean passageway adorned with intricate shell mosaics.
To get to Margate, visitors can take a direct train from London St Pancras International or London Victoria Station, and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Suggested Stay: Walpole Bay Hotel
Rye is a picturesque medieval seaside town in East Sussex known for its cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, and charming tea rooms. Visitors should visit the Rye Castle Museum to learn about the town’s past, explore Lamb House, a National Trust property, or stroll through the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery and birdwatching.
When hunger strikes, visitors can wind down at the very popular Mermaid Inn, a pub that dates back to the 12th century.
To get to Rye, visitors can take a train from St Pancras International, London Bridge, or London Charing Cross to Ashford International. Then, they can change to a train to Rye, and the total journey time is around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Suggested Stay: The Lookout
Windsor, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead,
Practical Tips for Exploring the Best Weekend Breaks From London
London’s excellent train connections make it easy to explore nearby destinations for a cheap weekend getaway. Most of these destinations can be reached within 2 hours by train, and some within just 30 minutes. For those seeking cheap weekend breaks near London, traveling off-peak in spring or autumn can be a great option. Popular south coast destinations like Margate and Bournemouth can get very busy during summer, so it’s best to avoid peak season. Additionally, these locations offer lush countryside surroundings, providing the perfect escape from the city environment.