The UK has two Bank Holidays in May, which means two doses of a glorious Monday off work and two long weekends to fill with fun, sun, friends and family. Being such a small but perfectly formed little island, you can make your way across the UK in a matter of hours by road or rail, and there are heaps of lovely little towns and big cities worth visiting by day from London. Here are our three favorite places for day tripping from London.
Reachable in as little as 90 minutes by train from London, Bath is a beautiful little spa town, built by the Romans over a well of hot springs. With staggering Regency architecture all over and several gorgeous spas still running to this day, this is the place to head for some essential pampering. The Thermae Spa has a stunning rooftop pool with views over the city and its spires and peaks. Stay in a hotel on the Royal Crescent, visit the Fashion Museum, and go for a wander in Prior Park Landscape Gardens.
Home to the Queen and just a hop across the river from Eton where Princes William and Harry attended school, Windsor is a gorgeous little town that can be reached from London in well under an hour. Windsor Castle is a must-see, though the castle dominates the main shopping streets so it can’t really be missed. Take an hour to check out the Long Walk (pictured) to the copper statue of King George III on horseback. It’s only from this vantage point that you can really take in the castle’s true majesty. Wander across the bridge to Eton and trace the footsteps of Harry and Wills as you explore this Hogwarts-style, real life campus. Shop till you drop in the old Victorian railway station, and book yourself in for a night at the Harte and Garter, with balconies overlooking the castle walls.
Set your alarm clock and you could be in Paris for your morning coffee and croissant, and eating lunch with a view of the Eiffel Tower. A day trip to Paris on the Eurostar from Kings Cross St Pancras Station will save you expensive hotel costs in the French capital, and the journey from London only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes each way. Arriving into Gare du Nord in Paris sets you down in the right part of town for a wander up the hill past the Moulin Rouge, to Sacre Coeur in the artists’ village of Montmartre. Use the Metro to take you to the Louvre, then wander along the banks of the River Seine to the Eiffel Tower. An early Parisian supper and by 9pm you’ll be whizzing your way back to London town, and tucked up in bed by midnight.
We didn’t have time to mention trendy beach town Brighton, historical seats of learning Cambridge and Oxford, preppy Cheltenham or leafy Kent with its many castles, gardens and pretty towns and villages. With a superb train network and more history and architecture (not to mention shopping and dining) than you could ever wish for, London is perfectly placed for English daytripping.