London is a truly remarkable city, with many different places to go to, from busy shopping areas and museums in the centre to more relaxed parks and fields on the outskirts. However, due to its massive size, population, and fast-paced environment, it can be a little intimidating and tiring sometimes. Quite fortunately, there are many exciting places located an hour or two away from London that are perfect for a short getaway from the hustle of the big city, and an excellent opportunity to explore other parts of the UK. Recently I had a chance to visit Brighton and Bath, both for a one-day trip with some of my friends, and I will tell you why you should consider visiting them too!
Brighton, located just over an hour’s train ride away, south of London is a beautiful coastal city with a great beach, a variety of vintage shops and an incomparable atmosphere. There are many trains available operated by the Thameslink and it is quite easy to find affordable return tickets, for example from London Bridge station they cost only around 10 pounds. I went there one Saturday, without much research or expectations and was surprised by how much the city had to offer.
Having arrived at Brighton train station I headed towards the Lanes area, with an array of independent and antique stores positioned in a pattern of an old fishing village. There is something there for everybody and it is almost impossible to come back without purchasing one of the many lovely items you can find there. I enjoyed browsing through many copies of old books at the vintage bookstores or trying to find a perfect poster for my room at one of the antique stores. The area was also full of quaint, independent coffee shops and bakeries offering quality pastries, beverages, and a lot of vegan options. Visiting the Lanes was certainly a refreshing experience after being surrounded by so many chain stores and cafés located in the central areas of London.
When talking about Brighton, it’s necessary to mention its beautiful seaside and beaches together with the Brighton pier. Although I visited the city on a cold, windy day in early February I still really enjoyed exploring the beaches and the funfair located on the pier. The area had a unique retro atmosphere with old arcade halls, dusty rollercoasters and fish and chips restaurants overlooking the bright, sparkling sea. Being there, I felt like I was on a journey back in time or on a film set, and going on rides was a wonderful way to have some fun and detach from reality for a brief time.
Another city I recently visited, that I’d highly recommend for a day trip is Bath, located a two-hour train journey east of London. It is a historic city full of marvellous architecture, culture, and a lot of green spaces, all located within a walkable distance from each other. I started my journey with a stroll through the city centre, passing the beautiful Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, and Pulteney Bridge, all of which are picture-worthy architectural masterpieces. After that, I headed towards the 18th-century Prior Park Landscape Garden, with beautiful ponds and fields, from which you can get a great panorama view of Bath. A film location for hits such as the Bridgerton series, the park was extremely calm and well-managed, and I would highly recommend it to all nature lovers.
Just like Brighton, Bath offered a lot of great cafés, restaurants, and independent stores, however on weekdays a lot of them close around 5pm which is important to bear in mind when planning the day. While I personally have not been inside any of them, when in Bath you can also relax at the thermae spa, visit the Roman baths, or for any book lovers learn more about Jane Austen who spent some time in the city, in the Jane Austen Centre. In essence, there is plenty to see and do in Bath, and if you’re planning a getaway from London, it is undoubtedly a place to go!