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Four cities to visit within easy reach of London

Published: 03 Oct 19

Fancy discovering some more of the UK outside of London? You’ll be surprised at the contrast between the busy city life and the peaceful country towns, Tudor villages and seaside attractions that are all within easy reach of the capital. We’ve pulled together our top recommendations on things worth doing in four cities within an hour’s journey of London.

CAMBRIDGE

How to get there: Trains run direct to Cambridge from Kings Cross St. Pancras & Liverpool Street stations. The journey from here should take between 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Things worth checking out:

Punting

Did you even visit Cambridge if you didn’t go punting? Punting along the River Cam is the national pastime of Cambridge and one of the best ways to see the city. You can book onto a guided punt or hire your own if you’re feeling brave.

University of Cambridge Tour

Get an insider’s introduction to the world-famous University of Cambridge with a student tour of the iconic colleges. Discover more about one of the oldest universities in the world, where you might even recognise a few locations from Harry Potter!

Market Square

Market Square is like an outside version of Greenwich Market, where the stalls have been trading in the historic square since the middle ages. Stop for lunch at one of the tasty street food stands and pick up a souvenir from a choice of books, clothes, jewellery, personalised trinkets and tonnes more.

The Old Bicycle Shop

Once claimed to be the oldest bicycle shop in the country, this transformed bar and restaurant features a quirky interior designed to celebrate the heritage of the original shop. Enjoy a pint or spot of lunch surrounded by old style bicycle parts that have been fashioned into lamps, ornaments and wall art.

BRIGHTON

How to get there: Trains run direct to Brighton from Victoria & London Bridge stations. The journey from here should take approximately 1 hour.

Things worth checking out:

Brighton Beach

Voted one of the UK’s most popular seaside destinations, Brighton beach is only a 10-minute walk from the station. You’ll find pebbles instead of sand, but that’s a typical English beach for you... and it doesn’t stop the Brits flocking here to soak up the sun and make the most of a sunny day in the UK.

Brighton Palace Pier

A classic seaside asset, the iconic Victorian pier is located on the heart of Brighton’s coastline and home to heaps of amusements. From a fully fitted fairground and arcade, to traditional English sweet shops and fish and chip cafes – you could spend a whole day on the pier alone!

The Brighton Lanes

Venture away from the seafront and take a trip down the cobbled back lanes, where you’ll discover more than 400 independent shops and boutiques. Also crammed with quaint restaurants and cafes, The Lanes are livened up with buskers, creating a feel-good atmosphere to match the quirky location.

Fish & Chips

There’s nothing more British than tucking into fish and chips by the seaside. Brighton is the home of the traditional delicacy, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with hundreds of cafes, restaurants, pubs and classic chippies serving it in the city alone.

OXFORD

How to get there: Trains run direct to Oxford from Paddington & Marylebone stations. The journey from here should take approximately 1 hour.

Things worth checking out:

Bodleian Library

The main research library of the University of Oxford, the Bodleian is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and without a doubt one of the most beautiful. Sat proudly in Radcliffe Square, it’s one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Harry Potter Locations Tour

That’s right, Harry Potter was also filmed in Oxford University. Take a spellbinding tour of the locations used in the shooting of the films and see Hogwarts come to life. Plus, you can team up and end the tour with a quiz to show off your HP knowledge.

G&D’s Ice Cream Cafes

You’ll find a collection of independent ice cream cafes dotted across the city, serving the best homemade ice cream (plus tasty baked goods) that are open until midnight every day. Started by a previous Oxford University student, it’s a popular spot among students from across the country.

Eagle & Child Pub

This classic Oxford pub was supposedly the watering hole for some of England’s most famous writers, including Tolkien and CS Lewis. Enjoy a drink whilst paying homage to the place where iconic first draft manuscripts were mulled over, including ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’.

CANTERBURY

How to get there: Trains run direct to Canterbury West from St Pancras International & Charing Cross stations. The journey from here should take approximately 1 hour.

Things worth checking out:

Canterbury Cathedral

One of the oldest cathedrals in England holds a millennium of history as a place of worship for over 1500 years. Its gothic towers and stunning stained-glass windows remain as impressive today as they were a thousand years ago.

Lady Luck Bar

Stop by this Rock N’ Roll pub in the heart of Canterbury for a pint and a throwback, with jukeboxes showcasing some of the best alternative bands from to 1950’s to present day. You’ll also find a series of retro arcade and board games, a beer garden and a decent menu, making it the perfect lunch stop off.

St John Boys House

This famous wonky house is home to an independent bookshop, raising money to help those living on the streets in Canterbury and Kent. The crooked slant of the exterior makes for prime Instagram material, but make sure you head inside and take a look around the delightfully skewed interiors and grab yourself a second-hand read.

The Old Weavers’ House

This quaint restaurant overlooking the River Stour has a Tudor heritage and has been serving up traditional English dishes for decades. Stop by for a classic roast dinner any day of the week, then add on a punting tour around the heart of Canterbury with their Dine & Punt packages.

If you’re still trying to figure out the best ways to see everything in London, check out our guide on the top spots along the River Thames.

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