So, how long? Grab the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station and find yourself in the sunny (hopefully) seaside coast of Brighton Town in just under an hour.
See.. The OG Brighton landmark, the Royal Pavilion, is a must-see. Not only will its beautiful exterior make you feel like you’ve just stepped off a plane to India, but take the tour inside and you might be mistaken for time travelling.
MOST importantly, is a trip to Brighton really a trip to Brighton without some not-so cheap thrills on Brighton Pier? Daytime or at night, Brighton Pier, although hella expensive, makes up for it in fun, games and some super scary rides.
Shop… The Laines! A collection of small and quirky independent shops. From cute cafes and antiques stalls like the infamous ‘Snoopers Paradise’, to some of the best vintage shops you’ll see; think old school Camden Lock at its finest – just a bit more hipster and a bit less punk-rocker… although you never really know with Brighton.
Stuff your face… Whether you’ve a got a sweet tooth or you’re a more savoury kinda gal, Brighton’s got you covered. Brighton’s old school traditional food favs vary from Fish and Chips (Buddies on the Seafront is a Brighton staple), to, yep you guessed it, Brighton Rock. However, Brighton’s recent Vegan takeover means this town holds some of the best vegan & vegetarian restaurants for miles, Foodillic, food for friends and Purezza- vegan pizza, yes please! – are to name but a few.
Sip If you’re looking for a drink on the seafront, The Tempest Inn is where you need to be. With a beautiful seating area that spans almost as far out as the sea during the day and turns into a great place for a dance in the evening.
So, how long? Ok, so we may be stretching this one, but this journey will take you max an hour and 20 and you know it’s going to worth it! From Waterloo to Staines, you can be looking at a journey time of just under an hour – as long as you get the train towards Reading and then either a 12 minute coach or a 5 minute cab to Thorpe Park grounds.
See.. See, feel, hear, taste the adrenaline with some of Britain’s scariest rollercoasters.
Shop… I mean, did you really go on Stealth if you didn’t get a picture of it? The answer is no. Ride photos are everyone’s guilty pleasure and you’d be lying if you said you and your mates had never organised a pose for when the camera flashes at least once. Money well spent, we say!
Stuff your face… We all know you go to Thorpe Park for a bit of adventure, so why not go completely out your comfort zone with a ‘Bug Pot’ from Bush BBQ and Bar? And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like, a luxurious pot offering the choice of crickets and mealworms as part of the “I’m a Celebrity” maze. There’s also a Critter Coleslaw and Meelworm Mayo….or, if you’re not feeling quite so ballsy, you can enjoy their yummy burgers or ribs – normal meat, we promise!
Sip on refillable cups! Thorpe Park do refillable cups for just £6, meaning you can get your fizzy pick-me-up after a long day of highs and lows (see what we did there?).
So, how long? Grab an off-peak train from King’s Cross Station and you can be looking at a 50-minute journey to Cambridge Station – and don’t worry, even a peak train will get you there in just over an hour.
See.. Is there any way more iconic to sightsee Cambridge than punting? Propel through Cambridge’s river Cam with your trusty pole sailing guide and soak up one of Britain’s most beautiful and historic cities. Who needs to go all the way to Venice for a gondola when you’ve got punting less than an hour from London?
Shop… Cambridge General Market is not only in the heart of the city but the square on which it’s sat has been a trading hotspot since the Middle Ages. Selling a wide variety of goods from food to books and even second-hand bikes, get a real sense of the Cambridge community from Monday through to Saturday.
Stuff your face… At the Old Bicycle Shop. If you’re looking for historic Easter eggs, you may be on to a winner. It’s said that this is the very spot of the first bike shop in Britain and not just that but it’s clientele supposedly boasts the likes of Charles Darwin. However, most importantly, with a drool-worthy brunch menu (you know they’ve got avo toast) and bicycle-themed cocktails guaranteed to take you on a ride.
Sip The family-run Calverley’s Brewery Tap is a hidden gem. Extending from a converted workshop and brewing their own variety of brew, you feel like you’re in an old Medieval tavern.
Harry Potter World – Warner Bros Studio
So, how long? Jump on the train from London Euston to Watford Junction station, which takes only twenty minutes. Then all aboard the pimped-out Harry Potter double decker bus for another 15 minutes straight to the wizarding world. – And at only £2.50 for a return, there’s no need to wear your invisibility cloak.
See.. What isn’t there to see? This tour lets you get up close and personal with the sets, props, costumes and art department, as well as letting you in on all the special visual and creative effects. Explore Hogwarts like you never have before in all its physical form.
Shop… If, like us, you’re a sucker for any Harry Potter memorabilia – look no further than the Harry Potter World gift shop. Selling everything you have ever set your eyes on from the films, including the wands and Quidditch jerseys.. even parchment & quills, this gift shop ensures you can bring a little bit of magic home with you.
Stuff your face… Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Explosive Bon Bons, Jelly Slugs; HoneyDukes’ promises to sprinkle some magic in your step… even if it is a result of a sugar rush.
Sip Two words: Butter. Beer.
So, how long? From London Paddington, the train journey to Oxford takes exactly an hour (if not a few minutes less) and you will find yourself inside ‘the city of dreaming spires’.
See.. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Oxford? Oxford University! Although you may think a tour of the University may not be for you, with themed tours based on periods of history, architecture, famous alumni, fictional characters and even the option to request your own theme, there really is something for everyone.
Shop… In the home of literature’s greats, where better to browse than an old independent bookshop? Albion Beatnik Bookstore is a charming, quirky bookshop, implementing a wifi-free zone, offering tea, coffee and cakes and often open till after midnight – as after dark, Albion hosts poetry readings, reading groups and literary-themed evenings.
Stuff your face… At Cherwell Boathouse. This family-run restaurant offers the view of the river Cherwell as it sits on the banks of the river alongside the punt station. Offering classic British dishes such as Sunday Roasts and a cheese menu to melt over, this scenic location is the perfect place to take in the nature Oxford has to offer.
Sip The Eagle and Child is a must-see for any literature buff – or Lord of the Rings fanatic for that matter, having once been the local for CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Sit amongst these famous minds and enjoy a host of seasonally sourced cask ales in this quintessentially British pub.
So, how long? For just £10.50, you can hop on the train at London’s Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside and arrive in under an hour.
See.. There’s a reason why the Queen uses Windsor Castle as one of her principle residences and there was a rather big Royal Wedding there this summer. Whether you’re a history buff, royal family super fan or just want to feel like royalty for a day, Windsor Castle has it all; the perfect escape from London’s concrete jungle.
Shop… Windsor’s Royal Shopping Centre is a must-see site even if you’re not looking to splash the cash. This Grade 2 listed Victorian railway station, which has been converted into a shopping centre, is a beautiful merge of history and present day.
Stuff your face… At Gilbey’s Eton. After taking in all the British history Windsor has to offer, what else would you want to sink your teeth into other than Modern British grub? With fantastic lunch and evening set menus, Gilbey’s also won’t break the bank.
Sip Two Brewers Pub, an 18th century Inn is still as atmospheric as it would have been in its prime. Perfect pub Grub, great beer and as it is situated right by the entrance of Windsor Great Park, there’s no better resting point after a long day of sightseeing.