If you live in London, once in a while you will want to indulge in a weekend getaway with your family. Whatever be the weekend getaway – a relaxing spa trip, an adventure break, a food and drink experience or just lying down in your beach chair – if it is with the family or with your partner (for just couples), it is bound to be great fun.
To help you take a break from your stressful life, we have come up with a list of the best family weekend getaways from London. A few of these are day trips and a few require more than a day. So make the right choice of weekend break destination. All our destinations are also reachable by train or bus or by your own private transport.
Do note that these family weekend getaways also make a lot of sense to people visiting London – in case you want to see the real England. After all, London isn’t the real England and if you go back after seeing just London, you haven’t really seen England in its totality.
So here is the list of best family weekend getaways from London –
Weekend Getaway # 1: Paris
So what if the French kept on invading Britain, it is your turn now. Thanks to the London-Paris train, you can now reach Paris easily and plan a weekend getaway with family. Because of the demand for tickets, you may have to plan ahead, that’s all. In fact, Paris is such a big city that you may have to make four or five trips to see the whole of it – but who is complaining as long as you get to have one of the best weekend getaways with family.
Distance from London: The travel time to Paris is just 2 hours – take a train from London St Pancras and sit back and relax.
Weekend Getaway # 2: Windsor
The queen lives here at the Windsor Castle, and that forms the center of this town. You must have heard or see the change of Guard at Buckingham palace, but we are sure you wouldn’t have heard of a similar change of guard at the Windsor Castle which is a must watch. After you, your family and kids have roamed around the castle and taken selfies you can check out the most famous private school of Britain – Eton. This is the school where all the aristocrats and rich of Britain study, so it is in your best interest to check it out.
Distance from London: If you start from London Paddington station, you can reach Windsor in around 30 minutes.
Weekend Getaway # 3: Brighton
Brighton is the most child-friendly and student-friendly place near London and perhaps that is why it is also the most visited British place after London. It is also gay-friendly. Brighton ends up being a great weekend destination for families living in England because it is by the sea- a perfect ruse for the kids in the family. Once in Brighton, you should definitely try the Victorian Pier, and have fish and chips by the beach. There is a lot of shopping which can be done, and as the last thing for the night…you can try out the nightlife that makes Brighton the party hub.
Distance from London: 1 hour drive from London city
Weekend Getaway # 4: Oxford
Just in case you didn’t know, Oxford is the oldest university in England. The university is so cool that tourists can visit and take in the awesomeness of the university – why it can even be a weekend getaway with family. The beautiful stone architecture will be loved by all family members, after which you can check out the libraries, and the excellent museums within the university premises. If it is summer, we also recommend a bit of punting, which involves pushing a boat on water with a long pole. There are a lot of book stores in Oxford and browsing and buying books can help you and your family kill a lot of weekend hours. After all the books shopping, you can head out to the covered market on the High Street – this is the oldest market in Britain. If you still have time, you can top up your family weekend break with a visit to the beautiful Masters Garden in Christ Church College.
Distance from London: It is an hour of travel by train, which you can get from London Paddington station.
Weekend Getaway # 5: Cambridge
The university town that is one of the best weekend getaways is the ancient university town of Cambridge. There are many exciting museums and galleries which will keep your family and kids hooked. Besides, you can visit the lovely colleges and take in their ancient architecture and lovely landscaping. You can walk along the streets of Cambridge and listen to interesting anecdotes from locals. Like in Oxford, here also there are a lot of book stores which you can indulge in.
Distance from London: If you start from Kings Cross station in London, you will reach Cambridge in less than an hour.
Weekend Getaway # 6: York
York is totally different from London, and that is why it makes for a great stress-busting weekend getaway with family. There are plenty of attractions on York, which your kids and family members will like – such as, the York Minster Cathedral, the National Railway Museum, the Jorvik Viking Center etc. York has a long city wall around which you can walk on, which is also a great lazy family outing. Once you are done with all the sight seeing you can head for the city center which is known for its shopping to buy memories of this weekend getaway.
Distance from London: York is two hours by train from London King’s Cross station, London. It is the same travel time by car as well.
Weekend Getaway # 7: Bath
Bath is a UNESCO world heritage destination and hence definitely needs to figure in your family’s weekend getaway list. Add to that the fact that it is a laid back town, with Britain’s only natural hot springs, the destination becomes one of the best for family and kids. If your family loves history, that’s one more reason to visit Bath, which was the site of a Roman spa many thousands of years ago. The ruins are still there so be ready for some amazing family memories. This is the ideal place to learn all about ancient Roman Britain. Thanks to the classic Georgian architecture, the town is exceedingly beautiful.
Distance from London: If you start from London Paddington station, you can reach bath in less than 90 minutes.
Weekend Getaway # 8: Dover
If your family loves history, this is the best weekend getaway for them. Whenever anybody invaded Britain, they approached from Dover hence it has a lot of military heritage which will be of interest for your family. As a tourist two things stand out for you to try – the beautiful White Chalk Cliffs and the Dover Castle, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful castle around London.
Distance from London: You can take a train to Dover from any of these London train stations – Victoria, St Pancras and London Bridge and it shouldn’t take you more than 90 minutes to reach Dover.
Weekend Getaway # 9: Canterbury
Canterbury is the base of the Church of England with the Archbishop of Canterbury at its head. No wonder then that this city is home to a high number of magnificent cathedrals. If you are religious, this weekend getaway with your family can be a pilgrimage – as a visit to Canterbury has been for millions of visitors before you. Besides taking the historic river tour, you can visit churches, museums, art galleries and also do a whole lot of shopping.
Distance from London: If you catch a train to Canterbury from London Victoria you can reach in less than 90 minutes.
Weekend Getaway # 10: Stratford-upon-Avon
If you have any interest in literature, this is a must visit. After all this was the home of William Shakespeare. Three things are a must when you are on a weekend getaway at Stratford-upon-Avon
with your family – a boat ride on the Avon river, a play at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a visit to his birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage. If you have time you should also try out the pretty markets that are at this destination.
Distance from London: It is two hours of travel time both by train and car. If you want to have fun with the family, we recommend a car trip so you can enjoy the stops midway.
Honorable Mentions: Other best weekend getaways with family, which we would have liked to include in our list are: Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII’s palace), The New Forest (for a complete break from the city), the Roald Dahl Museum (your kids will love it) and the Highclere Castle (remember, Downton Abbey?)