Pack your bags, it’s time to have a break!

It’s almost August and it’s time to present you a little London City breaks. Here you can see the top 10 places ‘to get away’ while you’re in town. In September we have the 100% Design event, so you must want to know what to do other than visiting the fair, right? Whatever the reason, whether you’re into food, music, history or sightseeing, good old Blighty has you covered.


Visit Also: PARIS CITY GUIDE: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN THE CITY


1st: Bristol

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The West Country’s undisputed foodie capital, Bristol’s got it all. From cheesecake at Hart’s Bakery to modern British plates in a shipping container at Box-E, you could easily spend 48 hours here doing nothing but eating. And then there are the sourdough toasties with a side of Gallic charm at Bar Buvette and Poco’s internationally influenced tapas. Sometimes you just need a break from London city.

How far? 118 miles.

Get there by train from London Paddington in an hour and 38 minutes. Or if you’re watching your wallet National Express coaches run from Victoria for just £6 one way.

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2nd: Edinburgh

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Climbing Arthur’s Seat is obligatory, as is trekking to Edinburgh Castle – then an evening picnic on the Meadows before hitting the dancefloor at small but legendary venue Sneaky Pete’s. Come bedtime, Rabble has gorgeous mid-century modern ‘rough-luxe’ rooms in the heart of the New Town, with a top-notch restaurant downstairs. Still got itchy feet? Glasgow’s less than an hour away by train.

How far? 395 miles.

Get there by plane – it takes an hour and 20 minutes from London.

3rd: Manchester

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Whether you’re comparing craft brews in the Port Street Beer House, crate-digging in Piccadilly Records or dancing your socks off on Canal Street, it’s impossible not to get caught up in Manchester’s civic pride. Make former warehouse district the Northern Quarter your base – it’s home to the city’s best coffee (hello, Takk), and both The Cow Hollow Hotel and The Abel Heywood have style in spades. Soak up culture at The Lowry, The Whitworth Art Gallery and the Royal Exchange, refuel on Curry Mile or in the new Mackie Mayor food hall, then party like you never have to go to work again. Looks like the perfect house design for you.

How far? 200 miles.

Get there by train – it takes just over two hours from Euston, with services every 20 minutes.

4th: The Lake District

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If you don’t feel like you’ve had a weekend away unless you come home with mucky boots and a sunburned nose, this one is for you. If the sun’s out, fuel up on Kendal Mint Cake and climb Scafell Pike – it’s England’s highest peak, but not too tricky if you don’t mind a long walk. Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is the last word in luxury design, complete with a back-to-nature spa, or sleep under the stars at one of Buttermere’s picturesque campsites.

How far? 260 miles.

Get there by train – there’s a fast one from Euston to Oxenholme that takes just two hours and 38 minutes.

5th: Oxford

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Those dreamy spires are just the start of Oxford’s charms. As well as being an ancient university city with a history of every brick, it’s a young, thriving cultural hub with plenty of great places to eat and drink. Tick off the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museum, then wander through Port Meadow and the University Parks, stopping off for burgers at The Rickety Press.

How far? 56 miles.

Get there by car – it’s an easy 90 minute drive through the Chilterns (as long as you avoid the M40 during rush hour).

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6th: Winchester

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It’s always had the looks, but Winchester never used to have that much in the way of personality. Suddenly, though, this handsome cathedral city has become Hampshire’s coolest corner. The food’s fantastic, for starters: you can breakfast on cruffins at Hoxton Bakehouse, settle in for craft brews and tacos at Overdraft, then tuck into a chili beef burrito pie while flipping through a vintage comic at Piecaramba. One of the greatest in our top 10.

How far? 68 miles.

Get there by car – if you swerve the M3 it’s a beautiful drive.

7th: The Cotswolds

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Think of the English countryside and chances are you think of the Cotswolds: 750-odd ridiculously green and pleasant square miles straddling Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire. Each county has its own unique charm, but for a textbook, weekend sticks to Gloucestershire, land of Jilly Cooper, honey-colored stone cottages and retired rock stars. The perfect getaway to escape the ordinary house design.

How far? 95 miles to Cirencester.

Get there by car, so you can explore at your leisure. The drive from London takes between two and three hours, depending on your route and the traffic.

8th: Norwich

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It may be the home of notable dimwit Alan Partridge, but Norwich is as brainy as they come. There’s the University of East Anglia, whose world-famous Creative Writing MA has turned out the likes of Kazuo Ishiguro, Anne Enright and Ian McEwan, independent booksellers galore and a thriving contemporary art scene. Of course, a weekend here doesn’t have to be totally cerebral: after a morning making thoughtful noises at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, hit the shops – don’t miss the super-cool retro furniture at Stubenhocker.

How far? 118 miles.

Get there by train – it’s an hour and 49 minutes from Liverpool Street.

9th: Padstow

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This pretty-as-a-picture port really is the cream of Cornish. It’s synonymous with everyone’s favourite seafood chef, Rick Stein – get to his fish-and-chip shop early to beat the queue, then mosey around the independent galleries and boutiques, before taking the Black Tor Ferry over the water to Rock for a pint at The Mariners, now co-run by chef Nathan Outlaw and local Sharp’s Brewery. Hire bikes and cycle the 18-mile, clifftop Camel Trail to Bodmin, sign up for a lesson at Waves Surf School, or just take a kite for a spin on the beach. All that sea air means you’ll sleep like a log – book one of Georgian townhouse St Petroc’s cool, contemporary rooms, or a luxe tipi at Cornish Tipi Holidays if you have a car.

How far? 281 miles.

Get there by train – catch the Bodmin Parkway train from Paddington (three hours and 43 minutes), then hire a car or get a taxi.

10th: York

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Get thee to a nunnery! York is full of living history and interior design– where else could you sleep in an actual convent? The Bar Convent is England’s oldest working one, dating from 1686, and it doubles as a guesthouse. Rooms are surprisingly stylish – some have been designed by hotelier Olga Polizzi – and as you’d expect it’s a tranquil place to lay your head. Leaping forward to the present day, there’s thought-provoking, globe-trotting cooking at Skosh – or, for something a little more traditional, sit down to scones and dinky cakes at Bettys, where you’ll eat in a stately tearoom inspired by an ocean liner. Speaking of which, a sunset cruise down the Ouse is a must.

How far? 211 miles.

Get there by train – the direct service from King’s Cross takes an hour and 47 minutes.


Visit Also: MILAN CITY GUIDE: WHERE TO SLEEP? 


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