As much as we love London, a long weekend is a great chance to venture out of the city, soak up some countryside air and get away from the chaos of city life for three glorious days.

And even if you’ve left your May Bank Holiday weekend bookings to the last minute, there’s no shortage of countryside retreats, coastal towns or historic cities to visit. We’ve done the homework and rounded up some of our favourite places in the UK to visit this long weekend.

A relaxing trip to The Cotswolds

Known for its honey-coloured stone cottages, cosy pubs, and scenic walking trails, The Cotswolds makes the perfect spot for a relaxed weekend. Highlights include visiting Bourton-on-the-Water, often referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” and exploring the historic market town of Stow-on-the-Wold. With its rolling hills and picturesque villages, it’s the perfect relaxing retreat just a couple of hours from London.

How to get there: Trains from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh take about 90 minutes, and from there, it’s easy to explore the region by bus or car.

A Bridgerton-style getaway to Bath

Famous for its Roman-built baths and stunning Georgian architecture, it’s no surprise that Bath was the filming location for many of the scenes shot in Bridgerton. And for fans of the show who are going to start watching the new season this week, there’s no better time to feel like you’re on the sets of Bridgerton with a weekend in the historic town.

Visit the Jane Austen Centre and immerse yourself in Regency-era life as you dress up in bonnets and corsets or explore No. 1 Royal Crescent, a museum that was used as the exterior for the Featherington family home where you can sip on a Bridgerton inspired cocktail. At Abbey Deli, which stood in for the modiste dress shop in season 1, you can enjoy some quintessential afternoon tea. And to really get the full Bridgerton package, you can book a walking tour with Fred Mawer Tours, which takes you across Bath to visit all the filming locations, including the Holburne Museum (Lady Danbury’s mansion). The tour also touches on other famous films shot in the city like The Duchess, Les Miserables and Wonka.

How to get there: Direct trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa take approximately 90 minutes.

A foodie trip to Cornwall

With beautiful beaches that don’t really feel like you’re in England and a thriving surf scene, Cornwall is the place to be if you’re looking for these peaceful Mediterranean vibes without leaving the UK. For foodies, Cornwall is must-visit, especially if you like your fish. Rich Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant has been serving their classic seafood dishes for 50 years now and chef Nathan Outlaw’s two Michelin star restaurant Outlaw serves up dishes that celebrate Cornwall’s bounty from coast to field. Plus, visit Minack, an open-air theatre with gorgeous sea views that puts on performances over the summer and if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t leave without trying your hand at surfing with St Ives or Cornish Wave Surf School.

How to get there: Trains from London Paddington leave every hour and reach Cornwall, St Austell in 4 hours 20 minutes.

An outdoorsy adventure in The New Forest

The New Forest, located in the county of Hampshire in Southern England, is a stunning national park that offers a unique blend of ancient woodlands, heathlands, and picturesque villages. Famous for its free-roaming ponies and rich history, the New Forest is a perfect getaway for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking for a tranquil retreat. The ancient woodland area is perfect for hiking, cycling, and spotting wild ponies. Beaulieu, with its famous National Motor Museum, and Lyndhurst, the heart of the forest, are great spots to explore.

How to get there: Trains from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst take around 90 minutes.

A Harry Potter-themed visit to Durham City

The historic city of Durham, a picturesque student town in North East England, is dominated by its iconic cathedral and castle where scenes from Harry Potter were shot, and the River Wear that meanders through the city where you can spot college rowers practising for the summer regatta. The Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture. Don’t miss climbing the tower for panoramic views of the city and pay a visit to the cloisters to walk in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Get lunch or brunch at the student-favourite Flat White Cafe and pay a visit to 33 Durham for a nightcap, the city’s only speakeasy.

How to get there: A 3.5 hour train journey from London King’s Cross

An island escape to the Isle of Wight

The perfect island getaway, the Isle of Wight offers beautiful beaches, charming villages, and outdoor adventures. Visit Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s former holiday home, and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery at The Needles. Step back in time at Carisbrooke Castle, a historic fortress that has played a key role in British history and explore the castle’s walls, climb the Norman keep for panoramic views or visit the museum. (Don’t miss the famous well-house with its resident donkeys). The island is also perfect for hiking, cycling, water sports and general sunbathing, so pray for sunshine!

How to get there: Trains run from London to Portsmouth Harbour, followed by a ferry crossing, that gets you there in about 2.5 hours.


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