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On the road in London
London may have everything you need for a big city break, but travel beyond the capital and you’ll discover England is a country of multiple personalities. From the rolling countryside and thatch cottages of the Cotswolds to the picturesque waters of the Lake District, England is endlessly intriguing and utterly charming. Here are some of the best places to visit from London.
Often surprising travellers with its size, Windsor is a tiny town with enormous importance. Home to Windsor Castle – the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, and a favourite royal residence – venture inside to tour the State Apartments and discover intriguing attractions such as Queen Mary’s giant doll’s house. Keep an eye out for the flag; when the standard flies from the Round Tower, the monarch is at home.
Stretching from Bath to Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds is among the most picturesque areas of the British countryside. Quaint chocolate box villages filled with limestone cottages sit amid rolling hills and lush farmland. Keen walkers flock here to enjoy long country hikes before holing up in a cosy countryside bolthole with good food, a burning fire and total tranquillity, bar the neighbouring wildlife. Never was a better night’s sleep had by any.
England’s largest national park, the natural beauty of the Lake District needs no introduction. Vast lakes and imposing mountains create unparalleled landscapes and, if you can drag your gaze away for a moment, there’s plenty of activity potential. Windermere, the country’s biggest natural lake, is popular with water sports fans, while the summits of Skiddaw and Helvellyn attract cyclists and hikers from far and wide. Don’t miss the historic sites and cultural attractions dotted along the way, too.
The British coastline may not offer pristine white sands and turquoise waters, but it is full of character. From the long, sandy beaches of Camber Sands and West Wittering to the lively seaside town of Brighton (whose long pier and abundant nightlife makes up for its pebbled beach), there’s so much to discover within a two-hour drive or one-hour train ride from the capital.
The Oxford-Cambridge rivalry is known worldwide. Before picking sides, why not visit both and choose your winner? Both famous university towns are located less than an hour’s train journey from London, and delight visitors with their historic and cultural charm. A punting trip on the river, hosted by a student captain, is a must.