Last month I wrote about the 15 best day trips from London. The post was so well received that I thought it would be worth expanding on the topic and the timeframe. As such, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 16 best weekend trips in the UK. Complete with sheep.
Best Weekend Trips in the UK
The best weekend trips in the UK are:
1. Peak District
4. Lake District
5. Eden Valley
7. Guernsey and Sark
9. The Cotswolds
16. St Davids
You can read more about them in 52 Great British Weekends. If you’re in the UK, get it here. If you’re in the US, get it here.
Read on for details and my personal experiences from each destination…
The Best Weekend Trips in England
Home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in England, the Peak District is also known for its beautiful stately homes. Chatsworth House was used as the residence of Pride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Darcy in the most recent film adaptation of Jane Austen’s famous novel, and Haddon Hall, a nearby medieval estate, was used as Mr. Rochester’s house in the film and TV versions of Jane Eyre.
Read more about the Peak District here.
Way out west, Cornwall is one of my favorite weekend trips in England. Its coastal cliffs and coves offer endless walking trails and sandy beaches, and its towns and villages have great seafood and seaside charm. Add to that landmarks like the Eden Project and St Michael’s Mount, and towns like St Ives and Padstow, and Cornwall has no shortage of places to visit. Oh, and you can surf there, too. No wonder my inner Californian loves this place.
Read more about Cornwall here.
I heard about Devon’s beauty for years before I actually made it down to the south coast, but when I got there, I understood what everyone was raving about. The rugged scenery and wild ponies in Dartmoor National Park are enough to make me feel like I’m living in a fairytale, and towns like Salcombe, with their colorful boats and cheerful shops, make for the perfect weekend getaway from London.
Read more about Devon here.
The Lake District has always been one of my favorite places in the UK. With its green hills and pretty villages, Cumbria’s beauty is hard to beat. Spending a weekend exploring is a great way to escape the urban chaos of London—and channel your inner Peter Rabbit.
Read more about the Lake District here.
Not far from the Lake District, the Eden Valley offers all the beauty of its neighbor without any of the crowds. Sheep, horses, and cows dot the green fields with adorableness, and stone cottages and country pubs round out the pastoral scene. The Eden Valley is by far one of my favorite short breaks in the UK.
Read more about the Eden Valley here.
With its stunning cathedral and lively student life, Durham is not only lovely to look at, but also fun to explore. The city’s hill is packed with beautiful historic buildings—there’s even a castle—and the area around it has great coffee shops, restaurants, and pretty woods to wander in.
Read more about Durham here.
Guernsey and Sark
Although technically not part of the UK, the Channel Islands are still close enough both geographically and politically that I will consider them honorary territories for the purposes of my post. That’s not least because I had such an amazing time in Guernsey and Sark last May that I can’t stop telling people to visit. The impossibly blue water, amazing seafood, and gorgeous seascapes won me over, and I kept having to remind myself that I was in the English Channel and not the Caribbean Sea.
Read more about Guernsey and Sark here.
Close to London, the Garden of England is one of my favorite places to take a break from city life. Full of lovely coastal towns and historic castles, Kent has something for every type of traveler. On my most recent trip, I discovered Kent’s wine, beer, and cider trails, which compliment the great food in towns like Whitstable.
Read more about Kent here.
While the Cotswolds made it onto my list of the best day trips from London, they also deserve a place on my list of the best weekend trips in the UK. That’s not least because there’s so much to see and do that it’s worth spending a bit of extra time in the region. Lovely villages like Kingham and Lower Slaughter are the perfect places to relax and soak up the ambiance of the English countryside.
Read more about the Cotswolds here.
Whether you’re after an energetic day at the races or a relaxing weekend of shopping and fine dining, Cheltenham has a lot to offer. The historic spa town in Gloucestershire is not only home to one of the country’s famous racecourses, but also has great boutiques, restaurants, and green spaces.
Read more about Cheltenham here.
Another famous spa town, Harrogate is to the north of England what Cheltenham is to the south. Lovely from the quaint tea rooms to the colorful gardens, Harrogate is worth a weekend break to explore the streets and shopping arcades, and indulge in a cream tea or three.
Read more about Harrogate here.
One of my first weekend trips in the UK was to Norfolk. An English friend recommended it as a place with great beaches and pretty towns, and it didn’t disappoint. Lovely villages like Burnham Market offer good pubs and shopping, and I can’t get enough of the vast expanse of Holkham Beach. Add to that the fact that Will and Kate are there at Amner Hall with Prince George and Princess Charlotte right now, and it has to be worth a visit.
Read more about Norfolk here.
The Best Weekend Trips in Northern Ireland
Belfast often takes a back seat to Dublin, but Northern Ireland’s capital city is a great place to go in its own right. Easily accessible on a short flight from London, Belfast has a great cultural scene, lively nightlife—this is Ireland, how could it not?—and beautiful surroundings along the Causeway Coastal Route.
Read more about Belfast here.
The Best Weekend Trips in Scotland
Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities in the UK, and no list of the best weekend trips in the UK would be complete without it. The Scottish capital packs so much history, culture, and cuisine into one compact area that it’s sometimes hard to believe there’s so much to do and see. From the hilltop castle to the Princes Street Gardens, the peak of Arthur’s Seat to the Leith waterfront, Edinburgh has a wealth of sights and an abundance of style. And that’s to say nothing of the festivals.
Read more about Edinburgh here.
Glasgow used to take a back seat to Edinburgh, but the city has undergone a renaissance in recent years. Today it rivals its neighbor when it comes to art and culture, museums and food. From the trendy bars and restaurants around Argyle Street in Finnieston to the beautiful historic buildings in Merchant City and the contemporary architecture along the River Clyde, Glasgow is worth revisiting.
Read more about Glasgow here.
The Best Weekend Trips in Wales
Wales is the underdog of Britain, but its stunning natural landscapes and great coastal towns make it a great place to spend a weekend. My favorite place to travel in Wales is St. Davids in Pembrokeshire. The smallest city in the UK, it has a beautiful historic cathedral and great little shops. It’s also on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the perfect way to explore the cliffs and shores of the Welsh waterfront.
Read more about St Davids here.
How about you? What do you think are the best weekend trips in the UK?
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