Following in the footsteps of Jane Austen… sort of.
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SHORT DAYS AWAY
All in all, Eastbourne has rather a lot going for it… and not just as a place to see out your days.
Arty, quirky and edgy, Folkestone is on the up – and is a fabulous day out when you want to leave London behind.
SUA is a lovely, charming, middle England market town that lucked out big time as the home of England’s premier poet and playwright.
It’s genteel in a way that certain British market towns can be. But (and it’s a big but), it’s a city stuffed full of lively bars (big student population), cute cobbled streets, lovely old houses, some fantastic restaurants.
Whitstable is a feel-good kind of place. It’s only a short hop from south London, but it has enough of a seaside feel to really give you a break from the city.
There is a fun and easygoing vibe to Chichester, partly due to the fact that you can get drunk and roll home easily as it’s compact, within the city walls, within the historic grid.
Three strands of culture colliding on the edge of Sussex, giving Hastings a fun, funky, lived in charm all of its own.
Lewes is quaint, market-town perfect, its ancient Sussex buildings giving away no secrets.
Unspoilt seaside town offers up its vintage charms and 'end of the pier' fun.
Bath is a perfect tourist city, historical in its groundings (Roman baths and ancient cathedral); perfect in its heyday (Georgian watering hole, Miss Austen and her novels) and then refined in its modernity (preserved squares and crescents, new architecture thoroughly in keeping). Every door in the Royal Crescent is painted the same colour. It is a city jewel-like in its perfection.
It couldn’t be any lovelier. I mean, really. Gorgeous old university city, a river running through it, quaint old shops, narrow streets. Full - and I mean FULL - of tourists and hen parties.
There’s history (the docks, anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce’s house, maritime museum), plenty of art and installations all over the city and lots of pride in a town that’s unfairly labelled as a bit crap.
Birmingham is not only rather lovely now, with a brilliant spread of bars and restaurants to indulge in, as well as loads of decent shops and offbeat, quirky places to explore.
Set back in the hills on a deep river estuary, Bristol is a city that feels like it should be much bigger than it is. it was hard not to really like Bristol…
Ah, Brighton. The Belle of the South Coast, all Regency flourishes and decadence.
Far & away
Like some glorious, glittery jewel on the shores of Lake Maggiore, Stresa is a faded Fabergé egg of a town, all white-wedding-cake hotels, big neon-blue swimming pools and gently crumbling palazzos. It’s a wonderful place for a holiday.
Munich is a city chock-full of contrasts. Olde worlde buildings, steepled roofs, incredible church spires. Flip it over and it’s a cool, chilled, designer-clad industrial powerhouse of a place.
Eindhoven was amazing. It’s set in some very lovely countryside, all green fields and big rivers and massive skies. Van Gogh painted around here, you know. It’s a compact city with a centre that’s big enough to be interesting, small enough to be walkable.
Ile de Re is where well-heeled Parisians come to rest and recharge their batteries at the weekend and If you’ve ever studied French for GCSE, surely you know where La Rochelle is.
It’s such a cliche, isn’t it? Smoke dope, get pissed, go to the Red Light District for an eyeful. Repeat. Visit Dam Square. Come away not thinking much of Amsterdam apart from ‘canals, prostitutes, gear’.
We fell in love with the city on the water, a city that has a rep for being dirty, smelly, crap at food (in Italy?) and packed full of tourists.
Some people warned us from leaving central Chicago and travelling to the suburbs. It’s dangerous, they said. People get killed, they said. Stick to the tourist areas. Navy Pier is nice.
From the blog
Whether you want romantic, fairytale towers, or a bit of blood’n’guts, we’ve got a castle for you. And best of all – they’re all only 2 hours or less from London…
We chose to spend our Romjul in a little corner of England between Peterborough and Kettering. It’s a peaceful area, split in two by the river Nene wending its way to the Wash.
Don’t let bad weather put you off. Deal is splendid whether it’s sunny or chucking it down…
We were charmed even before we got there. Charmed by the ferry, chugging across the water from Portsmouth, taking us to the Isle of Wight.
Hidden away in the High Weald, spanning Kent and Surrey, is a perfect jewel box of a garden, the kind of garden you dream of having a wander around, where there’s delicious rose walks, wild and tangled woodsides, hills with perfect views across the surrounding countryside, den building for kids, sculptures, a yeti…
Oh faded glory! There's something rather lovely about Crystal Palace Park, which is only 20 minutes by train from central London. All that once-grand, Empire-guzzling power and might of the actual Crystal Palace now reduced to sweeping terraces overgrown with brambles and statues with their heads lopped off.
So here's the Leave London Behind rundown on 13 of the most interesting Sakura-themed goodies for sale in Japan in spring 2018. Get them while stocks last!.
You don't have to leave London to grab a bit of peace and quiet. Here's the Leave London Behind guide to the secret places that will whisk you away – without you leaving the capital...
(And best of all, most of them are free!)
Leave London Behind Onsen guide.
An onsen, for those who don’t know about this particularly Japanese tradition, is a natural springs bath. It’s often hot, due to volcanic rocks heating the water – and even though you have to get bare to have one, it’s utterly delightful.