I like both the big city and nature, and I need a good balance of both. That’s why, every now and then, I take a day trip somewhere close by. As my mom says, just to change the air.
Brighton & Seven Sisters
Well, every Londoner knows about Brighton. It’s 1h by train, frequent trains, and gets you straight to the sea. Holiday mood included.
It was my first time going “to the beach” in the UK. If your idea of going to the beach is 30+ degrees, nice breeze, and softie sand – no, that’s not it. It’s cold breeze, frozen water, and pebble beach. Instead of bringing your swimwear, better a sweater.
What it really impressed me, is Seven Sisters. Only a short bus ride from Brighton, there are these massive white cliffs. It’s a very pleasant walk and the views are stunning. Be sure to check the bus schedule for the way back. We nearly missed our last bus, as we lost track of time.
Not as popular as Brighton, Hastings is a nice place by the sea as well. It takes about 1.5h by train from London. Once there, everything is within walking distance. It offers a nice promenade walk, a cozy old town and the Hastings Castle on top of the hill. I particularly like it because it has history and sea. And it’s not touristy.
Less than 1h by train, this place makes you want to go back to university. Or, realize how much your university back home lacks (if you are a foreigner like me). It’s relaxing either to walk around or punt by the river. Punt is a kind of boat, I had to look it up as I always forget its name.
Here I went on a guided hike organized by a friend. There is a small castle on a hill and a beautiful forest close by. Wide fields with wild flowers and local houses with planted flowers. It’s quiet, maybe occasionally you can spot a local with his/her dog enjoying the walk.
Less than 1h away from London, by train.
Mayfield Lavender Fields
This one is technically in London, you can use your oyster card. It made me realize how big London actually is. The cheapest option, by train and then bus, take around 1,5h. Insane right? The fastest one, train then uber/taxi, takes up to 40 min.
The other down side is that it’s open only during summer when the lavender flowers blossom. And because it’s a short time, chances are, it will be crowded. But still, I think it’s totally worth the experience, it looks gorgeous and it smells great.
This is the end of Part 1. My list of day trips is quite long, I only need time and good weather.