As a result, I am very carefully looking at where I can go next, preferably by train, and ooooh how inspired I am: I want to train through Europe again with a backpack and take in as many cities as possible. Perhaps take in a slow train trip through France? Maybe it will soon be safe to take the Night Riviera Sleeper to Cornwall as well? Or just a quick trip to the Netherlands?!
In honour of my train excitement (traincitement?), I’m sharing five destinations that you can take by train that are not Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam.
Travel to Morocco by train – Thanks to high-speed trains in France and Spain, you can leave London in the morning and reach Tangier the evening of the following day. Sure it takes a bit longer to get there than by air, but remember – it’s about the journey not the destination! From Tangier, you can easily travel through the rest of Morocco by train.
Take the sleeper train to Venice – Taking the train from London to Venice via Paris? It’s possible with the Thello sleeper train that gets you from Paris to Venice overnight. The train also stops in Milan and Verona if that’s on your list. Sleeper cabins aren’t too expensive! £29 for a 6er cabin or £85 for a 2er is totally doable.
London to Dublin By Train – The ‘Rail & Sail’ ticket offers you a way to travel to Ireland without taking the plane! From London Euston to Dublin ferry port via Holyhead takes around 9 hours. From the ferry you can take the bus to Dublin and explore the city or travel around Ireland by train. Sure it will take you three times as long, but think of all the modes of transport you can tick off in one day. Tickets are around £50 one way, so going green won’t break your bank.
Travel To San Sebastián By Train – You can get to Basque Country without flying by taking the Eurostar from London to Paris and from there the high speed train to Hendaye. From Hendaye you can take the local train to San Sebastián and explore the city. To travel to Bilbao, you can take the bus that will get you there in a few hours. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself, why not take the luxury bus that serves snacks on board?!
Take the Overnight Train To Vienna – Another overnight train! Going from Brussels to Vienna via Cologne and Linz. Why not combine your trip with a visit to Salzburg or Innsbruck? Vienna is also connected to Slovakia and Czech Republic, which makes it a perfect starting point to explore Eastern Europe!
It’s that time again! Today I’m sharing my London Summer Bucket List with all the things I can’t wait to go see and do in possibly the best season of the year (yes, I’m saying that to all the seasons).
Are you looking for a different, unusual or unique accommodation? And ideally less than two hours from London? Here are three spots I tried and tested. Whether it is an overnight stay in a castle, tiny house or lighthouse – you won’t be bored in these unusual places on your next staycation.
Stay In At Actual Lighthouse
Lighthouses once served as beacons of light and safety on the night seas, but technology has made most lighthouses obsolete and many have turned into hospitality accommodations. One of those is Belle Tout Lighthouse in an enchanting location on the cliffs just outside Eastbourne. The lighthouse went out of operation in 1902 and has had several owners. Since 2008, it has been a unique bed and breakfast with 6 guest rooms, a breakfast room and a lounge area with panoramic views upstairs.
Do note that not all the rooms are in the actual tower, one of the two that is, is the original Lighthouse Keeper’s room with a loft bed, en-suite bathroom and the most amazing view.
Breakfast is served at the lighthouse, but for lunch or dinner you’ll have to walk 30 mins to a nearby pub or drive or take a taxi to Eastbourne.
How to get there: Twice an hour there is a direct train from London Victoria to Eastbourne taking around 1 hour and 20 minutes. From there you can walk to Belle Tout, take a bus or car/taxi.
Book A Room In An Castle Near London
Always wanted to stay in a castle? Sadly Buckingham, Kensington or Windsor Palace are not on your favourite accommodation booking site, but you don’t have to go all the way to Scotland to stay in one. There’s a castle 40 minutes from central London where you can head to for your next staycation.
Hever Castle, with its double moat, is best known for being where Anne Boleyn spent her childhood years. Years and years later, William Waldorf Astor not only restored the castle, but also built an entire Tudor section that now has been turned into a B&B. You can visit the castle during the day, but save the gardens for when the day visitors have left, and you have the entire grounds to yourself (and the other few guests).
Breakfast is served in the great hall of the Tudor building, during visiting hours you can get food at the cafe on the castle grounds or walk to one of the nearby pubs.
How to get there: Trains from London Bridge get you there in 40 minutes. From Hever Station it’s a 20 minute walk to the castle.
Tiny Cabin In The Middle of Nowhere Getaway
Looking for a place surrounded by woods and meadows and very few other people? Go for one of the Unplugged cabins. At Unplugged you lock away your phone at arrival and enjoy your midweek/weekend offline.
The cabin is suitable for two people (dogs are also welcome) and has a double bed, a kitchenette with a two-burner stove and a little sitting area. You’ll also find a cosy wood stove to keep you warm. There is a (Scandi) toilet, sink and shower. Outside is a picnic table and an outdoor fire bowl/BBQ to sit around as the sun goes down. Here are some things you can do in the area.
You might be able to pick up some eggs on your walks, but you’ll have to bring the rest of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also two pubs serving food within 2 hours walking distance.
How to get there: Currently, there are two Unplugged locations. Both are about 1 hour from London + a short taxi ride.
Tower of London
This iconic, tourist-favourite fort has watched over the capital for hundreds of years, and though it’s expensive, crowded and not amazingly curated, there’s so much history to explore across its grounds, walls and various towers you can’t help but be won over.
Houses Of Parliament
Many tourists believe a tour of London isn’t complete without a trip to the towering centre of government for the UK, and they’d be right – whatever your political beliefs, the grand, neo-Gothic interiors are well worth seeing in person. Sadly, trips to Big Ben are quite restricted.
While its museum and glass walkways aren’t much to write home about, you really can’t beat the impact of seeing this striking Neo-Gothic bridge up close and personal (for free). Pair your visit with a walk along the river from the South Bank to really appreciate its grandness from afar, or travel across the bridge itself on a bus in true London style.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
This may be one of the most impressive theatres you’ll ever get to see, so take a look at the calendar to pick the play that best works for you and prepare for something special, though I would recommend getting seats if you don’t want to stand for the whole show.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
While you can admire the beauty of St. Paul’s Cathedral from afar, the true majesty of the place can only be seen up close, especially the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the rather high Golden Gallery, which offers incredible views across the city, though may take a few years off your life if you’re scared of heights.
It’s kinda funny how for the first month where things have started to be lifted, I forgot to share a list with all the things I’m looking forward to! These lists kept me in a positive state of mind when I needed them over the winter, so I’d like to continue sharing even though we’re well into spring.
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