We often feel an urge to flee the hustle and bustle of city life - ending up somewhere where the air is fresh and the streets less cramped. Whether you're seeking coastal walks, National Trust treasures, easy-going eateries or cool independent shops, these eight escapes are under 90 minutes from London by train. As the warmer months approach, bringing with them a handful of three- and four-day long weekends, now seems like the perfect time to start planning a weekend escape.
Enjoy spellbinding views across the River Wey from the peaceful riverside garden at The Stag on the River in Surrey, an ideal base for exploring the North Downs, Surrey Hills and Winkworth Arboretum, a National Trust treasure. Bedrooms bring the outside in with leafy walls, potted plants and soft natural light. Selected bedrooms are dog-friendly and provide comfy beds, blankets and food for your canine companion.
Travel from London: The train from London Waterloo to Godalming takes about 45 minutes and then the inn is a nine minute taxi ride from the station.
Tucked below Highdown Hill with stunning views across the South Downs and the sea, this striking flint building was built in 1820 as a home for the Lyons family. Find print-covered-walls and vintage photographs inside but make sure to visit neighbouring Highdown Gardens, a unique chalk garden created by Sir Frederick and Lady Sybil Stern in 1909.
Travel from London: The train from London Victoria to Goring-by-Sea takes about 1 hour 30 minutes and then the inn is a seven minute taxi ride from the station.
Find this foodie pub with rooms, at the heart of beautiful Brill, a fine jumble of cottages and grand houses set on a hilltop overlooking rolling Buckinghamshire countryside. With its own farm and butcher's just next door, dishes champion high quality and local field-to-fork produce - the slow roasted pork belly pie with buttered mash, sage and onion sauce is a menu must have.
Travel from London: The train from London Marylebone to Haddenham & Thame Parkway takes about 35 minutes and then the inn is a 14 minute taxi ride from the station.
In the twee village of cottage-lined Bartlow, near to neo-Georgian house Bartlow Park, is The Three Hills. Inside, find heritage hues, pretty pastels and plush floral cushions splashed throughout the rooms while outside, seek solace in the flower-filled garden out back. Dishes evolve with the seasons and make sound use of the rich larder on the doorstep.
Travel from London: The train from London Liverpool Street to Great Chesterford takes about 1 hour 10 minutes and then the inn is a 14 minute taxi ride from the station.
Down leafy lanes in pretty east Essex countryside, the wisteria festooned Cricketers has been drawing in diners for over 40 years thanks to past owners Trevor and Sally Oliver's passion for bold flavours. It was in this kitchen that young Jamie Oliver first discovered his love of cooking. From Quendon Park Estate Venison and Priors Hall Farm pork loin to freshly made pasta and home baked bread, Head Chef Justin Greig continues the Oliver family's tradition of using the best local ingredients.
Travel from London: The train from London Liverpool Street to Newport (Essex) takes about 1 hour and then the inn is a six minute taxi ride from the station.
The 16th century Crown Inn sits at the heart of historic Stoke-by-Nayland, a quintessentially English village filled with timbered houses, quaint independent shops and a picture-pretty 15th century church. Smack dab in Constable Country means ramblers are spoilt for choice with walking trails - one of our favourites being along the scenic River Box to timeless Polstead village.
Travel from London: The train from London Liverpool Street to Colchester takes about 1 hour and then the inn is a 15 minute taxi ride from the station.
Glowing antique lanterns and exposed honey-hued walls pay homage to this former coaching inn-turned-destination-foodie-pub in the petite village of Kingham. Settle in for globetrotting dishes that use the very best of the region's local ingredients - from wood fired Barnsley lamb chop to a creamy panna cotta with in-season Kingham strawberries.
Travel from London: The train from London Paddington to Kingham takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and then the inn is a four minute taxi ride from the station.
Last updated: 01.04.22