Best Weekend Breaks from London by Car

Best Weekend Breaks from London by Car

COVID-19 pandemic forced entire cities into lockdown, and London is no exception. The usually bustling London is unusually quiet, so what better time than now to take a road trip somewhere new?

Luckily for Londoners, weekend trips from London are fairly easy to plan thanks to the well-connected rail system in the UK. And if you are fortunate enough to own a car, the below getaways from London will even be better.

Whether you’re looking to visit somewhere that is just a short drive from London or you’re in for a long drive, we made a list of the best weekend breaks from London by car for you.

Best Weekend Getaways from London (Under 3 Hours)

Only a short drive away (under 2.5 hours), the below cities are among the most popular towns to visit in the UK.

The Cotswolds, photo by Magda V

The Cotswolds

This iconic English town has everything you can expect from it; cute limestone cottages, old cosy pubs, tea rooms and it is surrounded by picturesque landscapes. No wonder Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty.

Don’t think of Cotswolds as a small area though, there are many different parts you’ve got to see. Some of these must-see places in Cotswolds are:

Castle Combe: This beautiful village takes its name from almost a thousand-year-old castle and it is truly out of a storybook. The river Bybrook runs through the village and makes it the greatest place for a Sunday stroll.
Bibury: Another pretty village by the river, the Arlington Row cottages in Bibury are stunning. It will definitely feel like you’re some place frozen in time. Enjoy
Broadway: The village of Broadway is a larger village in the area. You can visit the Broadway Tower (built in the 18th Century) for the perfect view over the 12 counties, visit the antique shops, and stay at century-old inns and enjoy an afternoon tea at the best tea rooms in town.

Journey Time: It takes one hour 30 minutes by train from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh or around two hours 30 minutes by car.

Oxford, photo by Abbilyn Zavgorodniaia


The classic, charming English town of Oxford is best known for the ancient university in its heart, but despite its age, it’s still thriving today with young people and lively culture and food scene. A well-deserved weekend break in Oxford can include fine dining, afternoon tea, museum visits, stroll around in any of the serene national parks in the area and a final stop at the pub for a pint.

Some of the must-see places in Oxford are:

Bodleian Library: If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ve seen its gothic vaulted ceiling many times. While you’re here, see the reading room Radcliffe Camera which is among the places in Oxford that get photographed the most.
Almost all the buildings of Oxford University and the Botanic Garden.
Visit the Oxford Castle for some history education.
See the iconic Bridge of Sighs to get a good understanding of Oxford’s architecture.
Shop at the Covered Market, the town’s famed market is popular with locals as well as tourists.
River Cherwell: A walk alongside the river is a great to warm up in winter, a picnic in the sun in summer is even better.
Port Meadow: If you’re missing the countryside, this part of town is the perfect tranquil stop to watch horses graze or watch the Thames River.

Journey Time: It takes one hour by train from London Paddington or one hour 30 minutes by car.

Canterbury, photo by Ali Kiresci


This English town is home to one of the world’s most famous cathedrals and is the popular choice for Londoners’ weekend trips. Canterbury’s architecture is a mix of medieval buildings with a more modern look near the Whitefriars shopping area.

Some of the must-see places in Canterbury are:

King’s Mile: Stroll on the town’s favourite shopping street.
Westgate Gardens: Nestled next to the River Stour, the scenic Westgate Gardens are ideal for a stroll on a sunny day.
Westgate Towers and Museum: The last gate standing in Canterbury! It is the oldest and largest surviving gateway in England.
Canterbury Norman Castle: This incredible structure was built in 1070 and is still standing gloriously.
St. Augustine’s Abbey: Founded in 598, this was a Benedictine monastery in Canterbury, until the English Reformation.

Journey Time: One hour by train from London St Pancras International or around one hour 30 minutes by car.

Best UK City Breaks from London by Car

These are amongst the top-visited cities in the UK, accessible via train or a nice road trip away from London.

York, Photo by Kirsten Drew


Perhaps the most Gothic town in all of England, York is definitely among the top places to see in the UK. Not only is York full of historical wealth, but the city is also filled with innovative gems in terms of food and culture. York’s medieval heritage, narrow streets and celebrated Viking history will all make your visit worthy.

When in York, you should:

Visit the beautiful historical sites and museums including York Minster, Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum and Merchant Adventurer’s Hall.
Take a walk on the city walls that were first built in Roman times.
Visit Harry Potter’s most famous alleyway “Diagon Alley”, in York it’s called The Shambles.
York is well-known with their chocolate artisans, so eat all the chocolate too!

Journey Time: 2 hours 17 minutes from London King’s Cross Station or about 3 hours 30 minutes by car.

St Ives, Cornwall

The south-western point of England, Cornwall has its own unique take on the English countryside. Perhaps it’s because of all the sea towns and the slower-paced living that makes it attractive to tourists. The bigger port town of St Ives is perhaps the most visited spot in Cornwall. On top of the beautiful cottages, buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and facing the Atlantic Ocean, St Ives also has a bustling art and food scene.
The natural beauties including untouched golden sanded beaches, rock formations, and endless green hills you can visit on your way to St Ives make driving there all the better.

Must-see places in St Ives are:

Tate St Ives: Modern art gallery exhibiting works by modern British artists who have links to the St Ives area
Porthmeor Beach: Surfers’ beach, also a great beach to bring your dog or come to spot cute dogs
Harbour Sand: Perfect beach in front of St Ives’ restaurants that have the best views.
Porthminster Beach: Sunbathers favourite beach, also great for families.
St Ives Parish Church: Beautiful and unique Gothic church dedicated to St. Ia the Virgin, an Irish Saint woman.
Godrevy Lighthouse: Just outside of St Ives, this lighthouse is said to be the inspiration for Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse and it is visible from Godrevy beach, where daring surfers go and overlookers can watch seals on beautiful black rocks.
The Mên-an-Tol: About half an hour away from St Ives, this small ancient Bronze Age site includes rare formed stones with other ancient sites nearby.

Journey Time: 5 hours 43 minutes by train from London Paddington Station or around 5 hours 30 minutes by car.

Edinburgh, Photo by Dominik Rešek


Amongst the most beautiful cities in the UK, Edinburgh truly is a quirky place with a rich culture and friendly people. The well-preserved buildings in Edinburgh provide a visual feast of architecture, whether you like Gothic, Baroque, Georgian, Tudor or Victorian styles. This artsy town gets even livelier in August during the famous Fringe Festival.

See the Edinburgh Castle that sits on a hilltop and looks over the city and the Highlands
Go on a stroll between the old town and The Royal Mile
Take a photo at the Calton Hill which has one of the most beautiful views of the city. It is probably the most photographed site in town as it’s part of the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of and from the hill have also inspired many paintings.
Visit the Stockbridge Market, a Sunday farmers’ market where local producers sell artisanal goods such as cheese, desserts, meat and delicious cooked meals.
Have a picnic at the loveliest gardens in Edinburgh, Princes Street Gardens.

Journey Time:
Four hours 20 minutes by train from London King’s Cross or around eight hours by car.

Check out our blog for more travel inspiration or our Instagram for a visual version instead!

Read more:

Top Weekend Getaways from London for Nature Lovers


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