At the time of writing this, the summer is in full swing and holidaymakers the world over are flocking to London. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe for good reason, the many entertainment opportunities, attractions and famous landmarks make hotel packages in London some of the most popular in Europe.
But London is just one of the many aspects of England and the UK. As an internationally focused city, you can find many other ways to get to know England without setting foot in the capital. From beautiful, much painted landscapes to towns and cities with their own quintessentially English character, guests of the Montcalm Royal London House can travel just an hour outside of London and feel like they're a thousand miles away from the city.
There are many ways for visitors to scratch under the surface of England and make it back in time for their dinner reservation at the Montcalm restaurant near Finsbury Square. Below are just a few of them.
In days gone by, Brighton was nicknamed “London by the sea” thanks to its wealth of cultural events and attractions, as well as the proclivity of wealthy Londoners to spend their weekends there. This is in part thanks to the Prince Regent, George Prince of Wales who made the city his home away from home in the early 19th century and attracted the wealthy to what was once a fishing village. With Regency England ingrained within Brighton’s very foundations, the city has built up its own reputation as a beautiful city full of shopping opportunities, classic coastal promenades and of course, its famous amusement pier - the Palace Pier. Friends, families and young people will all enjoy what Brighton has to offer, especially in the summer months.
Situated on the River Avon just east of Wales, the city of Bristol in the west of England is a port city that has a history dating back hundreds of years. Bristol was one of the first harbours from which English explorers set out to discover the Americas and also had a more notorious role as a port during the slave trade. Now, the economic ports of Bristol have moved to the Severn Estuary and these historic harbours are now heritage sites of culture and history.
The ports are not the only aspect of Bristol that will entice daytrippers from Paddington station in London, Bristol has a thriving music scene and university culture as well as independent shopping opportunities and world class theatre thanks to its Bristol Old Vic theatre school. Shakespeare aficionados and alternative music lovers staying at the Montcalm Royal London House City of London will love this western city, and can reach it in just over 90 minutes from Paddington Station.
Moving into the natural beauty surrounding London, Box Hill in Surrey is part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Situated close to the village of Westhumble, Box Hill consists of beautiful trails up steep hills that reward determined walkers with unbeatable views over the Surrey countryside.
One of two major cities with universities dating back to the 13th century, Cambridge on the River Cam is a canal lined city with plenty of intrigue and beauty. Located in the east of England, Cambridge takes between 50 and 70 minutes to reach from London’s Kings Cross and offers visitors university tours of ancient buildings, museums and botanic gardens for those summer days.
Another natural beauty in the “gardens” of England, the Cotswolds is a popular retreat for London’s rich and wealthy, with quaint cottages and houses scattered across a bucolic landscape of fields and woodlands. The Cotswolds span over 2000 square kilometres and stretch over five counties northwest of London. Villages in the Cotswolds include Bourton-on-the-Water and Stanton, many of which consist of buildings famously constructed using sturdy limestone.
On the border of Sussex and Kent is Hastings, a town that has seen a resurgence in recent years as Londoners move to lower priced areas. Hastings can be reached in just over an hour from London Victoria and as a town, has plenty of boutique shopping opportunities and a surprisingly rich spoken word poetry scene. Alongside its culture, the classic British beach promenade and historic Hastings Castle both add to the history of this town where famously, William the Conqueror established his dominion over England in 1066.
Another coastal town made famous by a figure in history - this time the painter JMW Turner, who lived here between 1827 and 47. From London Victoria, visitors can reach this Kentish coastal town in just an hour and 45 minutes and whilst there, make sure to check out its free to visit Turner Gallery, a contemporary art museum inspired by the pioneering painter. Kids will also love Dreamland, a theme park full of classic amusements and one of the only Grade listed roller coasters in the UK.
Competing with Cambridge’s university credentials is no mean feat, but Oxford manages to do so and then some. Combining the gothic beauty of its university with modern shopping high streets and world famous museums, Oxford has become one of the most popular day trips for Londoners. If you’re not exploring the relics of the Ashmolean or touring Oxford campus, sit down in one of the city’s many famous cafes and pubs where you’ll find dedications to the university’s countless influential thinkers, writers and actors.
Whitstable is situated on the Kentish coast and guests of London city hotel deals taking a day trip here may very well want to stay the night. At just an hour and a half from Victoria Station, Whitstable is an historic harbour town and fishing village made famous by its ales and oysters. Food lovers will relish the options here, whilst families can enjoy their summer holidays on its beach hut lined coast. With a history dating back to the Roman era, Whitstable draws in weekend crowds thanks to its various landmarks, including the ruins of offshore sea forts from World War II named Shivering Sands, which you can see from the shingle beach.