Monday, 20 April 2020

5 Great Places To Visit With Kids Close To London

I can't be the only one who's whiling away the hours right now by daydreaming about all of the places I want to visit just as soon as things start to get back to normal, can I?

Travelling and exploring with my children has always been my absolute favourite thing to do, and clearly my love of seeing new places has rubbed off on my kids as every night before bed lately they've taken to listing all of the places they want to visit as soon as the lockdown here in the UK ends.

One thing we've been trying to do over the past couple of years is to explore more of the UK. We've enjoyed quite a few overnight trips to various parts of the country, and always really enjoy finding out more about the local history. If you're based in London or visiting the capital from abroad, you're spoiled for choice with nearby towns full of rich history and interesting sights to see - here are our top recommendations.

1) Royston

This charming Hertfordshire market town is located just over an hour from London, and is home to the infamous Royston Cave. No recorded history of Royston Cave exists, and it has baffled visitors and historians alike since its accidental discovery in 1742. The cave contains an extensive range of ancient wall carvings with depictions including the crucifixion and pagan symbolism. 

Royston is a town with a rich history, having been built around one of the most important Roman roads in the country and been frequented as a favourite hunting grouund of King James I. 

The many daily trains travelling to Royston via Thameslink make it an easy to reach destination.

2) Brighton

This quirky seaside city is a cultural hive of Instagrammable locations and vibrance, from on trend eateries and stunning shopping destinations to its famous pebble beaches and the colourful beach huts of Hove - Brighton makes the perfect location for a family day out or a couples weekend away just a stones throw from London.

If you're visiting with kids then a stop at the quaint and picturesque Palace Pier will surely make their day, with it's olde-worlde fairground rides, helter skelter and selection of amusement park treats on offer. 

Other must-see spots include the Royal Pavillion and the North Lanes.

3) Milton Keynes

Although dismissed by many as the land of endless roundabouts, Milton Keynes can make an ideal spot for a weekend away.

It's something of a shoppers paradise, with one of the largest covered shopping centres in Europe and also boasts the UK's biggest collection of Sculptures.

My personal favourite thing about a stay in Milton Keynes is its proximity to other places of interest, making it the ideal stopover destination for exploring. 

On our last visit we spent a few days sharing my love of childrens author Roald Dahl with the children, visiting his grave in nearby Great Missenden and spending the day at the Roald Dahl Museum - which was really good fun and somewhere I would really like to visit again.

4) Cambridge

This small, charming and welcoming city makes the ideal family-friendly destination with so much on offer to entice you to stay a while.

From its stunning architecture spanning many centuries and styles, to its gardens, university grounds, quaint old bookshops and picturesque rivers - Cambridge really is the most beautiful of spots to spend a day.

You can punt along the river, or sit on the riverbanks and watch as the long boats go by - a sight rare to see anywhere else.

There are lots of delightful places to eat, and many visitor attractions including many free museums.

5) St Albans

This historic cathedral city is just 20 minutes away from London, and offers the chance for a day out full of fun, history and culture.

Of course the most popular attraction is the stunning St Albans Cathedral which is the oldest site of Christian worship in the country, and contains the tomb of England's very first Saint who was martyred by the Romans for refusing to renounce Christianity.

On top of this, there's also the new St Albans Museum & Gallery which features a courtroom-turned-cafe at its core and lengthy sections of Roman wall remaining along with impressive mosaics. 

I hope this list has given you some inspiration for day trips or weekends away that are within easy reach of London, do let me know what cities and towns you'd recommend visiting too!

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