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Stunning and serene places to unwind and escape, all within just an hour of the city

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Are the temperatures actually rising? Is that our evenings getting longer? Yes, spring is just around the corner.

It's exactly at this time of year when we start feeling an itch to get outdoors and go on holiday. But while it might be too early in the year to use your annual holiday allowance and splash your savings on a big trip, you can alternatively go away for just one day.

We recently discovered there's an other-worldly spa built in a forest, a charming vineyard and plenty of stunning parks, all within an hour's reach of some of UK's major cities. Here we share them with you. Consider your wanderlust satisfied. 

Pains Hill Park, Surrey

Approximately 55 minutes by rail from Waterloo station, London

Pains Hill
Painshill
painshill

About With its breathtaking countryside landscapes and enchanting 18th Century derelict castles, it's surprising how such few Londoners know about this Grade I listed park. Visitors can follow two walking routes around the massive and peaceful grounds, take a historic tour to see the fully restored crystal grotto and set up a picnic when the weather allows it.

Address Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1JE,England

Getting there Take the SouthWest train from Waterloo or Vauxhall to Cobham & Stoke d’Abernon, Esher Rail Station or Weybridge. Taxis are available from Cobham or Weybridge Railway Stations, but alternatively sit on the 515 bus (towards Guildford) for around 20 minutes until you reach Cobham/Icklingham Road. Portsmouth road is a 2 minute walk from there.

Find out more at painshill.co.uk

Aqua Sana at Woburn Forest, bedfordshire

Approximately 50 minutes by rail from London St Pancras 

Aqua Sana Woburn forest
Aqua Sana Woburn forest

About With spa treatments and rooms inspired by nature, it's the ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city. Experiences include the Lava-Volcano Sauna, the Rain Walk and the Mineral Relaxation Lounge (the first of its kind in the world). Spa Days start from £69 per person, Luxury Spa Breaks in Spa Suites start from £249 per person per night.

Address Woburn Forest, Millbrook, Bedford MK45 2HZ

Getting there Take a train from London St Pancras International to Flitwick. Tickets from £12.50.

Find out more at aquasana.co.uk

Stanlake Park Vineyard, Twyford 

Approximately 40 minutes by train from Paddington, London

Stanlake Park Wine Estate Stanlake Park Twyford Berkshire RG10 0BN
Stanlake Park Wine Estate Stanlake Park Twyford Berkshire RG10 0BN

About With acres of vines laden with plump grapes in the summer-time and large stately manor, you could be forgiven for mistaking this for a vineyard in France. It's one of the few wineries in close vicinity of London. The tour (£17.50 per person) gives you access to the barrel room, the disgorging room and bottling line try, sampling wines such as such as Regatta, Hinton Grove, Kings Fumé, English Rosé as you go. A must-try is their Stanlake Blackcurrant liqueur which always seems to sell very quickly. 

Address Stanlake Park, Wine Estate Stanlake Park, Twyford, Berkshire, RG10 0BN

Getting there Take a train from London Paddington to Twyford mainline station which is a 15 minute walk from the vineyard. Tickets from £13.90.

Find out more at stanlakepark.com

Crosswoodhill Farm by West Calder

Approximately 45 minutes by car and an hour by Scottish rail from Edinburgh 

 

Crosswoodhill
Crosswood hill

About On the doorstep of Edinburgh is this charming farm - think a vast, peaceful landscape of fields and trees rather than tractors and smelly sheds. Spend the day walking through the area for free, spotting new-born lambs and rabbits as you go. There's a small waterfall at the summit of Craigengar (1700 feet) and plenty of spots for a midday picnic. If you don't want to head back to the city when night falls, the Crosswood Hill Farm holiday cottages are full of quality interiors, stylish decor and spacious rooms (pictured).

Address Crosswoodhill Farm Holiday Cottages, by West Calder, West Lothian, EH55 8LP

Getting there The cottages are on the A70, one mile west of the junction with the B7008. If you're using satellite navigation the postcode is: EH55 8LP

Find out more at crosswoodhill.co.uk

Abedour Silversands Beach, Fife coast

Approximately 40 minutes by rail from Edinburgh to Abedour

Aberdour silversands

Image: © Sandy Gemmill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Aberdour silver sands

About Aberdour-Silver Sands is a small, sandy beach backed by woodland. It's a great tranquil spot to unwind and it's connected to the Fife Coastal Path (a long distance footpath that runs from Kincardine to Newburgh) and millennium cycleways network (a 105 mile safe cylce route). 

Address Aberdour-Silver Sands Beach, KY3 0RQ

Getting there Take the Scottish rail from Edinburgh to Aberdour, tickets from £5.90. Walk down to the coastline.

Find out more at visitscotland.com and welcometoscotland.com

Great Missenden and The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire

Approximately 45 minutes by rail from Marylebone, London

Roald Dahl museum
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl trail

About Roald Dahl lived and wrote his world-famous children's books in Great Missenden for 36 years. The small countryside village is now an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to a fun and relaxed little museum dedicated to the important man himself. Discover the inspirations behind Roald Dahl's most well-known stories from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Fantastic Mr Fox, and see the very office he worked in (They've also created a replica for you to sit and take a photograph in). Stop for a coffee and Wonka-worthy cake at the the Cafe Twit before exploring the local area via the Village and Countryside trails.

Address 81-83 High St, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0AL

Getting there The Chiltern Railway take 45 minutes from London Marylebone to Great Missenden and it's a quick and easy walk from the station to the Museum

Find out more at roalddahl.com

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum,Gloucestershire

Approximately 35 minutes from Bristol by car and 65 minutes by bus

Trees display Autumn colours at Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire,
Trees display Autumn colours at Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire,

About Around 2,500 types of trees from around the world (from Chile to Japan) reside in this park making it a stunning and tranquil place to spend the weekend. It's especially beautiful in October, when the autumnal tones are in full form and in spring when the first blooms show. There's an entrance fee of £9.

Address Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS

Getting there Westonbirt Arboretum is situated in Gloucestershire on the A433, approximately three miles south west of Tetbury. Look out for the brown visitor attraction signs from the M4 and M5. Alternatively take bus 82 from Bristol Parkway Station towards Wotton-under-Edge and then change for the 622 towards Tetbury a Yate Shopping Centre.

Find out more at forestry.gov.uk

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire

Approximately 40 minutes by rail and bus from Leeds, 30 minutes by car from Leeds, and 35 minutes by car from Sheffield 

Yorkshire Sculpture park
Yorkshire sculpture park

About With 500 acres of historic parkland and modern artworks scattered throughout, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one the most impressive outdoor spaces in the UK. 

Address Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG 

Getting there The park is one mile from Junction 38 of the M1. Use the postcode WF4 4JX, if you're using satellite navigation. If you're coming from Leeds, take the East Coast Railway towards London Kings Cross, get off at Wakefield Westgate at take the 435 bus towards Holmfirth, getting off at Sycamore Lane/Bretton Lane. The park is a seven minute walk from there.

Find out more at ysp.co.uk

Holy Island, Northumberland

Approximately 1 hour from Newcastle by car

Island
catsle

About The idyllic location and sea views make Holy Island a peaceful getaway from the city noise. 

Address Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland, TD15 2SH

How to get there If travelling by car proceed along the main A1 roadway to the crossroad at Beal. `Holy Island' is signposted East from Beal - distance about 5 miles. Regional bus routes 505 and 515 operate between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed. The Holy island is linked to the mainland by a long causeway, however twice each day the tide sweeps in from the North Sea and covers the road. When the castle is open an island-based minibus service runs throughout the village between two car parks and the Castle. 

Find out more at lindisfarne.org.uk and nationaltrust.org.uk

And if you have 90 minutes to travel...

Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex

Approximately an hour and 30 minutes from Kings Cross, London

Bexhill-On-Sea
Bexhill-On-Sea
Bexhill-On-Sea

About This stunning seafront and pavilion is worth the extra half an hour in travel. Because there isn't much to do around the small town, it's the ultimate peaceful day-trip destination. However, there retro and second hand shops for you to peruse in. 

Address Bexhill Visitor Information Point, No.48, 48 Devonshire Road, Bexhill on Sea, TN40 1AX

Getting there Take a Southern train from London Kings Cross to Bexhill. Tickets from £35.

Find out more at discoverbexhill.com

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