In my humble opinion London is the greatest city on the planet, but when you spend 300 days a year living and working in the UK’s capital it’s always nice to get away for a long weekend and visit one of Europe’s other top cities.
Of course, London is one of the best transport hubs on the planet so getting away is super easy – whether by train, plane or automobile.
This opens up a practically endless list of options, but to help with your long weekend planning here are my favourite city break getaways from the capital.
With a flight time of just over an hour and ridiculously cheap ticket deals on offer year-round from budget provider Ryanair, it’s often cheaper to visit the Irish capital than many of the cities in mainland Britain by train.
Dublin has a great vibe, friendly locals and of course, the finest Guinness on the planet. Whether it’s the atmosphere or heritage, a pint of Guinness in London never quite tastes the same as a glass of the black stuff does in Dublin.
And there’s nowhere better to try your first taste than at the Guinness factory, where you can try your skills behind the bar in pouring the perfect pint (tip: it’s all about the ‘settle’ stage) before taking it upstairs to drink in the panoramic 360 bar at the top of the building, which affords stunning views over the city.
One thing London can’t offer is the sea, so one of my favourite things to do in the summer is to hop on the train at Victoria and trundle down to Brighton for some sun, shopping and fish and chips.
The Lanes offers independent stores, including a vegan shoe shop, and good eating, while down on the seafront the historic pier, fish bars and shingle beach offer the traditional British seaside experience. Eating your fish supper washed down with a pint of lager on a sunny day looking out to sea is the kind of experience that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Like Dublin, there’s a great vibe to the place thanks to the large student community and it’s frankly hard to top Brighton on a sunny day, even if it can get manically busy!
My wife is half Danish and as a honorary Dane, Copenhagen holds a special place in my heart.
Under two hours from London by plane, the compact Danish capital is really easy to explore in a few days as you can walk easily between all the major attractions and sights.
Top of my list is Tivoli, an historic amusement park, which is a world away from the corporate feel of British theme parks; the canal-side restaurants of Nyhavn (roughly pronounced ‘noo-hown’), which is a great spot to spend a few hours watching the world go by; and the slow beer experience that is Vinstue 90, where it takes about 15 minutes for the barman to pour each pint (yes, really) – giving the finished beer a smooth, creamy texture.
These are three of my favourites and hopefully I’ve given you some inspiration for your next city break from London.
Photo by Martin Amager