Great places to visit less than an hour outside London

Samuel Johnson, the 18th century poet once wrote, ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ Yes, London is an awesome destination but sometimes, it’s nice to escape the rush and discover the sights not too far from one of the busiest capitals in the world. Whether you’re in London on business and need some downtime or you’re travelling for leisure, here are some fascinating destinations within an hour of London.


Only half an hour from London, you’ll find the Hertfordshire commuter town of Hitchin. Here you’ll discover the Hitchin Lavender Farm, which looks stunning when the blooms flower from mid-June. You can pick your own, as well as enjoy an outdoor cinema that plays movies at dusk and occasional live music events. Get the smell of Provence without the need for a passport.

Box Hill

Just shy of 45 minutes from London, Box Hill is famous for its inclusion in a Jane Austen novel and is a National Trust estate with incredible views across the Surrey countryside. Enjoy some time to unwind and relax, taking a stroll around the elegant estate spotting the orchids and butterflies.

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In three-quarters of an hour, you can be in Cambridge and if you don’t mind being surrounded by students, you’ll find a quaint and pretty city full of curious shops, art galleries and museums. Be sure to take in the impressive sights of King’s College Chapel. A must-do activity is punting, but if you’re not confident, you can hire a chauffeured punt to enjoy the river. For flights to London from Irish Airports, visit


Just under an hour away you can breathe in some fresh sea air on the coast. Brighton is an eclectic town, catering to all manner of passions and not short on fun and entertainment either. Enjoy a sophisticated lunch on the marina, followed by some top boutique shopping and finished off with a traditional bag of chips on the promenade. You’ll also discover fascinating independent art galleries and interesting antique stores.

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Only an hour from the capital, you’ll find Folkestone with its old, narrow streets of the Creative Quarter by the harbour. Here you’ll uncover art galleries, independent stores and cafes galore. Other attractions include a super sandy beach, a pebbly one too and the picturesque Lower Leas Coastal Park. Be sure to take in the iconic White Horse carved into Cheriton Hill.


For a slower pace of life, visit the village of Lewes, just an hour from the capital. This Sussex village had a laid-back vibe with antique shops, places to enjoy local ales and the perfect base for exploring the South Downs National Park. A visit here on Bonfire Night will introduce you to the largest celebration in the UK with Lewes staging their own version of the Mardi Gras.