Lockdown is lifting, meaning, not only are the shops and restaurants back open, but now we can get out and about in our cars again. If you’ve already got your driving license, or you plan to learn to drive in East London, the ‘big smoke’ and its borders have some amazing places to explore! Whether you like traversing through towns and villages, a trip to seaside, or a walk through the hills, we will have something for you. Read on to find out more!
Unsurprisingly, the main attraction of the historic town of Windsor, which is situated just 24-miles west of London, is the royal residence, Windsor Castle – the official home of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II. However, whilst the grounds of the oldest inhabited castle in the world are beautiful, and well-worth a look around, Windsor has much more to offer. Why not enjoy a day at the Royal Windsor Racecourse? Or travel a little further out to the prestigious Royal Ascot? Tickets for day one (October 2nd) of the Autumn Racing Weekend at Ascot start from just £20, whilst parking for the day is £10 per car!
Of course, if horse racing isn’t your thing, Windsor is also home to the LEGOLAND theme park – which has reopened its doors after being forced to shut, due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The theme park is open daily between 9:30am and 8pm with COVID-19 safety measures in place, including temperature checks on arrival and social distancing markers, to ensure your safety. Day tickets start from as little as £26, if you purchase them online.
Do you fancy a trip to the seaside? Well, the popular resort of Southend-on-Sea is just over an hour’s car journey from Central London. On a warm summer’s day, the Essex town’s beaches are the perfect place for sun-seekers, whilst Adventure Island, which is situated on the Southend seafront, will be enough to keep you entertained for hours. The theme park, which opens at 11am and closes between 8pm and 10:30pm on high season, boasts over 60 rides and attractions, both indoors and outdoors, plus, admission is free, so you only pay for the rides and attractions you want to go on.
Once you’ve got some sun and enjoyed the thrills of Adventure Island, why not grab some fish and chips and take a stroll along the Pier? Stretching 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary, Southend’s Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world. Don’t fancy walking? Not to worry, just grab the pier’s train! It runs regularly between 10:15am and 9pm, and costs just £5.50 for an adult return. Sea Life Adventure is also a popular attraction. See sharks, clown fish, string rays and more from just £17.50 per adult.
- Greenwich Park
How about a picnic in the park with some stunning scenery? Greenwich Park, in south-east London, is well-known for its iconic views of the bustling Canary Wharf and the River Thames. Not a fan of the modern skyscrapers? Not a problem, as the park also features a beautiful 17th century landscape, amazing gardens and history that stems back to the Roman period. Take a stroll through the peaceful flower, herb and orchard gardens, or pay a visit to the National Maritime Museum, where you can see Nelson’s Trafalgar Coat and the giant Ship in a Bottle.
Or head to the Royal Observatory, where you can view the stars and stand on the Prime Meridian of the World. You can also explore the historic Cutty Sark, built in Scotland in 1869, and is the world’s only surviving tea clipper ship. Why not make the most of your day and buy a Royal Museums Greenwich Day Pass? This will give you access to all the park’s attractions and is just £25 per adult.
- Surrey Hills
The amazing rolling Surrey Hills, which have been a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 60 years, are also just over an hour drive away from Central London, and we promise you, the journey is worth it! There’s plenty to see when exploring the 422km² landscape, including Box Hill, the Devil’s Punch Bowl, St Martha’s Hill, Frensham Ponds, Leith Hill, Newlands Corner, and Reigate Hill, where you can discover a Victorian Hill Fort and Inglis Memorial, whilst its amazing views also make it the perfect spot for a picnic!
The Surrey Hills also has dedicated routes for Cycling and Horse Riding through the open terrain, including extensive rights of way – meaning you won’t need to watch out for pedestrians. If none of that tickles your fancy, how about some water sports? The Lagoon in Buckland is a bustling spot for Paddle Boarding. There is a 2.5km course with a variety of session available from the Surrey Hills Adventure Company.
- The Chilterns
Another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Chiltern Hills, commonly known as just the Chilterns, stretch across four English counties – Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire. Bordering with North London, no time exploring is wasted in the journey. With plenty of trails, including the Country Ale Trail, which draws walkers and cyclists into the hidden rural pubs of the area, and the Phoenix Trail, which is the perfect opportunity to witness the beautiful countryside, there’s lots to see and do! Fans of the massive Harry Potter franchise can also do the behind-the-scenes tour of the popular Warner Bros. Studio – The Making of Harry Potter, which is just 10 minutes away from Berkhamsted. Tickets must be booked in advance, due to coronavirus restrictions, and they start from £47 per adult.