Stunning British countryside: Britain offers a delightful combination of urban hotspots and countryside, many of which are located close together, allowing you to mix the hustle and bustle of city life with the peace and quiet of Britain’s charming outdoor landscapes.
Now, those who want to wander Britain’s magical city streets, delve into its heritage and history and then soak up its outdoor beauty, can be inspired by our round-up of easily accessible countryside close to major cities. For a vacation experience that gives you the best of both.
London and beyond
A buzzing capital city, London is bursting with world-famous landmarks and bucket-list-worthy things to do. Book in to explore unmissable attractions such as the London Eye and Tower of London, or uncover royal hotspots and world-renowned galleries before indulging in the stylish shopping streets.
Want to mix your city vacation with a taste of the countryside? Visit the nearby Colne Valley Regional Park filled with bluebell trails, expansive woodland, bubbling rivers, and serene lakes – and it’s all just a stone’s throw from Uxbridge, west London.
Alternatively, nature-lovers can take a 40-minute train ride from central London to enjoy views of the rolling countryside, traditional local pubs, and the pristine villages of the Chiltern Hills. Meanwhile, the attractions of the 4,800-acre Windsor Great Park are less than an hour by train from the city center. Filled with woodland and forests that glow red and gold in the autumn months, the park is home to horticultural gems, historical monuments, and The Seville Garden, a stunning ornamental garden built in the 1930s.
With fascinating architecture and a rich scholarly history to boot, Oxford is a city full of unforgettable moments. Known as the ‘City of Dreams’, here you can marvel at the majestic university buildings and stroll under the famous Bridge of Sighs, along with other gems in the vicinity including Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage Site and shoppers’ paradise, Bicester Village.
A short walk from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, you will find grass-scented serenity within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Filled with lush countryside, this area is packed with windmills, forests, and canals as well as historic sites including Highclere Castle, better known as Downton Abbey!
Alternatively, west of Oxford is the Cotswolds, home to some of Britain’s most quaint traditional villages. This picturesque area filled with honey-colored stone houses and market towns covers an area of more than 800 square miles and offers a rich array of food and drink in autumn.
Close to Cambridge
A city of architecture, history, and romance, Cambridge offers the opportunity to explore medieval university grounds, the fully punt-able River Cam, and the curiosity-inspiring Fitzwilliam Museum.
Within an hour by car or train from the Hogwarts-Esque university town, plan a trip to Bury St Edmunds if you’re keen to soak up some of Britain’s cool, yet similarly charming gems. From historic abbey ruins and St Edmundsbury Cathedral to Britain’s smallest pub, this hidden gem offers a piece of heritage away from the crowds.
Alternatively, travel a few miles north of Cambridge and you can enjoy woodland, lakes, and idyllic cycle paths at Milton Country Park, an outdoor haven that glows golden red in autumn.
Brighton’s coastal delights
Leaning toward the coastal charm and quirky individualism of the South Coast, the city of Brighton boasts a plethora of outstanding attractions—from the dizzying heights of the British Airways i360 and panoramic ocean views to the iconic pier and quaint shopping district on offer. as lane.
But those who want to combine their downtown vacation with a taste of the refreshing countryside can head to Devil’s Dyke, which is located along the South Downs Way just five miles from the city center. As the largest dry valley in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, here you can soak up the rolling hills and resplendent beauty of this part of South Downs National Park.
Alternatively, venture just an hour’s drive from Brighton’s coast to visit the center of the High Weald, an area of outstanding natural beauty that is surrounded by stunning countryside as well as the many vineyards that are harvested in October and November. There are turns.
Bristol to bluebells
A vibrant hub of creative energy, the southwestern city of Bristol gives you the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of its winding streets, music-filled pubs, and seaside eateries. Must-see experiences include taking in views from the Clifton Suspension Bridge, viewing genuine Banksy artifacts, wandering the decks of the historic SS Great Britain, and exploring the M Shed, a museum full of local history.
But a taste of the countryside can be found a stone’s throw from this must-see scenery—including the charming green space of Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve, which can easily be seen from the top of the famous suspension bridge. Combining city views with bluebell carpets and rich woodland atop the dramatic Avon Gorge, this sprawling green space turns an unforgettable golden hue each autumn and offers a slice of peace in the heart of the city.
Head east and explore the stunning South Cotswolds region – home to the bountiful botanical collection at Westonbirt Arboretum. Alternatively, travel less than 20 miles south of the buzzing town to discover the dramatic natural beauty of Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills. An awe-inspiring 400 feet deep and three miles long, the sprawling Cheddar Gorge showcases Britain’s exquisite natural beauty while taking you on an unforgettable scenic journey.
Soak up Edinburgh
If you’re keen on planning a Scottish getaway that mixes both the city and the countryside, start in the capital, Edinburgh. After booking a ticket to Edinburgh Castle, strolling through the historic Royal Mile, and sparking your curiosity at the National Museum of Scotland, feel like your daily stresses melt away as you explore the surrounding natural beauty sites. go.
One such outdoor gem is the short, brisk walk to the dizzying heights of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, where vista-chasers can experience expansive, dazzling views of the city from over 250 meters above sea level.
Just a few miles from Edinburgh’s city lights, visitors can lose themselves while exploring the 24,000-acre Pentland Hills Regional Park, complete with 100km of walking paths and an abundance of wildlife. Four family-friendly short circular hiking trails guide you through picturesque hills, while there are plenty of unmarked trails if you’re willing to explore at your own pace.