Laurie Hartmann, Marketing Manager at Glion London, arrived in the UK in summer last year. Perfect timing to enjoy the best of a country that always comes alive when the weather warms up! Here she presents some great ideas for enjoying your summertime in the UK – all of them within easy reach of our London campus…
With the current situation, many of us are swapping international travel for ‘staycations’. The good news for people like me living in London is that, not only is the capital becoming socially active again, but there are all sorts of brilliant things you can do which are just a short journey out of the city! Here are a few of my favorites:
Hiking in Surrey
The county of Surrey is fabulous for trail walking or hiking. It’s about 30 minutes’ drive from London, but if you don’t have a car some of the hiking trails are also accessible by train. If you’re not familiar with the area, you can download the Ordnance Survey app (OS map) for free. You will find most of the public walking trails, it’s available on both Android and iPhone. The trails are very well maintained and signposted so there’s very little risk of getting lost. You might even cross paths with tennis legend Andy Murray, who is a well-known resident of Surrey (I actually bumped into him at a fuel service station, he lives in Oxshott!).
Surfing at East Wittering
A trip to Hawaii is currently out of the question. But did you know you can also surf in England? There are many spots available; Devon and Cornwall being the most popular ones. However, closer to ‘home’, East Wittering in Sussex is less than two hours’ drive from London and also one of the quietest spots. In good weather conditions, the beach offers very gentle waves, perfect for beginners. Numerous shops are also available (having reopened in June) to rent a board.
Go fossil hunting on the North Kent Coast
The English coasts are a paradise for fossils hunters. You can find ammonites as well as dinosaur and reptile fossils. You might have heard of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset – a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is also one of the most popular destinations in the UK. To observe social distancing we actually recommend the north coast of Kent, which has some of the best sites in the UK for fossils but is less internationally-famous!
A day trip at the beach in Cuckmere Haven, Seaford
When you think about the UK you might not associate it with beaches and sun. However, being an island, the country offers many options to spend a weekend at the beach. One of the best is the south coast, which is within fairly easy reach of London by car or train. On average, this coast enjoys the most hours of sunshine in the UK each year, a list topped by the resort town of Bognor Regis with 1,902 hours per year!
My personal favorite, Cuckmere Haven, is one of the wildest beaches on the south coast, with superb views of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs – and it’s only 90 minutes’ drive from London. At low tide, the adventurous can explore the foreshore eastwards all the way to the Birling Gap, or head west to find sea caves.
Embellish your Instagram page at Mayfield Lavender farm
If you cannot go to Provence in France this summer, you can instead drive 45 minutes south of London to one of the most popular lavender fields in the UK. Mayfield Lavender farm is in the Surrey Downs; and the best time to see the lavender is normally from the very end of June to the middle of August. You can even pick up a lavender plant of your own from just £2!
Go kayaking on the Thames
From July 4th, all forms of boating could start again in the UK. So why don’t you escape the city life to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the River Thames? Take your picnic (and hand sanitizer!) with you. If you have a good balance you can also opt for a paddle board.
Take the ferry to the Isle of Wight
Located in the English Channel, just off the coast of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight is the largest island in England. Well known for its beaches and seafront promenades, such as sandy Shanklin Beach and south-facing Ventnor Beach, the Isle of Wight is the perfect weekend gateway.
Discover London with the Jubilee Walkway
It was originally opened as the Silver Jubilee Walkway to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. More than 40 years later, and you can still follow the metal plates embedded in the pavements that make up the walk. This 25km loop connects many of London’s major tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Regent’s Park, Camden Market… it’s the perfect way to exercise and explore the city while avoiding public transport. The Walkway also goes past Little Venice, a hidden gem located in West London. Who needs to fly to Italy this summer?
It might be daunting to stay stuck in one country, especially if it’s not yours. But it’s also an opportunity to make the most of your stay and to experience your current country or city in a different way. The UK has a lot to offer! Wherever you go, if you take public transport don’t forget to wear a mask and make sure to respect the social distancing.