Six Autumn Weekend Getaways Close to London

An autumnal hideaway just beyond London is beckoning. Forgoing a late Friday night at the office in favour of a quick escape to rural bliss, these weekend getaways are the perfect antidote to your seasonal travel slump.

Capital Escapes for a Countryside Fix (and the Hotels You Should Book Now)


New Forest, Hampshire

Where to stay: Lime Wood

Set in neatly manicured grounds on the outskirts of the New Forest, near to Lyndhurst, Lime Wood is easily accessible from London. When we find ourselves in this neck of the woods, Lime Wood hotel is almost always our first port of call. Originally a medieval hunting lodge, it's had quite the makeover with a much talked-about spa, verdant gardens and A-grade cuisine. Take cues from the talented kitchen team and attend a class at Hartnett Holder & Co's on-site cookery school. Suitable for both beginners and those more advanced, Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, the duo behind the hotel's acclaimed restaurant, will guide you through. For some R&R after a day spent manning the stoves, head to a bedroom in the main house - if you've booked rooms one or two, make good use of the tubs positioned beneath wide sash windows


Beaulieu Rd Hampshire SO43 7FZ


Richmond, Surrey

Where to stay: Bingham River House

A weekend stay at Bingham Riverhouse, positioned right on the banks of the River Thames between Richmond and Petersham, allows for early-morning wandering along Richmond riverfront and afternoons spent enjoying a moreish lunch at Petersham Nurseries. The perfect juncture for Londoners short on travel time, this riverside boutique hotel has a countrified feel - think wooden parquet floors, dusty-pink walls and dog-eared Penguin books. Relax in the company of a good title; this hotel was once a literary hub - former occupants Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper are said to have entertained William Butler Yeats here with gluttonous afternoon teas. On the food front, Bingham River House excels with an array of decadent dishes and a pleasing, seven-course tasting menu - the chickpea fries alone make a visit well worth it.


61 - 63 Petersham Road Richmond Upon Thames Surrey TW10 6UT


Frome, Somerset

Where to Stay: Babington House

A two-hour drive from the city, Babington House feels worlds away from London. Check in at the Main House - complete with a well-stocked library, cinema and lounge - and book a mud-soak at The Cowshed Spa on arrival, before making full use of the outdoor swimming pool. For close-to-total seclusion, hunker down in one of three split-level Walled Garden Rooms. By day two, you'll be ready to dip your toe into some of the house's more communal activities. Ease in with a cinema screening and build to doubles on the tennis court. Before heading back to London, do carve out some time to explore Frome, where there's some great independent shops and cafés and Bruthons Hauser & Wirth a short drive away.


Somerset BA11 3RW


Hook, Hampshire

Where to stay: Heckfield Place

Discerning Londoners have been flocking to this hotel since it's opening last year. Hampshire (the only destination on our list we love so much we name-checked it twice) rich has a rich landscape that speaks to nature lovers, while Skye Gyngell - the culinary director - dreams up menus that make this rural retreat as a sublime foodie destination. Rooms designed by Ben Thompson, stay true to the inherent charm of the old Georgian House. Enjoy a set dinner menu at Hearth, toast to a long weekend under the disco ball in the residents bar and sign up for a morning movement session with Bodyism. With endless corners to explore, relaxing might be lower on your to do list than you'd anticipated. Carve out some time to get cosy with a book (and a generous slice of cake, freshly baked each day) at this heavenly hideaway.


Heckfield, Hook Hook RG27 0LD


Kingham, Oxfordshire

Where to stay: The Wild Rabbit

Lady Bamford - of Daylesford, Bamford skincare and Bamford clothing - knows a thing or two about Cotswold chic. At The Wild Rabbit, the proof is in the pudding (literally). Guests can enjoy lunch or supper of Daylesford quality in cosified surrounds. The inn is plotted amid Kingham's evocative rural scenery, so rent bikes from The Wild Rabbit and loop the commune. When tuckered out, survey the premium interiors of yellow limestone, whitewashed wood and swoon-worthy bathrooms. After check-out and en route home, take in the surrounding countryside - factoring in a pit stop at the Bamford Haybarn Spa. The weekend is only over when you say it is.


The Wild Rabbit Kingham Chipping Norton OX7 6YA


Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Where to stay: Hartwell House

Just 40 miles north west of London, Hartwell House is low-key and lovely. Mentioned in hushed tones (fellow Londoners have been trying to keep this Buckinghamshire address on the lowdown), its rooms may be traditionally decorated, but they don't fail to impress. Ring in the weekend with a gaggle of friends in tow and book out the Old Rectory house, which sleeps up to seven people (dogs are also welcome). Head to the spa for a Saturday of pampering - making good use of the elegant pool too.


Vale of Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP17 8NR

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