travel: the art of the UK day break (and some southern England inspiration)

A couple of weeks ago we took an impromptu day trip to Durdle Door.


If you’ve not heard of the beauty that is, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the coast of Dorset – just over an hours drive from us here in Hampshire and a place people often rave about. I couldn’t believe I’d never been and with a few free days in January, I badgered Sam into taking the day trip. I posted a few photos on my Instagram and mentioned that I’d been compiling a short list of possible trips for us to take this year. All UK based and down south so we can do them in a day, a few people asked for me to share my list on here – it turns out a lot of you are doing the same and little bit of inpso never goes amiss!

I’ve been finding taking one day of the weekend to take a trip somewhere not too far just makes those two days off feel a bit longer – a bit more productive, and relaxing. Last weekend, we spent Saturday in south west London visiting Mel and her boyfriend and my theory worked again – the weekend felt that little bit longer, and much more satisfying. We took the Sunday to run errands and see family and got to enjoy some time away from home on Saturday. There are, of course, times when you need to stay close to home all weekend (like this weekend!), but when the opportunity strikes, I’m hoping to get out and about a bit more with my camera during 2018.



So what’s on my list so far?┬áBearing in mind we’re based just north of Southampton, this list mostly encompasses Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and a little bit further afield. Some I’ve been to before, others will be totally new when we visit:

Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove

Hurrah, our first new place ticked off! Lulworth Cove is a tiny seaside village just up the coast from Durdle Door and provides one of the most beautiful UK beaches I’ve seen. We visited at high tide, but I overheard a local explaining how white the pebbles are when the sea goes out and I was fairly mesmerised by the turquoise water. There’s a small boat shed turned cafe where we had a hot chocolate and overlooked the bay. I’ve heard both are outrageously busy during the summer but it was a beautiful winters day last weekend!

Chesil Beach

Not far from the above, Chesil Beach (made famous my Ian McEwan’s novel) is a beautiful 18 mile beach that breaks off into a spit when the tides change. Sam’s been but I haven’t – I’d love to get down there this summer!


I’ve been to Stourhead before, but sadly on a relentless, rainy August day. A National Trust property in Wiltshire, Stourhead is 2650 acres and has plenty to do for a day trip with huge gardens to get lost in and an ice cream parlour.

Exbury Gardens

Down in the New Forest and owned by the famous Rothschild family, Exbury Gardens is said to be beautiful for everyone – a flower garden for the horticulture enthusiasts and a small steam train for kids if you’re a family.

Hinton Ampner

One of my favourite National Trust properties, Hinton Ampner is out on the road to West Sussex from Hampshire. I’ve actually written about it before, and adore the gardens much more than the house, which I can take or leave. My particular favourite is the walled vegetable garden!

Old Harry’s Rock

One that’s doing the rounds on Instagram lately is another part of the Jurassic Coast, on the same stretch as Chesil Beach and Durdle Door, these are some impressive white cliffs in a part of Dorset I love.


The town of Arundel is one I’ve driven through ample times en route to Brighton but never stopped at. Famous for it’s castle, I’ve heard good things about it from Lizzie.

Kingston Lacey

Another National Trust property (forever edging closer to middle age), Kingston Lacey is based in Dorset and is said to be beautiful on a summers day.


If it’s less National Trust or beaches that you’re after, I’ve had the small town on Frome on my list for sometime now. Down in Somerset, I’m not sure it’s an all-dayer but certainly somewhere for a coffee and a mooch!


Where Bills restaurant originated from, Lewes is just outside Brighton. Said to be home to coffee shops and quirky stores galore, I’ve been meaning to visit Lewes for sometime now.

Castle Combe

Castle Combe is only a village but one I’ve seen a handful of times, and it’s beautiful Cotswold stone woos me every time I see a photo. Again, probably not a day trip but one to tie in for a pub lunch or a walk!


We recently stopped for lunch in Tetbury and I was eager to see more of the town. It’s actually only half an hour drive from Castle Combe so perhaps one to do in a day together!

Bradford On Avon

I went to a hen party in Bradford On Avon, near Bath, a couple of years ago and wished I’d seen more of the town. It’s beautiful with the lovely river running through. I’d say it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch on a summers day!


And that’s my local list so far! I’d love to hear if you’ve been to any or have any to add to my list. I’m sure I’ve missed loads, but hope this might provide you with some inspiration if you’re planning any trips soon.