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With the recent scorching heat I really want to get out of London for a few days – where would you recommend I visit to enjoy the sun? Preferably no more than four to five hours’ journey away. Helen, via email 

That’s an easy one, Helen – I’m going to let you in on my favourite place in Britain! Dorset is home to some of Britain’s best coastline, perfect for enjoying sunny weather. A mere two hours on the train from Waterloo, or less than three hours from London by car, is Bournemouth, Dorset’s biggest seaside town complete with pier, amusements and long sandy beach. Don’t dwell too long here, though, as you’ll miss out on some of the real gems this coastline has to offer.

If you have a car, it’s easy to hop between the picturesque towns and villages that line the Jurassic Coast. Alternatively, the open-top bus from Bournemouth to Swanage via Sandbanks and Studland is a fun way to see the region. 

Head west to the upmarket Sandbanks to admire the Malibu-esque mansions, before crossing to the Studland side of the harbour to sample some of the region’s best seafood at Shell Bay Cafe. You can cross Poole Harbour using the quaint chain ferry, which shuttles back and forth for as little as £1 (pedestrians) and £3.50 (cars).

Continue into the small town of Swanage for a dose of classic British seaside, before hopping on the steam railway to Corfe Castle, where you can explore the ruins of this 1000-year-old site. If you have time, try to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, where you will find some of the most dramatic rocky coastline in the area.

 

Photo: britainonview.com


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Lonely Planet travel expert's tips on places to visit near London during the hot summer months
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