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Want to get away but can’t afford a hotel stay? All you need is a train ticket and a day to spare

One of the beauties of England is that it’s so teeny tiny. Simply jump on a train for a maximum of two hours and you can spend the day in one of these top spots. 


Get there: The 8.57am train from London Bridge gets into Brighton at 9.55am. Advance Saturday return fare, £10.

Morning: Take a stroll up the Victorian-era pier, pausing to shoot some zombies or win loads of 2p coins in the arcade. Next up, scream in the haunted house or on a ride that turns you upside down 40ft above sea level, literally.   

Afternoon: Get a take-out of vinegar-soaked fish and chips, make a ‘bum nest’ in the pebbles on the beach and enjoy – just beware of the food-stealing gulls. Take an obligatory ride on the Ferris Wheel and then enjoy a tour of the stunning, if confused (Indian on the outside, Oriental on the inside) Royal Pavilion

Evening: Dodge the hen parties roaming the streets clutching inflatable penises and head for the cool and quirky Black Dove for a chilled-out drink before you head home.

Get back: Last train is at 11.37pm, arriving in LBR at 12.51am. 

Have a punt: King’s College, Cambridge


Get there: Get the 8.59am train from King’s Cross, arriving in Cambridge at 10.03am. Advance Saturday return fare, £16.

Morning: Meander around the pretty town and see how the rich folk live. Admire the university campus buildings – and its students. These teens look like they’ve stepped straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad (surely they can’t be that hot and English).

Afternoon: Hire a punt (try and take turns standing on the end to push it along the riverbed with a long pole. If you would like to learn a bit about what you’re seeing – or you reckon your mates will push you in if you punt – you can do a guided tour, but wait until the last trip at 5.30pm, when they halve the cost to £10pp.

Evening: Sip sundowners at the rooftop bar at The Varsity before eating steak at The River Bar. It’s expensive but so worth it. 

Get back: Last train is at 11.15pm, arriving in KGX at 1.09am.



Day tripper: From Brighton to Bath, 4 unmissable day trips from London
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