Human habitation can be traced back 4,000 years in Ashwell, proving that Bronze Age man was just as adept at finding a top slice of country life as commuter-belt man. Ashwell Springs makes a great picnic spot, but before you break out the wicker basket, make sure to explore the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Forester Cottages on the high street and the sixteenth-century timber-framed cottages at the junctions of Rollys Lane and Mill Street. For more modern architecture fans, Victorian residence the Bury, designed by Edwin Lutyens with a garden by Gertrude Jekyll, won’t disappoint.
Get there: Trains run from King’s Cross to Ashwell and Morden, taking about an hour. By car, it’s 45 miles from central London.
Winter in London can be a lot of fun, what with all the twinkling light shows and vast ice-skating rinks and dazzling pantomime performances. It’s also the ideal time to get out into the proper countryside, though (and not just wander around the Heath). So where should you head on your next festive day trip?
There are plenty of relaxing country walks, picturesque seaside towns and secluded areas of outstanding natural beauty within easy reach of the city. But there are also loads of gorgeous, sleepy villages – many of which wouldn’t look out of place on a Christmas card.
We’ve collected ten of the prettiest ones you can easily visit, taken from the book ‘Escape London’ by Yolanda Zappaterra. You may have experienced their period charm in a film or TV show, but nothing beats a leisurely stroll through their winding streets, followed by a well-earned pint by a roaring pub fire.
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