Feel-good things to do when the pandemic is over – Get out of London for a day
We’re all guilty of spending a few too many days indoors without leaving the house, particularly during the strictest parts of the lockdown and the chilly winter months.
However, while you may be a couch potato at heart, you should embrace freedom once it’s returned to you – be it for your vitamin D levels or for some much-needed mental stimulation. Plan a day out for you and maybe a friend to see all your favourite places and get reacquainted with the life you used to love. Make sure you minimise your screen time while you do this so you can fully appreciate all the sights, sounds and experiences. A structured day like this will help build your confidence in the world outside and get you back into your normal routine.
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Here are our 3 picks of amazing day trips from London
The New Forest
A trip to the New Forest is about as close as you can get to going on safari without buying a plane ticket. As you make your way down dappled lanes and across the heather-covered heath you’ll be watched the famous ponies, which have grazed there for thousands of years, plus free-ranging Highland cattle and pigs hoovering up fallen acorns. Don’t fancy being stuck in the car all day? Hire a two-seater electric Twizzy buggy to explore in, or book a beginners’ hack at one of the stables. Don’t forget to make time for a proper ploughman’s lunch at the Royal Oak in Fritham
Get there one hour 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst; around two hours by car.
Dungeness’s shingly, the shipwreck-dotted beach is so spookily empty that it’s often described as Britain’s only desert (though the Met Office refuses to recognise it as such, the partypoopers). But look a little closer and there’s plenty going on. It’s a nature reserve, for one thing – follow the two-mile trail around RSPB Dungeness for the chance to glimpse glossy ibises and marsh harriers. Come lunchtime, queue up at the famous Dungeness Snack Shack: they’ll serve you their catch of the day in a warm bun, lobster and crab rolls or smoked cod chowder. Finally, go in search of the huge concrete ‘sound ears’, which date from the First World War and were designed to listen out for planes.
Get there one hour by train from London St Pancras International to Folkstone, with a one hour 30 minute bus ride to Dungeness; around two hours by car.
With its antique shops and higgledy-piggledy cobbled lanes, Rye feels like a little piece of the Cotswolds on the coast. After a browse in The Tiny Book Store (does what it says on the tin), treat yourself to a seafood lunch surrounded by lobster pots at Globe Inn Marsh, followed by Sussex real ale or a glass of local wine at The George Tap – the Chapel Down vineyard is just up the road and well worth a visit. Ten minutes away are the pillowy dunes of Camber Sands: roll your trousers up and splash through the shallows, take a kite for a spin or just park your towel and stretch out.
Get there one hour 10 minutes by train from London St Pancras International, with a change at Ashford; around two hours by car.