Rough Guides reveal top escapes 30 minutes from London
Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden
The museum and Dahl's writing shed are both illuminating and inspiring spots, and afterwards you can explore other Dahl haunts by way of a marked-out village trail.
Rough Guides reveal top escapes 30 minutes from LondonIn London for the Olympics but want to get a small taste of England outside the capital?2012-07-17T15:35:242012-07-19T13:10:38 trueSt Albans, HertfordshireIn London for the Olympics but want to get a small taste of England outside the capital? In Rough Guides' 30th year we asked Martin Dunford, Rough Guides co-founder and author, to round up his top spots to experience a unique piece of Englishness within half an hour of central London.Just 20 minutes from central London, yet with a vibe that's very much its own, St Albans is a commuter's dream. The cathedral is officially the oldest place of Christian worship in the country, it's got decent pubs and restaurants, and the buzzing centre of this thriving market town is a great place for a wander at any time of day.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Windsor, BerkshireAs you might expect, Windsor is dominated by the castle, somewhere you could do worse than visit, finishing up with a pint or pub lunch at the atmospheric Two Brewers pub, beloved of locals and tourists alike.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Rochester, KentOn the anniversary of Dickens' birth, could there be a more appropriate day out than Rochester? The castle is a semi-ruin but it's worth clambering up the top for the views, and the old keep is a perfect picnic spot. The cathedral, meanwhile, is truly one of England's finest and there are also numerous Dickens-related attractions to take in.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Down House, Down, KentDarwin's home for 40 years, Down House, in the pretty village of Down just south of Bromley in Kent, was upgraded for visitors in 2009 (200 years after his birth), and is now one of the most essential attractions on the outskirts of London. Darwin did most of his important work here, using the garden in particular as both a laboratory and a place to think.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Roald Dahl Museum, Great MissendenThe museum and Dahl's writing shed are both illuminating and inspiring spots, and afterwards you can explore other Dahl haunts by way of a marked-out village trail.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Epping Forest, north LondonSome would say you're still virtually in London when you're in Epping Forest, and in fact you are technically (the forest is owned by the City of London). Yet this vast and peaceful expanse couldn't feel less urban.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Eynsford, KentJust over half an hour from central London, Eynsford has lots to tempt you: the ruins of one of England's oldest Norman castles, the remains of a Roman villa in next-door Lullingstone - both English Heritage attractions - and an excellent lunch spot The Plough, right in the middle of the village by the river.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Chartwell, KentWinston Churchill's home for over 40 years is one of the most compelling attractions on the fringes of London, situated in a surprisingly verdant and picturesque location on the edge of the Kent Weald. The house itself is undistinguished, but the countryside is glorious, and the interior has been sensitively preserved and looks very much as it would have done when Churchill lived here.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Eltham Palace, LondonEltham Palace is a strange and unique combination: a medieval hall dating back to the 14th century, and the art deco mansion of the Courtauld family, decked out much as it was when they lived here in the 1930s. The gardens, too, are sumptuous, and are alone worth braving the mean streets of Eltham for.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Bletchley Park, BuckinghamshireKnown as 'Station X', Bletchley Park was home to some of Britain's finest minds, focused on breaking enemy codes during the second world war, including the famous 'Enigma' code. You can visit the original mansion and its collection of huts where the codebreakers worked, either on your own or on excellent free guided tours, and it's walking distance from Bletchley station, which is on the fast line out of Euston.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2