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    17 Perfect And Affordable Getaways From London

    Save on the journey, splurge on the hotel.

    1. Margate, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Have a cosy breakfast on the hilltop at the cute and quaint Fort's, or treat your inner foodie to the sophisticated and creative menu at Ambrette.

    Drink: Have a drink right on the water's edge at the beloved Lighthouse Bar, or enjoy the quirky and colourful Harbour Arms.

    See: Take a relaxing seaside stroll along Botany Bay, or check out the bizarre and mysterious Shell Grotto.

    2. Cheltenham, from £14 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: For an intimate and unique atmosphere, take a table at the East India Cafe, or have a fresh pastry in the charming garden at the County Kitchen.

    Drink: Have a relaxing glass of wine at the Montpellier Chapter, or cosy up in Cheltenham's oldest pub, The Old Restoration.

    See: Enjoy the beauty of the Costwolds with a visit to the gorgeous Pittville Park and romantic Sudeley Castle.

    3. Birmingham, from £12 return

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    Travel via London Midland trains.

    Eat: Head to the Dirty Cow Burger Company for a "Flaming Doom" and don't leave without trying the insane "10/10/10" crème brûlée at Purnell's.

    Drink: Treat yourself to a cocktail at the stylish Lost and Found, or settle in at The Old Joint Stock for a cosy pint.

    See: Explore Sarehole Mill, a favourite haunt of JRR Tolkien, or book tickets for a show at the splendid Mac Birmingham.

    4. Bournemouth, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Have a slice at the delicious and modern Bournemouth Pizza Company. If you've got a sweet tooth, go straight to Flirt for a fantastic milkshake.

    Drink: For variety and personality, check out the micropub The Firkin Shed, or grab a local brew at the Bournemouth Brewing Company.

    See: Book lovers can't miss the chance to see Mary Shelley's grave, while more outdoorsy types should head out to admire the seaside from the picturesque Brownsea Island.

    5. Cobham, from £15 return

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    Travel via Southwest Trains.

    Eat: Go for a tasty Sunday lunch in the garden at Loch Fyne, or check out the lovely Hothouse Café.

    Drink: Cobham's hidden gem, The Cricketers, is a prime spot to cosy up with a beer.

    See: Spend your day in the fantastical Painshill Park gardens, which boast several fairy-tale-inspired structures that are just brilliant for exploring and getting some fresh air.

    6. Portsmouth, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Carboload at the top-notch and affordable Soprano’s Ristorante Italiano, or enjoy the fantastic nibbles menu at Cheese & Cheers.

    Drink: Have a pint with a view from the docks at the Bridge Tavern.

    See: Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, and the city has an extensive museum dedicated to his life and works. Also check out the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, an impressive collection of all things Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

    7. Tunbridge Wells, from £14 return

    Travel via Southeastern Railway.

    Eat: Go for some authentic Thai at Kai's Kitchen, or pop into the yummy, modern café Gusta.

    Drink: Check out the great selection of British beers at The Pantile's Tap.

    See: Put aside plenty of time to explore the stunning Scotney Castle in the Tunbridge countryside.

    8. Winchester, from £13 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Grab lunch or dinner at the cosy and classy Chesil Rectory, and caffeinate at Cornerhouse.

    Drink: Snuggle up with a cider at the Mucky Duck.

    See: Take a tour of Winchester College, the oldest school in continuous use in Britain. The Winchester City Mill is also very old – this piece of history in the centre of town has been restored by the National Trust and is fully functioning.

    9. Brighton, from £13 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Grab a coffee and a unique treat at Thewitchez Photo Design Cafe. If you fancy a traditional and hearty meal, you must head to the top fish and chips spot in Brighton, Bardsley's.

    Drink: Have a brew at The Brighton Beer Dispensary or treat yourself to a fancy cocktail at the New Club.

    See: Don't miss the world's oldest operating aquarium, Sea Life Brighton.

    10. Cambridge, from £14 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: The veggie lasagna at Rainbow Cafe is to die for. Depending on the season, grab an ice cream or a mulled wine at Benet's.

    Drink: Hang out at The Snug for cocktails, or cosy up with a craft brew at The Cambridge Blue.

    See: Explore the stunning botanical gardens or take a Camboat cruise.

    11. Orpington, from £14 return

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    Travel via London Midland trains.

    Eat: Eat by the slice – hit up up Pizza 1889 for lunch and Cake for dessert.

    Drink: Settle down in the rustic Royal Oak.

    See: Down House, the stunning estate where Charles Darwin wrote much of his On the Origin of Species.

    12. Stratford-upon-Avon, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: The stunning garden at Keys and Kitchen is the place for a proper meal; for something tasty on the go, drop by the Baguette Barge.

    Drink: No. 1 Shakespeare Street is a great spot to hunker down with pint. Alternatively check out Loxley's for a good wine selection.

    See: Take a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company and honour the bard by catching a fantastic show!

    13. Colchester, from £14 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Pop in for a meal at Lunch, and have an afternoon pick-me-up at The Art Café.

    Drink: The Fat Cat is a pub with plenty of personality and great drinks.

    See: Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town, so the history is rich and varied. Book a walking tour to make it easy.

    14. Bath, from £15 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Have a tasty meal at the historical Tilly's Bistro, or hide out at the tucked-away Ponte Vecchio.

    Drink: Find your new favourite beer at the Bath Brew House, or lift your spirits at the Bath Gin Company's Canary Gin Bar.

    See: Jump through time with visits to the Roman Baths, the No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum, and the Jane Austen Centre.

    15. Canterbury, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Check out the trendy Willow's Secret Kitchen on High Street for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, book a table at Salt.

    Drink: Have a pint at the historic Thomas Becket, named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in 1170 AD.

    See: Explore St. Augustine's Abbey, and have some fun on a Canterbury Tales themed walking tour.

    16. Liverpool, from £12 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Have a killer pizza at Tribeca or get your spice on with some Mexican street food at Lucha Libre.

    Drink: Check out the craft microbrewery Baltic Fleet, or head to The Attic to enjoy the terrace on a sunny day.

    See: Stop and smell the roses at the gorgeous (and free!) Palm House gardens.

    17. Bristol, from £14 return

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    Travel via National Express coach.

    Eat: Have a fresh savoury pastry from Hart's Bakery, then gorge yourself on a delicious cake from Ahh Toots!

    Drink: Check out the incredibly cosy and atmospheric Old Bookshop.

    See: Get a killer view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or follow in the footsteps of the Skins cast.

    All fares found via searches for tickets at least one week in advance.

    Bus fares found using National Express Fun Fares calculator.

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