What’s Your Favorite Big-City Escape?

With the Olympics and William and Kate’s first anniversary coming up, the world’s abuzz about London. But sometimes you just want to get away from it all — especially when things are at their most frenetic.

And no British city embodies full-blown English eccentricity better than Brighton. Blame it on George IV. He built the loopy, orientalist-inspired Royal Pavilion here as his seaside escape, helping to transform the relatively sedate fishing village of Brighthelmston into a fashionable Regency-era retreat. Yet Brighton is also the gateway to the South Downs and that quintessentially English ritual of the country walk. You can experience both the peculiar and the pastoral sides of the British personality after a quick trip south from London.

Check out four other fab getaways just hours from Victoria station (including the real Downton Abbey) in National Geographic Traveler‘s latest issue.

What’s your go-to escape destination when you want to get away from the city? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to appear in the next issue of Traveler magazine!



  1. Samantha Angela
    May 3, 2012, 9:59 pm

    Just 2 hours out of Toronto is Collingwood Ontario, the perfect weekend escape year round.

    The town is home to Blue Mountain ski resort which offers fantastic runs as well as cross country trails. The resort town is modeled after Whistler BC and offers lots of great restaurants for apres-ski.

    In the summer time, there are beautiful white sand beaches on clear blue water, including the world’s longest freshwater beach: Wasaga Beach. There is also plenty of hiking available on the Bruce Trail which runs through the area.

    By far my favourite place to visit in Collingwood is the relaxing Finnish water spa Le Scandinave which offers whirlpools, a steam room, a dry sauna, and several cold plunge pools to help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. It’s worth the drive just to visit this spa!

  2. Alexander
    May 2, 2012, 5:01 pm

    To the Greek islands! They are great for diving, walking, history, beaches etc. Find how to pick the right greek island for you at http://travel-europe-eu.blogspot.com/

  3. Paul Morossini
    May 1, 2012, 11:13 pm

    Port Douglas, northern Queensland, a place forgotten by god, slow-paced and a bit decadent. Really relaxing from the very first minute. http://www.bestdealsallday.com

  4. Ted
    May 1, 2012, 8:36 am

    From Mexico City you can travel to better known Acapulco, but a little farther down the Pacific coast is Oaxaca. This Mexican state has great regional food, mountains, colonial cities, and many under-developed beach towns. I like Puerto Escondido.

  5. ana tudorache
    bucharest, romania
    May 1, 2012, 7:58 am

    I live in Bucharest, Romania, the most polluted european capital, crowded, stressed and messy. When I want to get some fresh air and breath a little culture, history and travel I choose the city of Sighişoara. It,s a medieval city in which people live today, with a good combination of old and new, of steps and a clock tower from which you have an extraordinary view of the old city and directions to the main cities of the world. If you wanna know more, come to Sighisoara

  6. Mark Hansen
    May 1, 2012, 7:02 am

    There’s a beautiful little seaside village in North Queensland, Australia (about 45 minutes north of Cairns) called Palm Cove that isn’t overrun with tourists (yet), but has everything you could possibly want and more. Probably my most memorable holiday.
    Brisbane Airport to Gold Coast

  7. Nikko Alamo
    April 29, 2012, 1:27 am

    I don’t want to escape anyway, because i want to be at the beautiful places of our country. most especially this summer where in many activities is waiting for me.You can either visit this site, http://nikkoalamo.blogspot.com/

  8. Denis
    Claremont, CA
    April 27, 2012, 9:13 pm

    It’s really a short escape. Among our Southern California congested freeways and usual tourist trappings, there is this quaint tree-filled village with an East Coast college town feel. You don’t feel you’re in Los Angeles anymore even though it’s just 30 minutes from downtown. I enjoy a great meal at a range of international restaurants or a morning coffee where I can usually chat up one of the many international academics who lecture at the famous colleges. There are bike rides into the foothills, hikes in the nearby wilderness or botanic gardens, a drive to the tallest mountain in the region and back to a couple of surprisingly great hotels. I like photo vacations and this area fills my card every time. You can call it a staycation, but it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in California anymore.

  9. Jennifer @ Approach Guides
    April 27, 2012, 11:17 am

    Being from NYC, having a place to escape to is critical! My favorite thing to do in the summer is to hop on a train to the Jersey Shore. There are a lot of misconceptions about Jersey, but if you want a real beach getaway, this is it. Wide beaches, good waves, and when I arrive, it’s shoes off and bathing suit on until it’s time to go home.