• Hitchin Lavender Farm

London away days: 5 ideas for dates within one hour of the capital

From lavender farms to sandy beaches, romantic bliss lies within 60 minutes of the Big Smoke.


Stroll hand in hand through lavender-scented fields without the Provence price tag, by jumping on the train to Hitchin (the journey is direct and takes just 30 minutes from Kings Cross). The Lavender Farm (pictured) is open from May through to September and you can pick your own blooms, or arrive later in the day for the outdoor cinema - see the summer programme and book here.


Fewer than 45 minutes on the overground train from Clapham Junction and you'll be strolling among the butterflies and orchids of this wonderful National Trust estate, smack bang in the middle of bonafide Jane Austen country. The final scenes of the television adaption of Emma were filmed here. 


If you and your date fancy dipping your toes in the water, this is the location of the nearest sandy beach (pictured above) to London (there's a pebbly one too). Just under a one hour train ride from St Pancras International you'll also find the Creative Quarter's picturesque cobbled lanes of independent shops and art galleries. 


Jump on the train at Marylebone. Hop off 45 minutes later and you'll find yourself a world away from the capital. This quaint, typically English village was the home and workplace of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl. Gipsy House, where he lived for 36 years, is still standing, as are many of the local sights that inspired his tales. Take a romantic stroll along the river and admire the picturesque charm of the high street established in the Middle Ages.

A Roald Dahl inspired treat at Twit Cafe, The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre.


Art and literary types will adore wandering around this chocolate box village. Many of its scenes have been immortalised in the work of artist Sir Stanley Spencer, who lived here for the best part of his life. It was also the childhood playground of Famous Five writer Enid Blyton and home to Kenneth Grahame, Wind In The Willows author. Trains run from Paddington via Maidenhead.


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Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.