Beaches, ski slopes, and caves: the surprising things you can do during a London staycation

Team Hoo
6th October 2021

Our latest research highlights the many surprising activities that people normally reserve for foreign holidays but can actually be enjoyed in London, from relaxing on beautiful beaches to skiing, and even subterranean cave exploration.

Many corners of the world are finally starting to get COVID-19 under control, but for now, significant restrictions remain firmly in place, particularly where foreign travel is concerned.

As such, many holidaymakers are choosing to stay in the UK this year, with most opting to find a getaway in some of the nation’s most beautiful and picturesque corners. But the UK’s cities also offer a great holiday experience, none more so than London. And it’s not all Ripper Walks and Sherlock Holmes museums - London also offers some of the most in-demand holiday activities that Brits would normally associate with a holiday abroad, all available inside the M25. 

London Beaches

Where better to start than on the beach? It’s the number one priority for many Brits abroad but also something that can be equally enjoyed here at home - just one of the perks of living on a small island. The finest beach in London is certainly Ruislip Lido beach, a permanent urban lake beach and the only one that can be reached via the London Underground. Located in West London, the classic sandy beach is found in the middle of the city nature reserve. The lake is natural, not man-made, and is surrounded by miles of beautiful woodland trails. When the sun is shining, this central London beach can rival anything that Europe has to offer. 

London also boasts a number of temporary pop-up beaches including Fulham Beach which offers a jungle covered pergola, a bar, sun loungers, and private huts for hire. Then there’s Limin Beach Club, another pop-up, this time located on London’s popular and lively South Bank. A third choice is the London Secret Garden Beach in luxurious Kensington, a pop-up with a touch of class - a tranquil hideaway for busy city dwellers.

London Skiing

If the beach isn’t to your taste, perhaps skiing is more your thing. While one wouldn’t normally associate a flat, urban area like London with good skiing opportunities, the Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead - a 50 minute drive from the capital - caters to everyone from seasoned ski professionals to absolute beginners and kids. It’s less than a half an hour train journey away from Euston station. 

Cave Exploration

For budding explorers and adventurers, London even offers an amazing cave exploration experience in the form of Chislehurst Caves. This 22-mile network of man-made tunnels has a fascinating history to reveal as you wander through. Originally created for chalk mining to make the bricks that helped create the London we know and love today, the caves went on to be used as air raid shelters during the blitz before being transformed into a music venue and even an underground mushroom farm. 

White Water Rafting

White water rafting is also on offer in London, most notably at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, created to host rafting events at the London 2012 Olympics. Today, visitors can take on the famed white water rapids or enjoy canoeing, kayaking and even the more accessible activity of tubing.  All of this is available less than an hour away from central London. 

hoo's Co-founder, Adrian Murdock, commented:

“Having already missed out last year, thousands of people will have endured another summer of disappointment due to Covid thwarting the chance of a holiday abroad. 

But all is not lost. The UK is forecast to have plenty of nice weather in the coming weeks, and even as we venture into autumn. Our country has much to offer and while most will flock to our coastal towns and areas of natural beauty, let’s not forget that our capital is one of the most exciting and culturally rich cities in the world.

With easy travel links to almost anywhere in the UK and countless wonderful hotels to suit all budgets, London is more accessible than ever and you’ll be surprised what it has to offer. From top restaurants to beaches, caves, watersports and more, you can pack all the fun of a foreign holiday into a week in the capital without the need for Covid tests or quarantine.”


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