5 Alternative awayday locations beyond the M25
Posted on April 14 2017
We absolutely love London, in fact, it’s our favourite city in the world, but we know even the most dedicated Londoner likes to get away from The Smoke every once in a while. So, we’ve compiled a list of 5 great locations to consider if you are planning a team day outside the capital. Each destination is just an hour or so away by train, and will cost around £20 for a return trip.
As one of Britain's most spirited, glamorous and imaginative cities, Londoners have been travelling to Brighton ever since the railway opened in 1841. From the historic tourist attractions like the Brighton Piers and the Royal Pavilion, to the iconic pebbled beach, and the wealth of pubs, clubs and quirky little shops nestled amongst The Lanes, there is always something to see or do.
A few interesting facts about Brighton
- ABBA won Eurovision with their song Waterloo, in 1974 in Brighton, at the Brighton Dome concert hall.
- Brighton & Hove have more restaurants than anywhere else in the country. There is about 1 restaurant for every 250 people.
- The best-selling Detective Inspector Roy Grace series of crime novels by Peter James are all set in and around Brighton.
We think Brighton is a top team building location because:
It's by the seaside of course! A wise man once said: 'A bad day by the ocean is still better than a good day in the office,' and we certainly agree. Add to that the quirky Lanes, the magnetic vibe and the zillion pubs and restaurants for socialising afterwards, and you're guaranteed to have an invigorating day out with your team.
Travel from London:
From London Bridge or Victoria train station you can get to Brighton in about an hour and for less than £20 per person for a return ticket.
CambridgeCambridge is one of the ultimate university towns in Britain and although the University is the city’s most popular feature, the history of Cambridge extends as far back as the Iron Age. Ancient communities were later strengthened when the Romans arrived in the area, and after they deserted Britain in the 5th Century the Saxons called it Grantebrychge which related to the bridge across the river Granta. Over time the name changed into Cambridge and eventually the river was named the Cam in acknowledgement. The city is about 80 km north-east of London and has a population of approximately 125,000.
A few interesting facts about Cambridge
- Cambridge have the highest number of cyclists in the UK with about 25 percent of residents cycling to work. And, in 2014, it hosted the 3rd stage starting point of the Tour de France.
- Although football wasn’t invented in Cambridge, the first official game which had rules we would recognise was played in the public park in the middle of Cambridge called Parker’s Piece.
- In 1965 the rock group Pink Floyd originated in Cambridge. Syd Barrett, a founding member of the band, was born on Glisson Road and died at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge.
- The head of Oliver Cromwell was buried in a secret location close to the antechapel in Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge in 1960.
We think Cambridge is a top team building location because:
It's absolutely glorious to explore and suits groups with mixed physical abilities because it's flat and easy to navigate. Why not combine your Cambridge trip with a group punting excursion on the Cam, followed by a team picnic or a tourist activity like a ghost tour?
Travel from London:
Trains from London King’s Cross or Liverpool Street stations to Cambridge are just over £20 per person for a return ticket, and have a journey time of about an hour each way.
CanterburyCanterbury is about 85 km south-east from London and along with being famous for its cathedral, which is one of the oldest and most majestic in England, it is also known for being a place of pilgrimage, especially since the murder - and subsequent sainthood - of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Canterbury’s St. Martin’s is also the oldest church in England where the Renaissance Mass is still performed in the church in the same way it was performed during the 14th and 15th centuries. It’s clear to see why, with its incredibly rich history and an unmistakable metropolitan vibe, Canterbury still attracts so many foreign visitors today.
A few interesting facts about Canterbury
- The verb 'to canter' originated from the term 'Canterbury trot', which described the way pilgrims rode their horses to get to the city before the night-time curfew.
- Canterbury Cathedral is still opened every morning and closed every evening with the ringing of a 17th-century bell.
- Even though one of the famous English books of all time - The Canterbury Tales - was written about pilgrims journeying to the city of Canterbury, there is no real evidence to suggest that the author - Geoffrey Chaucer - ever visited Canterbury.
- There is a prominent, but baffling, tapered mound (or 'donjon') in Dane John Gardens with no clear explanation of its origin. Some believe it could be a Medieval defensive system or Roman burial mound, but nobody knows for certain.
We think Canterbury is a top team building location because:
Set within medieval walls Canterbury is a lovely compact city with gorgeous parks, historic pubs and some convenient venues for training or conference purposes - consider The Abode Hotel or The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, or look at the Best Western Abbots Barton or the Ann Robertson Centre, each a short walk outside the City Walls.
Travel from London
Travel from London St Pancras International or London Bridge train station to Canterbury in just over an hour and for around £30 per person for a return ticket.
Guildford is large historical town, with Saxon roots, set on the banks of the River Wey. As the county town of Surrey it is about 45 km south of London and surrounded by gorgeous countryside. Guildford is rich in history, sport and the arts; and fittingly the name is not derived from the word guild, but in fact from the word ‘guilden’, which means 'gold'. With tourist attractions like the castle and the modern cathedral, a variety of restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities in the town centre, and a cobbled high street which houses plenty of boutiques, designer and high street clothes shops, it’s no surprise that Guildford remains one of the most trendy and favourable countryside towns to escape to.
A few interesting facts about Guildford:
- Even though Guildford does have a cathedral, and several teams who use the term ‘City’ as part of their name, Guildford isn’t actually a city; as it lost out to Preston when it applied for city status in 2002.
- Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, wrote Through the Looking Glass whilst living in Guildford. A sculpture of Alice and the looking glass is located in the castle grounds.
- The remains of what is believed to the oldest synagogue in Western Europe were found under the High Street in 1995. It is estimated it was built during the 12th century when Jews first arrived in the area.
We think Guildford is a top team building location because:
Guildford offers a great selection of picturesque sights, interesting attractions and the sprawling Stoke Park to host your team building event. To complete your day there is also a plethora of trendy cafés and restaurants as well as some great theatres with conferencing facilities, like the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and GLive.
Travel from London
From London Waterloo train station you can get to Guildford in under an hour and for less than £20 per person for a return ticket.
St AlbansAs an exceptional cathedral city with a vibrant history which is everywhere from the beautiful medieval architecture to the Roman remains, St Albans is a true English gem. Just over 30 km north-west from London, you will find everything from delightful countryside, beautiful green parks, a lively town centre and interesting attractions in St Albans.
A few interesting facts about St Albans
- St Alban was a pagan living in Verulamium (Roman St Albans) in the 3rd century. He was beheaded outside the town when he declared himself a Christian after he was deeply affected by a Christian cleric who sheltered with him. It is said that the spot where he died is where St Albans Cathedral now stands.
- World famous author Michael Morpurgo, who wrote the War Horse, lives in St Albans.
- The 84 bus route from St Albans to New Barnet is over 100 years old.
- The Hot Cross Bun is said to have originated in St Albans. Apparently, brother Thomas Rocliffe created and then distributed the original bun to the poor in St Albans on Good Friday 1381.
We think St Albans is a top team building location because:
Fast trains from London arrive in St Albans in less than 30 minutes, which means you can have an away day with your team, within your normal 9 am to 5 pm working hours. Verulamium Park is a lovely big space to have a picnic or play some team games, as well as being home to some Roman remains! And, for the more social teams who would like to stay out after hours, St Albans has an abundance of hidden pubs and bars to discover.
Travel from London
A train from London St Pancras International train station will get you to St Albans in just over 20 minutes and will cost just over £10 per person for a return ticket.
So, if you’d like to escape The Old Smoke with your crew, visit our website to get your hands on one of our exciting clue hunts, hop on a train to one of our favourite non-London locations and release your inner adventurer.
We understand that researching, planning and booking venues in unknown cities can be hard, so if you engage us to host and manage your team treasure hunt awayday, we are always happy to help with this step!
We would also love to hear which destinations YOU rate highly for a team-building trip. Or, if you would like some more ideas for outdoor puzzle adventures and treasure hunts, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on +44 (0) 207 193 4401.