The Tube network is the third largest in the world, with over 205 miles of track extending across London, and into Buckinghamshire, Herts, and Essex, meaning that your Oyster Card can actually conveniently take you on a micro-holiday, if you know where to go...
How you’re getting there: Central Line, Loughton/Theydon Bois/Epping stations
If you feel like embracing the outdoors, Epping Forest covers a lot of bases with two golf courses, a farm, a ton of mountain bike paths, fully loaded lakes for fishing, and a white-water rafting river used in the Olympics. It feels remote and wild, which has also made it a hub for crime, historically speaking -- Dick Turpin used to rob & kill people here, because there wasn’t white-water rafting yet.
How you’re getting there: District Line, Kew Gardens
Rainforests. They’re either an eight-hour flight away, or a short ride on the Tube, where the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory should satisfy most needs for humidity, carnivorous plants, and rare baobab trees. Kew literally houses the largest non-wild collection of plants in the world (with 7 million preserved species), and to get the most out of it, there’s an elevated walkway 60ft in the air (don’t worry, there’s an elevator) that runs through the treetops.
How you’re getting there: Overground or District Line, Richmond station
When you’re out this far, you’ll forget that it’s still considered London. The idyllic park houses massive fields, and herds of deer roam freely, plus the village is pretty sweet with some awesome pubs, restaurants, and a riverfront perfect for drinking by on a nice day.
How you’re getting there: Metropolitan Line, Amersham station
This 13th century parish is about as picturesque as they come (it’s been the filming location for a dozen films/TV shows, incl. Four Weddings), and still totally accessible on the Metropolitan Line. There are quaint pubs, restos, and a heated open air pool that’s even open in the winter.
How you’re getting there: Metropolitan & Piccadilly Lines, Ickenham station
With foundations dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain, this village feels a million miles from the bustle of central. The best time of year to go is in June when they have the Ickenham Festival, complete with parades, markets, and fireworks, but there’s always the 400-year-old pub, and the Colne Valley Park, whose 27k acres make it roughly 10 times larger than Richmond Park.
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