There’s no doubt that London is an amazing place to be at Christmas, from the twinkling lights of Oxford Circus to the magical ice rink at Alexandra Palace.
But after a strange year and a half of restrictions and lockdowns, many of us are craving an escape out of the capital.
Calendars are getting mightily booked up as we approach the most notoriously busy month of the year.
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But if you’ve got a spare weekend, or a couple days of annual leave to use up, we might just have the perfect mini trip idea for you.
And it has a special quirk – you get to ride the Night Riviera Sleeper Train from London Paddington Station.
Known as a ‘bedroom on wheels’, the Great Western Railway sleeper train has everything you’ll need for the cosiest journey going, including plug sockets, your own sink, a wardrobe and, yes, a bed.
It runs all the way from London to Penzance, Cornwall in just over eight hours.
And it takes you directly to St Erth, the stunning village in Cornwall, which is six miles northeast of Penzance and just four miles southeast of the famous St Ives – in recent years named the UK’s happiest place to live.
But the sleeper train is a reason to take the trip in itself.
To ensure you get a full night’s kip, the sleeper service runs from around 11.45pm to 8am the next day.
For the night owls, onboard you’ll also find a fully decked out communal lounge serving hot drinks, alcohol and snacks, or if you fancy lazing in bed, you can even order ‘room service’.
Prices can vary depending on ticket availability, but generally start at about £50 without a railcard.
So when you arrive in St Erth, you’ll be fresh as a daisy and ready for a fantastic weekend away with family or friends.
Once there, you’re only 10 minutes from the beautiful town of St Ives, nicknamed ‘Cornwall’s crown’, which has everything you need for a chilly British seaside weekend away, equipped with cobbled streets, fisherman’s cottages and even one of the best beaches in Europe.
If you’re into surfing, Porthmeor beach has everything you’ll need for a surfers’ day out.
But if you’re more of a hiker you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the beautiful coastal path which curves across St Ives ending at Land’s End.
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St Ives also features an incredible array of foodie spots and eateries for when you’ve exhausted yourself from a day of activities.
Why not sample tea and cake at the Lakeside Cabin Cafe, or a baguette for lunch at The Cornish Deli?
Or if you’re after a pub lunch, The Sloop Inn is a staple of St Ives cuisine, sits overlooking the harbour, and is believed to be one of the oldest pubs in the UK.
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