No-fly holidays are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, a recent survey by travel association, ABTA found that one in two (50%) people agreed that environmental sustainability was important to them when choosing a holiday, compared to just one in five back in 2011.  

Cutting your carbon emissions by ditching air travel is one of the most effective ways to improve your carbon footprint while still getting to go out and enjoy the world. Plus, it means avoiding the ongoing chaos at airports across the country, as chronic staff shortages cause massive queues and long flight delays. 

With this in mind, the travel experts at Forbes Advisor have compiled 10 of the best destinations to travel to in the quickest time from the capital – without having to board a plane.

Paris, France

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 2 hours 16 minutes 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £120 

The original Eurostar route, you can find yourself in the French capital in little more than two hours from London. Packed with famous landmarks, art museums, parks and beautiful quaint streets, Paris has something to offer for everybody. 

The city also boasts more than 40,000 restaurants, so if you’re into your food, this could be the holiday for you. 

North Wales, UK

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 3 hours 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £180 

If you’re looking to stay in the UK, but escape the hustle and bustle of city living, North Wales provides one of the best escapes to unwind surrounded by natural beauty.   

The Snowdonia National Park range offers spectacular views for an unforgettable mini break and is easily accessible from anywhere in the UK by train or car. 

Antwerp, Belgium

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 3 hours 24 minutes 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £252 

Antwerp, Belgium is one of Europe’s most loved city breaks. The architecture, coffee shops, galleries and boutiques make it a great option for visitors of all generations. The city is easily accessible from London by Eurostar, with just one change in Brussels.  

The city is also one of the greenest in Europe, with cycling being a popular method of travel. 

Bruges, Belgium

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 3 hours 29minutes 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £211 

Bruges, Belgium is the perfect getaway for history lovers, with the city laying claim to one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. Just a 90-minute drive from Calais, the ferry or Eurostar are both easy options when travelling from the UK.   

The city also has more castles than any other city in the world. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 4 hours 10 minutes 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £115

Amsterdam is one of the UK’s favourite city break destinations, with journey time of just over four hours on the Eurostar. The city is known for its historical attractions, museums and art, and distinctive colourful streets, oozing a cool, modern vibe.  

Known as the cycling capital of Europe, the city is also one of the greenest places you can travel to, with over 800,000 bikes in the city alone.

Cologne, Germany

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 4 hours 15 minutes 
  • Lowest return ticket -£233 

Easily reached from London by train with a journey time of a little over four hours, Cologne, in western Germany is famous for its beautiful artworks, architecture, cathedrals and – of course – beer halls.  

If you’re a fan of the festive period or winter getaways, it’s also home to one of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

Lyon, France

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 4 hours 56 minutes 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £145 

The perfect trip for food lovers, France’s third largest city is home to an array of Michelin-starred restaurants and fantastic wine.

A train from London with one change in Paris means you can be in the French city in just under five hours, making the south of France more accessible than ever.

Dublin, Ireland

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 6 hours 30 minutes (Train to Holyhead, Wales and then ferry to Dublin) 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £143 

A train from London to Holyhead, Wales and then a short ferry journey means you can be in Dublin in under seven hours. A city rich in culture and breath-taking scenery, the Irish capital remains one of the easiest and most popular city breaks for a weekend away.  

Dublin is also a great option for live music fans, with Temple Bar hosting live folk music and DJs throughout the year. 

Scottish Highlands 

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 8 hours 
  • Lowest cost return ticket -£140 

The Scottish Highlands is the perfect trip for wild adventure. Easily located by train or car, there’s over 25,000 square kilometres to explore, from Inverness to Ullapool.    

Renowned for its natural beauty and breath-taking landscapes, the Scottish Highlands offers a tranquil escape for those in search of some peace and quiet.  

Lisbon, Portugal

  • Travel time (one way) from London – 37 hours 
  • Lowest cost return ticket – £300 

Although this trip has the longest travel time from London, it will definitely be worth it. 

Cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and gothic cathedrals sit among rolling hillsides and stunning beaches all a stone’s throw away from the colourful oldtown.

You can also find temperatures of 30 degrees in the summer months.

Personal finance expert Laura Howard from Forbes Advisor said: “The growing popularity of the ‘holiday abroad’ during the 1980s and 1990s, came with an assumption that it would involve getting on a plane – indeed, it formed part of the holiday experience. 

“But that was before most of us even realised that hundreds of thousands of flights each year from the UK alone could even impact the health of the planet – let alone how seriously it would do so. 

“Now of course, this has become all too evident with 2020 concluding the earth’s warmest 10-year period on record, according to the Met Office. 

“But, whether or not it is fast enough, attitudes are beginning to change. A recent ABTA survey for example revealed that 50% of consider sustainability when choosing a holiday. 

“The good news is, as was made evident during the pandemic when travel overseas was not possible, there is no shortage of No-Fly holiday options from the UK – whether that means a ferry, train or just jumping in the car to a caravan park on the coast. 

“As well as being collectively better for the planet, it’s likely to be cheaper and considerably less hassle – something the current delays and cancellation carnage at airports over the country is testament to. 

“Wherever you head off to, and however you travel, getting travel insurance in place at the same time as you make your booking will cover you for the cost of the trip should you be forced to cancel, as well for unforeseen events when you arrive from having an accident to losing your luggage.” 

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