Probably best known for its racecourse, Newmarket in Suffolk is around 90 minutes from London and makes for a genteel spa break, combining refined experiences and a little adrenaline if you’re in the mood.
Largely considered the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse racing, Newmarket’s history can actually be dated all the way back to the Stone Age and it has a rich history of welcoming travellers. Under the Stuarts it developed much of the horse racing tradition that it’s known for, and which you can discover at Palace House - the National Horse Racing Museum and the remaining part of Charles II's racing palace.
Today visitors are charmed as they potter about the coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, and take in the views of its markedly flat landscape. Many of its attractions hinge on its sporting tradition, although other popular sites include the Burwell Museum, the Wicken Fen Nature Reserve and Burwell Castle. If you’re staying for a few days you might also like to include a day trip to the city of Cambridge just 14 miles away.
A trip to Newmarket should definitely include a day at the races. The eponymous racecourse details a rundown of upcoming events, and some hotels even have views across the track. Those staying in the area are in for a treat at the Elysium Collection’s Bedford Lodge Hotel, the former Georgian hunting lodge of the Duke of Bedford, or head to nearby Cambridge for the contemporary Cambridge Belfry or chic Quy Mill Hotel & Spa.