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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See a Sportier Side of London

Thanks to the upcoming Olympic Games, there’s a host of new opportunities for cycling, mountain biking, jogging, and even white-water rafting around the metropolis.

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1. Where to Stay


The Rubens at the Palace offers boldly styled rooms in the heart of the city.  

Walk to the finish line of the Olympic marathon and cycling road race on the Mall from The Rubens at the Palace (from $405), which overlooks the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. While the elegant, dark-wood-paneled entrance suggests a staid atmosphere, many of the 143 rooms here have been updated with contemporary touches like vibrant wallpaper and bold-print bedspreads, while the Leopard Champagne Bar sports an upscale safari look. To keep active, take advantage of the hotel’s sport buddy program, in which managers offer themselves as playing partners in ten activities including squash, tennis, and horse riding.

Feel the royal glow at the Taplow House (from $180), an opulent six-acre Georgian retreat 45 minutes away from Paddington Station by train. Gifted to a favored noble by King James I in 1598, the property maintains an air of regal splendor in its 32 rooms and on its grounds, where you can play croquet in the shade of Europe’s largest tulip trees. From here, it’s less than a mile to the Thames Path at Maidenhead, where you can bike eight miles along the water to Windsor and Dorney Lake, the site of the rowing and flatwater canoe and kayak events.

Sip award-winning rosé and sleep in a refurbished nineteenth-century Surrey farmhouse at Denbies Wine Estate (from $153), a 45-minute train ride from Waterloo Station. Request a room on the second floor of this bed and breakfast for the best views of the surrounding North Downs, then attend a tasting in the château-style winery (from $15) or take a ride on the vineyard train ($9) to explore the estate. Box Hill, the steep climb that will decide the Olympic Road Race, is fifteen minutes away via vineyard footpaths, and the staff can arrange bike rentals for riding the hills.


Published on May 25, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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