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13 Amazing Day Trips from London

by Laura M

The cities near London are teeming with opportunities for exploration and adventure. From charming countryside villages to ancient castles steeped in history, each has a fascinating story to tell. Here are the 13 best day trips from London away from the city’s busy atmosphere.

Oxford

The city of Oxford
The city of Oxford

When planning your day trips, make sure to add Oxford to your list. Also known as the “City of Dreaming Spires,” it boasts the prestigious University of Oxford, renowned for its historic colleges, libraries, and gardens. Stroll along the charming streets lined with ancient architecture, explore the remarkable Bodleian Library, and marvel at the architectural beauty of the Radcliffe Camera, a remarkable 17th-century structure within Oxford University. To truly immerse yourself in the city’s literary legacy, pay a visit to the Eagle and Child pub, a gathering place for esteemed writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

How to get there from London: Take a 55-minute train from London Paddington or the bus from Marble Arch (stop 14).

Brighton

Brighton, UK
Head to the beach in Brighton

Brighton, frequently dubbed as “London by the Sea,” is a perfect destination for a day trip from London if you’re seeking a break from the city’s chaos. This vibrant seaside town is worth a visit as it offers a unique mish-mash of culture, history, and relaxation. Its iconic pier, the largest attraction in South East England, adds to the charm, as does the city’s thriving arts scene and bohemian vibe. Walk along the seafront promenade, bask in the sun on the pebble beach, or delve into the history of the Royal Pavilion. A former royal residence built for King George IV in the early 19th century, it boasts exotic designs inspired by Indian and Chinese influences, with opulent elements.

How to get there from London: Take a 2 hour National Express bus or the one-hour train from London Victoria.

The Seven Sisters Cliffs

The Seven Sisters Cliffs
The striking Seven Sisters Cliffs

The Seven Sisters Cliffs, located along the Sussex coast are a breathtaking expanse of chalk cliffs in southern England. Situated within the South Downs National Park, these cliffs are known for their sweeping coastal views and natural beauty. Hikers are particularly drawn to the Seven Sisters walk, as it spans approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles), featuring distinctive white chalk cliffs that soar to heights of up to 150 metres (500 feet) above the English Channel. Descending from the cliffs, you’ll find a series of pebble beaches, hidden coves, and secluded bays, accessible via steep footpaths and stairways. 

How to get there from London: Take a 2 hour 13 minute train from London Victoria.

Stonehenge 

The sun peeking through one of the Sarsen stones a Stonehenge
The sun peeking through one of the Sarsen stones a Stonehenge

Explore the enigmas surrounding Stonehenge, an internationally recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site and a renowned symbol of ancient history. Constructed between 3000 BCE and 2000 BCE, the monument has baffled scholars for centuries regarding its purpose and construction. Stonehenge, built over a span of 1,500 years, has its earliest sections dating back to the Neolithic period. However, the ongoing debate about its creation and purpose continues to captivate individuals.

How to get there from London: Take a 2 hour bus from London Victoria.

Bath

The Roman Baths are a popular attraction in Bath
The Roman Baths are a popular attraction in Bath

Journey to the historic city of Bath, one of England’s most beautiful cities. The small city is renowned for its stunningly maintained Roman Baths, sophisticated Georgian structures, and deep cultural legacy. On your day trip from London, marvel at the excellently conserved thermae with a history spanning 2000 years, before indulging in a revitalising soak in the naturally warmed rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa. Navigating Bath on foot via its stone-paved streets is relatively simple, making the UNESCO World Heritage Site an effortless way to gain an intriguing insight into history. 

How to get there from London: Take the 1 hour 20 minute train from London Victoria.

Windsor 

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

If you’ve been looking for places to see close to London, look no further. A short train ride away, Windsor emerges as an exceptional destination, with Windsor Castle taking centre stage. Owned by the royal family for 900 years, it’s among the world’s oldest and most extensively occupied fortresses. Cruise down the tranquil Thames at Cliveden or wander through the vibrant valleys of Windsor Great Park to soak in its natural beauty. If you get the chance, cross the river to the historic town of Eton, home to the prestigious Eton College. 

How to get there from London:  Take a 1 ½ – 2 hour train from London Waterloo.

Cambridge

Punting in Cambridge
Punting is a great way to see Cambridge

A quintessential English university town, Cambridge is home to the prestigious University of Cambridge and its world-famous colleges where notable figures such as Sir Isaac Newton and Sylvia Plath once walked. To truly experience the essence of Cambridge, indulge in the popular activity of punting. Navigate the River Cam, providing a unique view of the city’s charm. After, stop by the Fitzwilliam Museum, a cultural treasure that boasts a remarkable assortment of art and ancient artefacts. End your day with a classic afternoon tea at The Orchard Tea Garden, with a history dating back to the 18th century.

How to get there from London:  Take a 45-minute train from London King’s Cross

Stratford-upon-Avon

Anne Hathaway's Cottage at Stratford upon Avon
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

On your one day trip from London, step into the world of William Shakespeare in the historic market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Bard’s birthplace. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where you can catch a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays. As you walk through the streets lined with timber-framed houses and along the River Avon, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of literary brilliance. Stratford-upon-Avon truly exudes a sense of enchantment and inspiration.

How to get there from London:  Take the 2-hour train from London Marylebone.

Rye

Quaint areas in Rye
Quaint areas in Rye

If you’re looking for things to do in London this weekend, why not spend it in Rye instead? The charming town offers a picturesque setting with its winding higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets that exude a countryside vibe. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the English Channel, it’s a short drive from Camber Sands, one of the area’s most beautiful beaches. Let the golden sands and sweeping dunes cover your feet as you listen to the waves, go kite surfing or enjoy the sun before heading back. At times, day trips out of London can simply mean visiting East Sussex!

How to get there from London: Take the 1 hour 40 minute train from London St Pancras International.

Canterbury

Canterbury is a historic city
The historic city of Canterbury

Canterbury is home to the Canterbury Cathedral and a wealth of mediaeval treasures. A historic city in Kent, it’s perfect for visitors interested in history and architecture, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat. There are a range of things to do in Canterbury, like visiting the Westgate Towers, the largest surviving mediaeval gateway in England. Delve deeper into the city’s past by visiting St. Augustine’s Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that traces its origins back to the 6th century. Additionally, the River Stour offers a tranquil setting for boat tours, providing nature lovers with a serene escape.

How to get there from London: Take the train from  London Victoria, London Bridge or London St Pancras International. 

York

York is suitable l for history buffs
York is suitable l for history buffs

Another one for the history buffs, York is a city to include when planning your London day trips. York Minster is at its centre as one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, dominating the city’s skyline with its towering spires and intricate Gothic architecture. Wander through the narrow, winding streets of The Shambles, one of the best-preserved mediaeval streets in Europe. Visit the Jorvik Viking Centre, to step back in time and experience the Viking era through interactive exhibits and meticulously reconstructed streets. Discover the fascinating stories of York’s Viking past and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s heritage. 

How to get there from London: Take the 2 hour train from London Kings Cross.

Richmond

Richmond is a beautiful area close to London
Richmond is a beautiful area close to London

For your London day trip journey to Richmond, a picturesque suburban town in southwest London, on the banks of the River Thames. It’s a ​​tranquil option if you want to experience a different side of London without straying too far. Soak up the sun or enjoy a picnic at Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks, spanning over 2,500 acres of stunning countryside. As you explore the park’s expansive woodlands, expect to spot grassy meadows, tranquil ponds, and its famous residents: a herd of roaming deer.

How to get there from London: Take a 20 minute train from London Waterloo.

Paris

Visit Paris for the day
Visit Paris for the day

A getaway from London can also mean leaving the country. Perhaps one of the best day trips from London by train, you can swap one big city for another by taking the Eurostar. Leave early in the morning and arrive in Paris ready to take on some of the city of love’s most iconic landmarks. Visit one of Paris’ many eateries, from classic Michelin-star French restaurants to flavourful African and Caribbean venues. Stop by speakeasy-style bars in the Marais District or swing by a local bistro before heading back to London. The seamless train journey offers a convenient way to experience Paris without the hassle of long-distance travel.

How to get there from London: Take the 2 hour train from London St Pancras International.

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