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London is one of the most amazing cities in the world, but if you have a week or two to explore you will be amazed how many day trips you can take from London. You could head for a day to nearby Kent or head even further.
Within hours you can be all over the UK and even to France! With the amazing train options in the UK you can also take a day trip to Edinburgh, or take a cheap flight to Ireland with the kids.
Here are the most amazing day trips from London in no particular order.
The city of Oxford is a stunning place and has a fascinating history, thus making it a great place for a day trip. Oxford is home to the world famous Oxford University which has 45 colleges to see. The city has a fantastic skyline with many spires and unique buildings, you can enjoy these from a variety of viewpoints.
There are also many pubs and restaurants in Oxford to enhance your day trip. Some of these are very historic buildings, the oldest being The Kings Arms, a lovely place for a meal or drink. Some of these have also featured on Inspector Morse, a popular British TV show.
Getting to Oxford is pretty easy from London, there are direct trains from Paddington Station, these take roughly an hour. You could alternatively opt for the national express coach for a cheaper journey, however these take 1 hour 40 minutes.
There are many ways to enjoy Oxford, from ambling around at your pace to guided tours of the key attractions.
Contributed by Richard of RJontour.com
Brighton makes for one of the best city breaks in the UK, and since it’s only one hour by train from the capital, a perfect day trip from London. With the beach, the relaxing atmosphere, and so many great things to do, Brighton is the perfect place to get away from the big metropolitan city for a day.
Inside the city, you should make sure to stop by the Brighton Pavillion. This 200 year old stunning piece of architecture looks very out of place in the British city. The Indian-style exterior and Chinese-style interior make for a very interesting building. It was built for King George IV and during WW1, it was used as a hospital for Indian soldiers. Now, it’s one of Brighton’s most popular tourist attractions.
Brighton beach is one of the main highlights of this seaside city. It’s the perfect place to relax near the sea and enjoy some fresh fish and chips. Near the beach, you can also find the Brighton Pier. This 100+ year old pier makes for a great photo opportunity, and on it, you can find some arcades and funfair rides.
And a little further down the beach, you have a chance to see Brighton from above in the British Airways i360. This 138-meter tall viewing platform gives you a beautiful 360 degrees view of the city and the sea.
All in all, Brighton is the perfect beach destination only an hour from London. If you ever want to escape the city, you should consider visiting it!
Contributed by Nele of The Navigatio
If you are after a day trip from London to a place which is vibrant, ancient and packed with history and culture, then look no further than Winchester. It was the first and former capital city of England and has a lot to offer to visitors of all ages and interests. Aside from the medieval Winchester Cathedral (the main and most popular attraction in the city), other places of interest include the Great Hall and King Arthur’s Round Table, Winchester City Mill, Wolvesey Castle, Winchester College (one of England’s old independent schools), Winchester City Museum, the Gurkha Museum and Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium (fun place for the kids). Most of these attractions are within walking distance of each other, so you can easily get around on foot.
There are plenty of cafes and pubs dotted around the city and so you can easily grab a bite to eat whenever you feel like.
The city is also a great for shopaholics as there are a number of opportunities for shopping ranging from shopping centres like the Brooks Shopping Centre which houses popular brands and then there are independent stores and quirky boutiques too.
You can travel to Winchester from London by driving down (around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the route you take) or head to London Waterloo station and take the South Western Railway service to Winchester. The journey time is only 53 minutes making it a great day trip choice. From Winchester station, you can use the local public transport or explore the city on foot.
There are so many amazing day trips from London that you can do but none would be as brilliant as a day trip to Canterbury.
This amazing UNESCO World Heritage site is home to one of the most spectacular Cathedrals in England. The Canterbury Cathedral is stunning on both the inside and the outside. A walk through the cathedral is a must for any one who is interested in architecture and history. There are small peaceful chapels within the church and one of the most visited is the Martyrdom where Archbishop Thomas Beckett was murdered within the church. Don’t forget to get a picture of the Christ Church Gate as you enter the Cathedral grounds.
Wandering the streets of Canturbury you will find many gorgeous old Tudor style houses as well as so many places to sit and enjoy some scones, jam and cream as you watch the world go by. You can also get some of the best pictures of the Cathedral towering over the streets too. To get a different look of Canturbury you can take a tour of the city on the river or to find all of the very best hidden gems in Canterbury you can join one of the amazing walking tours that will show you all of the best places to visit in Canterbury.
On your day trip from London to Canturbury you can also take a visit to the White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle. It is easy to get to by car and you can also take public transport out to the famous cliffs. Canterbury is one of the best places to stay if you are going to catch the ferry from Dover to France.
A great day trip to take from London is one to the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Located just over 2 hours by train and with a direct route from London Paddington, Cardiff is a great destination to visit.
Cardiff is a great city for those who love retail therapy or history. The shoppers can enjoy leisurely strolls down pedestrianized Queen Street or shop till they drop in the modern St David’s 2 Shopping Centre.
For the history buffs, no visit to Cardiff would be complete without seeing the Castle. Cardiff Castle is located in the city centre and visitors can enter the Norman Keep, discover the secrets hidden in the battlement walls or view the ornate decorations in the Castle Apartments. Across the road from the castle is the Cardiff Museum.
If you are looking for trendy bars and restaurants with great views, head to Cardiff Bay. You can see the Wales Millennium Centre, a cool-looking arts centre in the Bay, or see the Senedd where the Welsh Assembly meets.
On the outskirts of the city is St Fagans, the National Museum of History. The history of Wales is brought to life in this living museum where visitors can see buildings from across the country spanning over 1000 years.
The Welsh capital is a cosmopolitan city and is a great place for a day trip from London. Your only problem will be fitting everything in!
Contributed by Cath – Wales with Kids
Windsor is about 30 miles west of London. It is easily accessible by train, 40 minutes from London Paddington station, coach from Victoria Coach station or by car. Be aware that traffic can be very slow moving close to London so allow extra time for your journey.
Windsor is a small town with a lot to see and do. You can download a self-guided walking trail from the tourist office or take an open-top hop on hop off bus tour. You can even take a Duck Tour in an amphibious vehicle that combines a road adventure with a splashdown in the Thames. In September 2015, the Queen became the longest reigning monarch in history at 63 years, 7 months and 3 days. In recognition of this the outdoor trust created a new symbolic trail. The 6.373 km Queen’s walkway links 63 of the town’s best attractions.
The medieval city of York is a fantastic option for a day trip from London. The city was once the capital of England and had an interesting and turbulent history. Although it takes over 4 hours to drive to York, you can be in the city in 1-hour 50minutes by train. The city’s train centre is within walking distance of all the main attractions, as York is a compact city, which is excellent for a day trip.
There are many exciting and free things to do in York on a day trip, from walking the 13th-century Roman walls to admiring the grand 7th century York Minster. You can also learn about its history at the Jorvik Viking Centre and Clifford’s Tower. However, to have a quintessentially British experience, you should also head to The Shambles. This street has buildings dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries and looks very similar to Diagon Alley from Harry Potter.
Nearby you can browse at York’s street markets that have over 70 stalls, walk along the River Ouse, learn about the importance of British trains at the National Railway Museum or go and enjoy one of York’s pubs.
To satisfy your hunger, you can head to Goji Café, York Chocolate, or splurge and have an afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room, which is famous across the UK.
Contributed by Rachel from Average Lives
The Seven Sisters
Recommended by Miriam from Miry Giramondo
A day trip to Norwich will give you a glimpse at the city’s interesting history. During medieval times, Norwich was England’s second largest city behind London. Norwich is easy to get to from London. There is a direct train from London Liverpool Street Station that takes a little under two hours.
If you have more time, take a stroll down the picturesque Elm Hill, arguably one of the prettiest streets in England. Foodies should not miss Norwich Market which is one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country. The streets around the market, called the Norwich Lanes, are full of independent shops too.
Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the south west of England, is a fabulous place to day trip from London. There is plenty to keep you occupied for a day and the fact that the centre is fairly small and walkable means it’s easy to see a range of sights within just a few hours.
One of the key attractions here is the Roman Baths Museum, which is housed on site of the old Roman baths, and gives you the opportunity to learn more about the city’s history. Unfortunately, you can’t take a dip in any of the baths, but for those that fancy this, you can pop around the corner to the Thermae Bath Spa with its thermal rooftop pool that looks out across to the magnificent Bath Abbey.
Fans of Georgian architecture will love this city; there are plenty of examples of this when you wander around, not least at the stunning Royal Crescent, a sweeping Georgian arc overlooking the Royal Victoria Park. There’s also the Jane Austen Centre for lovers of the author, (one of several museums in the city), the peaceful Parade Gardens to wander through, and boat trips on the River Avon which takes you under the attractive 18th century Pulteney Bridge.
It’s easy to get to Bath from London: trains take around 1 hour and 20 minutes and the station is just a short walk from the city centre. Bath is an excellent day trip from London.
Leeds Castle and the Cliffs of Dover
A day trip to Leeds Castle and Cliffs of Dover allows you to experience the Garden of England – Kent county. The drive from London to Leeds Castle takes an hour approx. Start your day early to experience the serenity of the castle before the crowd gathers.
This UK castle is a beautiful medieval structure based on the Norman architectural style. It’s in the middle of a lake formed by River Len. King Henry VII’s wife, Catherine of Aragon, was a famous resident there. It’s known as the “loveliest castle of the world” for its serene view and structure. The accompanying lawn makes the entire property over 500 acres. Get a tour guide to learn about the diverse history of this place. Entry tickets are £27 for each adult and £18.50 for any child under 15.
The next best destination to go forward is the Cliffs of Dover at the British Coastline. These white cliffs stand at an astounding height of 350 ft above sea level. They form the boundary of the English Channel and stand across the French land. Many historians and writers have described this region as the pride of Britain. The scene of the highland with waves crashing at its feet has influenced many authors to set their heroic endings. Tourists flock to this place to see the magnificent view, that serves as a great backdrop for photographs. You can also visit England’s largest castle, Dover Castle, from here.
By Ruma from The Holiday Story
Bournemouth is a great destination to visit from London. Just two hours by train, and you can soak up the sea air and visit one of the award winning beaches in the largest town in Dorset.
From the train station, the town centre is just a 20 minute walk, or a short bus or taxi journey away.
Whilst spending some time in Bournemouth, why not discover the fantastic activities on offer. You could try the 65 meter indoor cave experience, or a high ropes obstacle course at Rock Reef, situated right at the end of Bournemouth Pier. If you’re feeling brave, then why not speed down the 250 metres to the shore from 25 metres above the sea on Pier Zip.
If you’re looking for something a little calmer to take part in, Bournemouth has plenty of adventure golf courses within walking distance of each other. You could also take a trip on the Hop on Hop off bus that travels frequently through Bournemouth and Poole. On a nice day it’s a great way to see the sights from the open top bus.
Let’s not forget about all the great food and drink you can experience during your visit. Whether you’re looking for a chain bar or restaurant, or perhaps a nice independent eatery, there’s something for everyone. Many of the bars and restaurants also have fantastic views across to the Isle of Wight and Brownsea Island.
By Angela of Exploring Dorset
Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric megaliths in the world. Built around 3,000 BC, it was used as an observatory for astronomical or seasonal events. Stonehenge can be visited on a day trip from London, so hop on a cheap train ticket or car and see this amazing historical site for yourself!
Stonehenge has long been shrouded in mystery – its function unknown even to those who built it some 5000 years ago – but archaeologists have gradually discovered more about what went on there. It’s possible that people gathered at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise over the Heelstone or sunset behind Durrington Walls—a nearby settlement with earthworks that are believed to have served as Britain’s most significant prehistoric village.
While Stonehenge is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions, it’s very easy to visit on a day trip from London. The easiest and most convenient way to get there is by car, but you can get there by coach or train. the trip takes around 2 hours.
There are regular trains from the Waterloo Station to Salisbury (around 90 minutes), which is 16 km south of Stonehenge. From there you can take Uber or a taxi if you travel with a group of friends.
One day in Paris, from London? Surely not! Paris is one of the best day trips from London because it is very accessible on the Eurostar from St Pancras station and takes about two hours and arrives in Gare du Nord, and who doesn’t want to pop over to another country for a day?
With one day in Paris you will be able to check off all of the highlights, such as breakfast at the Eiffel Tower, walking around the island of Île de la Cité and seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral. For lunch there is nothing better than stopping by a local supermarket and stocking up on cheese, meat, bread and wine for your picnic in Luxembourg Gardens.
A stop in Paris is not complete without exploring Montmartre, this is also a great place to grab a meal and to watch the artists paint in artists square. If you have time before your train back to London, check out a show at the famous Moulin Rouge.
For a big city, Paris is very easy to navigate, many places are walkable but if you are short on time jump on the metro to get between the sights quickly.
The only downside to a day trip to Paris is that you won’t be ready to head back to London at the end of the day.
By Fiona of Traveling Thirties
Disneyland Paris is one of the best day trips from London. Disney is a magical place offering two parks: Parc Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. You can get a park hopper and enjoy both parks in one day.
There are a few ways to get to Disneyland Paris from London. You can take a short flight or jump on a high speed train. The Eurostar Train from London has a direct line right to the gate of Disneyland Paris. It is very convenient.
Once you arrive at the park be sure to grab a fast pass to your favorite rides. Disneyland Paris has some unique rides that you will not find at any other Disneyland Park. Crush’s Coaster, Phantom Manor, and it’s own unique Toy Story Land are just a few location specific Disney rides.
Disneyland Paris is fun for the whole family. You can easily spend a day riding the rides, watching the classic Disney shows, or enjoy eating at the Disneyland Paris restaurants. There are also parades and character meet and greets. Disneyland Paris welcomes guests from all over Europe so English and French are spoken.
If you are looking for a fun day trip from London, Disneyland Paris is the perfect adventure!
By Lisa from Planning Away
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