Best Day Trips from London

English capital is an overwhelming city of infinite possibilities, for sure! It is the largest city in the UK and one of the oldest ones in the world. Therefore, London is a place that abounds with history, culture and tradition. In order to get to know it, you would need more than a few days, but the wider area is as exciting as the capital! To escape the crowded tourist hub, we present you a list of places for an amazing day trip from London. 

Cambridge

One of the most popular and easiest day trips from London is the one to Cambridge, a university city with streams of students and stunning architecture. Together with Oxford, it contains some of the world’s most prestigious universities. Consequently, Cambridge and Oxford are eternal rivals when it comes to which city is more gorgeous or historical. Situated on the River Cam, the city has unrealistically beautiful scenery. Its cobbled streets are easy to walk over and its museums, parks and a market will keep you busy the whole day.

What to see and do

Visit the most remarkable sights of Cambridge such as the Fitzwilliam Museum, St. John’s Chapel and Cambridge University Botanic Garden. If not in a hurry, do a punting tour over the River Cam for an ultimate relaxation and visit colleges such as Trinity College, St. John’s College or King’s College to travel back in time.

Where to eat

Cambridge is a student city meaning there are many pubs, bars, as well as affordable places to eat around. To act like a local, head to any of the numerous Cambridge pubs for lunch. Also, the city has many food stalls where you can find various types of food. 

How to get from London to Cambridge

Since a day trip to Cambridge is among the most common ones, getting there is easy. The most convenient and fastest way to get there is by train, there are several departures per hour from King’s Cross station and the journey lasts less than an hour. Have in mind that pre-booking a return ticket can cost less. Another option is a coach bus operating the route, but the journey takes around 2 hours. 

Oxford

To decide whether Oxford or Cambridge deserves the title of the most beautiful university city, the best thing is to visit them both. This city contains stunning architecture, as well, and many might think of Hogwarts at first. No wonder it got its nickname ‘’City of Dreaming Spires’’. Oxford has that special atmosphere which is provided by the Gothic architecture giving him a reputation of a city haunted by ghosts. Similar to Cambridge, Oxford also lies on a river, which is actually River Thames which changed the name to Isis within the city of Oxford. 

What to see and do

Of course, tour around some of 38 colleges is ‘a must’, and among the suggestions are Exeter College, Balliol College and Trinity College. Harry Potter fans should not miss the filming locations such as Christ Church, the Bodleian, and New College. To get to know the city even better, visit some of its numerous museums and libraries that could keep you busy the whole day. Besides that, decide to go for punting or sailing over the river Isis, a relaxing way to explore the city. In the end, don’t forget to check the Oxford’s Covered Market with a tradition dating back to the 18th century. 

Where to eat

Similar to Cambridge, the university city offers various pubs and bars, but also places to eat. The previously mentioned Oxford’s Covered Market is the right place to get the fresh groceries and some authentic cookies and pastries from the bakery. 

How to get from London to Oxford

The most convenient way to get there is by train within an hour. The train departs several times per hour. The other option is to take the bus coach that takes you to Oxford in about 1,5 hour.

Bath

Among the top destinations for a day trip from London is definitely Bath, the only city in the UK protected by UNESCO. The city is known worldwide mostly thanks to its well-preserved remains of ancient civilizations – Roman baths. Therefore, Bath is a place where you can enjoy natural thermal hot springs, wellness and spa, but also learn about it. Moreover, the city will amaze you with its unbelievably beautiful Georgian-style architecture and plenty of green areas. The streets are full of lovely pubs and bars and the overall city is easy to walk over. 

What to see and do

As we already said, Bath is the place where you can treat yourself, so head to Thermae Bath Spa or the Roman Baths. After all the pampering, stop to admire some of its main sights such as the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey. Meet the city through its museums like Fashion Museum, Museum of Bath Architecture or The Jane Austen Center, a museum dedicated to a famous British author. 

Where to eat

Bath has plenty of lovely and cosy places to enjoy coffee, tea or a meal. Many would agree that one cannot leave Bath without trying Sally Lunn buns and you can get it in original Sally Lunn’s house. Besides that, Bath offers all types of cuisines, from traditional English to American, Indian and more.

How to get from London to Bath

The most common way to get there is by train from London Paddington. There are two trains per hour and the journey lasts around 1,5 hour. Taking the bus coach that stops at Heathrow Airport is another solution, the journey lasts around 2,5 hours.

Stonehenge

There is hardly a person who hasn’t heard of Stonehenge, therefore, it is a favorite destination for everyone who visits London and the UK. This prehistoric monument consisting of the stones placed in a circle fascinates even today. Although it can be combined with some other places into a single day trip, we will present it as a single day trip. Visiting Stonehenge is usually done through various agencies who offer the tour, and there are endless options, for sure. However, if visiting on your own, there is an entrance fee and it is advisable to book your tickets in advance. 

What to see and do

After you finish getting to know this megalithic structure, there is not much else to do there, so we suggest visiting some nearby sites such as Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum and Woodhenge. Also, you will find some souvenir shops which you can check.

Where to eat

There are several restaurants in the nearby vicinity of the structure where you can sit for lunch. 

How to get from London to Stonehenge

You can take a train or bus from London to Salisbury and then continue by shuttle bus to Stonehenge. There are several trains per hour departing from London Waterloo, and the journey lasts 1,5 hour. 

Windsor

If you would like to know how the royal residence looks like and if you were excited to see Buckingham’s Palace, hoping to spot the queen, than a day trip to Windsor is what you’re looking for. Located in the English county of Berkshire, around 35 km of central London, it’s one of the most attractive day trip options for everyone who wants to learn more about the history of the royal family. The biggest attraction is the Windsor Castle, the longest-occupied palace in Europe that dates back to the 11th century. 

What to see and do

Peeking through the gates of Windsor Castle is, obviously, the most important thing to do while in Windsor. The palace is open to visitors daily, so you can book a tour anytime. Make sure you check the website for exact opening hours, prices and other information. Of course, the castle is not the only thing you can explore here. You will notice there are beautiful green areas around the castle, including the Alexandria Gardens, a perfect relaxation after the long tour. Also, shopping is possible since there are many stores and shops around the streets. If travelling with children, consider visiting Legoland Windsor.

Where to eat

As Windsor Castle attracts huge numbers of people and the tours can last for several hours, there are many restaurants, bars and pubs making sure visitors can properly rest. They vary from low-budget to fine dining, offering all sorts of local and international cuisines. To be a part of the tradition, finish your afternoon with a tea. There is a good number of bars, pubs, stylish cafes and wine bars, so pick your favorite!

How to get from London to Windsor

You can get to Windsor easily by train that departs either from London Paddington or London Waterloo, depending on your accommodation. There are several departures per hour and the journey lasts within an hour, depending on the route. You can also take a bus line from London Victoria directly do Windsor. Buses operate every day of the week and the journey lasts a bit longer, 1,5 hour. 

Brighton

Vibrant seaside city of Brighton is something completely different from all the previously mentioned destinations. Gothic architecture is now replaced with beaches, colorful houses and streets full of picturesque shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Still, the city doesn’t lack historical sights and monuments, and one of the most famous ones is the Royal Pavilion, a stunning 18th-century palace. Brighton is a good choice regardless of the period of the year, its charm is timeless.

What to see and do

Apart from the main attraction, the Royal Pavilion, visit to Brighton Palace Pier is ‘a must’. This typical British pier is ideal if you’re arriving with children since the amounts of candies, ice cream and other sweets will amaze them. At the end of the pier you will find the fairground rides including the Turbo roller coaster for the brave ones! To explore the surroundings and reach the White Cliffs, renting a bike or booking a bike tour would be an excellent activity. Besides that, take a stroll down the lanes, you will definitely find many interesting spots. 

Where to eat

Brighton has a wide offer of various restaurants, from more to less affordable ones with all sorts of menu. You will find them in the colorful lanes, as well as many stylish cafes and bars. 

How to get from London to Brighton

You can take a direct train to Brighton from several stations in London of which the fastest ones are from London Victoria and London Bridge with travel time of around an hour. There are multiple departures per day. The other option is taking a bus coach from London, in this case the journey lasts around 2 hours. 

Cotswolds 

To explore the country’s picturesque countryside, choose the Cotswolds for a day trip and escape the bustling atmosphere. Cotswolds consists of a hills rising from the meadows, also proclaimed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along with the rural landscape, its main characteristic is the recognizable golden-colored Cotswolds stone of which the villages are built. Have in mind that the Cotswolds is a large area, actually the second largest protected area in the UK that stretches over 6 counties, so exploring everything in a day is impossible, but you can take a peak of the most attractive sights.

What to see and do

As the Cotswolds is an area of many villages, you can hardly see them all, but among the most popular places are Gloucester, Cirencester, Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-Water. Among the most attractive sights, regardless of the place, are Blenheim Palace, Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Broadway Tower in Worcestershire, the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Sudeley Castle and more. Once again, Harry Potter lovers, visit the village of Lacock.

Where to eat

The area of the Cotswolds offers a wide selection of restaurants where you can try local specialties, from fine dining to more relaxed ones. The area is known for the high quality local fruits, vegetables and meat, so be sure you’re getting the best of English cuisine.

How to get from London to Cotswolds

Cotswolds is easily reached by train from London’s Paddington station. The railway runs to Hereford and Worecester. There is also a bus line that is connected to the main cities in the Cotswolds. Since the Cotswolds is a wide area and bus connection within it is very limited, consider rent-a-car options and explore it at your own pace. 

Canterbury

Originally a Roman city, Canterbury is an important historic city in the UK. This Medieval city is among the oldest ones in the UK and it was depicted in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Sounds familiar? The most famous sight of the city is a UNESCO protected Canterbury Cathedral, but the rest of the buildings don’t lack the Medieval atmosphere, either. A walk through this place is definitely a travel to the past, so use the opportunity to learn about the rich history of this area.

What to see and do

Obviously, magnificent Canterbury Cathedral is a ‘must-see’, but don’t miss to explore places like the City Walls, the West Gate, the Roman Museum, the Crooked House and the area outside the walls. If you can fit it in your schedule, include a river cruise. 

Where to eat

The oldest pub in the city seems to be The Parrot, so visiting this place is obligatory. But, besides that, Canterbury is full of restaurants with amazing offers and charming style. 

How to get from London to Canterbury

You can easily get to Canterbury by train that departs from London Victoria or London Charing Cross stations. Buses depart frequently throughout the day and the journey lasts within an hour. Also, bus coach can take you from London Victoria to Canterbury in around 1,5 hour.

Dover

Dover is a coastal town of the British countryside and UK’s closest point to France and the rest of Europe. It is a home to the iconic Dover Cliffs and Dover Castle, the most recognizable sights of this area. All in all, Dover as a day trip is an ideal combination of sightseeing and some activity since there can be some hiking or cycling involved. 

What to see and do

The Medieval Dover Castle which was once a defensive hold will immediately catch your attention. Take a walk to the South Foreland Houselight with a tea room inside. If decided to go to Dover than we guess your goal is visiting the remarkable Dover Cliffs. The quickest option to get there is by taxi, but since it is only 1,5 mile away from the Dover Castle, walking or even cycling to it can be a great option. Under the cliffs take a peak of the labyrinth of Dover War Tunnels dig 23 meters below, into the cliffs, used in the periods of war as a secret place for the army.

Where to eat

Whether you want a street food or fine dining, you can find it all in Dover. From fresh seafood to traditional pub food, from Italian to Turkish cuisine, Dover restaurants can satisfy anyone. 

How to get from London to Dover

You can get to Dover by train which departs from several train stations in London. On the quickest route the journey lasts around an hour, and on the slowest one around 2,5 hours. There is also a bus connection to Dover with a bit longer travel time.  

Margate

Margate is located on the southeastern coast of the UK, and as Dover, it lies on the tip of the country which is the closest to France. Margate is a typical British coastal town which means you will find sandy beaches and resorts, amusement parks, food stalls with different food stalls, cool cafes and bars, shops and unusual attractions. Margate is a modern and artistic city, something entirely different from the Medieval atmosphere of previously mentioned locations.

What to see and do

For the ultimate fun, visit Dreamland, the oldest UK’s amusement park and discover the mysterious Shell Grotto, underground tunnels decorated in 4,6 million shells. Discover Margate’s museums and galleries and get to know the city. If arriving in the warmest periods, hit the beach!

Where to eat

Margate is full of cool places to drink and eat. Try the fresh fish and seafood delicacies, check the food stalls and try the authentic fish and chips. 

How to get from London to Margate

From St. Pancras station in London you can catch a frequent train that takes you directly to Margate in around 1,5 hour. Bus coaches also run this route, but the journey lasts 2,5 hours. 

Note: Since many destinations mentioned above are really close to each other, it is not impossible to combine 2 or 3 locations in a day trip. Also, most agencies make combinations as well, so you can simply book a guided tour that suits you best.

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