London’s abundance of things to see and do is part of its charm, but eventually you’ll want a break from the hustle and bustle.
In the mood for an adventure? Take a day trip to a neighbouring town! There’s nothing quite like winding down while strolling along a tree-lined canal or cobblestoned village lanes.
England is full of heritage sites and historic towns to admire. Explore medieval castles, mysterious ruins, sprawling countryside and cottages. There’s something to suit everyone’s interests. 😍
These are my favourite trips easily accessibly by coach or train from the Capital. Planning ahead is advisable when it comes to affordable fares!
Top sights: the Roman Baths, built above a natural hot spring, is equal parts museum and ancient archeological site. The city of Bath is also a UNESCO World Heritage site; it boasts incredible architecture like Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey and The Circus. Feeling thirsty? Sample the local water’s distinct flavour at The Pump Room Restaurant.
When to go: year round, but summer can be particularly busy.
Getting there: direct train from Paddington Station (1h 20min).
Top sights: explore Bournemouth’s seven miles of beach and surprisingly warm microclimate! Water sports are a popular pastime here; who would ever have thought you could learn to surf in the UK?! For a traditional holiday experience you can rent a classic beach hut.
When to go: summer (or a heatwave day if you’d like to swim). 🏖️
Getting there: direct train from Waterloo Station (2h) or coach from Victoria Coach Station (2h 45min).
Did you know? Its colourful beach huts were originally built in 1909 and the site is marked with a blue plaque at the east of Bournemouth Pier.
Top sights: Brighton is a beautiful pebble beach getaway with its iconic pier jutting out into the sea. The town itself features charming architecture, historic pubs and plenty of stores and eateries to explore. Cycling is also a popular way to take in the coastal views.
When to go: summer or any heatwave day.
Getting there: direct train from Victoria (1h) or from Blackfriars (1h 20min).
Did you know? Brighton is considered the second most haunted city in Britain after York. Halloween party, anyone? 🎃
Top sights: the iconic Victorian Clifton Suspension Bridge is a symbol of Bristol. There is a hiking trail to get to the summit, or you can take the easier route via the park. The harbourside is also another major hub of the city, and was frequented by pirates back in the day. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Banksy’s Girl with the Pierced Eardrum.
When to go: year round, but milder climate is preferable if you’re planning outdoor activities.
Getting there: direct train from Paddington (1h 30min).
Did you know? Famous Bristolians include actors like Jeremy Irons and Maisie Williams; literary heavyweight J K Rowling; the mysterious street artist Banksy; and the infamous Blackbeard the Pirate! Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book Treasure Island features many locations around Bristol. 🏴☠️
Top sights: Cambridge is a very walkable city, but cycling is the most popular way to see the sights. Some highlights include the King’s College Chapel and the university grounds, a mix of things to find and try at Market Square, and a view of the town from Great St Mary’s. ⛪
When to go: year round but summer is preferable for punting on the River Cam, and autumnal walks are magical.
Getting there: direct train from King’s Cross (50min).
Did you know? Cambridge gets its name from the River Cam, and the city has played host to films like The Theory of Everything and Netflix’s The Crown. Cambridge University has also produced world-renowned scholars including Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing. 🎓
Top sights: Canterbury Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the world’s most famous places of worship. The town is also home to The Marlowe Theatre; get caught up in the controversy as to whether Canterbury-born Christopher Marlowe actually wrote some of Shakespeare’s works. 🎭
When to go: year round, but a picnic in springtime by River Stour is a great excuse to visit!
Getting there: a direct train from St Pancras International or Victoria Station (up to 1h 30min). Canterbury East is the nearest stop to disembark but Canterbury West is equally close to the centre of town.
Did you know? Canterbury is the setting of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The town’s name is inspired by the fact that it was an easy canter on horseback from London (back in Roman times!).
Top sights: Hitchin is home to one of the loveliest lavender fields; best of all you can take your clippings home! There are picnics tables onsite for you use or you can order from the cafe. It’s also nice to extend your trip to the town centre where you can admire medieval buildings and cute local shops and cafes. 🧵
When to go: lavender blooms between mid-June until mid-August, but if you stick around in mid-August you can also enjoy the sunflower fields!
Getting there: train from St Pancras International (50min) and a taxi or ride hailing app from the station (10min).
Did you know? The small market town of Hitchin became an established lavender grower as early as the 1500’s. It was one of the only two areas in the country.
Top sights: spend the day exploring The City of Dreaming Spires by visiting the university campus, baroque architecture at Blenheim Palace, 1,000 years of history at Oxford Castle & Prison, the iconic Radcliffe Camera and Bridge of Sighs, and get lost wandering the Oxford Covered Market.
When to go: year round, but shoulder seasons will mean less crowds!
Getting there: direct train from Paddington (50min).
Did you know? Famous literary geniuses attended Oxford University such as Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien who studied at the Bodleian Library. The city’s “Olde Worlde” charm also made it the perfect backdrop for Harry Potter films; you’ll recognise Christ Church Cathedral playing the part of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. ⚡
Top sights: explore cobbled alleys lined with historic buildings; medieval pubs, Georgian homes and strangely named houses like “The House Opposite” or the “House with Two Front Doors” along Mermaid Street. If you like ancient structures, you’ll enjoy Ypres Tower which was built in 1249 to defend the town and Rye Castle. A beach stroll at Camber Sands is just a bus ride away.
When to go: year round. Perfect for a beachside afternoon or an evening by the fireplace.
Getting there: two trains from St Pancras International changing at Ashford International (1h 10min).
Did you know? Rye used to be surrounded on all sides by water. Hundreds of years ago, it formed part of the medieval Cinque Ports; the town’s hilltop vantage point made it useful for guarding against marauding invaders. 🛡️
When to go: summer and winter solstices are thought to be a spiritual experience.
Getting there: train from Waterloo Station (1h 25min) and a local bus from Salisbury to the Visitor Centre (30min).
Did you know? Stonehenge remains shrouded in mystery even after 5,000 years. Scholars generally agree that it was a calendar given its significance during the summer and winter solstice. It’s also estimated that 200 people are buried at the site. According to a 12th century legend, giants placed Stonehenge on a mountain in Ireland before Merlin the wizard moved it to England with magic. 🧙
White Cliffs of Dover
Top sights: the iconic White Cliffs of Dover are a perfect for a scenic coastal hike. Popular stops along the way are the Fan Bay Deep Shelter constructed in World War 2, and the South Foreland Lighthouse. The imposing Dover Castle is also a short journey away (6min by car, 35min on foot). 🏰
When to go: the trail can get muddy, so pack your wellies or hold off until a dry spell.
Getting there: train from St Pancras International (1h) to Dover Priory and then take a cab (10min) or walk (40min).
Did you know? The iconic white chalk surface dates back to the Ice Age. On a clear day you can glimpse France from across the channel. Your phone’s timezone might change, so don’t panic if you suddenly think you’re an hour ahead!
Top sights: Windsor Castle, royal wedding venue and preferred place of residence of Queen Elizabeth II, dominates a day trip to Windsor. The town also shares its name with the British monarchy features historic sites and the sprawling Windsor Great Park with 500 free roaming deer at the castle’s doorstep. 🦌
When to go: all year round.
Getting there: train from Paddington with a change at Slough (45min).
Did you know? Windsor castle has been home to The Royal Family for over 1,000 years and is the largest occupied castle in the world!
What’s your favourite day trip destination from London? Share your tips in the comments! 👇
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