London is a buzzing city with countless things to do and see. In fact, the city has so much to offer that it can be a little too busy and stressful come summer time. So whenever you are around for a few days or more, why not add one or two day trips from London to your itinerary? The choices are endless from beaches, castles, hillsides or Roman baths at less than 3 hours ride from London by train, car or coach. It’s perfect to unwind as well as explore the beauty of the UK.
To help you get some inspirations, I have reached out to some of my fellow travel bloggers to share their best favourite day trips from London. The trips are ranked geographically from North to South.
- 1 Best day trips from London
- 1.1 Liverpool
- 1.2 Cambridge, Katy from Untold Morsels
- 1.3 Oxford, Kathrine from Everywhere Forward
- 1.4 Windsor, Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
- 1.5 Avebury, Faith from XYUandBEYOND
- 1.6 Bath, David from Delve Into Europe
- 1.7 Bristol, Stephanie from The World as I See It
- 1.8 Brighton, James from Worldwide Shopping Guide
- 1.9 Seven Sisters Cliffs, Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl
- 1.10 Beachy Head – Eastbourne, Pari from Traveling Pari
- 1.11 Hastings, Arzo from Arzo Travels
- 1.12 Paris, Lena from Salut from Paris
Best day trips from London
Liverpool is a joy to visit during the summer and a nice day trip away from London. Start your visit at the stunning Albert Dock for a nice stroll along the waterfront to enjoy the scenery or grab something to eat in the cafes or restaurants. From there you can visit one of the many museums available to you: Beatles Story, Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum or Museum of Liverpool.
Other places not to miss out are the ‘Three Graces’ – the Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building – beautiful pieces of architecture contrasting perfectly well with the modern waterfront.If you are a music lover then a trip by the Cavern is a must along with a short stop via Matthew Street to experience Beatlemania.
Cambridge, Katy from Untold Morsels
Beautiful university city Cambridge is full of history, quaint streets and incredible architecture. Just a short train ride from Kings Cross station it is perhaps the perfect day trip from London.
The River Cam is a focal point of the city and the best thing to do is take a guided tour along the river on one of the famous punt boats. You learn all about the history and characters of the colleges of the University of Cambridge as your boat glides past them.
There are several other landmarks along the way like the Bridge of Sighs and soaring King’s College Chapel. Visiting the chapel to admire its incredible stained glass windows is a must.
Walk through the centre of Cambridge along the pretty cobbled streets and watch students cycle past on their bikes. You will have enough time to grab some lunch at a cosy pub and browse the pretty boutiques before catching your train back to London.
To keep up with Katy’s travels, check out her Instagram!
Oxford, Kathrine from Everywhere Forward
If you’re looking for an academic-inspired, maybe even a nerdy day trip from London, visit the oldest English speaking university, the University of Oxford! Did you know Oxford isn’t one school? It’s actually composed of 38 constituent colleges! Since Oxford is famed for its rich academic history, notable alumni, and influence in literature and movies, it’s worth the visit!
As you visit Oxford you can walk along the streets where authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis roamed and where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. Is the nerd in you geeking out yet? The top thing to do in Oxford, aside from exploring on your own, is to take a walking tour. You can take walking tours of Oxford that are more historical and informative, but if you’re looking for something unique, there are tours themed on Harry Potter or JRR Tolkien.
Other highlights include one of the oldest public libraries, the Bodleian Library, Christ Church with its remarkable architecture, the Radcliff Camera, and the Museum of the History of Science. At this museum, you can view the blackboard Albert Einstein used during a lecture at Oxford! Visiting Oxford makes for a cheap and easy day trip from London; there are buses and trains that run directly to the city.
To see more of Kathrine’s travel, check out her Instagram.
Windsor, Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
I’m not sure any place can match the architecture, history, and collection of priceless art and artifacts of Windsor Castle. It’s where Queen Elizabeth likes to spend her weekends and where Prince Harry and Megan Markle got married. Add that to the fact that it only takes an hour on the train from London Waterloo station and Windsor makes a great day trip from London.
As you can imagine, Windsor Castle is very popular so get your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. Arrive early to catch the changing of the guard at 11 am. The audio tour (included in your admission price) is fantastic and will guide you through the Castle including Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, the State Apartments, and St. George’s Chapel.
Opposite the castle, you will find Windsor Royal Shopping, which is an old Victorian train station that is now filled with shops and restaurants. It’s nice they still kept many original features including the Jubilee arch, the cobbled stones and Queen Victoria’s Royal Waiting Room. If you still have time left, before you head back to London, walk across the bridge and admire the picturesque town of Eton.
To keep up with Anisa’s travels, check out her Instagram.
Avebury, Faith from XYUandBEYOND
Most people have heard of Stonehenge the towering megalith in the South of England but few have heard of Avebury Henge, which is a much more accessible site. The village of Avebury actually sits right within the henge itself. Due to tourists and vandals, Stonehenge has become a location that you can only access from a distance. The Avebury stone circle is free to visit the stones but you can pay for a ticket to see the museum and Manor House.
Driving into the village you can see that the stones encircle the whole village. The National Trust Avebury manages the henge and their car park has clear directions and is the only place to park, the cost is £7 per day, although the Henge is free to wander. There is a shortcut path from the car park to the village and the loop around the stones.
There is a walking path all around the henge and you can wander the fields (watch out for sheep poop) to venture up close and personal with the stones. If you plan a visit to Avebury wear some good boots or hiking shoes as much of the pathways are rough and can be muddy with a lot of things to avoid.
Once you have finished visiting the Avebury Henge take some time to grab a bite Avebury’s most famous pub the Red Lion or hit up the Henge Shop which has some really interesting books, crystals and pagan icons.
To keep up with Faith’s travels, check out her Facebook page!
Bath, David from Delve Into Europe
Bath is one of the longer day trips you can reasonably do in a day from London, but it’s one of the very best and a very popular choice. It’s an hour and a half away by train from London Paddington, so you’ll probably be looking at four hours travelling time all up. Bath is a gorgeous city nestled in gentle rolling hills 115 miles or 180 km from London.
It has three absolute must-sees: the Roman Baths, 15th century Bath Abbey and the 18th-century Georgian cityscape, the most complete and intact in the world. The first two are next door to each other in the city centre, and as for the cityscape, it is all around you, but be sure not to miss.
The Circus, a circle of fine Georgian houses and, a few minutes away, Royal Crescent, one of the grandest streets in the UK. The whole of the city is built from the local golden stone. So the whole city has a coherent, harmonious feel. It’s worth going out of your way to get up to Prior Park, owned by the National Trust, to see the stunning Palladian Bridge there.
The Roman Baths are fascinating, a complex with a sacred spring and Roman temple as well as the Great Bath, and you can taste the spa water, which has been used for curative purposes for two millennia. Next door is the Pump Room, once the focus of high society in late 18th century Bath,. Now it’s a magnificent restaurant where you can also enjoy a range of delicious afternoon teas.
To keep up with David’s travels, check out his Instagram.
Bristol, Stephanie from The World as I See It
Bristol is a hip, energetic city that has something for everyone, making it one of the best day trips from London. Bristol is an easy 2.5 hours by train from London, or a tad longer if you’re travelling by coach/bus. Both train and bus stations are located right in the city centre, with access to city buses, making getting to and around Bristol a breeze.
Bristol has so much to offer, from history to art, and even stunning natural scenery. Some of the best things to do in Bristol include a visit to the historic St. Nicholas Market for some great grub, a stroll around town in search of some of the best street art in the UK, and a wander through the Bristol Museum to learn more about this fun and fabulous city. And for great views – head to the top of Cabot Tower, walk across the Bristol Suspension Bridge and enjoy views of the bridge and Avon Gorge from the park on the hill – Clifton Downs.
To see more of Stephanie’s travels, check out her Facebook.
Brighton, James from Worldwide Shopping Guide
Seven Sisters Cliffs, Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl
Seven Sisters Cliff Walk is the perfect day trip from London on a sunny day. It is easily reachable by public transport. You can take the train to Brighton in 1,5 hours and then the bus will take you to the visitor centre in an hour, where you can begin your hike. There are several hiking trails you can choose from. We hiked to Birling Gap, which is about 4 miles on easy terrain and we were enjoying beautiful views all around us. At Birling Gap we had an ice cream break at the cafe.
You can decide to hike further to Beachy Head, where you can see a nice lighthouse in the water. If you go even further you will reach Eastbourne and you can take the train back to London from there. We decided to head back to Brighton from Birling Gap, so we had some time to explore the pier there as well. What a fun day out!
To keep up with Eniko’s travels, check out her Facebook page.
Beachy Head – Eastbourne, Pari from Traveling Pari
Come summer, many people in London look to get away to a beach to enjoy some sun. Brighton, which is an only an hour away by train from Victoria Station, is the obvious choice. However, Brighton, as lovely as it is, can get too crowded. Instead, a better option is to go to Eastbourne from Victoria Station which takes only an hour and a half. In contrast to Brighton, Eastbourne has a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere. The pebble beach has a pier with a small coffee shop and arcades.
From the beach, you can also see the white cliffs of Beachy Head from a distance. If you want to visit the cliffs, there are many tours and taxis that take you to the top. Up close, the cliffs are even more amazing and offer panoramic views of the sea. The red and white striped Beachy Head lighthouse at the base of the cliffs will give an extra oomph to your photographs. You will also notice a lighthouse at the top of the cliff. This is the Belle Tout lighthouse which is a bed and breakfast. If you can afford it, this place is definitely worth a stay!
To see more of Pari’s travels, check out her Instagram!
Hastings, Arzo from Arzo Travels
England has so much more to offer than dazzling London. While London should be on every Europe itinerary there are a few beautiful spots just close to London – easily reachable within one or two hours and one of them is Hastings.
Hastings is a town in southern England, located between Dover and London, and it is known for several things, so if you are in London make sure to add Hastings to your list.
Hastings is on the southeast coast – with its lovely and lively beach (with one of the best piers in England) it is a nice place to start your day in Hastings!
You can spend hours at the beach, relaxing (at least on a sunny day) and the brave ones can also jump into the water. There are beautiful little and colourful beach houses that are so photogenic!
Afterwards, you should head to the old town which is just next to the promenade and has some nice shops and restaurants where you can have your lunch and for the best view of the town you can head to Hastings Castle where you have a beautiful view over Hastings and the sea – it will be something completely different than spending a day in London and so worth the trip!
How to get there: You can get to Hasting either by public transportation or by your own car. Taking the train takes about 90 minutes and so does a car drive.
Check out Arzo’s Instagram for more travel inspirations.
Paris, Lena from Salut from Paris
Thanks to the Eurostar train, Paris lays just a little bit more than a 2 hours ride away from London. To make most of your short visit in Paris, head straight over from Gare du Nord to the Basilica de Sacre Coeur. Situated on the hills of Montmartre you’ll be starting your stay with a beautiful view over the city. Paris is a very compact and surprisingly walkable city so you better put on your comfy shoes!
From Montmartre take a long stroll direction river Seine. Pass by the Galeries Lafayette, Rue de Rivoli and the Hôtel de Ville until you reach the famous Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. If you are having a sweet tooth, you should definitely try to get your hands on some Macaron – the classic French pastry made with almond flour and egg white. To end your day trip to Paris, take a river cruise on the Seine to see the city from a different perspective and to take the most essential: some snapshots from the Eiffel Tower!
Inspired to take one of these day trips from London? What are your favourite best trips outside of London?
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