Looking for the best day trips from London?
Even Londoners need vacations. Here are some cool ideas of day trips from London you can enjoy, no matter what you’re into. From rural towns, to majestic castles and palaces, seaside towns and theme parks, there are so much to see around the capital.
Here is our selection of 39 best day trips from London.
Visit Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. The mysteries surrounding how it was built and its utility attract thousands of tourists every day. Was it made by the druids? Is it the ruins of an ancient Roman temple? Come and investigate yourself!
By car: 1h30 / By train: 1h40 / By bus: 4h
Another small cathedral city in England that worth the visit, either by walking or biking. Important by its history of religion in the country, there are significant monuments you should visit.
The Winchester Castle, who presents the hall and the round table of King Arthur (not the real one, but ordered by Henry VIII as an homage); the Church of St. Swithun upon Kingsgate and, of course, the Winchester Cathedral.
By car: 1h15 / By train: 1h10 / By bus: 1h50
3- Harry Potter Studios
This is the place to be for all fans of the magical saga! Admire all the costumes and accessories, and visit your favorite places from the movies, like the Great Hall, the Forbidden Forest, the Diagon Alley and its shops, and many more! Discover also all the secrets of the shootings and the VFX and learn how the Wizarding world of Harry Potter was created.
By car: 25 minutes / By train: 50 minutes / By bus: 50 minutes
Come and relax at Bath, a spa-town resort in the west of London. It was the Romans that built this thermal complex around the regions natural warm water sources. Besides the thermal baths, the town is beautiful to stroll around and offers other attractions like the Jane Austen Centre. Indeed, the famous author lived in Bath for many years.
By car: 2h05 / By train: 1h25 / By bus: 3h05
5- Blenheim Palace
This palace is the place of birth of the one and only, Winston Churchill. Today, the palace can be visited but can also host private events, like conferences, meetings, serve as a movie set, but mostly weddings. Think about it if you always dreamed of having a royal wedding!
By car: 1h10 / By train: 1h55 / By bus: 2h45
Windsor is a charming town with lots of shops, restaurants, and museums, to discover its history linked to the royal family. But the principal attraction is, of course, the Windsor Castle, one of the most visited monuments in the U.K. The castle as a rich history and is still used today for important events, like the diplomatic visit from the former U.S President, Barack Obama and, more recently, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
By car: 30 minutes / By train: 55 minutes / By bus: 1h40
Visiting Oxford is like travel in time, thanks to the beautiful city architecture that didn’t change in times. And of course, attend the famous worldwide university! Admire the massive walls and gates, and learn more about the rich history of this city.
By car: 1h30 / By train: 55 minutes / By bus: 1h40
This town is mostly known to be the birthplace of the famous poet, playwright, and actor, William Shakespeare. So when you’re there, make sure to witness a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. But it’s not all about Shakespeare in Stratford, the city is also beautiful to stroll around and follow the riverside of River Avon.
By car: 1h45 / By train: 2h50 / By bus: 2h10
9- Hever Castle
Built in the 13º century, Hever is another beautiful castle to visit in the U.K. Visit the charming rooms and halls where the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, once lived. The castle is full of antique and rare decoration, including many portraits from the Tudors. The castle also has a gorgeous garden and lake. Don’t forget your camera, this place is so beautiful that you need to catch the moment.
By car: 1h / By train: 1h
10- The New Forest National Park
Used in the past by William the Conqueror as a hunting ground, this natural reservation became a national park in 2005.
Ride a horse or a bike and admire this magnificent landscape from the south of England, made of clear rivers, woodlands and see beautiful animals like deer or ponies, living freely in this region for centuries.
By car: 1h25 / By train: 2h20 / By bus: 2h25
This small medieval town is most famous thanks to the Canterbury Tales, a series of stories written in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer. You can stroll around the old streets or visit the Cathedral, the St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church, all part of the UNESCO world heritage, and experience the English medieval life.
By car: 1h15 / By train: 55 minutes / By bus: 2h
12- Leeds Castle
Also called “The Loveliest Castle in the World”, Leeds Castle is surrounded by a large moat, which feels like the castle is floating in the middle of a little lagoon. The castle as spectacular scenery and its surrounding park have rich wildlife. Make sure to check the official website, as very often activities are offered for the all family to have fun!
By car: 50 minutes / By train: 1h45 / By bus: 3h20
Bristol is a port city with a rich marine history. The former port warehouses were turned into shops, restaurants and other great attractions for tourists. The city has many landmarks, such as the impressive Clifton Suspension Bridge. It’s also the hometown of the masked artist Banksy, so the city as many of his graffitis spread all around the city, try to capture them all!
By car: 2h / By train: 1h40 / By bus: 2h35
Liverpool is most famous for its music scene and nightlife. Visit The Cavern Club where the legendary band The Beatles played in their early career or watch a football match at the Anfield stadium. Liverpool is also a town of many interesting museums like the British Music Experience or Merseyside Maritime Museum. Enjoy a day trip in this iconic town!
By car: 3h30 / By train: 2h10 / By bus: 5h30
The second most populated city in the U.K, after London, Birmingham is a living city with so much to do! Like stuck between past and modernity, Birmingham is the perfect place to learn more about English history and culture, as well as the modern lifestyle. The city is the host of many events, like music festivals and football encounters. Indeed, Birmingham F.C is a popular team, so try to assist to a football match, it will worth it!
By car: 2h / By train: 1h20 / By bus: 2h40
Another medieval cathedral city that really worth the visit. Try to get to the cathedral at dusk, as it will get beautifully illuminated. Also, don’t miss the Salisbury Market, one of the oldest markets still in activity in the U.K. The countryside of the town is also incredible to visit and to do many activities like golf, biking, and even skydiving!
By car: 1h40 / By train: 1h30 / By bus: 3h35
17- Warwick Castle
Built in 1068 by William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle became today an essential touristic attraction with a lot to offer! Besides the classic visits and tours of the castle, many shows are displayed, with actors playing knights and other figures from the medieval era.
By car: 1h35 / By train: 2h05 / By bus: 3h20
18- Chessington World of Adventure
This themed resort park is perfect for taking the children. It has many exciting roller coasters and also a zoo and an aquarium. The resort also has hosting accommodations and fast foods.
By car: 25 minutes / By train: 45 minutes / By bus: 1h40
Leave England for Scotland, and spend the day in Edinburgh! Often described as one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Scotland as wonderful scenery made of stone constructions and medieval architecture.
If you’re a literature buff, Edinburgh is your destination. Indeed, so many famous writers are Scottish, and Edinburgh was named a UNESCO City of Literature. So visit places like the National Library of Scotland, the Museum of Writers, the Scottish Center of Story Telling, and many other libraries…
By train: 4h15
Like Oxford, Cambridge it’s worldwide recognized for its university. You can find the big campus in the center. But the city is also full of interesting museums, pubs, good restaurants, tasty street food and ancient buildings to admire. Don’t forget to relax in the green parks that face the riverside.
By car: 1h10 / By train: 45 minutes / By bus: 1h50
21- Downtown Abbey filming locations
Are you a fan of the hit tv-show Downtown Abbey? Then you should absolutely do a Downtown Abbey day trip, discovering all the spots where the show is filmed. Visit the rural town Bampton Village, the Blenheim Palace, and many other spots that you will recognize from the show.
Often overshadowed by the Stonehenge site, Avebury is another Neolithic henge monument, made of stone circles, displayed in a specific way. Visit the different highlights of the site by walking and make a stop at the National Trust hub that offers many facilities like a cafe, a picnic spot, toilets, and also sells tickets for the Avebury manor and museum.
By car: 1h35 / By train: 2h / By bus: 3h40
23- Lake District
See the wonderful plains of Lake District National Park. Witness U.K’s beautiful nature made of majestic mountains, relaxing lakes and abundant wildlife. Climb up those mountains as they offer incredible viewpoints. There are many hostels, guests houses, camping, and other accommodations. So consider spending more than one day in this amazing region, it as a lot of activities to offer!
By car: 5h10 / By train: 4h30
Come and enjoy the best seafood in the U.K at Whitstable, in Kent. This seaside town will give you a huge breath of fresh air if you’re coming from London. The town is perfect to visit by walking and do the visit by car will ruin the experience. At the end of the day, sit up at the beach, visit the charming beaches huts and admire a beautiful sunset over the sea.
By car: 1h10 / By train: 1h20 / By bus: 2h40
Brighton is a seaside resort town that worth the attention. Home of a lot of entertainment is hard to get bored in Brighton. Stroll on the beach and see the famous colored beach huts, and visit the main city spot, the Brighton Palace Pier, a pleasure pier with arcade games, roller coasters, shops, and many other attractions!
By car: 1h15 / By train: 1h / By bus: 2h20
26- The Cotswolds
Go for a day trip from London to see the Cotswolds and discover the rural area of England and Wales. Visit towns like Painswick or Bampton and see how life is in the U.K out of the big cities. Try local food made by local chefs, and buy a souvenir in an antique shop. The region is perfect for visiting by biking or hiking on sunny days as the towns are close to each other.
Mostly known for its White Cliffs, Dover as also a rich history and heritage that deserve your attention. Visit the Battle of Britain Memorial, the Dover Castle, the incredible Grand Shaft, or the new Banksy Mural, a huge graffiti of the famous masked artist. The city also offers lots of water-based activities.
The White Cliffs of Dover are a majestic natural element, a veritable icon in the U.K that has been a symbol of hope and freedom for a long time in British history. You should absolutely go for a walk at the top to enjoy the magnificent scenery!
By car: 1h30 / By train: 2h40 / By bus: 4h
Half-way between London and Edinburgh, consider to stop-over in this town if you go for a day trip in the Scottish capital. York has a unique looking architecture, inherited from Roman and Viking occupation in the past. The city is also a place of many museums and a famous racecourse. York was voted the best place to live in the U.K by the Sunday Times – a solid argument to encourage you to visit!
By car: 3h30 / By train: 1h40 / By bus: 5h20
Wonder how it’s like to live in a Dickens book? If so, go for a day trip in Rochester, a traditional English town that inspired Charles Dickens to use it as the set for some of his stories.
By car: 40 minutes / By train: 35 minutes / By bus: 2h
30- Mersea Island
Mersea is a small island in the U.K with a population of fewer than 7000 inhabitants. Mersea Island is the perfect place if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. The incredible view across the Blackwater Estuary will take your breath away. Walk around to discover the countryside and enjoy a picnic with your family.
By car: 1h15 / By train: 1h05
Enjoy a day trip from London in this little medieval town, one of the most well-preserved in the world. Visit the Ypres Tower, the Landgate, and the cottages and learn how was life in England during medieval times. The town also has some little shops and restaurants that provide local quality products.
By car: 1h30 / By train: 1h30 / By bus: 3h50
32- Eltham Palace
The unique architecture of this palace can only be described with one word, masterpiece. Indeed, originally constructed in a medieval Gothic style, the place was redecorated with aesthetic art at the beginning of the 20º century, creating a unique atmosphere.
By car: 20 minutes / By train: 40 minutes
Visit the welcoming capital city of Wales, a feel-good city with so many things to do! Go at the Millennium Centre to assist to an art show, hang out at the Cardiff Bay Barrage and take a boat to enjoy views of the city. You can also go visit the Norwegian Church and coffee, inherited from the industrial revolution when Norwegian sailors were in town, this church testifies the impact of multiculturalism in the city.
By car: 2h30 / By train: 2h / By bus: 3h35
34- Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight is an island with beautiful beaches where everything looks vintage, like the Steam Railway and his charming train. Have also an archaeological experience by visiting Compton Bay and Yaverland Beach where you can see Dinosaur remains and fossils.
Need to take a ferry in Portsmouth.
35- Thorpe Park
Come and have a thrilling ride on this extreme roller coasters. During summer, you can also go to the water-park, to get a fresh and adrenaline-fueled experience. If you’re braver, this theme-park also has a ghost train that will make you travel in a world of horror.
By car: 30 minutes / By train: 2h05 / By bus: 2h30
This seaside resort is the best way for a day trip full of fun out of London. Indeed, Blackpool its a hub of entertainment. You can either climb the 158 meters Blackpool Tower or go to the pier of pleasance, full of animations. At night, the city is enlightened by lots of bright lights, making it look like a little piece of Vegas.
By car: 4h / By train: 2h40
37- Whipsnade Zoo
Go for a day trip in this Zoo and Safari Park to see thousands of animal species, among them, some exotic beasts like leopards, lions, cheetahs, and rhino. The park is very careful about the preservation of the animals and their habitat, so the atmosphere and climate is very calm and soothing.
By car: 40 minutes / By train: 50 minutes
38- Cutty Sark
Come aboard on the Cutty Sark, this historical British clipper ship. Meet the crew, explore the boat and learn everything about its use in the 19º century. You can also enjoy a delicious meal on board. A truly great experience for sail lovers!
By car: 10 minutes / By train: 20 minutes
39- Scotney Castle
A stunning castle dating from the 13º century. The picturesque architecture and gardens will charm you, the castle looks straight out of a fairytale. Bring your picnic or enjoy a tea at the tea-room and live the ultimate British experience!
By car: 1h / By bus: 3h30
We hope that you liked our article about the best day trips from London! Please use the comment section if you have any question, doubt, or your own suggestions to make.
Enjoy your trip around the United-Kingdom 🙂