15 Best Day Trips from London

30 Jul, 2022

15 Best Day Trips from London

Jul 30, 2022

There are plenty of fun things to do in London. From trendy bars where you can sip on refreshing cocktails to charming outdoor markets where you can simply while away the hours, you’ll never get run out of things to do in this city.

But there are also some incredible day trips you can take within easy access to the capital. If you’re looking for a little adventure and some new sights to see, but don’t want to stray too far from London, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks for the best day trips from London. So grab your bag and get ready to explore!

1- Oxford

Day Trips from London: Oxford

Nestled in the heart of England, Oxford is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists visiting the UK.

However, this historic city has much to offer, from its world-famous university to its beautiful architecture.

Just a short day trip from London, Oxford is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a slower pace of life for a day. 

Why do we think Oxford is a day trip well worth taking from London? First and foremost, there are the Bodleian Libraries – a group of 28 libraries which includes the world-famous Bodleian Library. Harry Potter fans will recognise this name as it is one of the most popular Harry Potter locations in the UK.

Remember that scene when Harry sneaks into the Hogwarts library hidden underneath his invisibility cloak to find information about Nicholas Flamel? This scene was filmed in the Duke Humfrey’s Library, which is part of the Bodleian Libraries. Unfortunately, it is only accessible with a private guided tour.

Secondly, there is the Ashmolean Museum – one of the oldest museums in the world and home to an astonishing collection of art and artifacts. And then, of course, there are the colleges of Oxford University – including Christ Church, famous for its connection to Alice in Wonderland as well as the Harry Potter films. Not to be missed is a punt down the River Cherwell – just be sure to avoid getting wet! All in all, Oxford provides a day of fascinating sights and activities.

In addition to exploring the colleges of the University of Oxford, visitors can also stroll through the city’s quaint streets, visit one of its many museums, or simply relax in one of its many green spaces. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a peaceful place to spend a day, Oxford is sure to make you happy.

How far is Oxford from London? You can reach Oxford from London in 47 minutes

How to get there? Take a train from Paddington station

Is Oxford in the Oyster zone? No, Oxford is outside London and oyster cards cannot be used to go there.

Best-rated tours from London to Oxford:

Full day tour London to Oxford and Cotswolds

Full day tour from London to Harry Potter Studio and Oxford

Full day tour from London to Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds

2- Cambridge

Day Trips from London: Cambridge

Situated on the River Cam, Cambridge is a university city in eastern England. Famous for its centuries-old colleges and picturesque architecture, it is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

Despite its reputation as a tranquil academic retreat, Cambridge is also home to a lively nightlife scene and a variety of cultural attractions.

With its rich history and vibrant present, Cambridge is an endlessly fascinating place to explore.

There are many things to see and do in Cambridge despite its small size. Kings College Chapel is one of the most iconic and impressive buildings in the city, and the Fitzwilliam Museum is packed with over half a million pieces of artwork and artifacts from all over the world. 

And of course, there’s the River Cam, meandering through the city and providing a perfect spot for a leisurely punt.

Mathematical bridge is another popular tourist attraction, particularly for those with an interest in engineering. All in all, Cambridge is a wonderful place to visit and there’s plenty to see and do.

How far is Cambridge from London? You can reach Oxford from London in 54 minutes

How to get there? Take a train from Kings Cross or St Pancras

Is Cambridge in the Oyster zone? No, Cambridge is outside London and oyster cards cannot be used to go there.

Best-rated tours from London to Cambridge:

Cambridge day tour from London

Full day tour of Oxford and Cambridge

3- Hampton Court Palace

Day Trips from London:: Hampton Court Palace

For those looking for a day trip from London, the Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames is an excellent option.

This historic palace was once the home of King Henry VIII, and it boasts a wealth of intriguing artifacts and architecture.

Visitors can explore the grounds, take a tour of the stately rooms, and even see some of the king’s famous tapestries. 

Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the cardinal gave the palace to the king to appease his anger.

Many British monarchs including George II, George III and George IV resided there until 1837 when Queen Victoria moved to Buckingham Palace. 

Today Hampton Court is open to visitors all year around with guided tours available led by members of Historic Royal Palaces.

The Palace grounds include 60 acres of land which are home to over 500 deer. Best of all, the Hampton Court Palace is just a short train ride from London, making it the perfect escape from the city.

How far is Hampton Court from London? You can reach Hampton Court from London in 54 minutes

How to get there? Take a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court. They run every 30 minutes and also stop at Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Maldon, Berrylands, Surbiton, Thames Ditton

Is Hampton Court in the Oyster card zone? Yes, it is in zone 6

Best-rated tours from London to Hampton Court:

Full day tour of Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace

Full day tour of Oxford and Cambridge (private tour)

4- Brighton

Day Trips from London: Brighton

Brighton is a seaside town in the south of England, about an hour’s drive from London. It’s known for its beautiful sandy beaches, its lively nightlife and its Victorian architecture.

Brighton is a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer months. The town offers a refreshing change of pace.

With its lively atmosphere, Brighton is a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air.  The town has a long history, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon era. 

In recent years, Brighton has become known as a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community. It is home to many bars and clubs that cater to this community, as well as several annual Pride events.

The town is also home to a number of interesting attractions, including the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and the iconic Brighton Pier. 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday or a fun-filled city break, Brighton has something to offer everyone.

How far is Brighton from London? You can reach Brighton from London in 54 minutes

How to get there? Take the Gatwick Express from London Victoria Station

Is Brighton in the Oyster card zone? No, Brighton is outside London and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Brighton:

Full day tour of Brighton

5- Dover

Day Trips from London: Dover

If you’re looking for a charming place to spend a day, Dover is a great spot. This quaint town is located on the southern coast of England, and it’s known for its white cliffs and medieval castle.

Visitors can enjoy strolling through the streets of Dover, stopping in at the local shops, and taking in the stunning views from the top of the cliffs. 

There’s also plenty of history to explore in Dover, from its Roman origins to its role in WWII. And of course, no visit to Dover would be complete without sampling some of the local seafood.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, Dover has something for everyone.

How far is Dover from London? You can reach Dover from London in 1 hour and 48 minutes

How to get there? Take a train from London Bridge or St Pancras stations

Is Dover in the Oyster card zone? No, Dover is outside London and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Dover:

London: Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle, and White Cliffs

Canterbury, Dover Castle and Cliffs & Kent Villages

5- Canterbury

Day Trips from London: Canterbury

If you’re looking for a city with a long and rich history, Canterbury is the place for you. This English city has been occupied since prehistoric times, and it’s well known for its association with the Canterbury Tales.

Today, Canterbury is a popular tourist destination, and it’s easy to see why. 

This historic city is home to a number of medieval buildings and landmarks, including the iconic Canterbury Cathedral and St. Augustine’s Abbey.

Visitors can also explore the remains of the city’s medieval walls, or take a stroll through its beautiful gardens.

In addition, there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to enjoy, as well as a lively arts scene.

Of course, no visit to Canterbury would be complete without trying its famous hop-grown beer. So whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to enjoy a good pint, Canterbury is the perfect place to spend a day.

How far is Canterbury from London? You can reach Canterbury from London in 1 hour and 29 minutes

How to get there? Take a train from London Victoria

Is Canterbury in the Oyster card zone? No, Canterbury is outside London and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Canterbury:

London: Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle, and White Cliffs

Canterbury and Dover guided day tour from London

6- Stratford-upon-Avon

Day Trips from London: Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in Warwickshire, England, best known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

The town is situated on the River Avon, and its main attractions include the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

Every year, Stratford-upon-Avon plays host to the Stratford Literary Festival, which celebrates the work of Shakespeare and other writers from the region. 

The town is also home to a number of museums and art galleries, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants. Whether you’re a fan of Shakespeare or not, Stratford-upon-Avon is definitely worth a visit.

How far is Stratford-upon-Avon from London? You can reach Stratford-upon-Avon from London in 1 hour and 29 minutes

How to get there? To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London, you’ve to change your train at least once. One of the best options is to take a train from London Marylebone to Leamington Spa and another from Leamington Spa to Stratford-upon-Avon

Is Stratford-upon-Avon in the Oyster card zone? No, Stratford-upon-Avon is outside London and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Stratford-upon-Avon:

Shakespeare’s Stratford and Cotswolds tour

Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cotswolds and Warwick Castle

7- Chichester

Day Trips from London: Chichester

Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, England. It has a long and eventful history; the first cathedral was built in 1075, and the current one dates from the 12th century.

The city is also home to Pallant House, a world-famous art gallery with an outstanding collection of modern British art.

However, Chichester is perhaps best known for its picturesque streets and buildings; the city centre is filled with beautiful Georgian architecture, and many of the buildings are painted in pastel colours. In short,

Chichester is a delightful place to visit, and there is something to suit everyone.

How far is Chichester from London? You can reach Chichester from London in 1 hour and 30 minutes

How to get there? To get to Chichester from London, take a train from London Victoria

Is Chichester in the Oyster card zone? No, Chichester is outside London and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Chichester:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Chichester. However, you can travel to Chichester from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

8- Winchester

Day Trip from London: Winchester

Winchester is a city in southern England. It is the former capital of Wessex and of England, and was one of the largest cities in medieval Europe.

Today, it is a vibrant city with a rich history. Winchester is best known for its Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century and is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.

The Cathedral is home to the Winchester Bible, the oldest surviving complete Bible in England. This cathedral is also home to King Arthur’s Round Table, a 12th-century structure that was once used by the legendary king and his knights. 

The city is also home to Winchester College, one of the oldest schools in England. Founded in 1382, the college has educated some of Britain’s most famous writers and thinkers, including Arthur Conan Doyle, John Keats, and Oscar Wilde.

With so much to see and do, Winchester is a great place to visit for history buffs and culture lovers alike.

How far is Winchester from London? You can reach Winchester from London in 1 hour

How to get there? To get to Winchester from London, take a train from London Waterloo

Is Winchester in the Oyster card zone? Yes, Winchester is the Oyster zone

9- Cotswolds

Day Trips from London: Cotswolds

Looking for a day trip from London that will take you to some of England’s most beautiful countryside? Then consider a visit to the Cotswolds.

This picturesque region is renowned for its rolling hills, thatched cottages, and quaint villages. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some peace and quiet.

There are plenty of things to see and do in the Cotswolds, so you’ll never be bored. 

You can explore medieval castles, go hiking in the stunning countryside, or visit one of the many traditional pubs.

And, of course, no trip to the Cotswolds would be complete without browsing the local shops for some quintessentially English souvenirs. So if you’re looking for a day trip that’s full of charm and character, be sure to add the Cotswolds to your itinerary.

Here are some Cotswolds towns to visit: 

Bibury is a small town located in the heart of the Cotswolds. The town is home to a number of historic buildings, including Bibury Abbey, which was founded in the 12th century. Bibury is also home to a number of quaint shops and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring.

Chipping Campden is another picturesque Cotswold town. The town is best known for its picturesque market square, which is lined with unique shops and cafes. Chipping Campden is also home to a number of historic buildings, including the Grade I listed St. Michael’s Church.

Burford is a small town located on the edge of the Cotswolds. The town is home to a number of pretty riverside walks, as well as a number of independent shops and cafes. Burford is also home to Bilbury Abbey, making it the perfect place to explore both Bilbury’s history and its present day culture.

Cirencester is a large town located in the southern part of the Cotswolds. The town is home to a number of historic buildings, including the Roman Amphitheatre and Corinium Museum. Cirencester also has a lively market square, which hosts a number of markets throughout the week.

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Cotswolds. The town is best known for its series of canals, which run through the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water. The canals are lined with pretty shops and cafes, making Bourton-on-the-Water an ideal place to spend a day exploring.  

If you’re pressed for time, you can opt for a day tour from London instead of making the trip yourself.

How far is Cotswolds from London? Plan for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes depending on the village you choose

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London to Oxford or Morton-in-Marsh and take a bus for your onward journey

Is Cotswolds in the Oyster card zone? No, Cotswolds is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Cotswolds:

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

10- Bath

Day Trips from London: Bath

Day-trippers from London often flock to the city of Bath, and it’s easy to see why. Just a short train ride from the capital, Bath is a beautiful city with plenty to offer visitors.

Of course, the city is best known for its connection to Jane Austen, who lived here for a time and set several of her famous novels in Bath. But there’s much more to the city than just Austen-related sites. 

The Bath Abbey is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, and the Roman baths are a must-see for anyone interested in history.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in literature or simply enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of London, Bath is definitely worth a visit.

How far is Bath from London? It takes around 1 hour and 25 minutes to get to Bath from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Paddington

Is Bath in the Oyster card zone? No, Bath is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Bath:

Stonehenge and full afternoon in Bath

Bath day tours

11- Whitstable

Day Trips from London: Whitstable

If you’re looking for a day trip from London that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, then Whitstable in Kent is definitely worth a visit.

This charming seaside town is famous for its oysters, and you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy them fresh from the sea.

Whitstable also has a lovely beach, perfect for relaxing on a sunny day. And if you’re feeling active, there are plenty of walking and cycling routes to explore.

Just be sure to pack your camera, as there are plenty of picturesque views to capture.

How far is Whitstable from London? It takes around 1 hour and 21 minutes to get to Whitstable from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Victoria

Is Whitstable in the Oyster card zone? No, Whitstable is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Whitstable:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Whitstable. However, you can travel to Whitstable from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

12- Lewes

Day Trips from London: Lewes

If you’re looking for a day trip from London that’s a bit off the beaten path, Lewes in Sussex is a great option. This charming town is located just a short train ride from the city, and it’s full of interesting things to see and do.

For history buffs, there are plenty of fascinating sites to visit, including Lewes Castle – a Norman castle constructed after the battle of Hastings and the remains of Lewes Priory

If you prefer the outdoors, you can explore the South Downs National Park or take a hike up Mt. Caburn. And of course, no visit to Lewes would be complete without stopping by one of the town’s many pubs or cafes for a pint or a bite to eat.

So whether you’re looking for culture, history, or just a chance to get out into nature, Lewes is definitely worth a visit.

How far is Lewes from London? It takes a little over 1 hour to get to Lewes from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Victoria

Is Lewes in the Oyster card zone? No, Lewes is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Lewes:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Lewes. However, you can travel to Lewes from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

13- Colchester

Day Trips from London: Colchester

Colchester is a town in Essex, England. It is the oldest recorded town in Britain, and was once the capital of the Roman province of Britannia.

Today, Colchester is a thriving community with a rich history and plenty to see and do. The town centre is home to a variety of shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as a number of historic buildings. 

There are also several museums and art galleries, making Colchester an ideal destination for a day out.

And if you’re looking for something a bit different, why not visit the Colchester Zoo or take a ride on the Colchester Castle Park Railway? Whatever you’re looking for on your day away from London, you’re sure to find it in Colchester.

How far is Colchester from London? It takes a little over 1 hour to get to Colchester from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Liverpool Street station

Is Colchester in the Oyster card zone? No, Colchester is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Colchester:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Colchester. However, you can travel to Colchester from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

14- Margate

Day Trips from London: Margate

Margate is a seaside town in the county of Kent, England. It is situated on the coast, approximately 60 miles (97 km) east-southeast of London.

The town has a long history as a seaside resort, dating back to the Georgian era. It was famously frequented by author Virginia Woolf and painter J.M.W. Turner. 

In recent years, Margate has undergone something of a renaissance, with a growing number of artists and creative types moving to the town.

The result is a charming mix of old and new, with traditional seaside attractions sitting alongside hip cafes and galleries. Whether you’re looking for a traditional seaside holiday or something a little more alternative, Margate is definitely worth a visit.

How far is Margate from London? It takes a little over 1 hour to get to Margate from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Liverpool Street station

Is Margate in the Oyster card zone? No, Margate is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Margate:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Margate. However, you can travel to Margate from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

15- Bristol

Day Trips from London: Bristol

Bristol is a day trip from London that is well worth taking.  It is a city in the south-west of England, with a rich history and vibrant culture.

The city is home to a number of iconic landmarks, including the Bristol Cathedral, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain.

Bristol is also known for its strong maritime heritage, and it was even used as a filming location for the popular TV show, ‘Doctor Who’. 

Today, Bristol is a thriving metropolis, with a diverse range of businesses and attractions. The city is also home to a number of world-renowned universities, making it an important centre for education.

Whether you’re visiting Bristol for its history or its contemporary culture, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

If you’re looking for something more active, there are plenty of green spaces to explore, or you can take a boat trip on the River Avon. Whatever you do, you’re sure to have a great day in Bristol.

How far is Bristol from London? It takes 1 hour and 33 minutes to get to Bristol from London

How to get there? You’d have to take a train from London Paddington station

Is Bristol in the Oyster card zone? No, Bristol is outside the Oyster zone and Oyster cards cannot be used to go there

Best-rated tours from London to Bristol:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guided tours that can take you from London to Bristol. However, you can travel to Bristol from London on your own and book a local guided tour.

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