London is truly a fabulous city. Bustling with life and full of attractions, it is easy to see why people easily fall in love with London.
Not only are all of these great attractions available to you, but if you have more than 3 days in London, then you should really consider taking one of the incredible day trips from London that we have for you!
Of course, if you have more time to explore the English countryside you can always explore England road trip ideas as well. Honestly, this area just has so much beauty and history, it’s hard to choose!
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15 Incredible Day Trips From London
Submitted by Ann from The Road is Life
Tucked away in the countryside of East Sussex is the picturesque scene of Bodiam Castle surrounded by a large moat. Arriving at this castle in its romantic setting immediately makes you feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time.
If you’re looking to escape London for a day, a visit to Bodiam castle makes a great day out in the English countryside.
Built in the 14th century by one of King Edward III’s Knights, the castle’s original purpose was to protect the area from French invasions during the Hundred Years War.
Although Bodiam Castle appears to be in good condition from the outside, the interior had been left neglected over the years and has fallen to ruins. It is still open to the public and you are able to climb the spiral staircase to get a beautiful landscape view from the top of the tower.
Throughout the year, Bodiam Castle holds many seasonal events like the British Wildlife Photography Exhibition, Christmas Lunch, candlelit stories, ancient archery, and many more.
You can find more information about what’s on at Bodiam Castle here.
To reach the castle from London by train, you’ll have to catch the Southeastern train service from London Bridge Station toward Hastings. Get off at Battle Station and then take a taxi from there to Bodiam Castle.
There is a taxi rank at the train station and it takes about 15 minutes to reach the castle from there, making Bodiam Castle one of the great day trips from London.
Submitted by Sydney from A World in Reach
Stonehenge is one of the most popular day trips from London for a good reason. As one of the most prehistoric monuments in the world, Stonehenge is on many travelers’ bucket lists.
Stonehenge can be visited from London via public transportation, driving, or a guided tour. There are numerous guided tours that visit Stonehenge on a day trip from London; some also combine with popular area attractions such as Windsor Castle or the city of Bath.
If you’re wishing to visit Stonehenge on a budget, going via public transportation will be your best bet. Getting to Stonehenge from London is simple: simply take the South Western Railway line from London Waterloo Stations to Salisbury. From there, purchase a ticket for Stonehenge Tour Bus, which will take you directly to the site.
You can choose to buy either a pass for the bus only or on which includes admission to Stonehenge and other area attractions.
Once you arrive at the visitor’s center, take some time to explore the fascinating museum at the center. After learning a bit more about the history of Stonehenge, hop on the shuttle to the Stone Circle.
Knowing more about the history of the circle will make your time spent at Stonehenge much more worthwhile.
Submitted by Rachel with From East to West With RMS
One of the easiest, quickest, and most picturesque day trips from London is Windsor Castle.
Windsor is one of the most well-known castles in the world and is absolutely worth a trip when traveling to London solo or with friends or family.
Windsor Castle is one of the royal residences in the United Kingdom and is the oldest and most occupied castle in the entire world, which is why it deserves a visit.
Windsor is just less than an hour direct train ride from London which makes it super accessible and the day trip from London- you can even do it in a half-day. There are direct trains that run from London’s Waterloo and Paddington train stations and run quite frequently daily.
Windsor is not just for the castle though, you can go to high tea and shopping in the town surrounding the castle. The castle has exhibition tours and different activities to cater to anyone’s preference when visiting.
Don’t miss the Alexandra Gardens inside the castle grounds as well. The grounds of the castle are so well-maintained and breathtaking and offer a breath of fresh air outside of the massive, bustling city of London for a day.
There are numerous guided tours to Windsor if you are interested in kicking back and letting someone else do all of the work and planning for you.
Submitted by Liza from
One of the greatest places to visit on a day trip from London is Cotswolds.
Cotswolds is an AONB (stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and it’s all about the idyllic countryside, picturesque villages, and beautiful landscapes.
If you want to explore everything in Cotswolds, one day wouldn’t be enough, however, if you want to see the main highlights and the most beautiful places, then you can definitely do it.
The best way to visit Cotswolds is by hiring a car (preferably in Heathrow) and exploring the area on a 1-day road trip around Cotswolds.
A drive from London to Cirencester takes around 2 hours. If you don’t want to hire a car, you can reach Cirencester by bus or train, however, from there, it will be problematic to explore individual villages.
Another option is to take a guided tour from London, allowing you to enjoy the day while someone else does all of the work for you.
Some of the main highlights to see in Cotswolds: Cirencester – an old medieval market town with pretty colorful houses; a stunning Botanic garden Westonbirt Arboretum; beautiful Castle Combe and the prettiest village in England called Bibury.
Finally, you can also visit the Slaughters (despite the name, these are two lovely villages) and a town called Bourton on the Water with plenty of small photogenic bridges.
If you still have time left, head to Stratford-upon-Avon – the birthplace of William Shakespeare and a stunning city.
Harry Potter Studios
Submitted by Kris from Nomad by Trade
The Harry Potter Studio Tour at the Warner Brothers Studios has become one of the top tourist attractions in the London area. It takes between 1-2 hours to get there depending on where in London you’re traveling from and what time of day you’re going.
You’ll definitely want to book your tickets in advance as they do sell out.
Once you’re inside, you’ll get to walk through some of the most famous sets from the film.
The Hogwarts Great Hall is one of the most popular ones and it really does feel like you’re in the movies – and as a bonus, during the Christmas season, it’s decorated for the holidays. You’ll also get to see the Gryffindor Common Room, the Weasleys’ house, Gringotts Bank, and Hagrid’s hut.
There’s also a walkthrough of the Forbidden Forest where you get to meet some of the giant spiders used for filming and learn how they created Harry’s Patronus in the films.
At the midpoint, there’s a food area where you can take a break and sample some butterbeer or have lunch.
While most of the tour is indoors, there is an outdoor area where you can see the exterior of the Potters’ destroyed house, peek into the Dursleys’ house, and walk through the crooked Hogwarts bridge. In 2019, the elaborately decorated Gringotts bank lobby was added and it’s truly impressive.
This is just one of the many cool Harry Potter Experiences in the UK. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, don’t worry, you have lots of options!
Of course, you can always book a guided tour from London if you are so inclined. Here are our recommendations.
Submitted by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
A visit to Cambridge would not be complete without seeing Cambridge University, which was founded back in 2019. It’s the second oldest university in the English speaking world!
I suggest you try to visit at least one of the University’s 31 colleges. My favorites are King’s College, St. John’s, and Trinity College. Visit King’s College to see the Chapel which has stunning stained glass.
At Trinity College, don’t miss the Wren Library, designed by Christopher Wren, the architect behind St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Additionally, the University has eight museums that are open to the public and are always free. My favorites are the Fitzwilliam and the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Fitzwilliam has a diverse collection, almost like a smaller version of the British Museum.
If you are lucky enough to get nice weather for your day trip to Cambridge, you must try punting on the Cam River.
Punting uses a boat similar to a gondola, where you stand on the back to paddle, but uses a pole instead of an oar. If you’re not brave enough to attempt it on your own, you can hire someone else to do the punting or go on a punting tour through the lovely area known as The Backs.
Cambridge is a picturesque city that has something for everyone whether you are interested in history, art, or adventure. Since it’s only an hour train ride from London to Cambridge and the main attractions are within walking distance of the train station, you can easily see why Cambridge made our list of day trips from London.
There are several guided tours to Cambridge from London that you can partake in if you choose.
Submitted by Dagney from Cultura Obscura
Norwich makes a wonderful day or weekend trip from London. It is a direct train from London Liverpool Street, which takes 90 – 120 minutes. (The bus is a bit cheaper, but double the time.)
One of the reasons the city makes a great day trip from London is because many of the things to do in Norwich are quite close together. This makes it easy to see the major sites in a day as they are within walking distance of each other.
Some of these sites include the Norwich Cathedral, which has the second-largest spire in England (after Salisbury). While you’re there, try to spot the peregrines that live in the spire.
The Norwich Castle might not look all that impressive from the outside, but it is one of the oldest castles in the country and deceptively large on the inside.
Norwich was once the most important city in England outside of London, as the English textile trade was run entirely out of the city. Visitors can learn more about the city’s fascinating history at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.
The museum covers important historical events that happened within the city, as well as products made there, like Coleman’s Mustard.
For history buffs, Norwich boasts the largest flint wall in Europe, one of the oldest streets in Europe and was home to the first female author to be published in English.
If you want to head somewhere unique, Norwich should definitely be on your list of day trips from London.
Submitted by Michael from Time Travel Turtle
Blenheim Palace is one of England’s grandest private homes and is the only non-royal house outside of the country’s main cities to hold the title of ‘palace’.
It was built at the beginning of the 1700s and has been owned by the same family ever since, passed down the generations to the next Duke of Marlborough.
It was made a World Heritage Site in 1987 because of its architecture and the large landscaped park that surrounds it.
When you explore the inside of the building, you’ll see that it has taken inspiration from the grandeur of the great European palaces but still managed to make the house feel natural and homely.
The gardens are just as impressive and, after they were constructed, had a huge influence on the English Romantic movement.
As a bit of trivia, it’s said that Adolf Hitler wanted to make Blenheim Palace his official residence when conquered England. This was probably, in a large part, because it was the birthplace of his rival, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The history of the Churchills is one of the things you’ll learn about when you visit Blenheim Palace.
The palace is just 13 kilometers outside of Oxford and so, although it is certainly worth a day trip on its own, it can also be combined with a visit to the university city.
It takes about an hour by train from London Paddington to Oxford. From there, catch the S3 bus to Woodstock, which stops outside the Blenheim Palace gates, or choose a guided tour from London so you can kick back and relax.
Submitted by Daniel from Layer Culture
When thinking about day trips from London you have many options to choose from. One city that you may not want to miss though is Sheffield.
Located in South Yorkshire, Sheffield is the fourth largest city in England and one of the greenest in Europe. The city has some great attractions for any newcomer, especially for those that love the outdoors.
With places like Winter Gardens and the Kelham Museum, you can easily walk around for the best part of a day marveling at the attractions.
Sheffield is more famously known for independent shops and the local produce that you can find here. From St Pancras railway station in London, you can take a two-hour train ride which will drop you right in the heart of the city, so no need to walk far to reach Sheffield’s most popular attractions.
If you are traveling outside of the summer season, remember it can get cold during the day and more so in the evenings, so carry a warm jacket to keep yourself insulated for those chilly days.
All in all, Sheffield is a friendly city to visit in the north of England if you fancy connecting with a slower pace of British life outside of London.
Submitted by Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
Canterbury has been welcoming visitors from all over the UK and beyond for nearly a thousand years.
First built in 1077 AD, the Canterbury Cathedral became a major pilgrimage site about 100 years later when Thomas Becket was murdered inside.
The journey here from London was even the inspiration for one of the greatest works of English literature, the Canterbury Tales. This book is actually a collection of stories supposedly told by pilgrims in a kind of storytelling competition that they used to pass the time while traveling.
While the Cathedral is not the only thing worth seeing in Canterbury, it will likely be the highlight of your trip.
When you’re inside, you’ll probably spend most of your time looking up in awe at the impossibly high vaulted arches. But don’t forget to also visit the frescoed chapel in an underground crypt, as well as the peaceful cloister.
Other worthwhile sights around town include St. Augustine’s Abbey, St. Martin’s Church, and the West Gate Tower, which is the only gate of the medieval city walls that are left standing.
If the weather is not great, a wander through the indoor farmer’s market at The Goods Shed is a good way to pass the time while staying dry. You could also grab lunch there, or head to my favorite local pub, the Lady Luck. This Canterbury favorite offers lots of vegan dishes as well as the more standard pub fare.
Getting here is quick and easy, with trains making the journey from St. Pancras station in London to Canterbury West station in a little less than an hour.
And the historic part of town is small and compact, so you can easily explore it on foot, making Canterbury one of the best day trips from London.
If you would like a guided tour from London, check out these options.
Submitted by Holly from Four Around the World
Bath is easily one of the most beautiful day trips from London that you can take.
With it located just 115 miles away, the trip will take you between 1.5 to 2.5 hours to arrive, depending on your mode of transport. Self-drive is the fastest option, however, there are also trains, buses or guided day trips available too. Getting from London to Bath is quite easy, really.
We visited as part of a day trip that also took us to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, but Bath was by far our favorite!
The must-do experience to have when visiting Bath is a visit to the Roman Baths. This well-preserved part of history will take you back in time to Roman Brittain as you tour the various areas and learn how the bathhouse functioned.
While you cannot swim in the Roman Baths, you can enjoy a similar experience at Thermae Bath Spa. Here you can enjoy spa treatments and the healing properties of soaking in thermal pools.
The city of Bath itself is a beautiful place with well-maintained gardens and impressive Georgian architecture. Get some fresh air exploring one of the many gardens and parks around the city.
For incredible views, take the 212 stairs up Bath Abbey Tower and see beyond the clock tower. The Bath Skyline Walk is another fun experience to have, taking you through valleys and woodlands and giving unique city views.
White Cliffs of Dover
Submitted by Jaclyn from Your Travel Spark
The White Cliffs of Dover are an iconic site on the coast of the English Channel, and one of the easiest day trips from London. Dover itself is an interesting town, as a cruise port and an important piece of World World II history.
While visiting the town, you can see Dover Castle and the pieces of military buildings and weapons still in place overlooking the water. You can also see the number of cruise ships and ferries making their way to France and other parts of Europe.
The White Cliffs of Dover are such a great place to visit while in town.
The White Cliffs have been featured in a number of songs and literature, including King Lear by William Shakespeare. The cliffs themselves are made of a chalk-like material, and you will see small rocks dotting the land while you are visiting.
Dover is just about 75 miles from London, making it an easy trip under two hours.
To get there, you will take the A2 out of London all the way to Dover (it will briefly turn into the M2 but will turn back into the A2 before you get to Dover). From there, trust Google Maps.
When we went, we felt like it was taking us down an abandoned road with no other cars in sight, but we eventually got there. There were not many other visitors, probably due to their lack of visibility from the road.
Of course, if you prefer, you could always take a guided tour to get to Dover.
Because England is such a small country, we rented a car from London and actually visited the White Cliffs, Stonehenge, and Windsor all in one day. If you are in the country, the White Cliffs of Dover are an important day trip you should definitely take.
Submitted by Sarah from Borders and Bucketlists
Brighton is one of the most underrated day trips from London. If you’re looking to take a break from the bustling city and enjoy a day by the water, Brighton is definitely the place to go.
Plus, it’s easy to access, as there are several trains going from London to Brighton each day.
First of all, you have to check out the Brighton Palace Pier. It’s a great place to enjoy the fresh ocean breeze and perhaps even play a couple of games at the arcade. (The tickets that you win make for a pretty cool souvenir!)
For lunch, fish and chips is a must. Harry Ramsden’s is just steps away from the pier, but Bardley’s Fish & Chips is a local favorite, so take your pick!
Then, take a stroll around “The Lanes.” The lanes are the quirky and cool streets all around Brighton that are filled with record stores, trendy cafes, and vintage shops. Visitors and locals alike can spend hours roaming through these streets.
Eventually, while walking around this trendy area, you’ll pass one of the two BOHO Gelato locations in the town.
Stop for a scoop of a bizarre, yet tasty gelato flavor! The flavor options are constantly changing, and sometimes they are different between the two stores in Brighton!
Some of their past special flavors have included La Choza (hibiscus and tequila), Popping Candy Firework, and The Flour Pot Bakery (salted caramel and honeycomb doughnuts). Depending on how cold it is, consider going for a nice stroll as you devour your delicious gelato.
By the time your day in Brighton is done, both your heart and your tummy will be satisfied.
Submitted by Nicole from Nicole LeBarge Travel Blog
Anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey will be able to recognize Highclere Castle as the Downton Abbey. Even if the show is fictional the ‘Abbey’ is real and is known as Highclere Castle.
Highclere Castle is located an hour from London in Hampshire. You can visit the house and garden during the summer months and during special events throughout the year.
The original building was built in the 1600 and then Highclere, as we know it today, was built in the 19th century in the Jacobethan style. The estate is over 5000 acres and looks exactly like it does on TV.
There is also an Egyptian museum on the grounds. The 5th Earl was an Egyptologist and discovered many artifacts that can be seen here today.
Visiting Highclere Castle makes for a fun, easy day trip from London, and one of the fabulous castles near London.
There are numerous guided tours to Highclere making it a relaxing day trip from London.
Submitted by Rose from Where Goes Rose
One of the best day trips from London is the scenic city of Oxford.
It’s a city that’s easily visitable during a day trip: the train from Paddington takes just 1 hour and the Oxford city center is small and walkable.
Many of the buildings in Oxford date back 600 years making it a great place for history lovers. Many of the Oxford University colleges are open to the public (and some are even free).
Grab a coffee and stroll the leafy quads and grounds, some of which include quirky features like bright red English phone boxes and even herds of wild deer.
Harry Potter fans visiting Oxford will also be in their element. The Christ Church College dining hall is thought to be the movie inspiration for Hogwarts Great Hall and parts of the series were filmed in the nearby grand stairway.
New College, St Humfrey’s Library, and the Divinity School were also used for filming.
Other things to do in Oxford include visiting the impressive Radcliffe Camera, walking under the Bridge of Sighs, and climbing the University Church of St Mary the Virgin on High Street for the best panoramic view in town.
Don’t forget to wander through the Covered Market and support the local businesses inside. Here you can eat Moroccan, Thai or traditional English food. Tuck into a hearty pie with mushy peas and gravy for the full experience!
If you would like to book a guided tour from London, there are several to choose from so one is likely to be just what you want!
Final Thoughts on Day Trips from London
As we said, London is a fascinating city that we fell in love with, but if you are spending several days in London, then it is nice to escape the hustle and bustle for a little while.
We know that one of these incredible day trips from London will be right up your alley.
Comment below and let us know which one you have done or which one you are looking most forward to.