10 Amazing Day Trips From London

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and is one of the Queen’s three official residences.  Open year round and just an hour out of the city, Windsor Castle is easy to visit on your own.

Highlights include St George’s Chapel, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the State Apartments, and of course the 11am changing of the guard.

How to get to Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is only a 30 minute train ride away from downtown London.  There are regular trains leaving from both Waterloo and Paddington stations for under £20.

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Stonehenge

Two hours west is the 5000 year old architectural wonder called Stonehenge.  No one knows for sure how this prehistoric circle of stones came to be but it draws millions of tourists each year.

Along with the circle of stones there is also a visitor center with over 250 ancient objects dating back to the Neolithic era.

How to get to Stonehenge

While there are tour groups that will take you to Stonehenge, you can get there on your own via train from Waterloo station.
The 2 hour train ride takes you to the town of Salisbury.  From there, hop on a Salisbury Red shuttle bus to get to the site.

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Bath

Also a couple hours west of London is the small city of Bath.  This city, known for it’s magnificent natural thermal springs, was founded by the Romans as a spa retreat.

Nowadays it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southwest England.  Take some time to walk the streets and admire the Georgian architecture before heading over to the Thermae Bath Spa located on a rooftop overlooking the city.

How to get to Bath

Take the train from London's Paddington Station.  The trains leave every 30 minutes and take about 90 minutes to get to Bath.

Brighton

Just an hour south by train is the seaside resort city of Brighton.  Millions of visitors a year come to the south coast to enjoy its diverse community along with its large cultural music and arts scene.

Spend a day shopping, having a casual lunch, exploring the arts or lying on the beach.  Better yet, spend the night and take in the eclectic live music venues.

Brighton also has a large LGBT population and has been given the moniker of the unofficial gay capital of the UK.

How to get to Brighton

Brighton is located about an hour south of London. Trains for Brighton leave every 15 minutes from  major stations like London Victoria Station, Gatwick, and St. Pancras.

Oxford

Two hours in the other direction is the world renowned city of Oxford.

Come here and visit the oldest university in the English speaking world and home to over 20,000 students.  You’ll also find many museums, galleries and collections on and around the campus.

Although the city center itself is small it still has many shops and stunning historic buildings to see.

How to get to Oxford

Oxford is about 90 minutes northwest of London and you can catch one of the regular trains from Paddington Station.  Trains depart every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 60 minutes.
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Cambridge

Another world class university town to visit in the tiny city of Cambridge an hour north of London.  Naturally the city has many similarities to their rival Oxford however you’ll likely find Cambridge to be more peaceful with fewer cars and more green space.

You should, or course, take a walking tour of the university campus but also take some time to have some tea, visit the King’s Chapel and walk down by the river.

How to get to Cambridge

Trains depart from either London's Kings Cross or Liverpool Street train stations and arrive at Cambridge train station after approximately 45 minutes of traveling.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh up north in Scotland isn’t typically what you would think of as a day trip destination from London.  However, thanks to discount airlines offering ridiculously cheap fares, taking a short flight in the morning and another one back in the evening is a great way to see other parts of the UK.

Learn about the grand history of the city by taking a free walking tour through the cobblestone streets and visiting the Edinburgh Castle.  Also, don’t forget to try some genuine Scottish Whisky and if you’re really adventurous try some haggis for lunch.

How to get to Edinburgh

Catch an early flight on one of the discount airlines and return later that evening.  The flight only takes just over an hour and that will leave you with quite a bit of time to explore the city.

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Paris

Another day trip from London that wouldn’t naturally come to mind is a trip to Paris.  Yes, a day trip to another country is entirely possible!

The high speed train Eurostar cuts the distance between the countries to just two hours so you can leave in the morning and come back at night.

How to get to Paris

Once again, catch an early morning flight into Paris and return that same evening.  The flight takes about 90 minutes and that will leave you with plenty of time to wander about the city.

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Canterbury

Back in England, an hour or so east is the quaint city of Canterbury.  Made famous by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this university city has some of the country’s finest medieval architecture including one of its oldest cathedrals.

Visit the Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church and make time for the nearby Herne Bay where you can surround yourself in the beautiful English countryside.

How to get to Canterbury

London to Canterbury by train takes around 90 minutes.  Most of London’s popular stations have several trains leaving for Canterbury every day.

The Cotswolds

Speaking of beautiful English countryside, take a car or book a tour out of London and make your way to the area of the West Midlands known as the Cotswolds.

Among the rolling hills and beautiful meadows are quintessential English villages, lively markets, castles and country houses.

Take your time as there’s alot to see and the peace and quiet of the countryside will make it hard to return to the big city.

How to get to The Cotswolds

While you can get out to the Cotswolds by train, it will be hard to get around the villages without transportation which means you'll have to book a tour.
You can either book a tour from London or save some money by taking the train there and booking a local tour instead.

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