We all love a good day trip from London. But how would you make a selection from all the options you’ve got?
London is no stranger to day trip locations that are ripe for exploration by both car and train. But all that exploring on Trip Advisor has gotten you nowhere.
So, if you’re reading this article then chances are you in need of some day-trip ideas round London. We will separate our ideas into two categories – by car and by train. We hope you like them.
London Day Trips By Car
The first day trip on our list is one that spans across multiple counties. But this one is farther north than what you might expect. To make the trip, you will need to spend round 2 hours of driving back and forth.
However, we believe that it is completely worth it. Cotsworlds covers nearly two thousand square kilometres. So naturally, there are plenty of stuff to do to make the most out of your day trip.
For example, you can visit the magnificent Castle Combe, take a stroll round the Royal Gardens at Highgrove, explore Cotsworld Wildlife Park and lots of others.
People don’t prefer taking a train to see Stonehenge. And you’ll either love it or really find it boring. But regardless, we believe that Stonehenge is a place of historical relevance, mystery, and something that every Englishman should visit.
But what is Stonehenge? Well, unless you happened to live under a rock, Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site and one of the few wonders of the world. Thus, its importance to the English people cannot be overestimated.
While there, you can see the magnificence of the large stones that make up the site, visit one of the Neolithic houses, and even do all that while listening to a virtual tour guide.
Stonehenge is a 2-hour trip from London, so use your time wisely.
One of the finest day trips you’ll ever take is a trip to Burghley House. It would be a complete travesty to take the train up to Cambridgeshire to visit the stunning 16th-century country house. Instead, we suggest you pack your bags and get there by car.
Why? Well, Cambridgeshire is amazing this time of the year, and you’ll see plenty of greenery as you drive. It is quite a lengthy trip, 2 hours to be precise, but the stunning Brughley House makes it all worth it.
In addition, you could also visit the neighbouring town of Stamford to complete your day trip.
Sissinghurst Castle is south in Kent which makes for a somewhat shorter trip. You’ll need to allocate round an hour and a half to get to the castle and the ride is quite pleasant.
The reason why Sissinghurst Castle should be on your list is because of the amazing gardens. Here, you can find flowers in all shapes, sizes and colours. Also, the incredible flower beds make for a nice picnic and a great day trip.
We suggest you visit Sissinghurst Castle in the spring or summer when the flowers are blooming or have fully bloomed.
If you’re looking for a day trip that has a bit of everything, then the town of Petworth is perfect for it. The town is quite the unusual one, hence why people from London frequently visit.
You can visit one of the local pubs or shops to satisfy your entertainment needs, or you could go to one of the many amazing art galleries. To see one of these, we recommend Pethworth House. Not only will you get the chance to see some amazing art display but also a very famous garden. This garden was designed by 18th-century architect Lancelot Brown.
The first day trip that involves the seaside, Camber Sands is a 2 hour drive to Rye that will satisfy your needs for rest and relaxation. The famous beach in East Sussex is very close to one of England’s most unique and prettiest towns.
The town of Rye is quite the eye-catcher and you might want to consider booking an additional day just to see it in its full glory. Camber Sands, on the other hand, makes for a romantic day trip at the beach; and one that you won’t forget.
Don’t let the name fool you; Leeds Castle isn’t located in Leeds but in Kent. And if the name did fool you, we hope you didn’t take a wrong turn when driving up to the castle.
Leeds Castle is considered as one of the best-looking castles in the whole of England. The reason for it isn’t the overly tall walls or the magnificence of the castle, but the striking historic charm and the lake that the castle was built on.
It’s safe to say that you can enjoy a bit of both by taking a day trip to Leeds Castle. The trip is a relatively short hour and 15 minute drive from London.
Blenheim Palace is quite close to London and even closer to Oxford. The Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and one of the most famous palaces in the whole of England.
The reason why you should drive here for a day trip is the fact that there is plenty to see and plenty to do. You can walk through the historic mansion and see how royalties used to live.
Or you can take a stroll through the magnificent gardens. These gardens are known as Formal Gardens and have plenty of flowers and trees for you to examine. There is also a tree maze that you can get lost in.
Yet another castle on this list and this time a more famous than the previous one? Why is that? Well, that’s because Downton Abbey was filmed right here in this very castle.
While the location has featured in more than one show throughout its lifetime, it’s still quite impressive. Highclere Castle is one of the best day trips from London by car as is giving you the chance to see the English countryside.
You can see what’s inside and what’s outside the castle. If you go inside, then you will see what’s it like to live like royalty. There is plenty to do on the outside as well. The gardens make for a splendid day trip and one that you won’t forget.
This is yet another London day trip by car as it gives you plenty to see as you make your way to the Kentish fortress. The castle itself is surrounded by a deep moat, which made it quite hard to siege back in medieval times.
This is the castle where Anne Boleyn spent most of her childhood, and we all know some of her splendid memories of the place. From huge fountains to even bigger gardens and a tremendous amount of history to explore, Hever Castle should be high on your list of potential London day trips by car.
London Day Trips By Train
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best London day trips you can take by train.
Cambridge has to be up there as one of the best day trips from London by train. Not only can you get there from multiple London train stations, but you will arrive in less than an hour!
Cambridge is one of the world’s most famous university towns and one that has a rich history, stunning architecture and lavishing culture. There is plenty to do here. Apart from visiting Cambridge University, you can take a walk through the colourful streets, enjoy the pubs, and enjoy plenty of activities on the River Cam.
In addition to Cambridge, Oxford is yet another university town that rivals Cambridge are academic accomplishments. Some of the most famous Oxonians include Stephen Hawking, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, J.R.R. Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, and many more.
Oxford is just as beautiful and stunning as Cambridge. It is one of the best places for a day trip from London by train as it only an hour ride. And like its rival, there are multiple train stations across London that can take you there.
At Oxford, you can visit the world-famous University of Oxford, punt on the River Cherwell, visit many of the historic towers such as Carfax Tower, spend a day at the famous Oxford Botanic Gardens and lots more.
Brighton makes for a perfect day trip by train as it is one of the most visited cities in the whole of England. Lots of Londoners frequently travel to the city for a weekend at the beach.
Brighton is very easily accessible from London as multiple rails make the journey. The journey is no less than an hour, and you’ll be enjoying the beaches of Brighton in no time.
There’s also plenty to do apart from a day at the beach. You can enjoy the famous pleasure palace, shop for interesting items on the boardwalk, visit the amusement park and lots more.
Winchester is known for being a historic town in the county of Hampshire. The Winchester Castle is world-famous for housing King Arthur and his knight of the round table.
But there is so much more to do here. With only a hour ride by rail and multiple stations across London making the trip, Winchester is perfect for a day trip.
Not only are there plenty of historic sites and heritages, but there are also gardens, river walks, medieval shops and exhibitions, and plenty of others activities.
It can be hard to persuade yourself to make the journey back to London.
Dover and the White Cliffs of Dover are a symbol of English strength, resilience, and prosperity.
The coastal town is quite the day trip Londoners like to take as there is plenty to do here. It’s only an hour by train and plenty of stations can take you there. However, Dover did have a mention in our previous section – London day trips by car.
Namely, in that section, we gave Dover Castle a mention. Dover Castle lies at the heart of the coastal town. But there is so much more to do here than only visit the castle.
For example, you could visit the Roman Lighthouse, the many tunnels that served a vital role in World War 2, and the quite famous Anglo-Saxon Church. Safe to say that a day trip to Dover is possible by both car and rail.
If Dover faces the English Channel, then Whitstable faces the North Sea. Whitstable lies just off Canterbury and is an hour and 15-minute ride by rail. Like with any other day trip location on this list, multiple train stations make the journey.
Whitstable has some of the best seafood in the whole of England. The place is known for its annual oyster festival, beautiful beaches, and amazing street food.
Truly speaking, you will have plenty of fun on your day trip to Whitstable.
The city that foreigners have a pretty hard time pronouncing, Leicester might be 125 miles of London, but you’ll get therein just under an hour by train.
And don’t think you’ll have to wait that long for a train either. A train departs for Leicester every 30 minutes or so. The city is famous for its football club – Leicester City – that won the Barclays Premier League in 2015.
But apart from footy, the city has an abundance of historic treasures all waiting for you to discover. One of the more famous ones includes Richard III’s burial site, Roman ruins, the National Space Center, Leicester Cathedral, and plenty more.
You can also spend the day at Abbey Park, take a walk through King Power Stadium, and enjoy the gardens at Newarke House Museum.
40 miles West of Leicester lie the much bigger city of Birmingham. Birmingham doesn’t have as successful football club as Leicester, but it does have so much more to offer.
Although Birmingham isn’t as interesting a day trip destination as Leicester, it is pretty easily accessible by rail. But none the less, Birmingham has plenty of attractions. From historic landmarks, sites, and architecture, to galleries, museums, and colorful market, Birmingham has it all when it comes to a quality day trip.
Birmingham is also where BBC’s BAFTA award winning series Peaky Blinders took place.
Margate is the third seaside town on this list and one that is just as easily accessible from London by train. The town, like Whitstable, is located on the Kentish coast and it will take you round an hour to get there.
Unlike Whitstable, Margate is somewhat bigger and offers more activities to make your day trip a blast. The town is famous for its style, which mostly resembles East London style but this time it’s combined with the seaside. There is a famous amusement park that you can visit, colourful streets that have plenty of vintage shops, and is generally a very hipster place.
Not grabbing a tea at Margate is a mistake you do not want to make.
Bath is the last destination on our London day trips by train list and one that definitely is worth your time. If you go west of Oxford, you will find Bath.
A train to Bath takes an hour and 20 minutes, but the city is quite easily accessible. What you would want to do here is sample the Roman architecture that’s characteristic of the city. From the host of Roman buildings that exist, the Roman Spa is one you should visit.
Apart from the Roman things to do, there are plenty of gardens, bridges, and natural beauty that surrounds the city.
When Taking a Train…
Always check the train times before you head to the station. This will save you plenty of time and help you easily plan your day trip. In addition, try and book train tickets as earlier as possible as they can be quite cheap if you book in advance.