• 21 January 2020

London is England’s most cosmopolitan capital and has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With a fast-paced appeal and round-the-clock entertainment, it has something to entice every type of traveller. 

However, if you’re spending more than three days in the city, there are so many fascinating places to visit near London, too. If you have some extra time, take the opportunity to tour more of Great Britain by taking a day trip. 

With England’s accessible public transportation and easily navigable roads, you’ll be in the perfect location to do some out-of-city exploration. If you’re looking for an exciting change of scenery when you visit, here are the 10 best day trips from London. 

Big Ben, London
Big Ben, London
1. Bath

The city of Bath is one of the most popular day trips out of London, and it’s just 90 minutes from London by train. This quaint town is known for its natural hot springs and many incredible examples of Georgian architecture. 

It offers a host of amazing activities. Visit Bath Abbey and see the stunning, stained glass windows and detailed architecture. Stroll along the 18th-century Pulteney Bridge – one of the most photographed sites in Bath. 

You’ll also find a slew of museums covering the local history, as well as topics like astronomy, and fashion. Lastly, make sure to explore the local culture by visiting a cosy pub or restaurant. 

View over a park in Bath
View over a park in Bath
2. Whitstable

Whitstable is a seaside town on the southeast coast of England – just over an hour from London. It’s characterized by small beach huts, pastel storefronts, and a harbour filled with sailboats. 

Take a boating tour, have a go at stand-up paddleboarding, or visit a quiet beach. For fresh oysters, make sure to visit Whitstable Harbour. If you’re looking for inland activities, the 18th century Whitstable Castle is a must-see. 

A day trip from London to Whitstable is ideal for sea lovers. 

A close view of Whitstable Castle
A close view of Whitstable Castle
3. Margate

Margate is a holiday destination for visitors drawn to relaxed, sandy beaches. Located just under two hours from London, this resort town offers leisurely activities, as well as unique attractions. 

Old Town Margate is a bohemian area dotted with cafes, independent art galleries, antique shops, and local eateries. Dreamland is an amusement park with vintage rides that will keep you spellbound for hours.  

The mysterious Shell Grotto is an underground passageway covered almost entirely in seashells. No one knows exactly when or why the Shell Grotto was created. This charming town will make for one of the more unusual and exciting day trips from London.

A view of the popular sandy beach with Dreamland's big wheel in Margate
A view of the popular sandy beach with Dreamland’s big wheel in Margate
4. Brighton

Brighton is located just one hour south of London by train. With perfect pebble beaches, a lively pier, and a great shopping scene, there are so many reasons to visit this lovely beachfront town. 

Brighton Pier, also known as the Palace Pier, opened in 1899. It offers vacationers exciting rides and food kiosks. At North Laine, you’ll find more than 300 stores packed into less than 1.25 square kilometres. 

Although Brighton makes for a great day trip out of London, with it’s thriving nightlife scene, you might just want to spend the night! 

Brighton Pier, UK
Brighton Pier, UK
5. Canterbury

Canterbury is England’s religious capital. The city is filled with historic buildings and wonderfully preserved Medieval architecture. 

The Canterbury Cathedral is England’s greatest Christian monument. It’s one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in the UK. 

The medieval square of Buttermarket allows you to explore the local lifestyle. It’s filled with quaint English pubs, cafes, and local boutiques. Canterbury is just a one-hour train ride out of London. 

Canterbury Cathedral Cloister
Canterbury Cathedral Cloister
6. Oxford 

Oxford is England’s celebrated college town. It’s located just one hour from London by train.  

It contains centuries-old universities that have educated world leaders and scholars. 

The University of Oxford is an obvious must-see when you visit. Hardcore Harry Potter fans will also want to visit Christ Church, which was used as a set in the filming of the series. 

For the best view of Oxford’s awe-inspiring architecture, travel up the tower at St. Mary’s in Radcliffe Square. From the top, you’ll have a panoramic view of the century-old buildings. 

Oxford is one of the most historical and educational places to visit outside of London. 

Oxford University in Oxford
Oxford University in Oxford
7. Windsor

If you’re looking for accessible and convenient London day trips, Windsor is the perfect place to visit. This English town is located just forty minutes from London by train. 

This town is home to Windsor Castle, a residence of the British Royal Family. Built in the 11th century, this historic castle is an iconic piece of English history. 

St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is another must-see. Dozens of royal funerals have taken place here. The chapel is the resting place of Henry VIII, Edward IV, George V, and other former monarchs. 

During this London day trip, you’ll get a real taste of the British royal culture. 

Windsor Castle and the Long Walk
Windsor Castle and the Long Walk
8. Southampton 

Southampton is a historic port city just one and a half hours from London by train. 

It’s famous for being the site where the Titanic departed on its ill-fated maiden voyage. Visitors can learn more about the doomed journey and see an interactive model of the famous Titanic at the SeaCity Museum. 

The Tudor House is an important museum that reveals over 800 years of English history. For outdoor options, the Southampton Common is a large urban space that supports a large variety of wildlife.  

Entrance to the SeaCity Museum in Southampton
Entrance to the SeaCity Museum in Southampton
9. Dover 

Dover is just over 1 hour from London by train. This town sits on England’s southeastern coast. It’s filled with many historic and significant sites. 

The iconic White Cliffs of Dover are the city’s main attraction. The cliffs are made from very finely grained pure limestone, which causes it to appear white. 

Perched on those cliffs is the largest castle in the country, Dover Castle. This is one of England’s oldest strongholds. History and nature blend together in a beautiful way in this old English town. 

The historical White Cliffs of Dover
The historical White Cliffs of Dover
10. The Cotswolds

If you’re looking for day trips from London by car, the Cotswolds is a great option. Although there is a train route, you’ll get there in just over two hours by car, and close to three hours by train. 

The Cotswolds are quintessentially English market towns and villages known for their outstanding natural beauty. This area is home to some of the most unspoiled, historic towns and villages in England. They offer classic English charm in the countryside. 

Pretty cottages along High street in Cotswolds
Pretty cottages along High street in Cotswolds

England is full of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you fancy a visit to the quaint countryside or prefer a day trip to a seaside village, you’ll find many beautiful places near London. 

The best part is, all of these areas are easy to travel to. Whether you’re driving or taking the train, you’ll be able to move freely about the country. 

Day trips from London will allow you to discover the best of England!

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