If you are looking for the very best day trips from London, then you are in the right place!
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!
The area surrounding London is full of fabulous small towns, and charming rolling hills in the countryside.
In this post, we examine some of the best London day trips that are truly worth your vacation time.
We have included tips on how to best visit these one-day trips from London, England, what to see and do once you get there, and also information on the best day tours from London just in case you want to leave the organizing to someone else!
We have included some of the best and most popular day trips from London that are great for first-timers or locals!
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 an easy day trip from London.
Submitted by Sydney from A World in Reach
Stonehenge is one of the most popular guided tours from London for a good reason.
As one of the most prehistoric monuments in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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 one 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.
This truly is a day trip and walking tour that you can’t miss!
Submitted by Rachel with From East to West With RMS
An easy, quick, and picturesque day trip from London is Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle is one of the most well-known castles in the world.
This alone makes it worth a trip when traveling to London solo or with friends or family.
Serving as one of the royal residences in the United Kingdom, Windsor Castle is the oldest and most occupied castle in the entire world.
Windsor Castle is just less than an hour direct train ride from London city center.
This means that Windsor Castle 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 Castle is not just for the castle though, you can go to high tea and shopping in the town as well.
The castle has exhibition tours and different activities to cater to anyone’s preference when visiting.
Be sure to check out St George’s Chapel, a gorgeous late Medieval Gothic-style chapel in Windsor Castle.
Don’t miss the Alexandra Gardens inside the Windsor 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.
If you are wanting to visit a romantic, fairy-tale castle during a day trip from London, then Leeds Castle is exactly what you are looking for!
Once used as a palace by King Henry VIII and the private property of six medieval queens, Leeds Castle has housed its fair share of royalty throughout the years.
Leeds Castle sits on 500-acres of gorgeous English countryside land that has impeccable gardens and a lake.
Inside the property, you can explore the rooms that have been meticulously restored and furnished with time appropriate pieces.
Pro Tip: While visiting, don’t miss the opportunity to get lost in the maze containing over 2,400 yew trees. If you can find your way to the center, you take an underground grotto to get out!
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, rolling hills, 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.
Just a short drive from London to Cirencester takes around 2 hours from the city centre.
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.
A visit to Stratford-upon-Avon – the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is a fabulous day trip from London.
This beautiful medieval town is an easy train ride away from London and an absolutely picturesque town that is worth visiting!
The majority of people come to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the Shakespeare family home and the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.
Really, just walking through town is a treat. You will see half-timbered houses and many Tudor-style buildings dotting the streets in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Here, you will also find the three theatres owned by The Royal Shakespeare Company. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre can be found on the banks of the River Avon. Be sure to pay it a visit and see the incredible views from the tower.
Of course, you can see a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre, or the third theater-the Other Place (yes, that is the name).
Adding Stratford-upon-Avon to your day trip from London is really a great addition!
Pro Tip: When visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, a fun and easy way to see all of the sights is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour!
If you would rather leave the planning to someone else, then there are several tours from London to Stratford-upon-Avon to choose from.
Harry Potter Studio Tour
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 less than two hours from central London 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 for this day trip 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 Harry Potter filming locations 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.
There are several tour busses that leave from London Victoria Station, London King’s Cross Station, and more.
Pro Tip: Dress in your best Harry Potter outfit to fit right in with the set and get some awesome pictures!
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 Chapel, 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 River Cam.
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.
There are several guided tours to Cambridge from London that you can partake in if you choose when planning your day trip.
Some even leave from popular stations like London Victoria Station and London King’s Cross.
Submitted by Dagney from Cultura Obscura
Norwich makes a wonderful day or weekend trip from London and has you feeling as if you escaped to a small county town.
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 a day trip from London that you consider.
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’.
The palace 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 just over 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.
Be sure to visit Blenheim Palace on a day trip from London!
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.
A day trip to Canterbury should definitely be on your list!
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.
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 Britain 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, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a historic spa town with well-maintained gardens and impressive Georgian architecture.
Get some fresh air exploring one of the many gardens and parks around the city or take a boat trip on the River Avon.
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.
Consider doing an afternoon tea at The Pump Room Restaurant during your time in Bath, it is a great experience and the perfect day trip from London!
White Cliffs of Dover
Submitted by Jaclyn from Your Travel Spark
The White Cliffs of Dover are an iconic sight 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 a 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 Castle all in one day.
If you are in the country, the White Cliffs of Dover are an important day trip you should definitely take.
This day trip from London has to be on your list!
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 are a must. Harry Ramsden’s 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 trip from London to 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 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 very easy to visit during a day trip: the train from Paddington takes just 1 hour and the Oxford city centre is small. Due to the small size, you will find the town center easily 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 for a few hours. Some of the grounds 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!
Be sure to add this day trip from London to your list.
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.
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best flight prices. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines worldwide to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use, and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations, including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all your needs while ensuring a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out honest reviews on TripAdvisor hotels. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it offers a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you want a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.