Skip to content

The best day trips from London, UK

Updated On 3rd May, 2021

If you’re heading to England, chances are you’ll be landing in London and spending at least a few days exploring the city. You’d be crazy not to. London is one of the best cities to visit and is one of the most sought after destinations in the world.

However, as wonderful as London is, I urge you to not overlook the beauty on offer in England beyond the city. I am going to assume you’re already curious about what adventure lies beyond London because, well, you’ve arrived to this post.

If you’re looking for the best day trips from London, the best places to see near London, London day adventures or perhaps locations near London that you could spend a weekend, then this travel guide is for you.

In this blog post, I have put together a list of the best and most beautiful places to visit near London by car / by train. The public transport is pretty good in England and so, even if you don’t have a car, most of these day trips from London will be accessible for you.

Whether you’re looking to visit one of the famous university towns such as Oxford or Cambridge, get a taste of the quintessentially English countryside or get active with a hike in some of the stunning landscapes near London, England can cater for you.

Are you ready to see the beauty that England has to offer?

Other England travel guides that you may enjoy:

The best things to see and do in Devon, England

One of the best things to do in London is to hop in a car or on a train and explore more of the best places to visit in England!

London might be one of the best capital cities to visit in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that the surrounding area isn’t equally as fun. In this blog post, we will look at the best day trips from London, including cities to visit in England, areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks in England, seaside towns to visit in England, and more! 

I’ve calculated the travel time for these day trips from London based on using public transport from central London, or driving from London. You can check the best routes based on where your accommodation is using Citymapper. For more useful travel apps to put on your phone, check out this blog post. 

Using public transport is definitely the way forward for more sustainable travel, however many of these places are much quicker and easier to access by car, and you may feel safer travelling by car during the pandemic.

See how you’re feeling, weigh up the costs, and work out what is best for you. 

A complete guide to exploring London during Winter

Other London travel guides you might find useful…

The 14 best day trips from London...

1. Oxford

Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous for it’s world-class university, stunning architecture, and punting along the River Cherwell. With its short distance and easy access from the city, Oxford is the perfect place for a day trip from London.

Whether you choose to meander in and out of the independent shops, visit one of the many Oxford Colleges, give punting a go or have a picnic on the river, there are plenty of things to do in Oxford to keep you busy on a day trip from London.

Check out how to improve your travel photography in this post.

2. Cambridge

Another city in England famous for its internationally renowned university, and also its rivalry with Oxford, is Cambridge.

The similarities don’t stop there: it’s perfectly close enough for a London day trip, you can go punting on the River Cam, admire the beautiful Cambridge College buildings and more of the historic architecture in the city. Both Oxford and Cambridge have a lot in common and are some of the most beautiful places to visit in England. There’s only one way to decide which one you prefer… visit them both! 

The best day trips from London

3. Windsor

Home to Queen Elizabeth II, Windsor Castle is absolutely stunning and one of the best day trips from London. In fact, it’s probably one of the most popular.

In Windsor, you can meander in and out of the little boutique shops before walking along the Thames and taking the Long Walk through Windsor Great Park. There are some lovely eateries along the water and places to grab an ice cream. You can even rent a rowing boat or kayaks to explore the water with.

Remember that if you don’t want to take the regular train from London to Windsor, you can take the legendary steam train from London to Windsor, which is exactly what I did on my Windsor day trip and I think it’s one of the best things to do in England!

Check out the best things to do in Windsor here.

A day trip from London to Windsor Castle

4. Brighton

Brighton is probably slightly too far to go by bus for the day, but if you drive or take the train, Brighton is a great day trip from London.

Wander through the lanes, take a walk along the lively seafront, enjoy some fish and chips, and then play a few games on the pier. The lanes are my personal favourite. An afternoon spent meandering through the gorgeous shops and cafes makes Brighton one of my favourite places to visit in England. Brighton makes a good day trip from London because you can get there in an hour or so, but it’s well worth spending a weekend there.

See my weekend guide to Brighton here.

A Weekend Guide To Brighton, England

5. The New Forest

Again, although it might be tricky to do the New Forest as a day trip if you want to take the bus, it’s perfectly doable as a day trip from London by car or by train.

Famous for the ponies and the area’s natural beauty, the New Forest is the perfect place in Dorset to hire bikes and cycle or walk around and take in the fresh air. The New Forest is also one of the UK’s National Parks

6. Bournemouth

Bournemouth is one of the best places to visit in England, especially if you love being at the seaside! It is the perfect day trip from London if you want to hit the beach as it’s one of the closest! Whether you want to soak up the sun with an ice cream or try an activity such as SUP at Bournemouth beach, there are plenty of things to do in Bournemouth that will keep you busy for the day!

If you want to make a weekend out of it, why not stay in one of the iconic Bournemouth beach huts? They are the absolute dream!

The best day trips from London
A 3-day microgap in Bournemouth, England

7. Surrey Hills

Some of the best walks and hikes in England lie just outside of London in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Leith Hill is one of the top walks in the Surrey Hills AONB, Box Hill is the largest area of natural woodland in England, and the views from the ‘inspiring views circular route’ and the Devil’s punchbowl in the Surrey Hills are truly stunning.  This is where you’ll get a real taste for the English Countryside and can tuck away into one of the many pubs you’ll find enroute.

The best walks and hikes to go on in England

8. South Downs National Park

The South Downs is one of the UK’s National Parks and is actually the newest National Park in the UK (designated in 2010). The South Downs National Park covers 1,627 square kilometres from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. Regular trains run from Waterloo and Victoria in London and take between 60–90 minutes to get to stations such as Winchester and Lewes which are gateways to the National Park. You could also consider arriving by train to Amberley in the Arun Valley, Southease in the Ouse Valley or  Liss in Hampshire.

South Downs National Park is one of the most beautiful day trips from London. Rolling hills that go beyond the horizon, picking your own veg for dinner, exploring cute villages and towns in England, and hanging out with alpacas are just a few of the adventures on offer here.

The South Downs is the perfect place to have a day surrounded by nature after a long bout of city life.

9. Guildford

Guildford is very close to London and it is one of the most popular places to visit in Surrey, and the cathedral is one reason why.

Guildford Cathedral, a unique twentieth-century Grade II listed building, is one of the town’s most famous landmarks. The interior is beautiful and is open to all, for free, 365 days a year. There are also plenty of other things to do in Guildford. Asides from shopping on the cobbled high street and lunch on the waterfront of the River Wey, Guildford has Surrey’s only Norman castle directly in the town centre.

See all the best places to visit in Surrey in this blog post.

10. Bath

Another city on my UK bucket list of places to visit, Bath is definitely one of the prettiest places to visit in the UK.

It’s a beautiful place to visit in winter because the Christmas markets are fantastic! But the best thing about Bath is definitely the thermal baths… I can’t wait to go to these one day!

Take a deep dive into England’s history and visit the Roman Baths, built-in 75AD. Though you can’t use the baths anymore, you can still marvel at the architecture, feel the heat of the thermal water, visit the sacred spring and learn loads about how the Romans used to live. After you’ve seen history at its finest, pop over to Thermae Bath Spa, Britain’s only natural thermal waters, to take a dip and kick back and relax as past meets present. 

11. Margate

Margate is a seaside town in Kent that many people have mixed feelings about.

Some say it’s a bit run down or rough and ready, but others call it ‘Shoreditch by the sea’ or ‘Kent’s Copenhagen‘! I guess the only way to see what it’s really like is to visit it yourself! Margate is the perfect day trip from London if you want to go to the beach and have an English seaside experience (weather not guaranteed!), play in the arcades, and visit some cute vintage shops or alternative cafes. 

12. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most famous places to visit in the UK and for good reason. As the only surviving lintelled stone circle in the world, this is the perfect place to visit for history lovers! Come summer solstice, it’s a popular spot for many spiritual humans to gather… an experience I’d love to be a part of.

Yes, it’ll be busy, but worth it, and definitely, one to tick off your things to do in England bucket list!

13. The Broads

Ok, so The Broads might seem like it’s a little bit too far for a day trip from London, but if you’re looking for some nature and you’re willing to get up early to go the extra mile, The Broads is a beautiful place to visit in England.

This UK National Park spans across Norfolk and Suffolk, and is home to some of the best walks and hikes in England. The Broads are also home to an array of wildlife, especially birds, and you can also visit the iconic windmills and get out on a boat or SUP and explore the extensive network of waterways that make this area of England unique.

14. Canterbury

Canterbury is another stunning place to visit in the UK, and it’s where I held the Global Travellers’ Christmas 2019 getaway! It’s also close enough to London for a day trip.

With a beautiful city centre, featuring an amazing cathedral and other beautiful architecture, it’s a great place for a day trip. It’s also got a beautiful river, and is full of and surrounded by green spaces and nature, so it’s a great place to head to really soak up that countryside air!

Join the Global Travellers family here.

Have you been on a day trip from London?

Where are your favourite London day trips or places to visit in England? Anywhere you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

Did you find this post helpful? I’d love you to share it for me.

Pin and save this blog post for later…

The best day trips from London, UKThe best day trips from London, UK
London-13-scaled.jpg

IT’S LOVELY TO MEET YOU

I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

Shop my google map legends

Where's Mollie? newsletter

TRAVEL SHOP