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Amazing Day Trips From London – From Cities to Castles!

So you’re done exploring London and you’re considering a day trip? This would be a great idea! There are many trips and tours from London you can take – by coach, car, or train. From the Harry Potter Studios tour to Bath and Stonehenge and The Cotswolds and Oxford, there’s no shortage of great day trips that suit all interests!

How do we know? For the better part of a decade, Eric has been lucky enough to have spent quite a bit of time in the south of England – right in the area south of London at the English Coast. So he’s got a pretty good idea of the different cities, castles, and sights that make for a great day adventure around London!

It should also be noted that – for us – a day trip is generally something that is 2.5 hours or less (by car or train) to get to from London. This gives you enough time to go, enjoy the day, and get back easily. So, whether you are looking for luxury day trips from London or the best ones to do in the winter, we’ve got you covered with this mix of day tours and trips from London!

Some of the day trips below are easiest to do if you have a car. You can compare prices for different rental companies here.

Also, if you’re exploring London, you might find these other posts handy (and helpful) as well:

Stonehenge

stone formation in green ground with blue sky behind day trips from london stonehenge
The one, the only – Stonehenge!

Arguably one of the most popular day trips from London (and attractions in all of the UK), a trip to Stonehenge is never a bad idea. The iconic rock formation in the middle of the English countryside has been baffling historians for centuries and charming visitors for decades.

Eric visited Stonehenge on a bus trip (that included Bath, which we will get to below) and really enjoyed it. Of course, the whole experience is very regimented – you park, take a bus to the grounds, then walkabout the stones with a guided tour, an audio guide, or just on your own. You can also make the long, grassy walk from the parking lot to the stones – Eric did that on a beautiful day and it added to the experience!

The nice thing about Stonehenge was that it wasn’t just about the famous stones. There is also a visitor centre which includes a museum, outdoor exhibit, café/restaurants, and more. You can check here for your Stonehenge entrance time and ticket here.

Overall, checking out Stonehenge is something you should definitely do once in your life. While the stones themselves aren’t that interesting, they are fascinating – and the history behind them is fascinating, too.

Address of Visitor Centre: Salisbury SP4 7DE, United Kingdom

Related – Must-Knows When Visiting Stonehenge (+ Our Experience)

London to Stonehenge By Car

Stonehenge is actually located west of London very close to the small city of Salisbury. The route is very well marked considering how popular Stonehenge is. If you are heading to Stonehenge by car, take the M3 and A303 from London. The drive is about 2 hours and 150 kilometres (estimated).

Once you arrive, you will see signs (at the Stonehenge roundabout) for the car park near the large visitor centre. Basically just don’t enter where the tour buses go and you will be fine! You pay for parking BUT you get that money “back” – as in you get it reduced when you pay for admission to see the Stones!

London to Stonehenge By Train/Bus

You can get to Stonehenge from London by train. You would head for Salisbury Train Station from Waterloo Station. It takes about 1 hour 20 minutes by train. You can check for train tickets to Stonehenge on the National Rail website.

Once you’re at Salisbury Train Station, hop on The Stonehenge Tour bus (run by Salisbury Reds – the local bus company). This hop-on hop-off bus leaves from the city centre and takes you to the rocks – and even offers audio commentary in different languages!

London to Stonehenge Tour

One of the absolute easiest ways to get to Stonehenge from London is on a tour. This is honestly a really good idea because if you are just passing through London and/or don’t want to rent a car – you’ll basically sit back, enjoy the trip, get great photos, and head back to London without any stress.

Since it’s a popular attraction, there are MANY tours you can hop on. Lots of them are day tours that include seeing other beautiful cities like Bath or attractions like Windsor Castle. If you are interested in booking a tour, check out these top-rated Stonehenge tour options:

Bath

old stone bridge over river with buildings bath uk day trips from london
Bath is a charming city full of things to do!

Known for the famous Roman Baths and the fact that the city is a World Heritage Site, Bath is a gorgeous city that makes a great day trip from London! The first time Eric visited Bath, he thought it looked like Edinburgh (which means it’s one of the prettiest cities he’s ever visited).

There are lots of things to check out in Bath. You will likely want to explore the world-famous Roman Baths and learn about the city on a walking tour. Just walking around the historic city centre is an adventure in itself – and you can see the beautiful architecture in “The Circus” and “Royal Crescent”.

You can also check out the Bath Abbey and grab a bite at the nearby Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum. Eric even visited Brewbitz Homebrew Shop (which is very close to the famous Pulteney Bridge) and had a delicious craft beer pint! If you want to know more, you can check out our detailed post on things to do in Bath (coming soon!)

Address of Bath Abbey: Bath BA1 1LT, United Kingdom

London to Bath By Car

Bath is located basically due west of London. The drive is about 2 hours and 30 minutes by car (180 km) on the A4. If you go by car, you can do what most visitors do and stop by Stonehenge since the two are very close together.

Once you get to Bath, you can find parking in the city centre (on the outskirts of it close to the River Avon, for example).

London to Bath By Train

The train to Bath from London is also very easy. It’s about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Paddington Station. They run frequently (like every 30 minutes) because it’s popular so you don’t have to stress if you miss the one you want.

The train station in Bath is called “Bath Spa” and is located in the south end of the city centre. It’s easy to walk into the centre and you’re right by the top attractions. You can check for train tickets to Bath on the National Rail website.

Address for Bath Spa Station: Bath BA1 1SU, United Kingdom

London to Bath Tour

As we mentioned above, a Bath + Stonehenge tour is a popular option as a day trip from London. Eric visited the two on a bus trip and it was so easy to just sit back and enjoy the countryside (and the stops) and not have to worry about travel logistics.

Because they are so close together, basically every tour to Bath includes a visit to Stonehenge. There are lots of different tours that combine different attractions that work for different interests!

Bristol

colourful houses on river bank with boat in river britsol
Bristol might be a bit farther – but it’s worth the trek!

As one of our farthest trips on this list, Bristol is a city that is definitely worth a day trip! From its buzzing city centre to waterfront vibes, there’s something in Bristol for everyone.

Bristol is located in the west of England – and its location close to the water (both the sea and River Avon) has shaped its unique past. As such, you’ll find top attractions like the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain waiting to be explored. You can even go on a sightseeing cruise!

The city centre is full of shops, cafes, places to eat and drink. You’ll find markets like St Nicholas Market and museums like the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery! If you want to learn more, you can check out our detailed post on things to do in Bristol.

Address for Castle Park: Broad Weir, Bristol BS1 3XB, United Kingdom

London to Bristol By Car

Driving to Bristol is probably the farthest trip we have on this list – but it would be worth it. The drive is about 2 hours and 30 minutes to the west primarily on the M4. The trip is just under 200 km so it’s definitely doable but keep the travel time (and traffic) in mind!

London to Bristol By Train

Like with Bath, if you’re travelling to Bristol by train, the trip is pretty easy. It’s a direct train (through Bath) that takes about 1 hour 45 minutes from Paddington Station. It’s also pretty frequent given that it serves bigger cities to the west of London.

You’ll arrive at Bristol Temple Meads Station in the south end of the city centre. It’s easy to then hop on a bus or just walk to the heart of the city centre. You can check for train tickets to Bristol on the National Rail website.

Address for Bristol Temple Meads Station: Bristol BS1 6QF, United Kingdom

London to Bristol By Bus

You could also take the bus from London to Bristol. Since Bristol is a larger centre, the bus connections are pretty good. The total trip averages about 2 hours and 45 minutes from London. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

You can also check the Megabus website – they run a bus from London Victoria Station to Bristol for as low as £5.

Cambridge

old english town buildings with bikes parked and people in cambridge uk
Cambridge is a very bright and lively city!

If you’re looking to explore a classic university city, then you should check out Cambridge. Located north of London, this charming city is absolutely packed with history around every corner.

The city is home to the University of Cambridge – one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities. You can tour the grounds and the colleges – with King’s College being the most famous!

The city centre has LOTS of shops, pubs, restaurants, and more to keep you busy. You might even want to hit the river and try your hand at “punting” – a Cambridge activity where you push a boat along using a long wooden pole!

Eric has been to Cambridge numerous times and every time it’s a great visit. There are also top attractions like The Fitzwilliam Museum, King College Chapel, Bridge of Sighs, and amazing parks/green spaces like Parker’s Peace and Jesus Green!

Address of University of Cambridge: King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2 1ST, United Kingdom

London to Cambridge By Car

Cambridge is located north of London – basically due north, actually. You can take the M11 (tolls) or the A1 (no tolls but longer) and the drive will take between 1.5 hours and 2 hours (London traffic depending).

Once you get to the city centre, you’ll find plenty of parking on the streets or in lots. It’s a pretty easy city to navigate.

London to Cambridge By Train

This is another train trip that Eric has done. You can just get on the train at King’s Cross Station (in the north end of the city centre) and can be there in about 50 minutes to an hour depending on the train you take.

The Cambridge train station is located in the southeast end of the city centre – as in you can definitely walk to the centre from there but it’s not RIGHT in the middle. You can check for train tickets to Cambridge on the National Rail website.

Address: Station Rd, Cambridge CB1 2JW, United Kingdom

London to Cambridge By Bus

You can also get to Cambridge by bus. You would leave from London Victoria Coach Station. Buses leave semi-frequently and average around 3 hours travel time – some shorter or longer depending on if you have to transfer and/or the time of day.

The best thing is the price – the cheapest fares are around £5 one way which is definitely affordable! You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to Cambridge Tour

There aren’t too many tours to Cambridge – but a popular way to see the city is to visit both university cities – Oxford and Cambridge – in the same day!

Eastbourne (+ Pevensey Castle)

stone beach with city buildings and boardwalk in distance in eastbourne uk
The beach and pier are pretty good reasons to visit the coast!

If you want a taste of the coastline to the south of London, you’ve got a few options. First on this list is the small seaside city of Eastbourne. Eastbourne is known as one of the most (if not THE) sunniest place in the UK with lots of sunshine days per year. This makes Eastbourne a popular spot to check out.

The city centre itself is quite small but there are shops, cafes, restaurants, and more to check out. Having said that, you go to Eastbourne for the beach and the pier. Eastbourne is home to a classic rock pebble beach that stretches for as far as the eye can see. The waterfront is also great for festivals, art shows, pop-up shops, and more.

One of the best features of the shoreline is the Eastbourne Pier. Similar to the one in Brighton (mentioned below), the pier dates back to the 1870s and has souvenir/candy shops, places to eat, and amazing views of the sea. The pier’s classic arcade actually caught fire back in 2014 – but the pier is thriving again these days!

Another really good reason to visit Eastbourne is to hike the Seven Sisters Cliffs – a series of white chalk cliffs and amazing walking paths with views to the west of the city. We actually mention the cliff walk as a separate day trip right below this one so check there for more details!

Address for Eastbourne Pier: 3 Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3EL, United Kingdom

Eric’s Pro Tip: If you head toward Eastbourne, you can also (if you have a car) stop by Pevensey Castle. This 4th century Roman ruin and 12th century Norman Castle is close to the coast but a few minutes inland from Eastbourne.

green grass around stone castle ruins at pevensey castle
Pevensey Castle is pretty old and neat to explore!

Eric has been and it’s been redone in recent years to include more information/a museum done by English Heritage. They oversee hundreds of historic sites all over England! It’s a great stop if you’re with kids, too.

>> You can check here for your English Heritage Entry Pass.

When you visit the Castle, the small town where the castle is located – Pevensey – is great for a classic pub lunch. Just remember it’s a small town with a small train station within walking distance to the ruins. There are also green spaces near the Castle for a picnic if you decide to drive! You can learn more about Pevensey Castle here.

Address of Pevensey Castle: Castle Rd, Westham, Pevensey BN24 5LE, United Kingdom

London to Eastbourne By Car

Eastbourne is basically due south of London – but the drive can take well over 2 hours. Once you get out of London (traffic depending), you head through Crawley or through Royal Tunbridge Wells. It’s about 120 kilometres so you have an idea of distance.

Once you get there, you can drive along the coast for a bit before finding parking in a paid lot or along the coastline drive near the pier. Honestly, don’t go out of your way to drive – train is just so much easier.

London to Eastbourne By Train

It’s really easy to get to Eastbourne by train. You leave London Victoria Station in the south end of the city and the direct train takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

From the train station, it’s a short walk to the city centre and down to the beautiful coastline. You can check for tickets to Eastbourne on the National Rail website.

Address of Eastbourne Train Station: Terminus Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3QJ

London to Eastbourne By Bus

There are buses from London to Eastbourne – but they are at infrequent times, leave from different places around London depending on the time, and just take longer than the train. That said, you can check the National Express website for bus fares.

Seven Sisters Cliffs/Beachy Head

white cliff face with green grass on top and lighthouse in ocean below beachy head day trip from london
Beachy Head and the Lighthouse make for stunning photos

As we mentioned above, exploring the white chalk cliffs known as The Seven Sisters is definitely a worthy day trip from London! Located just to the west of Eastbourne, the cliffs can be a day trip themselves OR you can also visit them if you head down to Eastbourne.

Once there, you basically just hike the cliffs for spectacular views, fresh air, and great exercise! You might also hear the cliffs being called “Beachy Head” – this is just a name for the tallest cliff of them all which is technically located separate and just beside the row of cliffs known as “Seven Sisters”.

That said, there are a number of ways you can “do” the cliffs. You can hike from Eastbourne to the top and then along the cliffs to a place called the Birling Gap. Here, you find a Visitor Centre and sea stairs down to the rocky beach below. This would be a long walk (over 10 km) but would be well worth it.

You can also start the hike from the car park at the top at Beachy Head (located in the middle between Eastbourne and the Seven Sisters). So, you’d skip Eastbourne and walk from Beachy Head to the Birling Gap and back from there – a little shorter, but still incredible.

Finally, a much longer walk where you might not even get to the Seven Sisters is to start from the town of Seaford, walk towards Cuckmere Haven, and then get to the Birling Gap from the west. At this point, you wouldn’t even have hiked the Seven Sisters yet – so it’s best to tackle them from the east (the Eastbourne side) of the coast.

In any case, you should check out The Beachy Head for a bite to eat with great views up near the car park. If you do make it to the Birling Gap, you can walk inland a bit to have a great lunch at a traditional pub in East Dean called The Tiger Inn.

Oh, and be sure to snap a photo of the famous Lighthouse when you are there – just be VERY careful near the edge.

Address for Birling Gap Info Centre: Beachy Head Rd, Eastbourne BN20 0AB, United Kingdom

London to Seven Sisters By Car

If you want to drive to the Seven Sisters, you have basically two options: drive to the car park up on top of the cliffs at Beachy Head or drive to Eastbourne, park, and go on foot to the cliffs from there.

Either way, the drive down there will take just over 2 hours (at around 125 km) basically due south of London. You can decide what works best for you – park up on the cliffs and get going or park down in Eastbourne and walk even farther!

London to Seven Sisters By Train

As mentioned in the Eastbourne section, it’s really easy to get to Eastbourne/Seven Sisters by train. You leave London Victoria Station in the south end of the city and the direct train takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

From the train station, it’s a short walk to the city centre and then to the coast. From there, you can see the cliffs to the west to get hiking! You can check for tickets to Eastbourne on the National Rail website.

Address of Eastbourne Train Station: Terminus Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3QJ

London to Seven Sisters/Beachy Head Tour

The Seven Sisters are pretty easy to get to via train or car to Eastbourne – but a day tour is a great idea if you want to just sit back, relax, and learn about the beautiful region and its interesting history!

Brighton

long ocean pier with white building and rock beach in front in brighton day trip from london
The famous Brighton Pier is loads of fun!

Still considering checking out the sea? There’s one big city on the southern coast we haven’t mentioned yet – and that is Brighton! This sunny seaside city is a very fun place to check out – with people from all different walks of life co-existing nicely in the city.

Brighton was originally known as a fishing village but turned into a resort city in the 18th century – largely in part because of the beach and days of sunshine! We personally really like Brighton as a spring/summer/fall getaway. It’s just always nice there by the sea.

As for things to check out, Brighton is packed with attractions. As a shortlist, you HAVE to check out the historic Brighton Palace Pier (shown above) with food, games, rides, and more.

If it’s sunny and warm, the Brighton Beach & Boardwalk is always bustling. You can ride the The British Airways i360 for stunning views, visit the beautiful Royal Pavilion & Pavilion Gardens, and check out the The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

You can go shop The Lanes, The Open Market, and check out North Laine which is full of great cafes. If you want to learn more, you can check out our giant post on things to do and see in Brighton!

Address to Brighton Pier: Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1TW, United Kingdom

London to Brighton By Car

Brighton is located basically exactly south of the centre of London at the English coast. The drive is just over 2 hours at approximately 100 km driving distance.

Once you get to Brighton, you will find city parking easy enough. You can even park along the water for a few hours so you can head right for the beach!

London to Brighton By Train

Taking the train to Brighton is a really easy and convenient way to get there. There are multiple direct trains you can take leaving from either London Bridge Station or London Victoria Station. You can check for train tickets to Brighton on the National Rail website.

All routes take about an hour, and you end up right in Brighton with no changes. Once you get to Brighton, the station is located a bit north of the water but very much in the heart of the city centre. You can walk to the water in 10/15 minutes or explore the area you’ve landed in.

Address Brighton Train Station: Queens Rd, Brighton BN1 3XP, United Kingdom

London to Brighton By Bus

The bus to Brighton is also easy and affordable. It’s only a 1-hour ride direct from London Victoria Bus Station with fares as low as £5 one way. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to Brighton Tour

Because Brighton is so easy to get to by train or car, there aren’t too many tours. That said, if you wanted to explore more of the southern coast, you could hop on a tour to see the Seven Sister cliffs that starts and ends in Brighton (the train from London is included!)

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)

tall castle tower with trees in front downton abbey
A fan of Downton Abbey would LOVE it here…

Charming and grand in nature, Downton Abbey fans are obsessed with a visit to Highclere Castle. Built as we see it today in the 1800s (having faced numerous style changes), the home stands on 5,000 acre estate of gardens and green space.

Despite its rich history, the building is today mostly known as the main filming site for the popular television series Downton Abbey. Because of this, Highclere Castle is a POPULAR attraction to visit.

Due to this popularity (and the fact that it is a private estate), it’s very difficult to just show up and visit – even for self-guided tours. In fact, you should know that the estate is only open for about 2 to 3 months out of the entire year (special seasons, summer months, etc).

Because of this, you basically have to book a ticket for a specific time/event in order to see the grounds, house, and exhibits. Keep in mind, tickets sell out sometimes months in advance (especially for Christmas and summer seasons).

While there are walk-up tickets available, these are limited. So basically the only way to guarantee entry is to pre-book. If you know you want to visit on a day trip from London – and you know the day – book in advance on the official website here!

Address: Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RN, United Kingdom

London to Highclere Castle By Car

Highclere Castle is kind if in the middle of nowhere outside of London. So, if you are planning on driving to Highclere Castle from London, you can take the M3 or M4 for a drive taking about 1 hour 45 minutes (only about 100 km driving distance).

There is parking onsite if you bring your own car – but keep in mind the potential busyness of the summer months!

London to Highclere Castle By Train

In practice, you can’t get to Highclere by train easily. You can take the train (they run basically hourly) from Paddington Station to the closest town of Newbury. From there, you can hop in a taxi to get to the Castle for about £15-20. You can check for train tickets to Highclere Castle at the National Rail website.

London to Highclere Castle Tour

Because Highclere Castle is so popular (and it’s located in a remote area), there are lots of great day tours from London. These tours take you there to tour the Castle without the stress of navigating and also add on other Downton Abbey related filming sites and historic villages!

Oxford

green gardens with old buildings behind in oxford uk
Oxford is small but elegant – especially the Christ Church Cathedral!

If you want another popular – but historic and beautiful – city to explore, Oxford is definitely one we would recommend. With the famous River Thames running through it, there is plenty of rich history to explore down literally every street.

Home to the famous University of Oxford (founded back in 1096), the city has a distinct younger vibe as a student city. You can check out the beautiful colleges, the Radcliffe Camera (library), the Bodleian Library, and the History of Science Museum, among other things. It was a Harry Potter filming site, after all!

The city centre itself is rather small – but it’s filled with great sights and a bustling pedestrian mall great for shopping, food, and more. You can even do an Oxford walking tour while you’re there to get the most out of learning about the city and the university.

Be sure to also check out the Turf Tavern – a tiny old pub with outdoor patios (it’s fantastic). If you’re after museums, the Ashmolean Museum is free to enter and has a bit of everything inside!

Address for University of Oxford: Oxford OX1 2JD, United Kingdom

London to Oxford By Car

Getting from London to Oxford is pretty straightforward. You just head west (and a bit north) on the M40. The drive will take about 1 hour 30 minutes (traffic depending) with a driving distance of around 90 km.

There’s plenty of parking in the city centre so don’t worry too much about parking once you get there.

London to Oxford By Train

The train ride to Oxford from London is very simple. Eric actually did this trip a few years back with a buddy. The train ride takes just over 1 hour – and you can either go from London Paddington Station OR London Marylebone Station.

The trains are pretty frequent so plan ahead but don’t be too stressed if you miss the one you want. You can check for train tickets to Oxford at the National Rail website.

Once you arrive in Oxford, the train station is located in the west end of the city – just a quick walk (about 10/15 minutes) to the centre of the city.

Address Oxford Train Station: Park End St, Oxfordshire, Oxford OX1 1HS, United Kingdom

London to Oxford By Bus

If you want to take the bus, this is actually a good option that’s quick and cheap. Oxford is s student town so cheap and reliable buses make sense. So, you’ve got options:

The National Express bus leaves from London Victoria Station and takes 1 hour 45 minutes (approximately) direct to Oxford. The price is also pretty good at an easy £5 one way. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

There’s also a specific bus service for this route – called the Oxford Tube – which runs from Oxford to London and back basically 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They are so frequent that you don’t have to pre-book but you definitely can.

For this particular route, you can also check the Megabus website – they run a bus from London Victoria Station to Oxford in as little as 1 hour 7 minutes and for as low as £5!

Address Oxford Bus Station: Gloucester Green Bus Stn, George St, Oxford OX1 2BU

London to Oxford Tour

Visiting Oxford is a great idea because it’s a lovely, historic city. The nice thing about Oxford is that because Oxford is a smaller city a bit farther to the west, many tours combine the city with a visit to other great places like Cambridge, The Cotswolds, or even the Harry Potter Studios.

Harry Potter Studios

If you are interested in exploring the Wizarding World – then you absolutely need to check out Warner Bros. Studios for the Harry Potter Studio Tour London! This super popular attraction has been wowing Harry Potter fans – young and old – since 2012.

The studio tour is a permanent attraction which offers visitors more of a behind-the-scenes view of the making of the films. As such, you get to explore props and costumes that were only actually used in the films!

As if that wasn’t enough, you can explore full-scale sets like the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest, and more! Aside from the general visit and tour, the Studios also put on special events throughout the year which you can book tickets for (in advance, of course).

It should also be noted that the Studios are located near Watford which is outside central London. However, they are still really easy to get to on a day trip! You also have to book your ticket in advance. You can check here for the official website to book tickets.

Address: Studio Tour Dr, Watford WD25 7LR, United Kingdom

London to Warner Bros. Studios By Car

If you want to drive to the Studios yourself, the drive will take about an hour on the M1. The Studios are located near Watford which is about 40 km northwest of the city centre.

Once you get there, parking is onsite and free of charge (you just have to have your booking confirmation ready to show the parking team). How nice of them!

London to Warner Bros. Studios By Train/Bus

The Studios are also very easy to get to by train. From Euston Station in the north end of central London, you take the train about 20 minutes to Watford Junction Station. You can check for train tickets to Watford Junction at the National Rail website.

Once you arrive at Watford Junction Station, Warner Bros. actually runs an official shuttle from the station to the Studios. It run about every 20 minutes, takes about 15 minutes, and costs only £3 for a return ticket!

Address Watford Station: Station Rd, Watford WD17 1EU, United Kingdom

London to Watford By Bus

You COULD take a bus to get there but the train/shuttle combination is far more direct and efficient if you are taking public transit. That said, you can check the National Express website for bus fares from London to Watford Junction – you’d have to change once or twice, though.

London to Harry Potter Studios Tour

Given just how popular touring the Warner Bros. studios is, there are loads of really great day tours from London you can go on. Tours take care of the logistics so you can just sit back and enjoy the day.

Some are straightforward and offer you bus transfers with admission, while others offer guided tours and short trips to other sights if the studio visit isn’t enough for you!

Stratford-upon-Avon

old timber house with gardens and blue sky behind
Shakespeare’s Birthplace is a must-see!

Want a small medieval town that feels like you’ve transported back in time? Then you should make a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. This small charming medieval town features many wood-timbered buildings that give it a historic feel.

The town gets its name as being Stratford literally “upon” the River Avon – hence Stratford-upon-Avon! The city is likely most known to be the birthplace of William Shakespeare (you know, that famous writer) – making the city a top sight to see in all of the UK.

In Stratford, there are plenty of things to see and do. If you are going because you are interested in the life and times of Shakespeare, then you can visit his Birthplace (shown above) as well as other buildings related to his schooling, and his family members. You should check here for your Shakespeare’s Homes entrance ticket if this is the case.

The town centre is quite small and walkable – and you can head for other top attractions like the Stratford Butterfly Farm, the famous Swam Theatre, and Holy Trinity Church.

Address of Shakespeare’s Birthplace: Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW, United Kingdom

London to Stratford-upon-Avon By Car

If you want to drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, it’s one of the longer trips we have on this list – but still very doable. The town is located to the northwest of London taking just over 2 hours (traffic depending) on the M40 with about 160 km driving distance.

London to Stratford-upon-Avon By Train

The train is also a good option to get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London. You can get a direct train from London Marylebone Station and it’ll take about 2 hours and 25 minutes.

There are other faster trips if you take the train and then a bus – but you have to be prepared to change in either Royal Leamington Spa or Coventry. You can check for train tickets to Stratford-upon-Avon on the National Rail website.

The train station in Stratford-upon-Avon is in the west end of the town centre, very walkable to the centre of town.

Address for Stratford Train Station: Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6PL, United Kingdom

London to Stratford-upon-Avon By Bus

There is also a bus service to Stratford-upon-Avon from London. Buses leave from London Victoria Station and the fastest direct bus takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

The price is also reasonable for a one way ticket – we can see anywhere from £7.70 to £12 for a direct bus leaving at 9:00 am (might differ depending on the day and time).

You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to Stratford-upon-Avon Tour

Stratford is a popular stop on lots of England trips so there are quite a number of tours that cater to exploring the city/town from London. Because it’s a smaller place, most tours combine a visit with other great areas or attractions in the area!

The Cotswolds

grey stone cottages with walking path in village in cotswolds
The Cotswolds are authentic – that’s for sure!

The Cotswolds also make a really great day trip from London. Known for their natural beauty, the Cotswolds are actually a designation of a large area known as Cotswolds AONB or “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The natural green hills make it a great place for walkers, hikers, and history chasers.

While the natural landscape is well-known, The Cotswolds area is also known for the number of very old English market villages. Many small villages showcase historic houses with thatched roofs and are identified by the unique honey-coloured stone used to built them.

Given the size of the area, it’s tough to say exactly HOW to explore The Cotswolds. If you want to hike, a really cool feature of the area is the Cotswold Way which is a 102 mile walking trail (165km) that goes along the Cotswold escarpment from Bath to Chipping Campden in the north.

Alternatively, you can focus on a few towns and villages like Bibury, Cirencester, Fairford, or Chedworth. These places will give you a great sense of the area’s history and charm. In the very south end of the area you’ll even find Bath, should you want to connect the two if you are driving by car!

Address of the Cotswolds AONB: Fosse Way, Northleach, Cheltenham GL54 3JH, United Kingdom

London to The Cotswolds By Car

The Cotswolds AONB is located to the northwest of London. It’s one of the farthest day trips we have on this entire list – but it’s worth it. To get to the area, you can aim for a town like Cirencester (the largest town) in the Cotswolds.

The drive (to Cirencester) would be about 2 hours 30 minutes on the M4 and would be about 150 km driving distance. Once there, you can find parking, explore the town, and connect to the walking trails or keep driving.

London to The Cotswolds By Train

Because the area is far from London and kind of remote, the train route isn’t super easy but still doable. Leaving from Paddington Station, you would change twice in Swindon and Kemble before changing to a bus. The journey would take over 2 hours 30 minutes total. You can check for train tickets at the National Rail website.

London to The Cotswolds By Bus

In this case, the bus is actually the better option. Buses to Cirencester (choosing it as the starting point in The Cotswolds) leave from London Victoria Station and run direct in around 2 hours 30 minutes. There are also multiple departures a day.

The fares are as cheap as £5 one way which is definitely affordable, too. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to The Cotswolds Tour

The Cotswolds are a large area to the northwest of London known for its natural beauty. As such, lots of the day trips from London include historic cities or sights along the way – that makes for a great day of easy sightseeing!

Windsor Castle

stone castle with turrets and tower windsor castle day trip from london
Windsor Castle is stunning from basically all angles!

If you are looking to dive into your love for all things “royal”, then a day trip to Windsor Castle is basically a must-do if you’re in London. This massive castle – originally built in the 11th century strategically overlooking the River Thames – is actually the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world!

Today, the Castle serves as the private residence of Queen Elizabeth II (mostly as her weekend residence). It is open to visitors year round – and you can do a tour and/or visit highlights like the State Rooms and Apartments, the Changing of the Guard, St. George’s Chapel, the Moat Room and more.

Because of the grand nature and importance, the Windsor Castle is a very popular place to visit. It’s highly advised to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. You can check here for your Windsor Castle admission ticket.

Address: Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom

London to Windsor Castle By Car

Windsor Castle is located in Windsor (surprise!) which is basically due west of central London. You CAN drive to Windsor but honestly London traffic and finding/paying for parking is more of a hassle than it needs to be.

The route is easy using public transport – especially if you are going on a day trip from London to Windsor. That said, the drive would take longer than an hour and pass right by Heathrow Airport.

London to Windsor Castle By Train

Going to Windsor by train is a smarter option. The train journey from London is about an hour direct from Waterloo Station OR just over an hour if you leave from Paddington Station and change in Slough. Point is you have options and it’s not a long journey.

You can check for train tickets to Windsor and Eton Central Station on the National Rail website. Once you arrive at Windsor and Eton Central, you are right in the middle of Windsor and the Castle is basically 5 minutes away walking. It’s very close!

Address Windsor and Eton Central Station: Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom

London to Windsor Castle By Bus

The bus is also an option to get from London to Windsor Castle. Buses leave from London Victoria Station, take 1 hour 35 minutes, and cost around £10 one direction. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

You can also check for buses run by Reading Buses – the Greenline is made for this exact area/route to Windsor, Slough, Heathrow, and London.

London to Windsor Castle Tour

Because Windsor Castle is such a popular place to check out, there are many great tours which include the Castle, a tour, and often other attractions around the south of England.

Keep in mind, a tour is great if you don’t want to figure out public transportation and wish to see/learn even more on your day trip out from London. A day to see Windsor Castle and Stonehenge would make for a pretty good experience!

Herstmonceux Castle

red brick herstmonceux castle with green gardens day trips from london
The gardens at Herstmonceux are large and gorgeous!

If you want another beautiful castle to explore, you should check out Herstmonceux! This gorgeous red-brick fortress was built back in the 15th century as a private manor – it was never intended for battle!

Complete with a moat and battlements, the Castle is great to photograph as it sits among the English countryside. In fact, Herstmonceux Castle is one of the oldest significant brick buildings still standing in England!

Once you get there, there is actually a lot you can do. In the summer, you can hop on a guided castle tour of the inside and castle gardens. The castle grounds feature beautiful gardens and walking trails with wildlife and sculptures throughout. You can also head to Chestnuts Tea Shop for a quintessential English tea experience!

The Castle is open to tour for visitors roughly between March and November each year – but the exact seasonal dates change so check the official website for Herstmonceux Castle.

You’ll also notice the large white domes of telescopes all over the property. This is because the rural grounds once held The Royal Greenwich Observatory until the 1970s. Today, the grounds also feature The Observatory Science Centre. This is a science centre open year round – they offer with science-based workshops for kids in summer.

Address: Hailsham BN27 1RN, United Kingdom

London to Herstmonceux Castle By Car

Since Herstmonceux is kind of in the middle of nowhere, a car makes this journey really easy. The castle is located about 2 hours (about 100 km) south of London close to the coast. The drive is lovely – and you’ll pass small towns with great little pubs.

Once you arrive, you can find parking at the Science Centre up top on the hill and/or you might be able to park down near the Castle. You talk to the booth attendant for tickets when you drive in so they will tell you what to do. If you do park up near the Science Centre, you can walk down to the Castle – it’s not far.

London to Herstmonceux Castle By Train/Taxi

If you want to explore Herstmonceux Castle but don’t want to drive yourself, you can take the train from London Victoria Station to Polegate Station. That’s the closest station to the castle (that makes sense, trust us). You can check for train tickets to Polegate on the National Rail website.

Address for Polegate Station: High Street, Polegate, BN26 6EH

From there, you will need to call a cab to take you the rest of the way – about a 20 minute drive. For this, you should call Harbourside Taxi and tell them you want to go to Herstmonceux. Eric has loads of experience with them – they are great!

Rye/Camber Sands

sandy dunes with green grass and blue ocean behind camber sands
Sand as far as the eye can see!

If you want to get out of London for a quiet beach day, you should check out Rye and the Camber Sands. This massive natural beach stretches for well over 2 miles – and is covered in golden sand. This is in contrast to the stone beaches you find in Eastbourne or Brighton.

The area is actually pretty significant – it’s the region’s (East Sussex) only natural sand dune beach area/habitat! The beach is in the village of Camber which is just a short drive from the small village of Rye. There are little cafes, restaurants, and places to grab a drink while you are there.

Eric has been through Rye and visited the Camber Sands. The beach really is breathtaking – you have to be there to understand how large and beautiful it is. If you head down, you can explore Rye and Camber together to make a nice little single day trip.

Keep in mind when you are at Camber in the summer, there are lots of flags to follow for safe swimming areas. The ocean can be dangerous so be sure to follow the rules (and the lifeguards) and you’ll have a great time!

Address for Camber Sands Beach: Old Lydd Rd, Camber, Rye TN31 7RH, United Kingdom

London to Rye By Car

Since Rye is right down on the coast to the south of London, you could drive there. With a car, it would be over 2 hours and over 125 km driving distance on the M20. Once you arrive, you can drive through Rye to the actual beach at Camber. There’s parking at the Camber Sands which makes things easy.

Address of Car Park: Camber Car Park, Old Lydd Rd, Camber, Rye TN31 7RH, United Kingdom

London to Rye By Train

The train is also a good option to get to Rye (and thus the Camber Sands). You can leave from London Bridge Station or St Pancras International – either scenario you head for Ashford International Station and then change trains to Rye.

The total time can be as short an 1 hour and 10 minutes (day and time depending). You can check for train tickets to Rye on the National Rail website.

Once you are in Rye, you can explore the small town and then catch “The Wave 102” bus from the station or a taxi to the beach. The walk would be over an hour to the coast and honestly we can’t guarantee there’s walking paths that aren’t just the busy roads to get to the beach.

Address Rye Station: Rye TN31 7AB, United Kingdom

London to Rye By Bus

Rye is so small you can’t catch a bus from London. Take the train or car.

Bodiam Castle

large castle with moat in front reflecting off water bodiam castle
Bodiam Castle has the “classic castle” look for sure!

If you want to visit another castle on this list that makes for great photos – Bodiam Castle should not be overlooked! Built back in 1385, this 14th century castle is complete with moat and drawbridge!

Bodiam Castle was originally built to hold off the French but these days it’s owned by the National Trust and open to the public year-round. Bodiam Castle also makes a great addition to a driving trip to Rye/Camber Sands since they are close together.

There is actually a lot going on at the Castle. They have archery lessons on select days and they even do free guided tours (with admission). Visitors can also climb the spiral stairs of the towers for great views of the countryside.

The grounds are popular to wander and in the autumn the leaves are just spectacular. There are also shops and places to eat onsite! You can learn more at the official website for Bodiam Castle here.

Address: Bodiam, Robertsbridge TN32 5UA, United Kingdom

London to Bodiam Castle By Car

Bodiam Castle is located in the very small village of Bodiam – to the southeast of London almost at the coast. So, driving to Bodiam is by far the best option.

The drive to Bodiam Castle would be about 2 hours which is 90 km driving distance (approximately). Once you arrive, there is a car park at the National Trust Tea Room Bodiam Castle. You can then pay for parking and admission and walk the grounds.

London to Bodiam Castle By Train

Bodiam Castle is kind of difficult to get to via train. You can’t take a big train from London to the station near Bodiam – it’s too small. From London, you would have to go through Hastings Station and then catch a bus to Bodiam Village or train to Battle Station.

Your option would then be like with Herstmonceux Castle – you could get to Hastings by train or to Battle by train and then call a cab with Harbourside Taxi or just hail one. In any case, you can check for train tickets on the National Rail website.

Another fun car/train option is if you can somehow drive to Tenterden, you can take the historic steam train (runs seasonally) at Kent & East Sussex Railway. This train will take you to the Bodiam Station address below – and would be fun to do with the kids! You can check out tickets for the steam train here.

Address Bodium Station: Staplecross, Bodiam, Robertsbridge TN32 5UD, United Kingdom

London to Bodiam Castle By Bus

As we have mentioned, it’s too difficult to make the bus trip for a day trip. Ideally, you drive or train/taxi if you really want to visit.

Leeds Castle

large castle with water around and green grass in front leeds castle
A classic castle photo – with water and all!

Speaking of amazing Castles – we could not write a guide on day trips from London without mentioning Leeds Castle! Built back in 1119, this incredibly popular castle just celebrated its 900th birthday!

To recount the long history of the castle would be very difficult. All you need to know was that it was built by Normans, became a private residence for royalty, was used as a country house, and is now among the most historic and visited buildings in all of Britain.

These days, you can visit the castle and grounds for a fee but it is well worth it. You can do an audio guide tour, explore The Gatehouse Exhibit, walk the gardens, get lost in a maze, mini-golf, see the Dog Collar Museum, and more! Kids even have a playground and there’s a restaurant onsite, too.

The castle is open all year round but hosts different events as well with the changing seasons. You can learn more and plan your visit to Leeds Castle here.

Address: Maidstone ME17 1PL, United Kingdom

London to Leeds Castle By Car

Leeds Castle is located in Kent (like other attractions in this part of the post) to the east of London and a bit south. To drive there, take the A20/M20 or the A2 for about 1 hour 40 minutes (about 70 km driving distance). Once you arrive, parking is free so that’s nice to know!

London to Leeds Castle By Train

Taking the train to Leeds Castle is actually pretty easy. Trains leave London Victoria Station and head direct for Bearsted Station. This train takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Once you are there, you can catch a bus (the L1) to get closer to the castle (10-minute ride). There’s also a shuttle bus run from the station by a private company called Spot Travel from April to September. You can check for train tickets to Leeds Castle on the National Rail website. You could also walk but it would be far.

Address Bearsted Station: Bearsted, Maidstone ME14 4PH, United Kingdom

London to Leeds Castle By Bus

The bus to Leeds Castle from London isn’t convenient nor practical. Take the train or drive as listed above.

London to Leeds Castle Tour

Leeds Castle is a pretty popular destination and – as such – there are a few tours dedicated to taking you to the Castle and other top sights in Kent!

Dover

blue water below white cliffs covered in green grass
The famous cliffs look great from the water!

If you want to see the coast and add on discovering some incredible European history, then you should head to Dover. The small seaside town – known for the “cliffs” – is geographically the closest point to continental Europe.

As such, it’s a busy port town important for trade with frequent ferry service to France. Despite the smaller size, this sea town is full of very popular attractions – both historic and natural.

You have likely heard of the famous White Cliffs of Dover – well, they are here! Just a short walk/hike to the east from the town centre you can experience the English coast from above the sea. On clear days, you can even see to France!

Another famous site is Dover Castle, one of England’s oldest and largest castles. Founded in the 11th century, the site was dubbed the “Key to England” due to its critically important defensive positioning. The Castle has Secret Wartime Tunnels and more to be explored, too. It’s popular so you can check here for your Dover Castle admission ticket.

Aside from all the history, Dover has places to go shopping as well as nice cafes, restaurants, and pubs that you can visit. There are also other museums, memorials, gardens (Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens), and the Pier to check out in any weather!

Address for Dover Castle: Castle Hill Rd, Dover CT16 1HU, United Kingdom

London to Dover By Car

Dover is located on the southeastern coast of England. As such, the drive is a bit farther – but we think it’s a worthy day trip to make it.

From London, take the M2/A2 or the M20/A20 – both roads head in generally the same direction. Driving time is about 2 hours 10 minutes with a distance of approximately 125 km.

Once you arrive, you can find parking all over – but you should aim for the water on Marine Parade. Aim for this address: Marine Parade, Dover CT16 1LG, United Kingdom

London to Dover By Train

Because Dover is a larger/more important centre, the train connection is pretty good from London. You can hop on the train at St Pancras International Station and ride for 1 hour 5 minutes to Dover Priory Station. You can check for train tickets to Dover on the National Rail website.

The train station is located very much in the town centre across the centre of town from Dover Castle and other top attractions. This means it’s also a short walk to the waterfront.

Address for Dover Priory: Station Approach, Folkestone Rd, Dover CT17 9SB, United Kingdom

London to Dover By Bus

The buses from London to Dover are also pretty good. Buses leave from London Victoria Station and take as little as 2 hours 30 minutes for as little as £5.50 one way. Once in Dover, the bus drops you off right in the centre to walk anywhere you need. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to Dover Tour

Since Dover is at the southern coast at the English Channel, there are lots of things to see along the way before you get there. So, lots of tours include other great sights and attractions like historic nearby towns or famous castles.

Botany Bay

white stone cliffs with beach below and blue sky behind in botany bay
Botany Bay is worth a wander!

If you need one more beach suggestion, count on the southeast coast of England to deliver with Botany Bay. This popular beach area features nice sand and stunning white chalk cliffs and chalk stacks.

The unique landscape makes for great photos, fossil hunting, hikes, and just relaxing at the coast for the day. The Bay got its name because apparently smugglers caught with goods were sent to Botany Bay in Australia!

Thee days, you can swim there but be sure to follow the signs, signals, and guards when you visit. You also need to watch for the tide times if you’re out on the sand – don’t want to get cut off from shore!

The beach area is well serviced with toilets, lifeguards (seasonal) and places to eat like cafes and restaurants nearby. Besides the beach, there are a few things you can check out such as Neptune’s Tower (old fortress ruins) and Kingsgate Bay Sea Arch! You can learn more about visiting Botany Bay here.

Address: Marine Dr, Broadstairs CT10 3LG, United Kingdom

London to Botany Bay By Car

Botany Beach is located to the east of London in Kent – basically as far as one can travel in England at the tip of the coast. If you want to drive, it would be well over 2 hours and approximately 130 km to get there.

Once you arrive, there’s parking along the roads overlooking the beach. Most people just park on the side of the road close by and walk down the paths to the beach/ocean but it’s patrolled and technically not allowed since it’s a residential area. You should aim for Palm Bay Avenue (CT9 3PP) to park.

London to Botany Bay By Train

The train to Botany Bay is complicated because you can’t get there by only taking the train. From St. Pancras Station (or whichever rail station you start out at), aim for Broadstairs Station, Ramsgate, or Margate (which is actually closest to the sea). This trip takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can check for train tickets to Botany Bay on the National Rail website.

From Broadstairs you can take a local bus route called “The Loop”, get a little closer, and then you’d still have a short walk to the beach. Alternatively, you can hail a cab to Botany Bay. It would be too far to walk from these stations – maybe from Margate you could walk along the sea ridge.

Address Broadstairs Station: Broadstairs CT10 1HZ, United Kingdom

London to Botany Bay By Bus

For the purposes of a day trip, the bus to Botany would be a little long. At best, you can leave from London Victoria Station and change in Canterbury (or more) for a minimum travel time of 3 hours 30 minutes. That’s still quite long for a day trip – just drive or take the train. In any case, you can check the National Express website for bus fares.

Canterbury

stone abbey with houses behind and green gardens in canterbury day trips from london
Canterbury is a historic place right for exploring…

If you are into literature, you might want to check out Canterbury! Luckily, Canterbury is a great day trip from London. This smaller city is packed with history around every corner. From being a pilgrimage site back in the Middle Ages, the city still has remnants of its past.

You can explore things like the old city walls built by Romans and check out the wood-timbered houses that line the streets. Other top attractions include the Canterbury Cathedral which was originally founded close to the year 600!

Of course, no stop to Canterbury is complete without acknowledging “The Canterbury Tales” – the famous collection of Medieval stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 1300s. You can experience some of his stories at the The Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction located in the heart of the city.

Besides all the history, Canterbury’s centre is full of cafes, restaurants, authentic pubs, and green spaces to sit back and enjoy the day!

Address of Canterbury Cathedral: Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH, United Kingdom

London to Canterbury By Car

Canterbury – like other places in this section of the post – is located in Kent. This area is to the south and east of central London, closer to the coast. This makes it pretty easy to drive to Canterbury from London.

If you have a car, the drive to Canterbury would take about 1 hour 50 minutes (traffic depending) on the M2/A2 for a driving distance of about 100 km. Once you arrive, there are parking lots all over the city centre.

London to Canterbury By Train

Luckily for you, the train connection to Canterbury is pretty easy. You can leave St. Pancras International Station and head for Canterbury West Station in as little as 55 minutes on the train with no changes. You can check for train tickets to Canterbury at the National Rail website.

Once you arrive, the train station is located just north of the middle of the city centre. You can walk to the top attractions very easily.

Address of Canterbury West Station: Canterbury CT2 8AN, United Kingdom

London to Canterbury By Bus

Since Canterbury likes making things easy for you, there’s also a direct bus. Buses leave from London Victoria and take as little as 55 minutes direct with no changes for as little as £5 one way. There are also 16 buses per day so you’ve got options! You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

London to Canterbury Tour

Since there are so many places to check out in the county of Kent, lots of day tours from London explore Canterbury AND add on top sights like Leeds Castle, Dover and more. This makes for a full day of exploring and good value.

Hever Castle

small stone castle with bridge hever castle
Hever Castle looks like it was plucked from Medieval Times…

As if there weren’t enough castles on this list, Hever Castle is also worth a look! This 13th century castle – complete with double-moats – was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (the second wife of Henry VIII and Mother of Elizabeth I)!

Besides the rich history and stunning architecture, there is lots going on at Hever Castle. You can tour the castle, walk the 125-acre gardens, enjoy Hever Lake and the Japanese Tea House, practice archery, get lost in a maze, and try jousting in the summer (plus lots more).

The small village of Hever (where the castle is located) also has a great authentic wood-timbered pub named after King Henry VIII! If you want to learn more and plan your visit, check out the Hever Castle website.

Address: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG, United Kingdom

London to Hever Castle By Car

Hever Castle is located in Kent to the southeast of London (along with other attractions in this post just above this entry). It is very easy to get to Hever by car.

The drive to Hever Castle is about 1 hour 30 minutes (due to London traffic) and about 65 km of driving distance through very green and rural countryside. Once you arrive at Hever Castle, parking is free so just follow the parking people.

London to Hever Castle By Train

Hever Castle is one of those castles that is in the middle of nowhere BUT you can get there easily by train. In fact, this is a big reason it’s visited so often.

To get there, you can take the train from either London Victoria Station or London Bridge Station. You will need to change in Oxted and/or East Croyden, depending on which train you take. These will bring you to Edenbridge Town Station taking about 55 minutes of train time total. From there, you should hail a cab with Relyon Taxis (book in advance just in case).

The other option is to take the train from London Bridge station right to Hever Station (also about 55 minutes by train with a change at Oxted) and then you have a 1 mile walk to the Castle.

You’ll see a map when you leave the small station to direct you to the Castle. There are red/white wooden posts to follow. Personally we’d aim for Hever Station and do the short walk. You can check for train tickets to Hever Castle on the National Rail website.

Address Hever Station: Edenbridge TN8 7ER, United Kingdom

London to Hever Castle By Bus

The bus to Hever Castle is infrequent or too complicated – drive or take the train.

Southampton

old wooden building with brown timber and blue sky behind in southampton
The Tudor House is a must-see in Southampton!

Almost last – but certainly not least – is the seaside city of Southampton. This port city is actually pretty large and has quite a significant history to it. As such, it makes a good day trip from London!

Aside from having the waterfront at Ocean Village, there are quite a few top attractions in the city. You can explore the medieval city walls, lounge in a giant green space called the Southampton Commons, and explore loads of historic churches, museums, and galleries.

Specifically, the SeaCity Museum has a model of the Titanic – significant because the Titanic left Southampton on its doomed voyage in 1912. The Solent Sky Museum is great for plant enthusiasts since you can see the vintage aircraft the Spitfire. More historic looking, the Tudor House & Garden (shown above) is great for checking out 800 years of history!

Address of Tudor House: Bugle St, Southampton SO14 2AD, United Kingdom

London to Southampton By Car

Southampton is located at the southern English coast to the southwest of London. Given the distance, it’s easy to get there by car in just over 2 hours and about 130 km of driving distance on mostly the M3.

Once you get there, Southampton is a larger centre so you’ll find street parking or in a lot easy enough.

London to Southampton By Train

Another good option to get to Southampton is by train. From Waterloo Station, there’s a direct train to Southampton Central Station that takes an average time of 1 hour 30 minutes (some shorter and some longer depending on the time of day).

The station in Southampton is located in/just north of the city centre and Ocean Village. You can check for train tickets to Southampton on the National Rail website.

London to Southampton By Bus

Because these are two larger cities, the bus is also an option. The bus leaves from London Victoria Bus Station and takes as little as 1 hour 50 minutes direct. The fare isn’t too bad either at as little as £6.70 one way. You can check the National Express website for bus fares.

Paris

steel tower eiffel tower with blue sky behind day trip from london paris
Yes, you’d see the Eiffel Tower if you went!

Since it is a possibility – and it is asked about often – we decided to cover the one day trip from London that is not in the UK. Yes, you can head to Paris on a day trip!

The French capital city is known for a lot of things like culture, food, and top attractions. There’s no way you’d see even a fraction of the city in a few hours – but you can go and experience the city and then always visit again later in life.

The massive and sprawling city is full of great things to do like visiting the Eiffel Tower for incredible views, the famous Louvre Museum to see the Mona Lisa, and the underground Paris Catacombs – just to name a few. Eric saw the Catacombs and it was really, really fascinating (but also quite creepy).

London to Paris By Train

By far the best option (when you account for travel time, cost, and not killing the environment) is taking the train from London to Paris. For this, you would take the Eurostar from St. Pancras International station (in the north end of central London) through the “Chunnel” or the Channel Tunnel under the English Channel.

From London, you can be in Paris Gare du Nord in basically 2 hours and 20 minutes. You can check for train tickets to Paris on the Eurostar website. Keep in mind that you go through security and customs like an airport and will need proper ID (passport for international travellers or ID Card for Europeans – but we’ll see what happens with Brexit).

Eric took the Eurostar from Brussels to London (it runs many stops and a few different variations) and it was an awesome experience. Way easier than flying, less stressful, faster, and better for the environment. You don’t even realize you go under the water in a tunnel!

London to Paris By Car

Similarly to the method below (bus to Paris), driving to Paris would not be doable for a day. You would have to drive to the coast and put the car on the train to then go through the Chunnel. Then you still have to drive to Paris once you are on the other side in France – which can be busy with traffic, etc. The total trip one way can take around 6 hours. So, take the Eurostar.

London to Paris By Bus

There are a few companies that run the route – Flixbus, National Express, etc. but the bus would get on the ferry to cross the water and would take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. This is not realistic for a day trip from London.

London to Paris Flying

You could fly from a central airport like London City to Paris-Charles De Gaulle but the time spent travelling to and from the airports, going through customs and security, etc would just not be worth it for a day of adventure. So basically don’t fly. Take the Eurostar – it’s better for the environment anyway.

London to Paris Tour

There are actually a number of tours you can go on that will take you to Paris for the day. Many of them just take you on the Eurostar and then provide commentary once you are there.

This isn’t a bad idea – but honestly, you would never see even a fraction of Paris in a few hours anyway so we suggest doing a little bit of research and just going on your own and exploring for the day.

And there you have it – 23 of the best day trips from London! In the end, there are plenty more castles, small villages, or attractions you can see. However, this is a pretty comprehensive list to suit all interests! Let us know which ones you’ve done – and if there’s a place we should check out!

As always, Happy London Day Trip Waddlin’,
– L&E

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Great Day Trips From London
Author

Eric is a Canadian & Hungarian content writer with over 45 countries under his belt. From volunteering in Australia to studying his Master's degree abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, his travel experiences have taken him across the globe. Next to writing on Penguin and Pia, he has been quoted by the BBC, the Travel Channel, USA Today, and Mashable and contributed to companies in the travel space such as Matador, AirHelp, GoOverseas, and Spot.

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