25 Fun Day Trips From London By Train Or Car To Take In 2024


Are you looking for some awesome destinations for day trips from London by train?

London! A city bursting with history, culture, and endless things to do. But sometimes, don’t you just want to escape the city’s hustle and bustle? You’re in luck! London’s excellent train network serves as your gateway to some of the best day trips by train that the UK has to offer. From idyllic countryside retreats to cities steeped in history, we’ve got you covered in this curated guide featuring 25 incredible London day trips.

Recommended by the best local travel bloggers, who personally explored these destinations, wandered their cobblestone streets, and, yes, enjoyed a pub lunch or two.

Take your pick from charming Cotswolds villages, where time seems to stand still, or journey back in history in Bath, a city that dates back to Roman times. If natural beauty is your calling, the jaw-dropping cliffs of Dover should be on your list.

Whether you’re planning a spontaneous local adventure or a well-thought-out UK staycation, your next unforgettable trip is just a train ride away. Happy reading and even happier travelling!

Day Trips By Train From London – Our Top Picks

If you don’t have the time to read about all the awesome places to visit near London by train, here are our top recommendations:

🚊 TOP EASY DAY TRIP ➡️ Oxford & Cambridge.

🏰 TOP CASTLE DAY TRIP ➡️ Hever Castle & Windsor Castle.

🌳 TOP NATURE PICKS ➡️ The New Forest & The Seven Sisters Cliffs.

Day Trips From London By Train – Map

#1 Hever Castle

Hever Castle is one of the best day trips from London by train for the entire family.

If you are looking for a day trip from London full of history, then visiting Hever Castle is a must. 

Located around one hour away from London by train, in the beautiful county of Kent, Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII, who was wrongfully beheaded for treason in the Tower of London.

She became not only the mother of Queen Elizabeth I but also a key figure in the separation of the English Church from the Vatican. Hever Castle tells the story of Anne Boleyn, from her childhood to her death. She spent many years here, whilst growing up, but also when she was courted by Henry VIII. 

The castle is one of the best examples of Tudor architecture in England. It still has parts of the original beam ceiling, dating from the 16th century. The Chamber Room in Hever Castle displays one of the most important collections of Tudor portraits in Britain, representing five of the six wives of Henry VIII. The sixth one is displayed in the Long Gallery, built in 1506 by Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father. 

The grounds at Hever Castle deserve a one day trip from London themselves. You will find here beautifully landscaped rose gardens, colourful flower meadows, intricate mazes, Hever Lake and plenty of woodlands. Many people bring their own picnic baskets and enjoy some quality time in nature.

By Joanna from The World in My Pocket

#2 Seven Sisters Cliff – Best Day Trip From London For Outdoor Enthusiasts.

Seven sisters cliffs is one of the best day trips.from London fro nature lovers.

Get out of the city for a coastal walk and take in one of the UK’s most iconic views at Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex

Start your hike at Seven Sisters Country Park and follow the signs for the South Downs Way towards the sea. The route runs alongside the winding Cuckmere River and then heads uphill towards the first of the Seven Sisters cliffs – Haven Brow. Climb to the top, and take a deep breath of fresh sea air and stunning views. 

Follow the path and head east, at a safe distance from the cliff edge, until you reach Birling Gap. Head down to the beach where you’ll be able to appreciate the full scale of the cliffs. The clifftop at Birling Gap is an excellent place to stop for a picnic or a meal at the café. 

Continue your walk towards Eastbourne until you come to Belle Tout Lighthouse. The lighthouse is a cool place to stay if you want a longer visit to Seven Sisters Cliffs. You can also get yourself an ice cream here before retracing your steps back to Seven Sisters Country Park.  

Always walk at least 4 metres from the cliff edge and on the beach stay clear from the base of the cliffs which sometimes crumble. 

Trains run from London Victoria to Seaford with a change at Lewes. The journey takes approximately one hour and 40 minutes. If you take the train that changes at Brighton, this will add an extra 17 minutes to your trip so check before you buy your ticket. From Seaford take the 12x bus to Seven Sisters Country Park where you’ll start and end your hike. 

By Suzanne from The Travelbunny

#3 Milton Keynes – One Of The Easy Day Trips From London.

Milton Keynes one of the best daytrips from London for families.
Willen Park in Milton Keynes

One of the great one day trips from London is Milton Keynes, one of the UK’s newest cities that experienced rapid growth over the last 50 years. It is often called a ’roundabout city’ because of the huge number of roundabouts across the city. 

You can get to Milton Keynes from London in under 36 minutes from London Euston, so it’s really quick to get there with no fuss or changes.  

Milton Keynes has grown massively over the past decade, and there is so much to do here now than there was 20 years ago. 

Some of the best things to do in Milton Keynes include Snozone – where you can go skiing and snowboarding indoors, and you can get ski lessons if you are a complete newbie. In the same building, you can also find the famous Xscape – where you can go skydiving, skiing and climbing, and there are also galleries, nightclubs and a casino.  

Head to Bletchley to Big Rock – which offers an incredible indoor climbing experience, boasting some of the best-in-the-country expertise and facilities. And for more family-orientated activities, head to Bounce – first Indoor Trampoline Park centre in the UK with over 22,000 square feet of interconnected indoor trampolines.  

A local’s favourite is the long-standing Gulliver’s Land – one of the only theme parks in the UK that caters mostly for the younger members of the family. 

And for those history buffs, a visit to the famous Bletchley Park is a must. The park was the main site for Britain’s codebreakers during World War II which was run by the Government Code and Cypher School, and it regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most notably the German Enigma and Lorenz cyphers.  

Thanks for its diverse activities on offer, Milton Keynes is one of the best family day trips from London by train.

By Sophie from Sophie’s Suitcase

#4 The New Forest – One Of The Best Places To Visit Near London By Train With Kids.

new forest, uk e
The New Forest

Are you looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of London? Just 2 hours away from London by train from the Waterloo station, you will find The New Forest National Park. These rolling hills and beautiful moors hide some of the most beautiful villages of the South.

When planning a day trip to The New Forest, you should stop by Beaulieu. This ancient British village by a large lake and castle houses Europe’s largest and best car museum. Even when you are not into cars, you can head to the museum to learn more about life in Victorian times and British spies in the Second World War.

The New Forest is also the perfect place for beautiful, long walks. Pubs and hotels in The New Forest are extremely dog friendly, and you will always find a well-poured pint and a roaring fire to warm up by. These last few years cyclists have also discovered The New Forest, and it has always been a haven for bird spotters and hikers.

This ancient National Park is also one of the best places to visit from London by train with kids. Not only can your kids play and make dams in the many brooks and small rivers, but The New Forest also has free-roaming ponies, pigs (in autumn) and naughty donkeys. These animals love walking into the villages and will always be a great source of entertainment.

There are loads of great camping spots in The New Forest, but if you are travelling in winter, I would recommend staying in Beaulieu, Burly or Brockenhurst. These relatively quiet villages offer some great family cottages and beautiful boutique hotels for the perfect little staycation.

By Lieze from Glitter Rebel

#5 Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

The medieval Warwick Castle is an impressive site located on the River Avon in the Midlands market town of Warwick. Located less than two hours from London, Warwick Castle makes an excellent choice for a day trip, especially for families as it has a fascinating history and some fantastic attractions to keep everyone entertained.

There is a direct service from London Marylebone Station to Warwick (1 hour 45 minutes), and the castle lies just a short, well-signposted walk away.

Originally constructed as just a ‘burh’ (a fortified earthen rampart) by The Saxon Army to protect the town of Warwick from the Danish, the castle has had many different iterations over the years starting from a wooden motte and bailey castle under the rule of William the Conqueror to a stone construction built by the de Newburgh family.

Warwick Castle has survived several sieges and conflicts with the final outbreak coming from Royalist forces in 1642. The castle was first opened to the public back in 1815 and has since been a much-loved attraction for those interested in history, culture, and architecture.

It is often described as ‘Britain’s Ultimate Castle’ and with its wealth of history, range of great attractions and spectacular architecture, it’s not hard to see why.

If you want to make your trip even more special and have time to stay overnight, you can book a night in the castle to live like royalty with a stay in the Peacock Suite in Caesar’s Tower! Alternatively, during the summer, you can book a lodge, or glamping stay in the Knight’s Village for an unforgettable medieval getaway.

By Chrysoula from Historic European Castles

#6 Oxford – Under 1 Hour From London By Train.


Oxford is the perfect day trip from London – easy to get to and packed full of interesting sights and places to visit. Just an hour from London on the train you will be transported into a world of history and beautiful architecture. 

Lose yourself for hours in the Pitt Rivers Museum, packed to the ceiling with quirky artefacts collected from around the world. Tear yourself away for a wander through Oxford Castle, a building which has seen so many changes from its beginnings as a Norman stronghold. 

The University colleges are absolutely beautiful and well worth a wander in their own right. Head to Christ Church College which was the inspiration for a number of locations in the Harry Potter films, most notably its dining room which Hogwart’s Great Hall was modelled on. It’s such an evocative place that even if you’re not a Potter fan, it’s worth wandering its cloisters. 

Just outside of the city, if you have time, is Blenheim Palace. A grand building with beautiful grounds, including a fantastic maze. This former home of Winston Churchill has so many different eras of history on display.

If you decide to stay, there are some fantastic family hotels in Oxford for when you want to return and spend longer in this picturesque city. The top pick would be the Jurys Inn Oxford which is right in the centre so easy to walk to all the main sites.

By Nichola West from Family Hotel Expert

#7 York – One Of The Best London Day Trips By Train For City Lovers.

day trips from london by train

The historic city of York is a direct, two-hour train trip from London on the scenic East Coast mainline. Visiting York by train is a perfect choice as the city’s Victorian railway station is a short ten-minute walk from the city centre and all the major attractions. Plus, York is a compact city with a pedestrianised city centre so can easily be covered on foot during a one-day visit. 

Start your day trip at the city’s ornate Gothic cathedral which boasts the largest expanse of stained glass anywhere in the world and climb the Minister’s central tower for a bird’s eye view of the city. Amble York’s medieval stone walls which at two miles long are the longest city walls in England. 

York is famous for its Viking, Roman and medieval past and offers historic houses and sites from each era in addition to fantastic Georgian and Victorian architecture. Wander the cobbled ‘The Shambles’, voted ‘Britain’s Best Street’ and browse the independent crafts, food and drink on offer at The Shambles Market. 

Learn about York’s historic past at the famous Jorvik Viking Centre or the excellent York Castle Museum. Step back in time to the Norman era by visiting Clifford’s Tower, an open ‘keep’ on an artificial hill in the centre of the city! 

Footsore visitors can relax with a boat cruise along the River Ouse before heading back to the train station. Visitors will leave York vowing to return!

By Sinead from Best in York Guide

#8 Harry Potter Studios, Watford

Warner Bros Studios
Warner Bros Studios

If you are a Potterhead and want to see everything Harry Potter-related in London, going on a day trip to the Warner Bros studios is a must-do! 

Located in Watford (North London), the studios are easily accessible by train from Victoria Station. It takes about 2 hours to get to Watford Junction. From there, hop on the HP shuttle that will bring you directly to the studios. The bus stop is located right across the car park. You can’t miss it. You can use your Oyster card or contactless bank card to get to Watford. The shuttle costs £6 return. You can pay in cash or by card.

Once you get to the studios, go to the entrance desk to check in and start your visit! Although you will have to stick to your entrance time, you are free to stay as long as you want inside. The average visit lasts 4 hours, but true Harry Potter fans will spend the entire day! 

Inside, you will discover the sets they used, including the Gryffindor common room and the dining hall. You will also learn plenty about the special effects, how the actors were cast (and the animals!), see the costumes and plenty more. 

The visit is very interactive, so even for someone who isn’t a massive fan, it’s worth going! You can even try the broom and play Quidditch! 

You can buy your tickets directly on the WB Studios website but need to do so in advance. If this is a last-minute decision, you may need to opt for a tour which includes a transfer. If possible, make sure to book an early slot so you can spend more time on-site. 

For food, no need to bring anything. There is a restaurant and cafe. You can even buy butterbeer!

By Pauline from BeeLoved City

#9 Exeter

exeter cathedral
The Cathedral in Exeter | Photo by Claire

Located about 2.5 hours from London by train, Exeter is one of the best day trips out of London to see a completely different side of the country. It’s a much smaller city than London and other cities in the UK, making it the perfect place for a day trip!

Exeter was first inhabited by a Celtic tribe but was developed under Roman rule. It prospered during the Medieval period when it was an important town for the woollen cloth trade, and when its majestic cathedral was first constructed. The cathedral that stands today was finished in 1342, and it has the longest uninterrupted medieval Gothic vaulting in the world

Visiting the cathedral is a must-do on your Exeter itinerary, and I would also recommend taking a free Red Coat walking tour to learn more about the city’s history.

Make sure that you spend some time exploring the quayside, where the trade of Exeter was directed for centuries and is now a beautiful place to enjoy a drink or dinner. And for a unique experience, Exeter’s Medieval water passages are open for guided tours throughout the year!

Small sites around the city to look out for include ‘the house that moved’ which is a Tudor building that was literally moved using iron rails to save it from being demolished. The country’s – and perhaps the world’s – narrowest street, entitled Parliament Street, is also in Exeter.

And look out for Exeter’s old walls – these were built by the Romans, but have been fortified and restored over time. 

If you fancy staying the night, The White Hart offers cosy pub accommodation, or Hotel Indigo has boutique-style luxury rooms.

By Claire from Go South West England

#10 Bristol – One Of The Non-Touristy Train Day Trips From London.

Bristol | Photo by Maggie

One of the best train trips from London that is easy to reach via the expansive rail network is to the lovely, western city of Bristol. Though often overlooked by international visitors to England, Bristol may well be the coolest city in the country and has a lot to offer visitors. And though one could easily spend several days exploring the city, you can get a lot out of spending just one day in Bristol

If you’re interested in art, especially street art, then you’re sure to love Bristol. Known as the hometown of Banksy, this is the city where the iconic and elusive artist got his start. Bristol’s street art scene goes well beyond Banksy, however, and it is well worth exploring all of the incredible murals and pieces throughout the city. 

If you’re interested in the city’s history, then make sure to head to the fantastic M Shed museum, where you can learn all about Bristol through many periods. You can also learn about Bristol’s maritime history by visiting the Brunel’s SS Great Britain Museum. This ship was one of the first of its kind, and it is truly fascinating to visit. 

Bristol also has excellent food and craft beer to explore and if this is something that interests you, then make sure to head to the Wapping Wharf area where old shipping containers have been repurposed to house great restaurants and hip bars.

Located about 2 hours by train from London, there is no denying that Bristol makes for an excellent day trip from the capital, especially if you’re keen to explore a different English city.

By Maggie from The World Was Here First

#11 Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Cathedral
Bury St Edmunds Cathedral

If you are looking to discover the real England, that of small, rural country towns, then I would have to mention Bury St Edmunds as one of the best day trips from London by train, you can make.

The town is steep in history, once being the home of one of Europe’s most prominent monasteries, the burial place for royalty and on top of that, home to the UK’s biggest brewer of the iconic British drink, real ale.

The focal point of the town is the square known as Angel Hill. Here you will find the Abbey Gate, the entrance to the ruins of the once magnificent monastery. It is also a little further up the road where you will find the new Cathedral, wonderfully juxtaposed by St James Church almost next door, a 15th-century church and where Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry the 8th now rests.

A little further on you will find the Green King Brewery, home to a nice museum and tours throughout the day, a highlight of which is getting out onto the roof of the brewhouse for some lovely views and, of course, the tasting room. I highly recommend booking in advance as they operate on scheduled time.

Finally, if you get a bit tired of taking in the history of the town, you can always resort to a little bit of shopping. Bury St Edmunds has a thriving independent retail scene, so you’ll be sure to pick up a nice souvenir, and if you visit on a Saturday or Wednesday, you’ll run into the local market that takes over the centre of the town.

And finally, you have to check out some of the wonderful, locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants to kick back and enjoy the afternoon.

By Matt from The Travel Blogs

#12 Paris – One Of The Best Day Trips From London By Train To Other Countries.

Paris is one of the best Day Trips From London By Train To Other Countries.

Paris is one of the best day trips from London by train. For some, an international day trip may sound crazy, but the train ride from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord only takes 2.15 hours so if you take the first train in the morning leaving London you are set for a wonderful day in Paris.

Deciding how to spend one day in Paris is tough, and it depends on what you like, and also on the season. If this is your first time in Paris, consider ticking off some of the main Paris attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, or a Seine River cruise. To avoid wasting time waiting in line, book all the tickets online in advance.

If you have been to Paris already, you can also decide to explore a specific area like Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain des Près or Canal de Saint-Martin. With this option, you won’t have a full picture of Paris, but you can come back to Paris again to visit other areas.

For art lovers, a visit to the Louvre is a must, and even if you only have one day in Paris, you can visit the main things in the Louvre in a couple of hours or less if you plan your visit well.

If you decide to spend the night in Paris, book a hotel near Gare du Nord. Avalon Hotel is a good option, and it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the train station.

By Elisa from World in Paris

#13 Camber Sands

For that wonderful feeling of sand between your toes and salty wind in your hair, take a day trip to Camber Sands. Located in East Sussex, you can get the train from London St Pancras to the charming town of Rye in an hour and a half. From Rye, Camber Sands is a scenic walk or a short bus ride away.

Camber Sands is widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the UK. It’s no surprise given that it offers five miles of golden sand and gorgeous sunsets. With such vast open stretches of sand, this beach rarely feels crowded. Take a long stroll along the coast, waves lapping at your feet, and breathe in the fresh coastal air.

For something a little more active, try your hand at kitesurfing. Camber is a popular location for this adrenaline-fuelled activity. For everything you need, there’s a kitesurfing centre where you can hire gear and get some lessons.

If you prefer to relax at the beach, find a sheltered spot amongst the sand dunes and enjoy a coastal picnic. Bring your own food or indulge in some classic fish and chips from one of the beachfront cafes. For a break away from the beach, there are a number of brilliant restaurants in and around Camber.

To make the most of your visit, stay the night in a local Airbnb or holiday let. Popular hotel options include The Gallivant or Mermaid Inn in Rye. It’s certainly worth taking some time to explore the enchanting town of Rye during your stay. With cobbled lanes and medieval houses, it’s a must-visit.

By Jessie Moore from Pocket Wanderings

#14 Colchester

St Botolphs Priory
St Botolphs Priory | Photo by Sarah

Taking a day trip by train from London to Colchester is a superb way to understand some of the history of England as a whole. It’s just 90 minutes by regular train service from London’s Liverpool Street Station to Colchester’s North Station. From there it’s a 15-minute walk to the centre of the town.  

A day trip to Colchester means you’ll get to visit England’s oldest recorded town, home of Boudicca and England’s only Roman Circus. There’s a lot of Roman influence here, Colchester has one of the most intact Roman city walls in the country, and it’s definitely worth visiting.

“The Hole in the Wall” is a pub that’s built into the wall itself! The best way to explore the town is on foot, and Colchester’s tourist office provides several free walking tours with downloadable maps and free audio guides.

Colchester’s Norman Castle with its magnificent keep should be top of your list of things to do in Colchester, the keep dates from 1076, but it’s built on top of a Roman Temple which is found in the dungeons. The Castle Museum also houses Fenwick’s hoard – Roman treasures that were found in the basement of a high street department store when renovations were undertaken.  

The stunning remains of the 11th-century St Botolph priory make a great backdrop to the town too.

Culinary treats for lunch in Colchester include oysters – the nearby Mersea Island is home to the world-famous Colchester Native oyster – and jam – Colchesters Tiptree Jam factory is close by, and you can sample many of their jams, preserves and fruit gins in the Tiptree tearooms in town.

If you decide to stay a little longer, the GreyFriars Hotel gets rave reviews and is well located in the city.

By Sarah from A Social Nomad

#15 Windsor Castle – A Royal Day Trip London Has To Offer.

Windsor Castle, england, day trips from london by train
Windsor Castle

Thanks in large part to a slew of recent royal weddings, think Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as Princess Eugenie, Royal Windsor, has well and truly been placed back at the top of the list of must-visit towns and cities when planning a trip to the UK.

Bucket loads of charm, historic royal sights and not to mention a direct train journey lasting just under an hour from London’s Waterloo station, make Windsor a perfect one day trip from London by train.

A visit to Windsor would of course not be complete without a tour of Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world and also the Queen’s preferred residence when away from London.

For the romantic at heart, take a leisurely cruise down the River Thames as you admire the gorgeous, green countryside surrounding Windsor.

Or simply stroll through the quintessentially English streets of the town, passing by the famous Crooked House, dating back to 1687 and known to be the oldest teahouse in England, but somewhat more famous for the actual leaning building, that’s definitely worth a snap!

Windsor also has a lot to offer families on a day out from London with the Legoland Windsor Resort being the biggest drawcard.

Last but not least, why not make the most of your day in Windsor by booking a Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour, that will allow you to see all the top sights in both Windsor and surrounding Eton.

Thinking of extending your stay and want to live like true English aristocracy? Consider booking into the incredible The Christopher Hotel.

By Marco from Travel-Boo

#16 Bath – One Of The Best Days Out From London For Wellness.

Bath is one of the best day trips from London by train for spa lovers.
Bath Cathedral

Only 115 miles away, Bath is an easy day trip from London by train and a must-visit place in England. The GWR train line has several direct trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa which takes an hour and a half.

The city of Bath has a long history dating back thousands of years. The Celts thought the place was sacred because of the hot mineral water that bubbled to the surface at three different springs in the area. With their love of baths, the Romans created a cosmopolitan and wealthy town around the mineral springs.

When the Romans left in 410, A.D., Bath fell into ruin. From the Roman period, the biggest attraction is the Roman baths.

You can visit the Roman baths but are not allowed to enter the water. To bathe in the thermal waters, you need to visit the Thermae Bath Spa. The mineral waters that come to the surface in the area is rainwater that fell on the earth 10,000 years ago. The water trickles down through the limestone in the area and then is pushed back up through the springs in a process that takes thousands of years. 

In the medieval era, Bath was important because it was in a wealthy area, thanks to the wool trade. England was recognised as having the best wool in Europe. In those days, most people wore wool clothes, so there was a lot of money coming into the area.

Much of the medieval city isn’t visible any more thanks to the Georgians who rebuilt over it. From the Medieval period, Bath Abbey is a gorgeous piece of architecture. 

Most of Bath today is from the Georgian period when people flocked to the city for the supposed healing powers of the waters. The Georgians drank the water which was supposed to cure a whole bunch of illnesses.

Following the rich and famous, many of the prominent architects of the day worked in Bath, creating the Neoclassical buildings that were fashionable in the day. Even today, Bath looks gracious and elegant. Beautiful places to see are Pulteney Bridge, the Circus and Royal Crescent. There is a Jane Austen Center to visit in the city which recollects the time she lived in Bath and appears in her works.

Our favourite place to stay is the luxury Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, which is on the beautiful Royal Crescent. 

By Shobha George from Epic England Travel

#17 Chichester

Chichester Cathedral

If you’re looking for an excellent destination for a train trip from London, I recommend Chichester. You can catch a direct train here from either Victoria or London Bridge. The journey takes 90 minutes in total.

When you arrive in Chichester, you should visit the city’s spectacular cathedral. The foundations of this iconic building, which displays examples of both Gothic and Norman architecture, date back to 1108.

This is a popular attraction because it’s the only English Cathedral with a surviving detached medieval Bell Tower. This Bell Tower, or ‘campanile’, as it is sometimes referred to, dates back to the 13th century.

Once you’ve seen the cathedral, walk to the bus station and catch the number 53 bus towards West Wittering’s beach. The journey will take about 15 minutes.

This long, sandy beach, which is set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is pretty spectacular. There are giant sand dunes, and cute little beach huts and the water is clean, so it’s safe to wade in. West Wittering Beach is one of the best beach day trips from London by train!

Once back in Chichester city centre, if you have time, I’d recommend a visit to West Dean Gardens. Here you’ll find a 300-foot Edwardian pergola, restored Victorian glasshouses, walled gardens and orchards. It’s a very tranquil place to visit before heading back into London.

By Claire from Stapo’s thrifty life hacks

#18 Brighton – One Of The Best Seaside Day Trips From London.

Brighton is one of the best daytrips from London.
Brighton Pier

One of the best day trips from London by train is colourful and vibrant Brighton. Brighton is an easy train ride away from England’s largest city, and it is a city where you can spend a day or an entire week!

Brighton is a seaside hub that has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years due to its inclusivity and good vibes. It used to be known solely because of its fame as a seaside holiday resort, but today it is so much more!

Getting to Brighton from London will run you just under £20 for an off-peak ticket, and there are several trains connecting London to Brighton daily. Alternatively, you can book a ticket for half that price on a National Express bus.

When you arrive, you will find so many amazing things to do in Brighton. Some of the most popular Brighton attractions and things to do are Brighton Palace Pier, eating Brighton rock, going up the British Airways i360 viewing platform, perusing the renowned Brighton Lanes, visiting the Royal Pavilion, and much more!

There are also many fantastic places to eat and finding local and fresh seafood is an easy task in the seaside city. Also, be sure to explore Brighton’s coffee scene while you’re there (Pelicano Coffee Roasters is a great place to get a caffeine fix!) Brighton is a wonderful day trip from London, and you will be excited by all the activities and attractions once you arrive!

By Megan Starr from Megan & Aram

#19 Viking Trail, Kent Coast

Kent Coast is one of the best day trips from London by Train.
Kent Coast | Photo by Clotilde

Kent Coast is one of the best beach day trips from London to escape the urban jungle and catch a few rays on one of the beautiful beaches along the way, English weather permitting of course! 

Start your day in St Pancras to catch the train down to Margate, 1,5 hours. You can have a great day on foot when you get there, or you can easily bring your bicycles on the train so you can explore even further.

From Margate Station, you can walk or cycle along the front, and out of town along the Viking Coastal Trail keeping the water on your left. If you are fit and super keen you can do the full trail (51.4km), or for the more leisurely Broadstairs (11 km) would be a good target walking, and Ramsgate a nice stretch further by bicycle.

Both Broadstairs and Ramsgate have their own train stations for a convenient return journey to London.

Whilst there are beaches in Broadstairs and Ramsgate, the beach at Botany Bay has great sand and majestic cliffs, making it great fun and perfect for photos! The Botany Bay Hotel is perfectly situated nearby for refreshments on your way to Broadstairs or for an overnight stay. The roads and paths are generally relatively flat with little traffic making this excellent day trip for families!

By Clotilde from A Princess Travelling with the Twins

#20 Canterbury

Cantenbury is one of the best day trips from London by Train.
Timber Houses in Canterbury Old Town

Canterbury in southeast England is a perfect destination for a day trip out of London with its cute cobblestone streets and some of the most impressive medieval buildings. It is located only 60 miles away from London. This means you can easily get there in a less than 2-hour train ride from Victoria, Charing Cross, or St Pancras International train station. 

A day trip to Canterbury is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of London. Here is where you can have a relaxing trip while learning about Roman influence. This charming town is home to one of the most famous Cathedrals and the oldest church in England. By strolling around the city and walking through the picturesque cobblestone streets, you can see some fantastic architecture. 

While in the town centre, head to the Canterbury Cathedral to admire its Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The cathedral is open to the public every day, and the ticket is £12.50.

Visiting Canterbury Castle is a must when you are in town. This castle is one of the oldest Norman castles which was converted into a prison in the 13th century. Unfortunately, going inside the castle due to safety concerns is not allowed, but you can still see it from the outside. 

In the afternoon before heading back to London, you can visit Westgate Gardens, one of the oldest parks in England to walk and relax. 

By Mansoureh from Travel with Mansoureh

#21 Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the best day trips from London by Train.

When you think of England, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Tower of London? Big Ben? Being a history buff, with a special love for pre-historic stuff, for me, it is Stonehenge, which also happens to be one of the best day trips by train from London.

Stonehenge Visitors Centre is excellent and explains in detail about the discovery, research, and more. There are also interactive displays for children to understand history in a playful way. 

Stonehenge dates back to 4500 years old. While its original function is not known for sure since there are no real documents for that old structure, the most widely accepted function is its use as a sun temple. Celebrating summer & winter solstice was important here. 

The nearest railway station to Stonehenge is Salisbury which is directly connected to London by South Western Railway and takes about 2 hours to reach

From Salisbury, a shuttle operates that connects the railway station with Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral. A perfect day trip would be to visit all these three places. From Stonehenge visitors centre, another short shuttle ride or leisurely walk takes you to the stone circle.

By Bhushavali from My Travelogue by Bhushavali

#22 Cambridge – One Of The Best Quick Trips From London.

Cambridge is one of the best day trips from London by Train.

A beautiful city with several excellent universities, Cambridge is a majestic place to visit for an easy day trip from London. There are a variety of traditional activities to do in the city as well as finding places and doing things that are not typical.

Punting is a traditional activity in Cambridge, and the River Cam is the place to do it. Nearby parks are a great place to enjoy the city while enjoying a picnic lunch. If it’s too rainy or chilly for punting, the botanic gardens nearby are a fantastic way to spend the day outdoors regardless of the weather. 

King’s College Chapel is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambridge, with interior vaulted ceilings inside the chapel, it makes for a memorable visit. St. John’s College is also worth visiting, even if just to see the exterior architecture. As one of the oldest colleges in Cambridge, wandering around the campus truly shows the heart of Cambridge.

Cambridge is also full of great restaurants and cafes, many of which showcase the diversity of the city’s taste palate. The Eagle is one of the oldest inns in the town and is filled with historical significance. Serving traditional pub foods, this is a great place to understand the local cuisine.

If staying for more than one day, The Varsity Hotel & Spa is a great choice.

By Diana from Travels in Poland

#23 Stratford Upon Avon 

Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon

Conveniently located in the Midlands, Stratford Upon Avon is one of the popular day trips from London by train. Stratford Upon Avon is synonymous with history and literature.

It is a gorgeous market town that sits along the banks of River Avon. It has been popular amongst tourists, more particularly history, art and literature enthusiasts since the town is the birthplace of the legendary poet William Shakespeare. Due to its cultural ties, the town and its surrounding area are known as Shakespeare Country. 

One of the top things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon is exploring the five of Shakespeare’s houses that are managed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – Hall’s Croft, Nash’s House, New Place, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s House.

Spend your time along River Avon, by either taking a boat cruise or walking along the River. If you are visiting Stratford in the summer, you can enjoy the summer vibes in Bancroft Gardens. If you are an art buff, be sure to watch your favourite play in the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. 

The half-timbered houses, graceful River Avon and the history the town has make it a delightful choice on any given day. There are frequent trains to Stratford Upon Avon from London Marylebone and the journey time is roughly 2 hours, with one change.

By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

#24 Nottingham

The City Hall of Nottingham
The City Hall of Nottingham

Nottingham makes a great day out from London by train. As the main city in the Midlands, there are many amazing Nottingham attractions to fill a day trip easily. Nottingham Castle is fascinating and steeped in history as it was the starting point of the British Civil War in 1642. At the castle and all around the city you will find a tribute to Nottingham’s favourite outlaw Robin Hood.

The city has an extensive network of hand-carved caves underneath, which you can see by venturing into the cellars of some of the oldest pubs in England. The best to visit are The Bell Inn, Ye Olde Salutation and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, where you can admire the caves and enjoy a pint while you are there.

A must-see on any trip to Nottingham is Wollaton Hall and deer park which is set in over 500 acres of parkland with free-roaming red deer and fallow deer. This grade 1 listed Elizabethan Mansion is just minutes from the bustling city centre. Wollaton Hall is also home to the Nottingham Natural History Museum and Nottingham Industrial Museum which showcases the five industries that made Nottingham world famous.

Nottingham has a vast array of hotels from budget to 5* luxury, so there are accommodation options to suit everyone’s budget. For a special treat visit Doughnotts on King Street for tasty Instagram-worthy handmade doughnuts including vegan and gluten-free options.

There are trains from London to Nottingham every 30 minutes from Kings Cross and St Pancreas stations. Nottingham train station is a 12-minute walk from the city centre or 6 minutes by taxi or tram. There is also easy public transport on the extensive bus and tram network throughout the city.

By Stephanie & Lewis from Book It Let’s Go

#25 Scotney Castle

One of the best day trips from.london is Scotney Castle

If you’re itching for historic places to visit outside London by train, look no further than Scotney Castle.

Situated just under two hours by train from London, this 14th-century marvel is nestled in the heart of Kent. The castle itself is something of a time capsule, built initially as a medieval moated manor around 1378. It later underwent numerous transformations, including the Victorian-era additions that gave us the romantic ruins we see today. Ah, and let’s not forget Edward Hussey III, who took the concept of a “picturesque landscape” to a whole new level when designing the gardens.

Getting there is a breeze. Just hop on a train from London to Tunbridge Wells or Frant, and from there, it’s a short taxi or bus ride to the castle. Now, once you arrive, be prepared for a landscape that seems to whisper the secrets of centuries gone by. The ruins of the old castle sit like a beautiful memory on an island in the estate’s pond, while the more modern 19th-century house stands proudly overlooking it.

The gardens? Well, they’re a treat unto themselves. Think blooming azaleas, historic woodland, and even a quarry garden featuring a 100-million-year-old impression of a dinosaur’s footprint. After all, when history and natural beauty collide as they do at, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a day trip from London.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best day trip out of London?

Ah, a tough choice, but if we had to pick just one, we’d say Oxford is the best out of all day trips from London by train. Steeped in intellectual history and brimming with architectural beauty, it’s a fascinating blend of old and new – plus, it’s only an hour away!

What countries are a day trip from London?

Believe it or not, you can actually venture abroad for a day trip from London! France and Belgium are the most doable thanks to Eurostar. You can have breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, and be back by evening. Brussels is another viable option – waffles, anyone?

Can I do a day trip from London to Paris?

Absolutely, a day trip from London to Paris is possible thanks to the Eurostar. In just over 2 hours, you can be croissant-in-hand by the Seine. While it’s a whirlwind visit, you can still catch iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre before heading back.

Can you do a day trip from London to the Cotswolds?

A day trip from London to the Cotswolds is a breeze, with Cheltenham being the most convenient town to reach by train. Just hop on a 2-hour ride from London Paddington, and you’re amidst quintessential English villages and scenic landscapes. It’s a perfect countryside getaway.

Day Trips From London By Train – Final Word

And there we have it, guys- a whirlwind tour through 25 extraordinary day trips from London by train that offer everything from arresting natural landscapes to rich historical experiences.

Just think, we’ve only scratched the surface! From ancient castles in Kent to seaside escapes in Brighton, these train journeys have shown us the incredible tapestry that makes up the UK – all easily accessible from London’s train stations.

The next time you find yourself itching to swap London’s skyscrapers for something a bit more rustic or historic, remember: your ticket to a memorable day is just a train ride away.

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