train leaving London

Day Trips From London – Explore Beyond the Capital In 2024

Are you looking for the best day trips from London?

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of London for a day and explore the beauty and charm of the surrounding areas, you’re in luck!

A quick train, coach, or car ride from the capital will take you to several intriguing and beautiful locations just waiting to be explored.

From quaint towns and picturesque villages to breathtaking countryside and historic castles, the options for day trips from London are endless.

So, pack a bag, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an adventure to some of the most stunning destinations in the UK and beyond.

Join us as we take you on a journey of exploration, discovery, and pure inspiration!

1. Stonehenge

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 90 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: minimum 2 hours
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones believed to have been constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. This makes it one of the world’s oldest and most mysterious prehistoric sites. 

The monument is made up of several different types of stones, including Sarsen stones and smaller bluestones. Its construction and purpose have long been the subject of fascination and debate.

Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of the world’s most significant and mysterious prehistoric sites. 

Its exact purpose is not known for certain. However, many theories have been put forward over the years, including that it was a burial site, a place of healing, or a site for astronomical observations. 

The monument has captured the imagination of people for thousands of years, and visiting Stonehenge offers the opportunity to explore the history and significance of this ancient monument.

Today, Stonehenge attracts millions of visitors each year from around the world. 

The site is surrounded by scenic countryside and is a popular destination for day trips from London and other nearby cities. 

Visitors can explore the site and its surrounding area, learn about the monument’s history and significance, and marvel at our ancient ancestors’ engineering skills and ingenuity. 

The ancient stone circle of Stonehenge is one of the most interesting places to visit if you’re interested in architecture and history. 

And, of course, you may also simply just want to see one of the world’s most famous and mysterious places.

Recommended Time At Stonehenge

You should plan to spend at least 1-2 hours at Stonehenge to fully appreciate the site and its surroundings. If you have more time, combine it with a trip to another location such as Bath or Oxford (see these recommended tours for more options), or, if you are travelling by car or train, spend some time checking out Salisbury and the surrounding countryside.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Stonehenge?

The best time of year to visit Stonehenge is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is warm and the days are longer, although this will also be the busiest time. Stonehenge is open all year round, apart from Christmas Day.

If you want to try and beat some of the crowds, try and get there as early as you can in the morning.

At the very least, you should buy a skip the line ticket.

How To Get From London To Stonehenge

Tour: Several tour operators in London offer day trips to Stonehenge, including transportation, admission to the site, and guided tours.

Top Tours From London To Stonehenge:

You might like: Our Guide To The Best Tours To Stonehenge From London

Drive: You can drive to Stonehenge (rent a car from here if you don’t have one). It takes around 2 hours from London.

There is parking available at the site, but English Heritage advise:

“During peak periods, there is a parking charge to non-members and those who have not prebooked tickets which is fully refundable on purchase of a ticket to Stonehenge.”

Train: You can take a train from London Waterloo station to Salisbury, followed by a bus ride to Stonehenge. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes from London Waterloo station to Salisbury, followed by a bus to Stonehenge.

Prebook your train tickets if you can for cheaper fares. From Trainline:

“It takes an average of 1h 40m to travel from London to Salisbury by train, over a distance of around 79 miles (126 km). There are normally 31 trains per day travelling from London to Salisbury, and tickets for this journey start from Β£9.20 when you book in advance.”

Coach: Several coach companies offer day trips to Stonehenge from London, including transportation and admission to the site.

If you want to organise your own coach travel, you can book with National Express, which departs from London Victoria Coach Station and London Hammersmith. Coaches with National Express only go to Salisbury, where you will have to catch the bus from the train station to Stonehenge. The coach time is around 3 hours, depending on traffic and time of day.

Things To Do Near Stonehenge

If you have time to spare after visiting Stonehenge, there are a few things to do in the area.

Located just outside Salisbury and about 10 miles from Stonehenge, Old Sarum is an ancient hill fort with a rich history. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle and enjoy the views of Salisbury cathedral and the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Avebury Stone Circle is a Neolithic stone circle located a short drive from Stonehenge and is the largest in the world. Visitors can walk among the stones and explore the nearby village with several historic pubs and shops.

Top Tips For Visiting Stonehenge

  • Book your admission tickets in advance to avoid queues and ensure entry to the site.
  • If you’re short on time, combine your visit to Stonehenge with other popular attractions such as Bath, Oxford and Salisbury. (INSERT TOUR)
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as the site is outdoors and involves walking on uneven ground.
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat during the summer months, as there is limited shade available.
  • Consider booking a guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of Stonehenge.
  • Be respectful of the site and its surroundings.

2. Windsor Castle

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 22 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: 2 to 3 hours
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Windsor Castle is an iconic royal residence in the town of Berkshire, England.

It is the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle and has been the home of British monarchs for over 900 years.

The castle is a remarkable representation of British history, from medieval times to today.

Visiting Windsor Castle offers the opportunity to explore the history and grandeur of this iconic royal residence.

It boasts several magnificent state rooms, including the Grand Reception Room, the Crimson Drawing Room, and the Waterloo Chamber, adorned with priceless artwork, fine furniture, and ornate decorations.

Visitors can also explore the historic St. George’s Chapel, the resting place of many royal family members, including King Henry VIII.

The castle’s stunning gardens are another highlight of a visit to Windsor Castle. The vast grounds include the famous Round Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

The beautifully landscaped gardens feature an array of seasonal blooms, manicured lawns, and water features, making them an ideal place for a stroll or a picnic.

Whether you are a history buff, a fan of royal architecture, or simply looking for a day trip from London, Windsor Castle is an essential destination to add to your itinerary.

It is an excellent representation of British history and architecture and a testament to the enduring power and influence of the British monarchy.

A visit to Windsor Castle is a truly unforgettable experience, offering the opportunity to explore the history and grandeur of this iconic royal residence.

Recommended Time At Windsor Castle

You should plan to spend at least 2-3 hours at Windsor Castle to appreciate the site and its surroundings fully.

How To Get From London To Windsor Castle

Tour: Several tour operators in London offer day trips to Windsor Castle, including transportation, admission to the site, and guided tours.

Top Tours From London To Windsor Castle:

Drive: You can rent a car and drive to Windsor Castle, which takes around 40 minutes from London. There is ample parking available at the site.

Train: You can take a train from London Paddington station to Windsor & Eton Central station, which takes around 30 minutes. The castle is a short walk from the station.

Coach: Several coach companies offer day trips to Windsor Castle from London, including transportation and admission to the site.

Things To Do Near Windsor Castle

After visiting Windsor Castle, there are plenty of things to do nearby. Check out the Windsor Royal Station, where you’ll find various shops and restaurants to enjoy.

Take a boat ride down the River Thames for a relaxing experience and a unique perspective of Windsor Castle.

Don’t miss the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 am.

And, of course, Windsor Great Park offers peaceful walks and scenic views of the castle and the countryside. Follow the trails and spot some deer or other wildlife along the way.

Top Tips For Visiting Windsor Castle

  • Book your admission tickets in advance to avoid queues and ensure entry to the site.
  • If you have a London Pass, afternoon entry to Windsor Castle is included.
  • If you’re short on time, consider combining it with another attraction. Try this one that combines Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath, and Roman Baths on a day trip from London.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as the site involves walking on uneven ground.
  • Consider booking a private guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of Windsor Castle.
  • Be respectful of the site and its surroundings, and follow any instructions from staff or security.
  • Check for any closures or special events affecting your visit, and plan your itinerary accordingly.

3. Bath

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 115 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: 1 day (see below)
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Bath is a charming and historic city in Somerset, offering a unique blend of history, architecture, and culture.

A day trip to Bath from London is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience the beauty and history of one of England’s most picturesque cities.

Although there are plenty of organised tours to choose from, many of them only skim the surface of this wonderful city.

I recommend a whole day there (or longer if you have the time).

But, if time is limited, take one of the tours (see recommendations below); trust me when I say it’s best to see a little bit of Bath rather than none!

One of the city’s most iconic attractions is the Roman Baths, which offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ancient Romans who once lived in the city. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins, learn about the history of the baths, and even taste the naturally hot water from the spring.

Bath is also known for its stunning Georgian architecture, which is visible throughout the city. The Royal Crescent and The Circus are two of the most famous examples of this architecture. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through these picturesque streets to admire the elegant facades and intricate details.

In addition to its history and architecture, Bath is home to several world-class museums, such as the Jane Austen Centre and the Fashion Museum, which offer fascinating insights into the city’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can learn about the life and works of the famous author Jane Austen or admire the intricate costumes and fashions from different eras.

Visiting Bath offers the opportunity to step back in time and experience the beauty and history of one of England’s most charming and picturesque cities.

With so much to see and do, Bath is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, or culture.

A day trip from London to Bath is a great way to explore this fascinating city and create unforgettable memories.

Recommended Time In Bath

You should plan to spend at least 4-5 hours in Bath to appreciate the city and its attractions fully – but if you have time, spend longer (or stay overnight!)

How To Get From London To Bath

Tour: Several tour operators in London offer day trips to Bath, including transportation, admission to the city’s attractions, and guided tours.
Drive: Use your own car or rent one and drive to Bath. It will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes from London, but this is very dependent on when you go. There are several car parks in the city centre but
Train: You can take a train from London Paddington station to Bath Spa station, which takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The city centre is a short walk from the station.
Coach: Several coach companies operate services from London Victoria Coach Station to Bath Station or Bath London Road. National Express has several journeys daily, taking about 3 hours each way for the quickest route.

Top Tips For Visiting Bath

  • Book your admission tickets in advance to avoid queues and ensure entry to the city’s attractions.
  • Consider taking a guided walking tour to learn more about the history and significance of Bath.
  • Take a dip in the natural hot springs at Thermae Bath Spa for a truly unique and relaxing experience (pre-book before you go!)

4. Oxford

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 60 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: 1 day
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Oxford is a charming and historic university city located in the county of Oxfordshire.

It is renowned for its world-famous University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is widely considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

A day trip to Oxford from London is an excellent way to explore this fascinating city and experience its rich history and culture.

The University of Oxford is one of the city’s most iconic attractions, and visitors can explore the historic buildings, attend lectures, and visit the world-famous Bodleian Library.

The city is also home to several world-class museums, such as the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History, which offer fascinating insights into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

The Oxford skyline is dominated by the stunning spires and towers of the university’s colleges spread across the city.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the city centre to admire the historic buildings’ elegant facades and intricate details.

A punt along the River Thames is also popular in Oxford, offering a unique and picturesque view of the city. Visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery while guided by a knowledgeable punter, who will share stories and interesting facts about the city’s history and culture.

Recommended Time In Oxford

You should plan to spend at least 4-5 hours in Oxford to appreciate the city and its attractions fully.

How To Get From London To Oxford

Tour: Several tour operators in London offer day trips to Oxford, including transportation, admission to the city’s attractions, and guided tours.

Drive: You can rent a car and drive to Oxford, which takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes from London. There are several car parks in the city centre, but they fill up quickly during the summer months.

Train: You can take a train from London Paddington station to Oxford station, which takes around 1 hour. The city centre is a short walk from the station.

Coach: Several coach companies offer services to Oxford from London. National Express has various departures each day; direct coaches take about 2 hours.

Top Tips For Visiting Oxford

  • Try the local cuisine: Oxford has a thriving food scene, with many restaurants and cafes serving traditional British fare and international cuisine. Be sure to try local specialities, such as Oxford sausage, a delicious pork sausage seasoned with herbs and spices.
  • Discover Oxford’s unique history and culture by taking a guided walking tour! You will gain fascinating insights into this ancient city and have an enjoyable experience with your guide, who will share stories and anecdotes about what makes it so special.
  • Take a relaxing punt along the River Thames for a unique and picturesque city view.

5. Kew Gardens

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 8 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: at least 3 hours
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Kew Gardens and Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the London suburb of Richmond upon Thames.

The botanical gardens cover 500 acres and feature over 50,000 plant species from around the world, including rare and exotic varieties.

The palace was originally built in the 17th century as a royal residence and later served as a home to several British monarchs.

Visitors can explore the gardens and greenhouses, see the famous Kew Pagoda, and tour the palace’s state rooms and art collections.

Recommended Time At Kew Gardens

Planning to spend at least 3-4 hours at Kew Gardens is recommended. When we went, we spent 5 hours as we took our time looking at everything we could – it really is a magical place.

How To Get From London To Kew Gardens

Train: You can take a train from London Waterloo station to Kew Bridge station, which takes around 30 minutes. From there, it is a short walk to the gardens and palace.
Tube: You can take the District line on the London Underground from central London to Kew Gardens station, which takes around 30-40 minutes. From there, it is a short walk to the gardens and palace.

Top Tips For Visiting Kew Gardens and Palace

  • Book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
  • Join a guided tour to learn more about the gardens and the palace’s history and architecture.
  • Kew Gardens is part of the Go City Explorer Pass.
  • Take a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
  • Don’t miss the chance to see the famous Kew Pagoda and the tropical plants in the Palm House.
  • Visit the nearby town of Richmond upon Thames, which features several historic buildings, parks, and riverside pubs.

6. Cambridge

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 50 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: one full day is best if possible
  • ❓ How To Get There: train, tour, car or coach

Cambridge is a beautiful university city located about 50 miles (80 km) north of London, easily accessible by train, coach or car.

A day trip from London to Cambridge is a great way to experience this charming city’s history, culture and academic atmosphere.

Here’s a short guide to some of the most popular activities for tourists visiting Cambridge on a day trip:

Explore the colleges: Cambridge is known for its world-renowned colleges, such as King’s College, Trinity College, St John’s College, and many more. A visit to these colleges is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Cambridge.

Each college has its own unique history and architecture, and you can wander around the beautiful grounds, chapels, and libraries.

Allow at least two hours to explore a few of the colleges.

Punting on the River Cam: Punting is a traditional way to explore the River Cam, which flows through the city. It’s a relaxing and scenic way to see the city and its beautiful architecture from a different perspective. You can hire a punt and do it yourself or take a guided tour. Plan to spend around an hour on the river.

Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum: The Fitzwilliam Museum is one of the finest museums in the UK, with an impressive collection of art and antiquities. It has everything from Egyptian mummies to impressionist paintings. Entry is free, and you can easily spend a couple of hours here.

Stroll around the Market Square: The Market Square is at the heart of the city, and it’s a bustling hub of activity. Here you’ll find a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to soak up the local atmosphere and people-watch.

Climb the tower of Great St Mary’s Church: The tower of Great St Mary’s Church offers a panoramic view of the city. It’s a bit of a climb, but the view from the top is worth it. Allow about an hour for the climb and the view.

In general, you should plan to spend at least a full day in Cambridge to see the major sights and get a sense of the city’s unique atmosphere.

However, if you’re short on time, you could still get a taste of Cambridge by visiting a few colleges, taking a quick punt on the river, and strolling around Market Square.

How To Get From London To Cambridge

Tour: Several tour operators in London offer day trips to Cambridge, including transportation, admission to the city’s attractions, and guided tours. This is a convenient option for those who want to sit back, relax, and let someone else handle the logistics.

Drive: If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car and drive to Cambridge, which takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from London. There are several car parks in the city centre, but keep in mind that parking can be limited and expensive.

Train: The train is the quickest and most popular way to get from London to Cambridge. Trains depart regularly from London King’s Cross station and take around 1 hour. The city center is a short walk from the train station.

Coach: Several coach companies offer day trips to Cambridge from London, including transportation and admission to the city’s attractions. This is a cost-effective option for those who want to travel in comfort without breaking the bank.

Top Tips For Visiting Cambridge

Plan ahead: Research the places you want to visit in Cambridge and plan your itinerary in advance. This will help you make the most of your time in the city and avoid wasting time trying to figure out what to do next.

Arrive early: If you’re taking the train to Cambridge, try to get an early start to beat the crowds and have more time to explore. Also, many colleges and attractions close early, so arriving early will give you more time to see everything.

Hire a bike: Cambridge is a bike-friendly city with many bike rental companies near the train station. Hiring a bike is a great way to see more of the city in a short amount of time.

Take a guided tour: If you’re short on time or want to learn more about the city’s history and culture, consider a guided tour. Many walking tours, punting tours, and bike tours are available, and they can be a great way to get an overview of the city’s highlights.

Try the local food: Cambridge has many great restaurants, cafes, and pubs serving traditional English cuisine, as well as international options. Be sure to try local specialities like Cambridge cream, a type of custard, and Fitzbillies Chelsea buns, a local pastry.

Respect the colleges: When visiting the colleges, be respectful of the students and the academic environment. Follow any rules or restrictions, and avoid disturbing ongoing classes or events.


7. York

  • πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 200 miles
  • ⏲ Recommended Time: one full day
  • ❓ How To Get There: train
York Minster among other buildings in York
York Minster in York

York is a historic city in North Yorkshire, England, known for its medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and rich cultural heritage.

Visit York Minster, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, and take a guided tour to learn about its history and architecture.

Shambles market in York
Shambles Market in York

Explore The Shambles, a narrow, winding street with overhanging timber-framed buildings and quaint shops and cafes.

Walk the York City Walls for stunning views of the city and its landmarks.

Take a tour of the Jorvik Viking Centre to learn about York’s Viking history.

Sample local food and drink, including the famous Yorkshire pudding and a pint of ale at a traditional pub.

How To Get From London To York

If you are planning only to spend one day in York, returning to London on the same day, the train is really the only method of transport we recommend. All other ways (car or coach) take too long.

LNER train from London to York
The LNER train from London Kings Cross to York

A fast train from London Kings Cross to York takes 1 hour 45 minutes, with the earliest train departing London Kings Cross at 5.15 am and the last train departing York at 11 pm.

Top Tips For Visiting York

Get the earliest train out of London that you can. If you are staying in a hotel near London King Cross, this will make it more possible.

Pick the main attractions you want to do – there are so many things to do in York, you won’t have time to do them all. For popular attractions, you will need to book in advance, especially during the school holidays and summer months.

Consider a York Pass if you want to visit a few of the paid attractions. This will save you money as well as give you the opportunity to see more places than you would do otherwise.

Get The Complete Guide: London To York Day Trip


8. Brighton

πŸ—Ί Distance From London: 47 miles
⏲ Recommended Time: 1 day
❓ How To Get There: train, car, or coach

Brighton, a vibrant and lively city on the south coast, is a perfect seaside escape from London. A combinaiton of beach fun, attractions, and historic sites makes Brighton a fun destination for a day trip.

Brighton is famous for its iconic Brighton Pier, extending elegantly into the sea and offering classic seaside entertainment, from arcade games to fairground rides. The views of the coastline from the end of the pier are fabulous on a clear day.

The pebbled beach itself is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, ideal for a relaxing walk or just soaking up the sun – when it makes an appearance!

The Royal Pavilion, a palace in the centre of Brighton, is a must-visit. Its Indian and Chinese architectural styles stand out in contrast to the typical English surroundings, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of King George IV.

The Lanes, a labyrinth of narrow streets, are filled with quirky shops, antique stores, and cute independent cafΓ©s – perfect for exploring and finding unique souvenirs.

For art and culture enthusiasts, Brighton offers a variety of galleries and theatres. The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, located near the Royal Pavilion, showcases a diverse collection that reflects the city’s eclectic character.

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the local food. Brighton is known for its excellent seafood, and there are numerous restaurants along the seafront where you can enjoy fresh, delicious dishes.

Recommended Time in Brighton

You could spend a weekend in Brighton and not run out of things to do. But, if you only have 1 day. ideally, allocate at least 4-6 hours to truly enjoy Brighton’s sights and atmosphere.

How To Get From London To Brighton

Train: The fastest way to get to Brighton is by train from London Victoria, London Bridge, or London Blackfriars. The journey takes about an hour.
Drive: Driving from London to Brighton takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. There are several parking options in Brighton, but it is often busy and so you may need to drive around a bit to find an available spot. The cost of parking in Brighton can also be costly so double check any fees before setting off.
Coach: Coaches from London Victoria Coach Station to Brighton take around 2 to 3 hours.

Top Tips For Visiting Brighton

  • Be prepared for all types of weather – the British coast can be unpredictable!
  • If you’re planning to visit the Royal Pavilion or other popular attractions, book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Take a walk along the seafront and the Brighton Palace Pier for classic seaside fun and stunning views.
  • Explore The Lanes for unique shopping experiences and tasty food experiences.

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