In 48 hours we will be on a weekend getaway to another part of England I have never been to and it will only be a two hour drive to get there! What is great about this city is there are so many places you can go from London and get there and back in a day. I have rounded up a long list including some spots that I have been to and others that I have not. When trying to decide how wide to go I capped what qualified as a “day trip” with a two hour travel time unless it was somewhere I have been that is truly magical (cough, Seven Sisters, cough) Here are my top 16 best London day trips and in alphabetical order to be fair:
Bath | This is such a gorgeous town that I visited ten years ago while in University but we have definite plans to go back to see it properly. You can see my first journey here (though please excuse the photos, they are more than 10 years old). The express train is 1.5 hours from Kings Cross but if you are driving it will likely be closer to two and a half horus.
Blenheim Palace | This was not somewhere I had ever heard of before visiting but this gorgeous home is only 10 miles North of Oxford (so an hour and 40 minutes from London) and is the stately home of the Churchill’s with gorgeous gardens. It is absolutely magical over the holiday season and you can find my post of visiting Blenheim at Christmas here.
Box Hill | Visiting Box Hill was one of the day trips we took while in lockdown , we took a drive down from London to this spot in surrey strictly following the UK government advice which verbatim says, “exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines” and “you can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance.” We made up our own 10 mile route and it is absolutely gorgeous, plus it is only an hour South by car.
Bournemouth | A pretty seaside town with a large beach (though a bit stony) a large pier big pier and a mini amusement park with a beautiful ferris wheel. I visited in the Winter but it was pretty even then and you can see my favorite part, the multi-colored beach houses in my post here. It is about two hours from London as well.
Cambridge | Similar to Bath, I have not visited Cambridge in a number of years but when I went to visit my friend while in University the express train was 48 minutes and one of the easiest journeys I remember. This university town is so quaint and if you can manage in, go punting (you can see more of my trip here).
The Cotswolds | This the largest recommendation on the list, it is 800 square miles. But apparently every inch of those miles looks stunning. If we were a betting publication, we’d put money on the fact that the term “rolling hills” wasn’t invented here. Pushing it, 2 hours if you do not hit traffic. Mark and I spent a weekend here celebrating my first anniversary of living in the UK which you can read about here.
Dover | Pushing it, 2 hours if you do not hit traffic and a place that has a fond memory, one of our first dates (it is funny, in the original post I did not mention how I got there or who I was with – clearly it was not time to mention Mark on the blog yet, haha). But seriously, as London day trips go it is absolutely gorgeous place both to visit and for a hike.
Henley on Thames | Located 37 miles directly West of London it should take you about an hour by car to visit the location of the famous crew races. Even if the he Henley Royal Regatta is not on I have heard great things about the quality of the shopping in the independently-owned boutiques as well as the waterfront restaurants and activities! * I have not been here yet. *
Hever Castle | This place will always have a special place in my heart as this is where we got engaged, you can see more of that here, but this is the childhood home of Anne Boyle and has a gorgeous garden. YOu can see a few glimpses of the castle in our engagement story but a proper dedicated post will be coming soon and it is only an an hour from London by car.
Leeds Castle | Another place with fond memories, one of my first dates with Mark (He clearly got the memo that I like castles). Despite the name, it is not in Leeds but in the county just south of London called Keny. Known for the festival of flowers the 15th to the 20th of September. You can see my full post on it here and it takes 90 minutes to drive from London, depending on traffic.
Margate | I have heard wonderful things about the coastal town – primarily about it’s sandy beaches and amazing number of seashells but you can’t take my word for it as it is still on the list. I am hoping this Summer we can visit as it is 90 minutes by train or two hours driving from London. * I have not been here yet. *
New Forest | Similar to the Cotswolds this is not a city or a single area, it is a national park in Hampshire which spans 220 square miles. I took my parents here nearly two years ago and while we stayed the weekend it is easily doable in a day trip, just under two hours by train or car. Oh, and there are wild horses!
Oxford | I have been to Oxford twice, once as a child when visiting London with my family and agin this past Winter with Mark. Similar to Cambridge, the town centers around the 800 year old university which is absolutely gorgeous and it is an easy train from London or two hours by car .
Stonehenge & Salisbury | It is remarkable after 2.5 years in England I have not yet made it to one of the most famous monuments in the world but as one Brit put it, “it is just a pile of rocks”. I am hoping to combine this with a visit to the nearby town of Salisbury which boasts a cathedral Britain’s tallest spire and it’s only hours by car. * I have not been here yet *
Seven Sisters | Similar to Box Hill, this was another one of the day trips we took while in lockdown. I must admit, this one is over the two hour limit – both the train and driving take two and a half hours making it a very long day trip. However, the scenery is just so gorgeous I could not exclude it from this list – while you may have seen it on Instagram take a look at our hike along the Seven Sisters Cliffs to see what I am talking about.
Windsor Castle | Windsor is the weekend home of the Queen and from Central London you can get there in just under an hour by car. I only visited for the first time two weeks ago but already have plans to return (especially as the tickets are good for a year) and take a long wander around the Windsor Great Park which spans 4,800-acres.
And there you have it, 16 different places you can go on a day trip from London! A few other day trip options that are not included above like Kew Gardens (because it is technically in London) and Paris is also doable as a day trip (a two hour train ride), but the list above had more than enough!
Do you have any recommendations for London day trips?