The 25 Best Day Trips From London

Day Trips from London

If you’re looking to leave city life behind, these day trips from London England will be the perfect remedy!

London Day Trips

The 25 Best Day Trips From London

London is an incredible city, my favorite city in the world in fact, but every once in a while I need a breather from the city air and need some open green space and buildings that aren’t towering over me! Luckily, London resides in the south of England, which boasts some of the most beautiful countryside and the most adorable towns in the world. Not only will you find beauty and charm, but also some amazing history with these day trips out of London. 

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Here’s a Map of the 25 Best Day Trips From London

Where should I go for the best London day trips you wonder? These day trips in England will keep you busy.

You’ve got a lot of amazing options when choosing a day trip from London. Some will require a car, but others can be done by train.

If you’re renting a car, there are two companies we prefer to use: Rental Cars and Expedia Cars. We have had no issues with them and have been able to find the best prices available.

If you’re wanting to take a day trip from London by train, I’d recommend reading my public transportation around London post here, to familiarize yourself with the National Rail.

1. Cotswolds- One of my favorite London day trips

Day Trips from London

If you’re looking for things to do outside London, The Cotswolds are an excellent choice! The Cotswolds are a large, rural, storybook-like area to the west of London where yellow limestone cottages and overgrown hedgerows line the narrow roads. The rolling hills and medieval villages offer the perfect destination for those desiring a true English countryside experience.

Be sure to stop into one of the many teahouses for a “cream tea” where you’ll be treated to hot scones and clotted cream! If you want to spend the night in the Cotswolds, Calcot Manor is beautiful! For more information about the Cotswolds, read this helpful guide.

Distance from London by car: 2.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: You will either need a car or tour to experience the Cotswolds properly. This is one of the best day trips from London by car.

Tour from London: A tour is a great way to see the Cotswolds without having to worry about driving on winding narrow roads. You can book a tour here.

2. Oxford

Day Trips from London

If you’re looking for cheap day trips from London, Oxford is a good choice at just a few pound train ride away. Known as the “city of dreaming spires” and home to the oldest university in the English speaking world, Oxford is an easy day trip from London and can be combined with the Cotswolds. As a university town, Oxford offers a great school-town feel with amazing restaurants, great museums, and gorgeous architecture. Visit the ancient university and wander the cobblestone streets. Oxford is one of the easiest day trips from London by train. 

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Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

Tour from London: If you want to see the best spots in Oxford, take a University and City Walking Tour.

3. Stonehenge

Day Trips from London

This is one of the best places to visit near London. Stonehenge, an iconic prehistoric circle of standing stones, is a must for anyone looking to take a day trip from London. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have been a site of pagan worship, but the jury is still out on what the stones were really used for!

I remember back when I was a little girl (many moons ago), you could park on the side of the road, walk right up to the stones and touch them. It’s very different now, with a visitor’s center and barriers around the stones. It’s still impressive to see.

Distance from London by car: 2 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 2.5 hours

Tour from London: This is one of the best London day tours. Skip renting a car and take a half-day tour to Stonehenge. 

4. Windsor

Day Trips from London

Day trips outside London should always include a castle right? This town steeped in Royal history is home to Windsor Castle, which is one of the Queen’s official residences. Windsor is a great place to enjoy a break from city life and take in some fresh air and green space. Windsor is also home to LEGOLAND, which is a day trip from London the kids can all agree on! Or stroll through Windsor Great Park, tour the castle, and have Afternoon Tea.

Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 45 minutes

5. Bath

Day Trips from London

Bath, one of my favorite day trips from London, is a beautiful town west of London, just south of the Cotswolds, known for its natural thermal baths and beautiful yellow stonework Georgian architecture. Be sure to visit the Roman baths, Bath Abbey, and of course, stop in for some more cream tea!

If you plan your trip in September you could be there in time for the annual Jane Austen Festival where you can dress in Regency-era attire and live out all your Darcy fantasies. Well, maybe not all of them, but one can dream!

If you want to learn more about Bath and find some hidden gems, book the Bath City Walking Tour. Distance from London by car: 2.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

6. White Cliffs of Dover

Day Trips from London

The 350-foot cliffs east of London are an absolutely stunning display of chalky white verticle cliffs. Walk along the England Coast Path, a stretch of miles of interconnecting hiking trails along the cliffs, and enjoy ocean views with a nice picnic.

You can also visit Dover Castle while you’re there, which is over 800 years old. We had the Coast Path and the castle all to ourselves while we were there in June! Distance from London by car: 2 hours Distance from London by public transport: 3 hours Tour from London: Take a tour from London and enjoy the views along the way. This tour also includes a stop in Canterbury where you can explore the town and its famous cathedral. This is one of my favorite day tours from London!

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7. Canterbury

Day Trips from London

If you’re looking for short trips from London, Canterbury is a good option. Canterbury is one of the oldest towns in England, dating back to pre-Roman times. It is home to the ancient Canterbury Cathedral which has been the religious center of England since the 7th century.  We were lucky enough to visit while the choir was practicing in the cathedral’s vast hall. You can visit the beautiful cathedral which also has an excellent cafe, and wander around the charming town and spy the crooked half-timber houses.

Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1 hour

8. Sandwich

Day Trips from London

This is one of my favorite road trips from London. The adorable town of Sandwich was actually recommended to me by a friend who lives just outside London. We visited on a bluebird day in June and just happened to come on Le Weekend, Sandwich’s French market, which was really funny since we came for an English experience and ended up with a French one.

Day trips from London

But let’s address the elephant in the room…did my lunch’s name come from this town? Yes, it did. The sandwich was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an eighteenth-century English aristocrat. The story goes that he asked his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, and others began to order “the same as Sandwich!”

Be sure to stop by The Sandwich Shop for a huge and delicious sandwich made with fresh cut meat and freshly baked bread. They are seriously so good!Distance from London by car: 1 hour 45 minutes

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

9. Leeds Castle

Day Trips from London

This gorgeous 900-year-old castle, situated in the middle of a lake, literally took part in every stage of England’s long history since its construction. It was owned by six of England’s medieval queens, used by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, a Jacobean country house, a Georgian mansion, a modern-day retreat, and now a historic museum that is one of the most visited buildings in the country.

Step back in time and explore each one of these time periods as you wander through the castle and stroll through the gardens. Don’t miss the hedge maze and afternoon tea in the dining room! Be sure to book ahead. Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 2 hours

Tour from London: Take a guided trip from London that will take you to Leeds Castle, Canterbury, and the Cliffs of Dover. 

10. Stratford Upon Avon

Day Trips from London

This famous little town is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. You can visit the home he grew up, and even see the exact room he was born. Learn about life in the 17th century and about how Will got his start.

Enjoy live theatre with performances from the resident acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud! You might even get picked to come on “stage!” You’ll even get your own Shakespearean insult pins, which have been one of my most treasured souvenirs. Read these great tips about visiting Stratford Upon Avon!

Distance from London by car: 2 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 2 hours

11. Brighton

Day Trips from London

If you’re looking for a beach getaway close to London, look no farther than Brighton! This beautiful beach town could really entertain you for more than just a day, but to get a taste of Brighton, be sure to visit the iconic Brighton Palace Pier which has been standing over a century through two world wars, millions of visitors, and bad storms. Stroll down the pier and visit the arcade games, fairground rides, and food.

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Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1 hour

12. Cambridge

Day Trips from London

This beautiful town just north of London is also home to another world-famous university, Cambridge. Here you can do one of the most popular pastimes in Cambridge, punting, which is basically going down the River Cam in a boat with a long stick. You can even book a tour and have someone do the work for you. It’s a great way to get an overview of the city fro the water and especially fun on a warm day! You can also rent a bike, tour the college, or explore the botanical gardens. Taking a walking tour of Cambridge to learn more about the history of this amazing city. 

Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

13. Seven Sisters Cliffs

Seven Sisters Cliffs

These glorious cliffs located within the Downs National Park are a series of chalk cliffs just like the white cliffs of Dover, along the English Channel. They are less known (and less crowded) than the Cliffs of Dover and a nice alternative to a coastal walk. Don’t miss the classic candy cane striped lighthouse at Seven Sisters Cliff Walk. Distance from London by car: 2 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 3 hours

14. Ipswich

Day Trips from London

This adorable town northeast of London has a long maritime history where you can sail down the river Orwell, lunch along the water, or explore the beautiful Christchurch Mansion. Ipswich is located in Suffolk which is known as the “foodie county.”  You can entertain your taste buds at The Food Hall, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of locally made or grown cheese, meat, fruits, vegetables, chocolates, baked goods, and more!

Distance from London by car: 1 hour 45 minutes

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

15. Isle of Wight

Day Trips from London

Taking a day trip from London to an island might seem a bit extreme and unattainable, but it actually takes just three hours to get to the Isle of Wight where you can spend the day sailing, sunbathing, or just splashing in the waves if you don’t mind some cold water. Visit the vintage beach huts along the shore or hunt for dinosaur remains and fossils that can be found in Compton Bay and Yaverland Beach.

Distance from London by car: 3 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 3 hours

16. Paris, France

Day Trips from Paris

Going from London to Paris may seem like a really long day trip, but honestly, if you take the Eurostar, it only takes about two hours on a comfortable train so making a Paris day trip is totally doable. Although I do recommend much more than one day in Paris, especially if it’s your first time.

While the Eurostar only takes two hours, you must factor in the time to go through passport control before boarding the train. I’d give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes.

Distance from London by public transport: 2 hours

17. Harry Potter Studio Tour

Day Trips from London

This was one of my kids’ favorite day trips from London. Visit the studio where the Harry Potter films were made. The tour is a little pricey and takes several hours to see it all, but if you’re a Potter-Head, it’s well worth it. Discover props and costumes from the film and gawk at the miniature model of Hogwarts castle that was used in filming. Some of our favorite things on the Harry Potter Studio tour were the robotics used in the moveis.

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Day Trips from London

If you’re in London from mid-November through January, you’ll be able to see Hogwarts in the Snow, where the tour is decked out in holiday style and Diagon Alley and Hogwarts are covered in “snow.” Don’t forget to grab a Butterbeer or Butterbeer ice cream!

Distance by car: 1 hour

Distance by public transport: 2 hours

Tour from London: Getting to the Harry Potter Studio can be tricky. Taking a pre-booked tour there can reduce the stress of getting there. 

18. The New Forest

Day Trips from London

Where should I go in the English countryside? Look no farther than the New Forest. This ancient woodland is a national forest where ponies, donkeys, and deer run wild and where you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature just a quick day trip away from London. Spend your day horseback riding, hiking, bike riding, golfing, fishing, kayaking, boating, and more.

Distance by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

19. Rye

Day Trips from London
Source: Family Trips from London

This gem of a little medieval town perched on a hill in the south of England is one of those places I’ve visited and could move there permanently and be happy! It’s a lovely little piece of history that feels like stepping back in time. Shop at the antique stores and of course grab some afternoon tea! Check out Natalia from  Family Trips from London for more information on Rye.

Distance by car: 1.5 hour

Distance by public transport: 2 hours

20. National Trust Houses

Day Trips from London

During our time living in England, we became National Trust members and it was the best investment. With over 300 historic buildings and houses across the UK and Northern Ireland, it could take years to see every National Trust property.  There are several National Trust houses just a short drive or train ride from London. Some of my favorites are Scotney, Sissinghurst, Stoneacre, Knole, Bodiam Castle, and Batemans. But there are still a ton I haven’t been to!

Distance from London by car: 1-3 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1-3 hours

21. Blenheim Palace

London Day Trips Blenheim

The birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a must-do one day trip from London! Known as “Britain’s Greatest Palace,” this UNESCO World Heritage site offers tours and programs throughout most of the year. It’s especially magical around Christmas time with a huge outdoor lights display! 

Distance from London by car: 2 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1.5 hours

22. Downton Abbey Locations

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, this one day trip from London is for you! Take a journey back in time to the town of Bampton where the scenes from Downton village were filmed. Enjoy the day exploring the town, then visit Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey), for a truly royal experience. 

Distance from London by car: 1 hour 45 minutes

Distance from London by public transport: 2.5 hours

Day Tour from London: This amazing tour leaves from London and will take you to the town of Bampton where the village scenes from Downton Abbey were filmed. You’ll also be able to see Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey). While on the coach between London and Downton you’ll watch scenes from the show that you’ll be seeing that day. You can book the tour here.

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23. Rochester


This adorable town just 30 miles from London was once a favorite of Charles Dickens’ and inspired many of his novels. His country home Gad’s Hill Place resided in Rochester and he, therefore, spent much of his time here. Rochester is also home to a Dickens Festival which is held twice a year. Visit Restoration House which is said to be the inspiration for Great Expectations. You can also visit the Six Poor Travelers House which is immortalized in Dickens’ “Seven Poor Travelers.” Be sure to visit Baggins Book Bazaar, a used bookshop full of antique classics at a reasonable price. Be sure to pick up some Dickens as a souvenir. 

For some ancient history, head to Rochester Castle, part of the English Heritage Pass, and explore the ruins of this 12th-century structure. Stroll through The Vines Park for some fresh air and nature. Rochester Cathedral in the center of town is run by the second oldest Bishopric in England, only after Canterbury. Be sure to visit all the adorable tea shops along High Street and enjoy the atmosphere of this charming town. 

Distance from London by car: 1.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 45 minutes

24. Bristol

Situated on the beautiful Avon River, Bristol is one of the lesser-known cities of England and was a pleasant surprise for us. Full of trendy cafes and cute vintage shops, it’s a fun town to wander around. Be sure to stop at the Cheddar Gorge and caves just 30 minutes away from Bristol. 


Distance from London by car: 2.5 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 1 hour 45 minutes

Tour from London: Take a private tour of Bristol with a local to see the best sites. 

25. Edinburgh

what to do in edinburgh

If you want to head north and visit the beautiful country of Scotland, you can hop on the train and enjoy Edinburgh in a quick day! You’ll have to leave early in the morning and come home late at night, or you can stay the night. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is a must go! Don’t miss this magical Harry Potter Walking Tour

Distance from London by car: 8 hours

Distance from London by public transport: 4 hours

Book Harry Potter Tour

26. Cornwall 

day trips from London - Cornwall

Cornwall is a fantastic day trip destination from London, offering visitors a glimpse of England’s stunning coastline and countryside. Situated on the southwestern tip of the country, Cornwall boasts picturesque beaches, charming fishing villages, and rugged moorlands.

A visit to Cornwall can include exploring the quaint town of St. Ives, taking in the views from the cliff tops at Land’s End, or visiting the historic Tintagel Castle, the birthplace of King Arthur. A must-try in Cornwall is the traditional Cornish pasty, a savory pastry filled with meat and vegetables that has become a local specialty.

With a journey time of around four hours from London by car or train, Cornwall makes for an ideal day trip for those looking for a break from the city and a taste of the great British outdoors. You’ll just have to be sure to begin your day early. There are so many places to visit in Cornwall that you’ll love. 

I hope you have an amazing time in the city and I hope you work in a day trip because the UK has so much more to offer! Do you have a favorite day trip from London you’d like to share?  Get in touch on Instagram or Facebook. -Vanessa

20 Best Day Trips from London
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2 thoughts on “The 25 Best Day Trips From London

  1. Jane Dempster-Smith says:

    This is a very informative article. I lived in Southampton for a few years and still did not get around to visiting half of the towns on this list. I really want to try a Butterbeer next time I am in the UK and do the Harry Potter Tour.

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      Isn’t that how it always is? I’m terrible about exploring my own hometown! Butter beer is the BEST!!!

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