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

The 20 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!

These might be helpful:
Complete Guide to London

Amazing Places to See in Southern England

Here’s a Map of the 20 Best Day Trips From London

Where should I go for a day trip from London?

Day Trips from London

1. Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is 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 by car: 2.5 hours

Distance by public transport: You will either need a car or tour to experience the Cotswolds properly. You can book a tour here.

Day Trips from London

2. Oxford

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 easy to to get to by train from London.

Distance by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

Day Trips from London

3. Stonehenge

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 by car: 2 hours

Distance by public transport: 2.5 hours

Day Trips from London

4. Windsor

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 by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 45 minutes

Day Trips from London

5. Bath

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!

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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!

Distance by car: 2.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

Day Trips from London

6. White Cliffs of Dover

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 by car: 2 hours

Distance by public transport: 3 hours

Day Trips from London

7. Sandwich

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 by car: 1 hour 45 minutes

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

Day Trips from London

8. Canterbury

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 by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1 hourDay Trips from London9. Leeds Castle

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 by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 2 hours

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Day Trips from London

10. Stratford Upon Avon

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!

You can book your tickets here.

Distance by car: 2 hours

Distance by public transport: 2 hours

Day Trips from London

11. Brighton

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.

Distance by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1 hour

Day Trips from London

12. Cambridge

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.

Distance by car: 1.5 hours

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

Seven Sisters Cliffs

13. 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 by car: 2 hours

Distance by public transport: 3 hours

Day Trips from London

14. Ipswich

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 by car: 1 hour 45 minutes

Distance by public transport: 1.5 hours

Day Trips from London

15. Isle of Wight

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.

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Distance by car: 3 hours

Distance by public transport: 3 hours

Day Trips from Paris16. 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 by public transport: 2 hours

Day Trips from London

17. Harry Potter Studio Tour

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.

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

Day Trips from London

18. The New Forest

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

Day Trips from London
Source: Family Trips from London

19. Rye

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

Day Trips from London
The gorgeous folley at Scotney Castle

20. National Trust Houses

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 by car: 1-3 hours

Distance by public transport: 1-3 hours

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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