35 Best Day Trips from London (local approved!)

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London has enough to do to fill weeks on end, but when you’re visiting the UK as a once in a lifetime trip or here for longer than a couple of days, you should really consider doing one or more day trips from London out to other beautiful and historic British towns and cities.

As London is a hub in the UK, you’ll find endless options when it comes to taking a train or bus out of the city on a London day trip.

A train approaching a train station

Here are some of my favorite day trips from London, including some that are a bit more off the beaten path and others that are incredibly popular with the masses (for a reason!)

The Absolute Must-Knows (from a Londoner)

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1. Oxford

Let’s start with Oxford.

Home to Oxford University and its many colleges, beautiful green spaces, top museums and Harry Potter filming locations galore, Oxford is a great day trip from London for many visitors.

Arch bridge in Oxford

I love it because of its picturesque architecture and how much there is to do and see in this university town.

There are plenty of things to do for kids in Oxford, as well as budget friendly Oxford activities if you’re hoping to keep the costs down.

Go punting on the river, spend hours exploring the Ashmolean Museum, or check out the Bodleian Library which holds literary treasure from around the world.

Oxford is very walkable, and compact enough that you can see a lot in just one day in Oxford.

How to get to Oxford from London: Either take the Oxford Tube (a bus) that departs from Victoria Station (book tickets here), or hop on the train from London to Oxford, which you can book tickets for here by plugging in London (Any) and Oxford into the search form.

How long to get there: About an hour by train and an hour and a half on the Oxford Tube, depending on traffic.


Start your planning with this “Intro to London” guide and access to my London planning Facebook group!

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2. Stratford upon Avon: a great summer day trip from London

Home to all things Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon is another fantastic day trip from London for those interested in the life of this literary figure.

Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, his grave, and see a Shakespeare production with the country’s most famous Shakespeare theatre company.

Outside of Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon is just a charming English town with peaceful waterways, boutique shops and green spaces.

This is another incredibly walkable city, which means you don’t have to worry about public transportation while you’re there and can just meander around the winding roads.

How to get to Stratford upon Avon from London: Take the train from London Marylebone Station to Stratford-upon-Avon by booking tickets through Omio here.

You may have a connection to make depending on when the direct routes are.

How long it takes: About 2 hours.

3. Cambridge

Cambridge and Oxford are the two big university cities in the UK, and Cambridge has its fair share of history, culture, and beautiful views.

If you want someone to take you around with no stress, check out my guide to the best tours of Cambridge from London.

Go punting (a type of boating) on the river, see an Evensong choral performance at one of the Cambridge colleges, or hang out in one of its gorgeous parks.

If you haven’t been to either, I prefer Oxford during the summer months and Cambridge during the winter months.

How to get to Cambridge from London: Take the train from London (multiple stations available, such as King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, and St Pancras).

Book tickets here by plugging in London (Any) and then Cambridge to see options.

How long it takes: Anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the train you take.

4. Dover

One of my personal favorites, Dover is a best day outing from London for anyone looking for a towering castle, stunning coastal views, or World War II history.

Visit Dover Castle to see medieval ruins, wartime secret tunnels, and royal chambers, and then go for a walk along the famous White cliffs of Dover.

Get some fish and chips near the sea to finish off your day.

If you have a bit more time and want to do a castle drive-by instead of going in, you can also spend time rockpooling in St. Margaret’s Bay, enjoy dinner at the Coast Guard pub right on the beach, enjoy a trip on the Dover Sea Safari, or visit a smaller castle like Walmer Castle or Deal Castle which are neighboring to Dover.

How to get to Dover from London: Book the train from London here, departing from stations such as St. Pancras and London Bridge.

The final stop is “Dover Priory”.

How long it takes: Anywhere from 1 hours to 2 hours depending on the train you take.

5. Paris

Yes, taking a day trip to Paris from London is possible!

If you don’t have time in your itinerary for a longer trip to Paris, you can go see the main sights in one whirlwind day and then come back to sleep in London!

From the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre, you won’t have time to spend hours at each place, but you can check some things off your bucket list.

The Sacre Coeur in Paris seen from below with blue sky

In this instance, unless you’re a confident traveler, I would recommend booking a one day tour of Paris that’s guided by an expert so you won’t waste any time.

You’ll also want to make sure you take into account the extra time it takes to pass security to use the Eurostar, as unlike a normal train within the UK, there are passport checks and airport style security to go through.

How to get to Paris from London: Take the Eurostar (book tickets here) from St. Pancras International to Gare du Nord.

How long it takes: About 2 hours.

6. Bath/Stonehenge

The classic Bath and Stonehenge combination is a fan favorite among visitors wanting to see the famous rock formation.

There is a visitor center at Stonehenge and then the rocks themselves, and there isn’t anything else around it.

That’s why many tours add the city of Bath into the mix, which has ancient Roman baths to explore and charming streets.

This is one day trip from London I would highly advise you to take a tour for, because Stonehenge and Bath aren’t well connected to each other by public transportation.

Another great option is to think about actually turning this into more of a roadtrip by checking out the best sites for motorhome hire in London and renting a caravan to take a trip out to Stonehenge.

How to get to Stonehenge and Bath from London: Book onto a Stonehenge and Bath tour like this one which I recommend for a half day, and this one for a full day.

How long it takes: The tours range from half a day to full day.

7. Windsor

Royal fans will love a trip out to Windsor where they can see Windsor Castle and all of the royal history that comes with it.

There’s also some great shopping and the chance to sit down by the river.

Windsor Castle is really the main draw here, but it’s a fantastic royal residence to visit if that’s your thing.

Not only has it played host to royal weddings, but you can also learn about how it functions in the day-to-day life of the royal family and there are some spectacular views and posh artifacts to look at.

How to Get to Windsor from London: Take the train from London to Windsor and Eton Central or Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. You may have to make a connection depending on the train you book.

Book your train tickets using Omio here.

How Long it Takes: From half an hour to one hour depending on the train you book.

8. Brighton: a top London day trip

Ready for a coastal day trip to one of the coolest British cities around?

Brighton is known for its awesome pier, gorgeous rocky beaches, and general atmosphere of love and inclusivity.

You can go shopping in “the lanes,” check out the beautifully designed Royal Pavilion, or go for a swim in the sea in the summer.

There’s so much to do in Brighton that some people like to turn it into a weekend in Brighton rather than just a London day trip, but because it’s so close to London transportation wise, it’s super easy to maximize your day here and get there early and come home late – no 2 + hour train rides for you!

How to get to Brighton from London: Hop on the train from London by booking tickets here and plugging in “London (Any)” and “Brighton”.

How long to get to Brighton: About an hour.

9. Canterbury

Well known for the Canterbury tales, this historic city still has some of its old city walls standing that you can walk around, as well as one of the largest and most stunning cathedrals in the UK.

Literary lovers will enjoy things to do in Canterbury like tracing Chaucer’s tales back to this city and any visitor will be impressed by the general charming feel of this city.

Greyfriars Gardens in Canterbury, with some old buildings on the other side of a river

The other thing I love about Canterbury is how it attracts more locals and more local versions of tourists.

It gets left off many people’s UK itineraries, which means it has retained its charm and has plenty of awesome cafes and pubs to pop into when you’ve had enough sightseeing.

How to get to Canterbury from London: Hop on the train from London to Canterbury East or Canterbury West (book train tickets here), departing from Victoria Station or St. Pancras Station depending on which one you book.

How long to get to Canterbury: Ranges from an hour to an hour and 40 minutes depending on the train route.

10. Cardiff

You don’t need to stay in England on your day trip from London!

Head to Cardiff, the capital of Wales, for some delicious Welsh cakes, a stop in Cardiff castle, and some political tourism at the Cardiff Parliament.

If you’re wanting to get out to other places in Wales like North Wales, save that for more than a day trip, but definitely add them to your list.

From Beddgelert to Aberwystwyth, there’s just so much in Wales to see.

How to get to Cardiff from London: Hop on the train from London Paddington Station to Cardiff Central Station. If you need luggage storage, check out the best luggage storage at Paddington!

Book train tickets using Omio here.

How long to get to Cardiff: 2 to 3 hours depending on the train you book.

11. York

It’s a hefty day trip due to the time it takes to get there, but you can make it to York and back in a day and this is a great choice for anyone who wants to see (and hear the accents of) the North of England.

York is picturesque and filled with history, and popular spots include the Shambles, the York Castle Museum, and York Minster.

There are bus tours of York that will zoom you around the city, or it is a pedestrian friendly city so feel free to use your own two feet.

How to get to York: Book the LNER train from King’s Cross Station to York using Omio here.

How long to get to York: About 2 hours by train.

12. Liverpool

Beatles fans, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Liverpool!

Even better, take the best Liverpool day tour from London!

This quirky city is known for its incredible cathedral, lots of Beatles history and port location.

Go on a Beatles tour to see where the magic of this band got started and leave some time for museums like the Museum of Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.

How to get to Liverpool: Book the train from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street Station using Omio here.

How long to get to Liverpool: About 2 and a half hours.

13. Cotswolds

Want a day out in the countryside?

The Cotswolds are calling your name!

You can take a train to one of the gateway towns in the Cotswolds and then either take a tour or use local buses or taxis to explore some surrounding towns.

Try our best list of the Cotswolds tours from London here!

You’ll feel so far removed from the cities with endless countryside, fields, babbling streams, and houses that look like they’ve been taken from the pages of a fairytale.

How to get to the Cotswolds: Take a train to Moreton-on-the-Marsh from London, or take a guided tour of the Cotswolds (recommended).

I prefer this Cotswolds tour.

How long to get to the Cotswolds: About 90 minutes to get to Moreton-on-the-Marsh or a full day tour of the Cotswolds if you’re taking a guided tour that leaves on a bus from London.

14. Bristol: a beautiful winter day trip from London

Image: Clifton Suspension Bridge. Shawn Spencer-Smith. [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Bristol can be described as the slightly edgier, more laid back sister of London.

It has a thriving creative scene, some of the country’s hottest dining destinations and a pristine location straddling the River Thames.

Thanks to its rich maritime history, there’s also an abundance of naval related architecture and sightseeing for the curious visitor.

But if you’re more into burgers than boats, you’ll find plenty of gastronomic delights to choose from.

One of the city’s most popularly photographed spots is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, so be sure to leave some time to get a glimpse of this ultimate Bristol icon.

How to get to Bristol from London: There’s a train from London Paddington that will take you straight into the heart of Bristol.

Book using Omio here.

How long it takes: Under 2 hours.

15. Bletchley Park

Image: Bletchley Park. Neil Thompson. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Famed for being the secret hideaway for Allied codebreakers during World War Two, Bletchley Park is now a magnificent historical attraction, located in Bletchley, Milton Keynes.

Whilst the façade of the mansion still retains its Victorian character, much of the interiors have been renovated and converted to provide a superb visitor experience.

From learning about the mysterious codebreakers that once occupied the place to seeing the various exhibits that are on display, this is one of the most fascinating and insightful day trips from London for a WWII history buff.

There’s also a café on site or you can take your own picnic to enjoy on the grounds.

How to get to Bletchley Park from London: Hop on the train from London Euston that will take you to Bletchley Park.

Book using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately 45 minutes by train.

16. Cheltenham

Image: Cheltenham. judy dean. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Known as one of the UK’s most popular spa districts, Cheltenham is a lovely Regency style town in the Gloucestershire district.

Visitors can enjoy wandering around the pretty streets, admiring architecturally designed buildings including the Pittville Pump Room and the Victorian Theatre.

If you happen to be visiting in March, your trip may coincide with the annual Cheltenham Festival horse racing carnival.

Even if you don’t enjoy watching the races, the town becomes a particularly lively and vibrant place, making it a great time to visit.

Cheltenham is conveniently located just outside of the Cotswolds, so even if you don’t have time to spend a full day here, try to stop in during your wider tour of the Cotswolds.

How to get to Cheltenham from London: You can take the train from London Paddington (book tickets using Omio here) but it’s a particularly scenic road trip if you have a car.

How long it takes: Approximately 2 hours.

17. Portsmouth

Image: Portsmouth. Metro Centric. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

The Great Waterfront City, as Portsmouth is otherwise known, is located on the southern coast of England and is a lively city with a fascinating maritime history.

Due to its strategic location, Portsmouth is also a naval base and various attractions around the city pay homage to its maritime significance.

Some of the main highlights include the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the HMS Victory, the world’s oldest commissioned warship which has now been converted into a museum.

Aside from the ports, there’s also a fantastic beach and plenty of local cafes serving up delicious fish and chips to make for a perfect day trip from London.

How to get to Portsmouth from London: Take the train from London Waterloo (book using Omio here). or drive through scenic Surrey.

How long it takes: Approximately two hours by train.

18. Birmingham

Image: Birmingham. Magnus Hagdorn. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Birmingham may be best known for its industrial past, but it’s also a major city with all the action, art and thrill that you could possibly want for a packed day trip.

In the heart of the city, you’ll find one of the city’s main attractions, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, with masterpieces by award-winning global artists.

Afterwards, stroll through the botanical gardens to experience a refreshing and calm natural oasis before making your way down towards Sherborne Wharf.

The Wharf is the starting point for many of the city’s canals and a number of cafes and restaurants have popped up alongside, making for a great afternoon of walking, eating and exploring the best of Birmingham.

How to get to Birmingham from London: Get the train from London Euston (book tickets using Omio here). or drive up the M40.

How long it takes: Approximately an hour and a half by train or two and a half if you drive.

19. Nottingham

Image: england-120. David Sorich. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Nottingham may be familiar to you thanks to its part in the legend of Robin Hood.

But there’s much more to explore in Nottingham, which makes it great for an easy day trip from London.

Some of the main attractions in Nottingham include the hilltop Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, which has been around since medieval times, the National Justice Museum and Wollaton Hall, a magnificent Elizabeth-era mansion with expansive gardens and its own deer park.

For a more unique activity, you can join a tour of the City of Caves, an underground network of caves running under the city that was used during the Anglo-Saxon times.

How to get to Nottingham from London: Trains run frequently from St Pancras International to Nottingham.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes by train.

20. Bedford

Image: River Great Ouse, Bedford. Peter O’Connor. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

A little further north than Luton airport lies the charming market town of Bedford, in the district of Bedfordshire.

The town is quaint, with a river running through it and has a compact town center with several local favorite pubs and cafes.

Whilst you’re there, take a wander down to the main church with a towering steeple that rises high above the township and keep an eye out for the houses designed in various architectural styles, from Tudor to Victorian.

If you have the time, a visit to the Higgins Bedford museum will give you more of an insight into the town’s history as one of the lace capitals of the country.

How to get to Bedford from London: The Thameslink will connect you to Bedford from London Bridge.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Just over an hour

21. The New Forest

Image: A Sunny Glade. Dorsetinman. [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

The New Forest is an enchanting expanse of woodland, filled with wildlife, activities and a number of nearby towns and villages, located just outside of York in the north of England.

Whilst the entire national park may be too large to fully explore in a day trip, you can choose from a range of activities to help you make the most of your visit.

Some of the most popular things to do include cycling, hiking along the cliff tops and keeping an eye out for the park’s local wild residents, from ponies, cattle, donkeys and deer.

Fun fact, the New Forest used to be an old hunting forest for the earls and local royalty.

Nowadays, hunting is of course prohibited.

How to get to the New Forest from London: Driving on the M1 will be the most direct route, otherwise you’ll have to get a couple of trains, departing from King’s Cross and changing at York.

How long it takes: Between three to four hours.

22. Hastings

Image: England 150. Dwilliams851. [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Perhaps most famously known for being the location of the Battle of Hastings, this town on the south east coast of England has much to offer for an informative and fun day trip.

Any visit to Hastings should include at least an hour or two learning about the wartime significance, by paying a visit to the Battle Abbey, nearby to where the battle was fought.

Afterwards head down to Hastings Pier for lunch at one of the many cafes that dot the seafront.

Make a final stop at Hastings Castle to explore the ruins of this 11th century Norman fortress before returning to London.

How to get to Hastings from London: The easiest way is to get the train from London Bridge and get off directly at Hastings.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Between 1 and a half to 2 hours.

23. Hampton Court Palace

Image: Closing time at Hampton Court Palace. Kirk Johnson. [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Perched on a small hilltop overlooking the pretty town of Hampton and the River Thames lies the impressive Hampton Court Palace.

One of the most visited palaces in England, this was the residence of the infamous Henry VIII and his many wives and makes a great half day trip from London.

You can see the palace from the outside if you want to spend more time exploring the town, but the palace itself is definitely worth a visit if you can.

You can choose to join a privately guided tour and even add on a high tea for the full royal experience.

After admiring the interiors, be sure to also explore the gardens and ponds that make up the expansive grounds.

How to get to Hampton Court Palace from London: Hop on a quick train from Waterloo.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately 45 minutes.

24. Blenheim Palace

Image: Blenheim Palace. lwtt93. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Blenheim Palace is truly one of the great day trips you can take from London.

Not only is it a magnificent 17th century home filled with incredible art, sculptures and courtyards, there are also stunning grounds with lakes, a secret garden and a maze to wander through.

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also home to the Whomping Willow, yes, the very tree that makes a right meal out of Mr. Weasley’s old blue Ford.

Located just outside of Oxford, this is definitely a detour worth making and getting a guided tour is the best way to learn about the fascinating history of the families who once lived here.

How to get to Blenheim Palace from London: You can take the Oxford Tube from London and then hop onto a local bus to get the rest of the way. If you have a car, the journey will be much easier.

How long it takes: An hour and forty minutes by car.

25. Highclere Castle

Image: Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle). Richard Munckton. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Highclere is another castle you may recognize from the big screen, most notably from Downton Abbey.

The Castle is large and tours are available (run by costumed guides and volunteers) to help you truly experience the history and magic of the place.

The Castle also hosts the occasional exhibition, with the most recent being on Ancient Egyptian history which is considered highly informative and insightful.

Entry to Highclere Castle can take an hour or so during the peak summertime, so leave yourself plenty of time and enjoy exploring the grounds whilst you wait.

How to get to Highclere Castle from London: Drive east along the M4 for the quickest route.

How long it takes: Approximately an hour and a half.

26. Lacock: best side trips from London

Image: Lacock Windows. Mark Kent. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

The quaint town of Lacock is one of the most picturesque examples of a classic, countryside English village, so much so that it is owned almost entirely by the National Trust, to preserve its unspoilt charm.

Some of the main attractions of Lacock include the Lacock Bakery, the Red Lion hotel and pub and Beechfield House, which has now been converted into luxury accommodation.

If you want to get a glimpse of a fairytale village not too far from London, definitely consider adding Lacock to your itinerary.

How to get to Lacock from London: Drive along the M4 or get the train to Chippenham, the nearest main town.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately two hours.

27. Warwick Castle

Image: Warwick Castle East side. Steve Knight. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

This famous mansion is located just outside the main town centre of Warwick, and makes for a great day trip idea for lovers of medieval history.

The castle itself is immense, with various rooms, wings and dungeons to explore.

The grounds of the castle also have a number of attractions, including live animals such as peacocks and falcons.

The best way to see the castle is by taking a guided tour which can explain the history of all the great battles that have taken place in the castle and nearby.

If you’re visiting during Christmas time, there’s also a fantastic Christmas market that takes place on the grounds.

How to get to Warwick Castle from London: Drive north on the M40 for the easiest and quickest way to get there from London.

How long it takes: Approximately two hours.

28. Colchester

Image: Colchester Castle. William Marnoch. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

In southeast England lies the historical and somewhat underrated town of Colchester.

There’s a gentle river running through the town and the streets themselves make for a pretty stroll, however there are also a number of surprising attractions which makes this one of the best places to visit on a day trip from London.

Some of the highlights include Colchester Castle, a huge Norman style castle built on the ruins of a Roman temple, with a museum containing artefacts that are thousands of years old.

Nearby, there lies the remains of an old Roman theatre, and in Castle Park you can find Hollytrees Museum, a Georgian townhouse showing what life used to be like in historical days.

How to get to Colchester from London: Hop on the train from Liverpool St station.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: A little over an hour.

29. Whitstable: a one day trip from London

Image: Whitstable. Herry Lawford. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

On the north coast of Kent lies the fisherman’s town of Whitstable.

The main attraction of the town is undeniably the pleasant beach with its quirky collection of colorful beach huts, and a day spent eating oysters and strolling along the beach shore is a great way to spend the date.

If you want more ideas for activities, you can take a tour of Whitstable Castle, a small but impressive castle with an in-house café serving afternoon tea.

Alternatively head down to the Whitstable Harbor Market, which is open every day except for Tuesday and Wednesday and explore the eclectic range of souvenirs handmade by local residents.

How to get to Whitstable from London: Take a train from Victoria station to Whitstable.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately one hour and a half.

31. Henley on Thames

Image: Riverbank, Henley-on-thames. Frank O-Dwyer. [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Located at the meeting point of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Henley-on-Thames embodies all the classic symbols of a traditional English village, sitting right alongside the river Thames.

Some of the most popular things to do in the town include visiting the National Trust owned Greys Court, an impressive 16th century manor house with a donkey-powered mill wheel and the River & Rowing Museum, a unique architecturally designed museum showcasing the history of river rowing.

There are also a number of cafes alongside the river, so be sure to stop for afternoon tea and admire the view of the surrounding English countryside.

How to get to Henley-on-Thames from London: A train from Paddington with a switch at Twyford will get you there.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Just under an hour.

32. Marlow

Image: Marlow. Timo Newton-Syms. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Not very far from Henley-on-Thames and possible to do as part of the same day trip (particularly if you have a car) is the town of Marlow.

Marlow is most famous for its 19th century suspension bridge, so if you’re an admirer of impressive bridge structures, you’ll be glad you visited.

Some of the other sights in Marlow include Cliveden House, a former stately residence now converted into a luxury hotel with a fine dining restaurant, and the Beckonscot Model Village and Railway, the world’s oldest miniature village park, which will appeal to both the young and young-at-heart alike.

How to get to Marlow from London: From London Paddington, you’ll need to switch at Maidenhead and then jump on the train to Marlow.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Under an hour

33. Great Missenden

Image: Grave Goods. tpholland. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

The town of Great Missenden is perhaps most famous for being the place where acclaimed children’s book writer, Roald Dahl, spent the final three decades of his life, until his death in 1990.

A museum was built to showcase the life and legacy of Roald Dahl and is one of the most popular things to do in the village.

Once you’ve had your fill of literary history, you’ll want to head along to Malt the Brewery, an excellent local brewery, offering up tastings of delicious fresh ales and other locally produced food and drinks.

How to get to Great Missenden from London: Take the train from London Marylebone Station to Great Missenden Station.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: One hour.

34. Margate: coastal day trip from London

Image: Margate. Gordon Joly. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Margate is best known for its sandy beaches and lively town center and is a very popular day trip idea from London.

Its proximity to the capitol makes this a common place to visit for both locals and tourists, and there’s plenty to see and do in the town to keep people coming back.

Some of the most popular things to do (apart from flopping on the beach), are visiting the Turner Contemporary Gallery, a stunning modern art gallery located on the seafront, a family-friendly visit to Dreamland, the local amusement park or a trip to Botany Bay, a nearby sandy beach with old fossils to find.

How to get to Margate from London: Hop on the train from Victoria to Margate.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Under two hours.

35. Manchester

Image: Manchester. Phil Fiddyment. [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Manchester is one of the biggest cities in England and particularly known for its rich industrial heritage.

Visitors can learn more about the history of the city through various museums, including the interactive Museum of Science and Industry, as well as Manchester Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

Other key attractions for sporting fans include world-famous cricketing stadium, Old Trafford and the National Football Museum, dedicated to showcasing legendary moments in football history.

Manchester is also known for its thriving culinary scene, and there are a number of Michelin star chefs serving up gastronomic marvels to visitors from all over.

How to get to Manchester from London: The train from Euston will take you to Manchester Piccadilly station.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Approximately three hours.

36. Harry Potter Studio Tour

A room in the Harry Potter Studio Tour

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is one of the most popular day trips that visitors to London do, and for good reason.

This magical day includes a thrilling journey through the sets of all eight Harry Potter films, and has all the trimmings, from a themed café, costumed guides and an assortment of memorabilia and souvenirs that you can take home.

Some of the highlights include seeing the full size Hogwarts Express, the moving mechanical beasts and sampling the delicious butterbeer.

Whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter or simply interested in learning more about filmmaking, this is a most memorable day trip.

How to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London: Book the Warner Bros studio bus from London here or take the train to Watford and hop on the studio shuttle.

How long it takes: Approximately an hour and a half.

37. Guildford

The town of Guildford is centered around its prime attraction, the medieval Guildford Castle.

The castle is imposing with its tall square tower that offers a viewing platform over the surrounding townships and hills.

Aside from the castle, there are also several other attractions including the National Trust protected Winkworth Arboretum, a scenic woodland area with a peaceful lake, wildlife and on-site café, and the Watts Gallery, an Edwardian Style arts gallery, showcasing the works of G.F. Watts.

One of the closest day trip ideas from London, Guildford is an ideal stop if you’re short on time but still keen to get a glimpse of a classic English castle, village and countryside.

How to get to Guildford from London: Take the train from Waterloo to Guildford.

Book tickets using Omio here.

How long it takes: Just over 30 minutes.

Want more helpful London guides? Check these out!

UK Travel Planning Guide: the FAQs

🏥 Should I buy UK travel insurance?

Absolutely yes. Basic coverage is not expensive, and as a visitor you are NOT covered under the NHS. Compare policies and prices with Travel Insurance Master here, a big name in the travel insurance business, and cross that off your list.

🔌 Do I need travel adapters for the UK?

Yes, you do, otherwise you won’t be able to plug in your electronics/phone/lifelines. I recommend this one, which is all-in-one so you can use it in other countries.

🚗 What do I need to drive in the UK?

The first thing you need to check out if you’re planning on renting a car in the UK is this guide to driving in the UK for visitors – the roads, signs, and driving experience will likely not be what you’re used to and it’s essential to prepare yourself to stay safe and aware.

🛌 What’s the best way to book hotels in the UK?

For UK hotels, Booking is the best site as it offers free cancellation on many properties. If you want an apartment, I always recommend VRBO over AirBnb.

📳 Will my phone work in the UK?

Yes – if you set it up right. Check out my guide on making your foreign phone work in the UK to ensure that you get the type of service you need.

🚿 Can I drink the water in the UK?

Yes, UK water is great and perfectly safe. But drink out of taps in any kitchen or use water fountains. Double check before drinking out of the taps in hotel bathrooms, though, as they may be on a different system. London water is safe to drink.

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