I love London. I mean, this whole blog is dedicated to my love for it. However, there are days when you want to step out of the metropolis and have a change of scenery. Fortunately, there are a bunch of places close to London that you can visit in 2 hours or less. That means if you live in London it couldn’t be easier to explore other beautiful places in the UK. What that also means is if you are visiting London from abroad and want to see different parts of the UK while you’re here, it’s completely possible with no hassle! How great is that?
Here are 14 Easy Day Trips From London You Must Do.
Windsor is one of eight royal boroughs in the UK. It is known for world-famous, Windsor Castle which was built by King William the Conqueror and has been the home of every British monarch since. Today, most people know it as the place where the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, got married. If royalty and castles aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of cute shops and British pubs to explore. Not to mention Legoland. It’s not just for kids, you know.
52 minutes by train from Vauxhall
Bath has a rich history for being one of the settlements of the Roman Empire. Its Roman baths attract over a million visitors every year which makes it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the UK. It’s also the reason for its name, Bath. If you prefer relaxing to wandering you can always visit the Thermae Spa, a natural spring you can actually pay to bathe in. Bath is home to many quaint little tea rooms, but none more famous than Sally Lunn tea house, world-renowned for their sweet buns since 1483. Bath Abbey is also pretty spectacular and worth a visit.
1h 19 m by train from Paddington
Bristol is a great one for adults, kids and explorers alike. You could spend the day at the huge shopping outlet, Cabot Circus which has over 120 shops. If you’re with the kids there’s no better place to take them than Bristol Zoo. If you’re into your architecture you have to see Clifton Suspension Bridge. Did you know it’s the most Instagrammable place in Bristol and the seventh most popular place for photos in the whole of the UK?
1h 38m by train from Paddington
In just a one hour train ride from London, you can be at one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts, Brighton. Brighton is perfect for that classic British seaside experience. You can spend hours at Brighton Pier where there are traditional arcade-style games to play on and a huge funfair for both adults and children. Once you’ve worn yourself on the rides it’ll be time for some traditional fish and chips on the beach. Brighton is also home to the British Airways i360 Viewing Tower which gives you 360-degree views of the city. It’s also home to Gay Pride every August which is a fabulous day out to support the gay community.
1h by train from Victoria Station
Whitstable is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent in south-east England. It has a lovely harbour where you can sit and have fish and chips and watch the fisherman set sail. If you love seafood, Whitstable is perfect for that. Especially because it’s home to the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival. If you want to make the most of your day trip, just a 20-minute drive away is Canterbury which has lots of nice tea rooms and pubs. Also, it’s home to Howlett’s Wild Animal Park.
1h 14m by train from St Pancras
Welcome to Dreamland! That’s the name of Margate’s famous 1950’s style amusement park that is full of classic rides and traditional fairground eateries. There’s plenty to see and do in Margate after you’ve ridden the big wheel five times and had copious amounts of candy floss. You can visit the Shell Grotto, spend an afternoon at the Margate Museum and course have ice cream on the beach!
1h 34 by train from St Pancras
The Cotswolds is a stunning place to visit. It’s made up of many different villages that have thatched cottages and stone bridges like something out of Charles Dickens novel. There are so many nice walks to do and old English pubs visit. Because there are many different villages, I’d recommend you do your research before on which ones take your fancy if you’re only there for the day. I’d recommend Bourton on Water or Bibury! You will have to have a car to visit as getting around without one will be near impossible for a day trip (unless you’re on a coach tour).
1h 33 driving from Central London (no direct trains)
Cambridge is known for being one of two from the famous university pair, Oxford & Cambridge. Oxford is such a beautiful place. The gothic architecture is stunning and there’s always something to look at while wandering down the cobbled streets. You can’t go to Cambridge with seeing The University of Cambridge and there are many guided tours to take you if you prefer. Punting down the river is such a fun way to spend an afternoon and visit to Market Square is a must to browse lots of independent shops and craft stalls. If you love architecture you have to see the Bridge of Sighs and King’s College Chapel.
49 m by train from Kings Cross
This one is a bit of a cheat because it’s over 2 hours. However, I couldn’t resist putting it on here because let’s face it, how cool is it you can do a day trip to Paris from London? You get a 6:30 am departure and leave about 8 pm you get almost 12 hours there and be back before midnight. You could definitely do Paris in a day and see all the iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame. Of course, you have to eat a million croissants in that time too.
2h 23 on the Eurostar from St Pancras
Oxford is a university city just like its famous twin, Cambridge. Also like Cambridge, Oxford has beautiful gothic architecture. For any Harry Potter fans out there Christ Church College was one of the filming locations. Also, the great hall at the college was the inspiration for the great hall in the film. Oxford is also home to Blenheim Palace, the former home of Sir Winston Churchill which is worth a visit. Not into Harry Potter of history? No problem, spend the day at Thirsty Meeples – a cafe with hundreds of board games to play and great coffee.
52m by train from Paddington
Did you know you can actually visit a completely different country in under two hours from London? Yes, Wales! Cardiff is the capital of Wales and a very vibrant place to visit for the day. Cardiff Bay is a great place to visit while you’re there as it has lots of nice restaurants overlooking the water and is also home to one of the most beautiful theatres you’ll ever see, Wales Millenium Centre. Cardiff also has an excellent shopping centre, St Davids.
1h 51 minutes by train from Paddington
12. St Albans
St Albans is so close to London yet it feels like a whole different place. It’s quite small so you probably won’t need an entire day here but for a few hours you can wander up the high street, visit the Cathedral, then take a well-earned break at The Pudding Stop. They serve traditional British puddings such as spotted dick and sticky toffee pudding. Delicious!
20m by train from St Pancras
13. Stratford upon Avon/Royal Leamington Spa
Stratford (not to be confused with Stratford, East London) is the birthplace of the one and only William Shakespeare. The medieval market town has your typical Tudor designs that visitors just love to see. Most people come here to visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage who was the wife of Mr Shakespeare. Also, they come to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company perform in its original home. For the kids, there’s the MAD museum and butterfly farm. Just a 20 minute drive away is the beautiful little town of Royal Leamington Spa that is worth a stop-off.
1h 15 by train from Marylebone