My Top 10 Day Trips from London

By Cat Forrester

Planning a day trip from London?

Don’t stress! With many famous English cities being located within easy reach from London like Oxford or Cambridge, you’ll be surprised about how much you’ll be able to fit into a short trip.

Did you know that it’s also possible to see some of the most famous and important UK tourist spots in just one day? It’s easy to plan self-guided trips from London as well as discovering the different guided day trips from London that are available. If you are tight for time, this is a great way to see more places in a day.

one  Day trips from London: Visiting Oxford

It only takes one hour by train to get to the beautiful city of Oxford from London, so it´s no surprise that Oxford is one of the most popular choices when it comes to planning day trips from London. Oxford isn’t known as the biggest of cities, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting everything into one day, just don’t spend too long at The Fudge Kitchen (I’ve spent a good deal of time here)!

What to see in Oxford in one day

Oxford is famous for its prestigious University and personally I think that visiting some of the colleges that are open to the public are one of the main attractions of this historical city. Some of the most famous places that cannot be missed during a day trip to Oxford are Trinity College, Bodleian Library, or the Ashmolean Museum.

Not sure how to get around? No problem! You’ll be able to walk around the cobbled streets of Oxford and discover the beauty of the city on foot. Or, you can jump on the hop-on hop-off bus tour to discover everything the city has to offer.

How to get to Oxford from London

I find that the easiest way to get to Oxford is by train. There is a train that leaves from London Paddington station (London travel zone 1) to Oxford. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables on the Trainline website.

Guided tours from London to Oxford

Don’t fancy the train? The best thing about guided day trips from London is that the coach will take you directly to where you need to go, but it is also the best way to see more than just one place in a day, this option is perfect when exploring Cambridge and Oxford.


Two   Day trips from London: Visiting Cambridge

The famous city of Cambridge is also located less than an hour away by train from central London, and as it is a small city it is also one of the most popular options when planning day trips from London.

What to see in Cambridge in a day

In one day, you will have time to tour the city of Cambridge as well as visiting some of the University’s colleges that open to the public normally at noon. Some of the key places you cannot miss in a visit to Cambridge are the mathematical bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, The Backs, Round Church, King’s College and King’s College Chapel, to name but a few.

How to get to Cambridge from London

I find that getting to Cambridge from London is quite easy, as there are direct trains from London King’s Cross as well as from London Liverpool Street Station in central London to Cambridge Station. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables on the Trainline website. The only drawback is that it can take you about 30 minutes to walk from Cambridge train station to the city centre, if you don’t fancy the walk you can jump on the sightseeing bus tour that stops just in front of the train station.

Guided day trips to Cambridge from London

One of the easiest ways to explore Cambridge from London is by going on one of the coach tours from London. The best thing about this option is that you can visit two places in one day, for example a guided tour to see Cambridge and Oxford in one day will certainly tick some sightseeing off of your list!


Three   Day trips from London: Visiting Stratford Upon Avon

This is one of my favourite day trips from London, and it’s the one I usually recommend to my family and friends when they come to visit me in London. Stratford Upon Avon is the birthplace of the one and only William Shakespeare (he’s kind of a big deal there!) and with a train journey from London of about two hours, you’ll certainly have enough time to get versed in olde English!

What to see in Stratford Upon Avon in one day

One day is certainly enough time to see the best of Stratford Upon Avon. Visit the house where William Shakespeare was born and take a look around the other historical houses. While you’re there, have a browse in some of the shops or stroll down the canal. You’ll be surprised at how much Stratford Upon Avon has to offer.

If you’re feeling peckish, Stratford Upon Avon is a beautiful small town where you will  have the opportunity to try a typical cream tea or even have a full blown afternoon tea in one of the many tea rooms that you will find walking through the streets.

How to get to Stratford Upon Avon from London

From Marylebone train station in central London, there is a train to Stratford Upon Avon that takes about two hours. From Stratford Upon Avon´s train station it’s just a short walk to the centre. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables on the Trainline website.

If you’re really looking to fill your day it’s possible to visit Stratford Upon Avon with a guided tour from London, and the best thing about this is that you will be able to combine the trip to Stratford Upon Avon with a trip to another city in England, for example:

Oxford, Warwick Castle and Stratford Upon Avon

Stonehenge, Bath and Stratford Upon Avon

Oxford, Stratford and the Cotswolds


Four   Day trips from London: Visiting Bath

Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in England, and it really is one of the most recommended day trips from London that you can think of, even though it is a bit further away than the other cities that I have already mentioned.  A trip here would also make a brilliant mini trip if you are thinking about spending a couple of days somewhere.

What to see in Bath in one day

The Roman Baths is the most famous attraction in Bath, and definitely a place that you will have to visit when visiting Bath. Bath Abbey, which is right next to the famous Roman Baths, is another must-see in Bath but just being able to walk through the city centre and towards the Royal Crescent is one of the highlights of visiting Bath. Don’t forget to visit the Jane Austin Centre too!

How to get to Bath from London

From Paddington station there is a train to Bath Spa train station, and it only takes 90 minutes to get there. From Bath Spa Train Station, it will only take you a few minutes to get to the city centre if you’re walking. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables on the Trainline website.

Another option is to get to Bath by coach with a guided tour. You can combine the visit to Bath with a visit to somewhere else, such as:

Stonehenge and Bath

Stonehenge, Stratford Upon Avon and Bath

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath


Five   Day trips from London: Visiting Stonehenge

Who hasn’t seen a photo of the mysterious Stonehenge?! These famous metamorphic rocks placed in concentric circumferences are located an hour and a half by car from London, making this one of the most popular day trips from London.

What to see in Stonehenge

You can see the most famous megalithic archaeological monument in the world and learn all about it in the visitor centre. A visit to Stonehenge is a truly unforgettable experience.

How to get to Stonehenge

Ok, so Stonehenge is not the easiest place to get to from London by public transport, but it only takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there by car. The best way to visit Stonehenge in my opinion is by coach, using a guided tour, and to make the most of the day you can see Stonehenge on the way to another city such as:

Stonehenge and Bath

Stonehenge, Stratford Upon Avon and Bath

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath


Six   Day trips from London: Visiting Windsor

Located only 40 minutes from London, Windsor town is another favourite day trip from London, a beautiful historic town home to Windsor Castle, a residence of the Royal British family ( they’re kind of a big deal here!).

What to see in Windsor

Windsor Castle is obviously the biggest attraction in the town of Windsor, but Windsor itself is a pretty little town which is definitely worth seeing.

“The Long Walk” is one of the key places to see in Windsor, a long avenue from which you will get stunning views of Windsor Castle and one of the photos you can’t leave without taking! In Windsor you will also find Eton College which is open to the public on Friday afternoons and, of course, there’s Legoland!

Although Windsor is small, there is a hop-on hop-off bus tour which takes you around Windsor, with stops at both of the Windsor train stations and Eton College. You will also get perfect views of “The Long Walk” from the top deck of the bus.

How to get to Windsor from London

You can get a train to Eton from Paddington and Waterloo train stations in central London. From either Eton Central or Eton Riverside you will have to walk a few minutes to central Windsor. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables on the Trainline website.

Guided tours from London to Windsor are also available, and you can either choose from a coach tour to Windsor with food included, or make the most of the day by visiting another place on the same day, such as:

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath

Oxford, Windsor and Stonehenge


Seven   Day trips from London: Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios

If you are going to be in London for a few days and you are a true Harry Potter fan, visiting Warner Bros Studios in London should be on your list! The Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studios have become one of the most visited attractions in London and is advance booking only, tickets sell out weeks or even months in advance, so make sure to get your tickets in advance if you are planning on visiting. Expelliarmus!

What to see at the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros Tour

When you visit the Harry Potter studios, you will go through the original stages that were used to shoot the Harry Potter films, including places like the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s cabin and so much more. You will also see a giant scale-model of Hogwarts, an exhibition of the clothes used to shoot the movies, the authentic Hogwarts Express train and you can even try the Butterbeer in the cafeteria. They’re actually really nice!

How to get to Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios

Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are located just outside of London. In order to get there, you need to get to Watford Junction via London Euston train station and then get the dedicated Harry Potter studios shuttle bus from this station to the Warner Bros Studios.

Another option is to buy tickets to Warner Bros Studios with transfer from London or combine the visit to the Warner Bros Studios with a day trip to Oxford.


Eight   Day trips from London: Visiting Legoland

If you are visiting London with kids then visiting Legoland in Windsor is surely one of the best surprises we can think of. Made with more than 47 million pieces of Lego, it is one of the most famous theme parks for children in the United Kingdom.

How to get to Legoland from London

You can get a train to Eton from Paddington and Waterloo train stations in central London. There is a shuttle bus from both stations, Eton Central and Eton Riverside, to Legoland. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables at the Trainline website.

A good idea is to spend a couple of days in Windsor, one day to see Windsor Castle and explore the city of Windsor, and another day to see Legoland.


Nine   Day trips from London: Warwick Castle

Warwick castle is a well-preserved medieval castle located in Warwickshire, and it’s a perfect family day trip from London as there is a lot of entertainment available for the whole family.

How to get to Warwick Castle from London

There are regular trains from London Paddington to Warwick Station, and from here you’ll need to walk for about 15 minutes. You can buy train tickets in advance and see the timetables  on the Trainline website. Another option is to go on a coach tour to Warwick Castle.

You can buy entrance tickets to Warwick Castle in advance or buy guided tour tickets, see them all here: Visit Warwick Castle.


Ten   More Day trips from London to consider

If you are going to be in London for a few days but want to make the most of your time, you may want to visit one of London’s many beautiful neighbourhoods and places that don’t normally make it to the top 10 London attractions. The best thing about this is that you just need to jump on the tube and you can be where you want in a flash. If you have an oyster card don´t forget that you can use it to travel within London´s transport zones, and if you have a London Travelcard simply make sure you know what travel zones you’ll be visiting.

Some suggestions are:

Richmond

Hampstead

Greenwich

Kingston Upon Thames

Kew Gardens

Hampton Court Palace

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)

Dover Castle and White Cliffs of Dover

Leeds Castle

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