With so many excellent transport connections, the best day trips from London are only a hop, skip and a jump away. If during your stay in the UK when you visit London, you find yourself itching to get away from the big city for a little break, the UK has lots of places to choose from. Thanks to the fast and regular railway network, it’s easy to take the best day trips from London by train!
From the British coastline to its historical ruins, university towns and mountain regions, there’s a huge variety of things that you can consider among your options for the best day trips from London. The country has a lot to offer any traveller. South of London you’ll find many little coastal towns – the quaint and the quirky. Sample some fresh oysters caught that morning, or shop at one of the many local boutique stores. The coastal towns also offer lovely walks along the water, a perfect way to spend a sunny day outside of London.
West of the capital, you’ll find that the best day trips from London are to villages and sites of interest that are richly filled with historical significance. From the ancient Stonehenge site to magnificent towns like Bath, there’s a lot to see and do in this region. Famous university cities like Oxford and Cambridge are also very well known for their beauty, range of activities and proximity to London, and can certainly be counted among the best day trips from London too.
So if you have a day to spare, be sure to try one or two among our compiled list below that features the best day trips from London.
Top tips for best day trips from London
Chances are that if the sun’s out and the birds are chirping, you won’t be the only one looking to capitalise on the chance for some of the best day trips from London. I’m sure that there will be lots of people who want to go exploring for the day. Plus, if you only have a day to explore a new town or city, you want to make the most of it. Catch one of the early trains to beat the crowds and get the most out of your day. Don’t worry too much about peak hour during the week – most of the traffic is for those coming into London, rather than leaving it. Read more for London public transportation tips.
Go by train
Regional trains in the UK are (mostly) hassle-free, fast and reliable. Getting a train is much easier and more relaxing than driving anywhere for the day. Catch a train and avoid any traffic and parking issues. Plus, you can enjoy a drink at the local pub without worrying about who’ll be driving you home!
Be prepared for all weather conditions
London is well known for its temperamental weather, but the UK as a whole is even worse for it. Just because the sun is shining when you leave the house, doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way for long. Wear layers and always bring an umbrella. Coastal towns can get especially windy, so take something warm just in case. If you’re heading into the countryside, consider a pair of wellies to keep your feet dry!
Best day trips from London: Brighton
What is there to see in Brighton
If you head about an hour south of London you’ll find the popular coastal town of Brighton, which is definitely in on the list of the best day trips from London. This is one of the best day trips outside of London, and one of the most popular too. Locals and tourists alike flock to Brighton’s shores in the warmer months. Here you’ll find the famous pier on the water, quirky markets selling homemade gifts and antiques, and some really amazing restaurants. If the sun is out, pack a towel so you can spend some time by the pebble beach. Those brave enough can even go for a swim – but be warned, the water is always chilly!
What to eat in Brighton
With a focus on locally sourced produce, this trendy café/restaurant falls to the top of the must-try list. They have some of the best coffee and brunch in Brighton!
Terre a Terre
Its creative menu and outdoor terrace makes this vegetarian restaurant a favourite with the locals. Even non-vegetarians swear by Terre a Terre’s food!
Redroaster café by day, Pike & Pine restaurant by night. Known for their specialty coffee and wonderful brunch menu, this former post office becomes a contemporary restaurant in the evenings.
Recommended activity in Brighton
Sailing Sunset Cruise from Brighton
This 2-hour sunset sailing cruise is a wonderful way to experience the seaside town of Brighton. Learn the basics of sailing and enjoy a glass of wine while you watch the sun go down.
Brighton Palace Pier
At the end of Brighton’s famous pier you’ll find an amusement park. It’s free to enter and particular makes Brighton a contender for one of the best day trips from London if you have a young family with you.
Best day trips from London: Bath
What is there to see in Bath
Bath is found to the east of London, in the rolling countryside of southwest England. Despite being over 115 miles away, it’s just over 2 hours by train from London. Bath makes for one of the best day trips from London if you’re interested in seeing a little more history and culture. This beautiful, historic town is a wonderful place to spend the day simply strolling the streets and taking in the Bath stone and Georgian architecture. Relax in the natural thermal hot springs spa (the only one in Britain), visit the stunning Bath Abbey and explore some of the finest independent shops in Britain.
What to eat in Bath
If you’re looking for a meal with a view, the Riverside Café looks right over the weir section of the River Avon. Enjoy a hot drink or a bite to eat.
Peking Restaurant is Bath’s oldest Chinese restaurant. You’ll find a variety of Chinese regional cuisines: Cantonese, Sichuan and Peking dishes are all on the menu.
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen
A must for vegans, vegetarians, and organic food lovers. Acorn’s ingredients are all seasonal and locally sourced, served from an excellent and creative menu.
Recommended activity in Bath
Thermae Bath Spa
Your chance to bathe in the only naturally hot, mineral-rich waters in the UK. Thermae Bath Spa is a mix of the historic spa and a new, contemporary building opened in 2006.
25-Minute Bath River Cruise Including Pulteney Weir
See the historic city of Bath from the river on this short, 25 minute cruise. You’ll sail past Bath’s UNESCO-listed monuments and pass Bath’s biggest landmarks.
Best day trips from London: Cambridge
What is there to see in Cambridge
To the north of London you’ll find Cambridge, a famous university town. Cambridge is an excellent choice as one of the best day trips from London as it’s only 45 minutes by train. While the town is best known for its world-renowned University of Cambridge, there are plenty of other attractions to see. Cambridge has a wide selection of galleries, excellent cycling paths, lots of cosy pubs and restaurants and a river to go punting on!
What to eat in Cambridge
Varsity is Cambridge’s oldest restaurant, which has a fresh take on the classic bistro. Its excellent location finds it right in the heart of the city.
Cotto is one of Cambridge’s top restaurants. They offer a fine dining, fixed 3-course menu with a focus on hand crafted food made from natural ingredients.
The Mill Pub
This cosy pub is a favourite hang out for locals. It offers a wide selection of beers on tap alongside classic British pub classics with a twist. They’re even vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friendly!
Recommended activity in Cambridge
Punting Tour in Cambridge
This 45-minute punting tour will allow you to discover the River Cam and see Cambridge’s sights from the water. This authentic Cambridge experience is not to be missed! Blankets, cushions and umbrellas provided.
Walking Tour of Cambridge University
This 1.5-hour walking tour will give you access to one of the world’s most famous universities. Your guide is a Cambridge University student themselves and will show you around campus to see the halls where past students like Sir Isaac Netwon and John Harvard once walked.