Raise your hand if you love London (and days trips from London by train) so much that it’s kind of like the cake to the pleasantly plump kid that you have deep down inside?
(This chick’s hand shoots straight up)
Girl, or guy, I am SO right there with you. Because I too love London with my whole heart and always down for planning a new and exciting 4 days London itinerary!
That being said though:
England is a mighty big place and is filled with some beyond amazing cities that you might not even know exist, especially if you’re not from the UK!
That’s totally okay since that’s where this handy list of the 25 best day trips from London by train comes in!
Because it details 25 amazing destinations that you can easily visit from London. Some of which aren’t even actually in the UK!
Shocking I know, especially for someone who’s originally from the US, but totally true!
Whether it’s your first time in London or your 25th time in London, I guarenttee that there will be at least one epic locale on here that you still haven’t had the chance to visit.
I encourage you to seize the moment, thorughly read this post, and channel your inner Lewis and Clark (even though we all know that Sacagawea was the REAL hero of that expedition) as you get out there and experience all that the United Kingdom (and beyond) has to offer!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
***Looking for a great place to stay in London? Then check out the Generator Hostel London, Clink78 Hostel, The Z Hotel Victoria (mid-range), Hub by Premier Inn Covent Garden(mid-range), Ambassador’s Bloomsbury (luxury), and CitizenM London Bankside (luxury).***
If you’re short on time (Because let’s be honest, is anyone’s vacation ever really long enough?) then you can definitely squeeze in a day trip to Paris from London. Which is perfect if you have kids and want to travel from London to Disneyland Paris.
You betcha! Especially since a day just isn’t enough time to see all that the city of lights has to offer.
If you’re ready, willing, and able, then it is entirely possible to visit some of Paris’ most iconic attractions in twenty-four hours.
Super snazzy places like the Eiffel Tower, Montmarte and the Louvre (Hey Mona Lisa! I’m literally looking at you!).
Which is why:
A jaunt through Paris is easily one of the most popular day trips from London by train.
If you feel like donning your chicest beret and eating as much fresh brie and baguettes as you can possibly stomach, then, by all means, book your Eurostar Train ticket to Paris now (All Paris bound trains leave from St. Pancras Station and are pretty easy and hassle-free to use).
Because the trip itself will take a little over two hours and will cost around $50 per person, depending on how far in advance you book your tickets (So, if you only book your tickets about two weeks in advance, then round trip tickets will probably cost around $150 per person).
If you’re a bit worried about going it alone or are deathly afraid of running into a herd of ultra-rude Parisians (Not my experience AT ALL btw since I’ve been to Pairs three times and have always met incredibly lovely locals), or are anxious about language barriers and finding your way around a new city, then why not make your life a bit easier and book this unescorted tour?
Not only will you receive your very own map and personal information guide, but a self-guided tour like this gives you the freedom to see things at your own pace.
It’s also a whole easier than booking everything yourself since a tour like this includes roundtrip train tickets, tickets for a riverboat cruise along the Seine, and even a shopping voucher for the one and only, Galeries Lafayette (TREAT YO SELF to a view of the Eiffel Tower from their rooftop bar and a trip to their beyond fabulous food court filled with the most decadent of desserts)!
And with this trip:
You’ll also have a solid ten hours in the city, which is plenty of time to see many of Paris’ major highlights!
***Feeling ultra-luxe today and have some diamonds strategically placed on the soles of your shoes? If so then check out this tour right here, which includes a riverboat cruise, a full guided tour, and a delicious, THREE-COURSE champagne lunch! Yup, you had me at a glass of posh AF, Audrey Hepburn level chic bubbly!***
Cost of the tour: $225 per person
Length of tour: Starts at 6:00 am (6:30 am on Saturdays) and lasts 14 hours.
Meeting Point: St Pancras International, in front of Le Pain Quotidien Coffee Shop
Nearest Tube Station: King’s Cross/St Pancras station.
It’s time to get Lordes level royal up in here!
Because this, Windsor Castle Express tour is probably the best way to see the Queen of England’s home away from home.
In case you’re not in the know (and by, “the know” I mean you haven’t looked this topic up on Google lately), The Queen of England herself actually still stays at Windsor Castle sometimes.
Feel free to stop by and live out all of your Crown-inspired fantasies.
Because who knows:
Maybe you’ll actually bump into her!
Apart from the stunning architecture and unique history of this historic castle, I also LOVE the fact that this tour starts at a very agreeable 1:15 pm (Behold the pure, unadulterated beauty of a sweet, sweet lie in).
And added bonus?
Your ultra-friendly and super helpful Windsor guide will not only provide you with train tickets both to and from Windsor, but he or she will also take you through the beautifully quaint little town here; a place where you can actually walk in the immortal footsteps of the late, great, William Shakespeare.
Because let’s be real:
To stroll or not to stroll … that is REAL the question!
Once you’ve fully drunk in Windsor’s rich history then, DUH, it’s off to the castle, where you can find enough royal lifestyle to fill, well, a palace!
You’ll also get a handy little audio guide that will orient you to various palace highlights like Queen Mary’s dollhouse, multiple Rembrandt paintings scattered throughout the building’s interior, and the amazing St George’s Chapel – the final resting place of many a British monarch, including everyone’s favorite, King Henry VIII (Watch out guys because when you see this place, heads WILL roll).
And after you finally feel like a baller level, royal history buff:
Feel free to either stay in Windsor or make your way back to London since the tour’s flexible train tickets allow you to return to the British capital whenever you like!
Don’t get too carried away by your lust for all things royal because the last train departs around 11:30 pm!
Cost of the tour: $139.22 per person
Length of tour: The tour starts at 1:15 pm and lasts a little over four hours.
Meeting Point: A central London station (TBD at the time of booking).
Not gonna lie:
I was a little bit intimidated when planning this day trip from London by train.
Not because it’s difficult to get to Cambridge or anything.
It had more to due with the fact that I was not-so-slightly intimidated by all the super smarties in the area who attend Trinity College (the library here is beyond epic BTW).
This was some bizarre stereotype I had mistakenly developed that had absolutely no validity to it.
I met some of the nicest people while wandering around Cambridge.
If you’re also weirdly nervous about posh people with big brains who might make you feel dumb, don’t be!
Because I was more than a little paranoid about getting lost (thanks chronic anxiety), I booked a tour.
And I’m so glad that I did because I ended up loving it!
I mean, for one thing:
The tour didn’t start at ridiculous o’clock. Sure, I had to be ready and raring to go by 9:00 am at London Bridge.
It’s all good since this anti-morning person is grateful that she didn’t have to get up at some un-Godly hour like 5:00 am!
And just in case you’re totally unaware:
Cambridge is incredibly pretty and I’m definitely more than a little jealous that I didn’t go to college here!
Because real talk? Trinity college is gorgeous AND is home to an original, Winnie the Pooh manuscript.
How cool is that? Because when you’ve got a city with beauty, culture and copious amounts of nostalgia, what more could you ask for?
How about a great tour guide?
Because Pamela really made my day extra special by sharing some amazing stories about the area and by introducing some truly awe-inspiring places like the Tower of Saint Mary the Great and the River Cam (#scenicAF).
She gave me an awesome vegan lunch rec for Steam and Glory where I had an insanely good pulled jackfruit burger (Not gonna lie, I still have dreams about this burger and some of the best street food in Cambridge too).
If this sounds like your kind of tour, then feel free to book it right HERE, right now, especially since prices for this tour are pretty reasonable and start at $92 per person.
Cost of the tour: $92 per person
Length of tour: It starts at 9:00 am and lasts a full day.
Meeting Point: Bus stop S Outside London Bridge station (near the entrance on Tooley Street).
Nearest Tube Station: London Bridge
Another confession for you.
So, you know how I said that I was intimated by Cambridge?
The same holds true for Oxford since I kind of felt like they were practically identical places.
I know, I know (insert eye roll here).
Please don’t remind me of just how very wrong I was.
To be fair though:
These two places do have A LOT in common since they’re both gorgeous, historic cities that are home to some of the best colleges in THE WORLD.
I personally feel that Oxford is the prettier of the two.
There, I said it! Glad I got that off my chest.
And while you can easily visit Oxford on your own, since it’s one of the many amazing day trips from London by train, I actually went here as part of a combined trip to the Harry Potter Studio.
And since I’m a massive Potterhead:
This was basically like a total dream come true! (PS: In case you missed it, I also wrote an entire post about all of the amazing Harry Potter things to do in London).
Especially since Oxford feels a bit like Hogwarts with its plethora of massive, historic buildings that have an almost magical feel to them.
If you do decide to book this epic tour, or do one of the best self-guided walking tours in the UK, then you’ll start your day in Oxford, where your wonderful guide will show you around this stupidly pretty city and take you on a walking tour past through of the city’s most immortal attractions; places like the Oxford University (PSST…while you’re here you’ll see the cloisters, quadrangles, beautiful cobblestone squares, Bodleian Library, and Radcliffe Camera) the Sheldonian Theatre, and various other universities that you’ll pass along the way.
Once your guided tour is over, you’ll also get a bit of free time to see all that Oxford has to offer.
Don’t go too far! Because you don’t want to miss out on a trip to the Harry Potter Studio! Or be responsible for everyone else having less time there (THE SHAME AND ABJECT HORROR!).
If Harry Potter really isn’t your thing (I promise we can still be friends), then not to worry because you might also enjoy this combined, full-day tour of Oxford AND Cambridge!
Cost of the tour: $145 per person
Length of tour: Start time varies by day (between 8:00 am and 10:00 am), with the tour lasting 12 hours
Meeting Point: Across from the Great Portland Street Tube station, outside the International Student House building.
Nearest Tube Station: Great Portland Street
A visit to Bath is honestly one of the most epic day trips that you can take from London.
Or am I just a massive nerd?
Actually, don’t answer that because we all know it’s true!
In all seriousness though:
I really did love wandering through this ancient city, especially since all of the Georgian and Roman-style monuments here are just so jaw droopingly beautiful.
Okay, sorry. I’ll stop gushing now. However:
One of the coolest things that I learned about Bath is that in this city, anything that is built here needs to be approved and designed to match the architectural style of the area.
And while I don’t actually know if that’s normal for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I still think it’s super interesting.
But wait, time out!
Besides enjoying the city’s ethereal beauty, what else is there to do here?
Well, I’ve got three words for you!
Ancient, Roman, baths (hence the name). And right here in England!
Because even though I know that the UK dates all the way back to Roman times, I just somehow always forget that there are actually Roman baths here!
The city is just beyond gorgeous (Bath Abbey, I’m talking about you) since all the architecture here has to at least look old.
Even though Bath is an easy day trip from London by train, I highly recommend this tour since it includes stops at both Lacock and Avebury.
And trust me, you’ll wanna see Lacock.
Because if you stop and imagine basically any stereotypical, rural, English village, then that’s exactly what Lacock will look like.
And I pinkie promise that while you’re here, you’ll get plenty of time to visit the stunning, Lacock Abbey (where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed), after a leisurely stroll through the village’s quaint thatched roof homes and picturesque alleyways.
You’ll conclude your day with a stop at Avebury, which, as it turns out, is home to the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world (Feel free to use this fun little factoid to help you win Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. You can also share some of your winnings with me if you should feel so inclined).
Genuinely, who knew?!
In truth though, It’s kinda lame and not nearly as impressive as Stonehenge. But, whatever. I still enjoyed this weirdly wonderful circle of stones.
I also loved learning that a place like this actually exists!
Cost of the tour: $65 per person
Length of tour: The tour starts at 9:15 am and lasts all-day
Meeting Point: Meet at Stand 3, Greenline Coach Terminal (behind the Victoria train station).
Nearest Tube Station: Victoria
Because believe it or not:
The Cotswolds are an official UK, Area of Outstanding Beauty since they are full of collections of quaint AF, English country cottages.
As you depart from central London, your tour guide will first take you to Burford, a village that is locally known as “the gateway to the Cotswolds”.
You’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in English village life as you stop for a cuppa (aka a cup of tea) in one of Burford’s cute, local tea rooms or hunt for bargains in some of the area’s charming, antique shops.
You could even check out England’s oldest pharmacy, which is still standing and open for business, even today!
Your tour will continue on towards Bourton-on-the-Water, a place whose name could NOT any more English!
Because quietly nestled along the River Windrush (hence the name I guess):
Bourton-on-the-Water is where you’ll have lunch and where your guide will introduce you to some of the prettiest spots in the entire area (There’s also a cute little miniature model village here that you can check out too).
Once you’re through here your Insta-feed really will be Insta-full!
Cost of the tour: $99 per person
Length of tour: The tour starts at 9:00 am and lasts all-day
Meeting Point: Opposite Earls Court tube station (Warwick Road exit)
Nearest Tube Station: Earls Court
For over 250 years:
Margate has been a premier, beach holiday destination for locals all across the city.
Which is understandable since there is just SO MUCH happening here!
Dare to embark on this day trip from London by train and you’ll find beautiful beaches filled with warm, golden sand that you can happily relax and sunbath on.
Yup, sign me up (unless it’s winter and frigid beyond belief)!
And for an added touch of sophistication in your life, then head to the Turner Contemporary art gallery, where you’ll find a collection of art by the famous English painter, JMW Turner.
If you’ve brought the kids with you to Margate and are a total kid at heart (like this chick right here), then stop by the Dreamland Amusement Park, which has rollercoasters, ice creams, and Victorian-style carousels a plenty!
And for anyone out there who wants to see something a bit more unusual:
Then there’s also the Shell Grotto, a mysterious underground passageway that is covered in more than four MILLION seashells of various designs, shapes, colors, and patterns.
Why is this place so mysterious? Well, the mystery is that no one actually knows how old the Grotto is, or who made it since It was discovered, fully built, in 1835.
Yup, #spooky. And FYI:
Margate is home to not one, but TWO different theaters, The Theatre Royal, which is located on Margate’s Addington Street and is the second oldest theatre in the country, and the Tom Thumb Theatre, which is, fittingly, the second SMALLEST in the country!
With all this beyond awesome sightseeing, you’re probably gonna get more than a little hungry. Am I right?
Then stop by any one of the city’s amazing eateries and enjoy some traditional British fish and chips.
Just make sure to add a dash of salt and vinegar for that authentic, seaside taste!
If you’re a veg like me, then beeline it on over to Margate’s very first, all-vegan restaurant, the Seaside Kitchen and Cake Parlour.
It is your right, nay, your duty to devour one of their beyond mouthwatering burgers and/or waffles.
You could also order both since my perpetually ravenous self would never judge.
Chase it all down with a delicious, chocolate, peanut butter smoothie and you’ll ascend to foodie nirvana in no time!
If you time it right, you’ll also be able to marvel at one of Margate’s picture-perfect sunsets.
Train Station to Depart from: London St Pancras International or London Victoria
Rough Price: Tickets start at $60, round trip, per person. However, prices will be MUCH cheaper if you book your tickets after 10:00 am.
How long to get there: 1.5 – 2 hours
Long considered to be the cultural hub of England:
This pretty little coastal town is brimming over with cute shops, beautiful beaches, historic piers, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
One of the most iconic attractions in the entire city has to be Brighton Pier, which was first opened all the way back in 1899, making it one of the oldest (the oldest is actually in Ryde on the Isle of Wight), and largest (the largest is Southend), piers in the UK.
The Brighton Pier that you see today has actually been rebuilt no less than three times and is currently home to a full-on amusement park!
Pretty cool right? Personally though:
This really isn’t my fave part of Brighton since it’s kind of a tourist trap.
It’s still worth visiting just to see it and soak up a bit of the city’s history.
And If you can:
Head a little further down the beach from the pier and you’ll find the remains of the 1823 Royal Suspension Chain Pier.
It’s literally just stumps of wood in the water, but the history obsessed nerd in me just loves that the remains of this pier are still here.
Do take a stroll down North Laine, where you’ll find a variety of different Bohemian shops, organic vegetarian cafes, colorful street art murals, and some of the best brunches in Brighton.
Definitely one of the areas in Brighton where all the hipsters flock.
Which makes sense since this area is home to a ton of beyond fabulous, local hidden gems!
But the REAL show stopper in Brighton?
None other than The Royal Pavilion, which sits right in the heart of Brighton is basically one GIANT PALACE that was first built in the early 1800s and became the home of the prince regent, George, Prince of Wales (later to become George IV).
This place is opulent AF, has a distinctly middle eastern vibe to it (It basically looks like something straight out of Aladdin. Now if only I could commandeer a genie of my very own), and will leave you feeling beyond royal, even if you just take a walk through the gardens here (Although, you really should book your tickets now and see what all the fuss is about).
And if you really want to get the full-on, royal treatment:
Then venture inside for a cream tea in their gorgeous tea room which, you guessed, overlooks the stunning, royal gardens.
Yeah, Kate Middleton, eat your heart out!
London train Station to Depart from: London Victoria or London Blackfriars
Rough Price: Round trip train tickets to Brighton start at $38 per person
How long to get there: The train trip to Brighton will take about an hour.
I know what you’re thinking.
Kelly (aka Girl with the Passport), you don’t actually drink alcohol!
Why the hell are you going on a gin tour?!
Well, just hear me out!
Because this tour is so much more than just sampling London’s signature beverage.
See, if you join this awesome tour:
Your journey to Winchester will start at 9:15 am, just outside of Victoria train station.
A minibus will then take you and the rest of the group to Winchester.
And once your 90-minute trip is FINALLY over:
You’ll have plenty of time to stretch your legs, wander around town, and check out some of the historic cathedrals and quaint little cafes in the area.
It’s off to Laverstoke Mill, which is the producer of one of the finest gins in the world, Bombay Sapphire.
This stuff is no joke and is as high end as they come. It’s also served to you in a fancy-schmancy blue bottle that you might recognize from a high-end bar or two.
Not into the tasting?
Well, no worries because there’s a huge exhibition here where you can learn all about the gin distilling process.
All of the Victorian buildings here are super cute too.
Pinkies up because I’m now feeling posh beyond belief.
That was my lame attempt at a semi-British joke!
But, I digress.
Anyway, once you’re done touring the distillery, it’s time to head back to your temporary home.
On the way back, you’ll stop for one last refreshment in the quaint riverside town of Runnymede.
And I promise:
No running will be required of you since this tour is a whopping ten hours long, meaning that you’ll arrive back in London early in the evening.
Just in time for dinner!
What are you waiting for? Embrace your inner GINNY Weasley (Sorry, I had to sneak a lame gin pun in there) and book this truly awesome tour now!
Cost of the tour: $70 per person
Length of tour: This tour starts at 9:15 am and gets back to London at 7:15 pm, depending on traffic.
Meeting Point: Meet at Stand 3, Greenline Coach Terminal (behind the Victoria train station)
Nearest Tube Station: Victoria
Three cheers to the home of the Peaky Blinders!
Fortunately though (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective):
Thomas Shelby is not real and the Peaky Blinders no longer actually exist!
I wouldn’t mind running into Cillian Murphy… or several other members of the cast…
Yes, I’ll admit it:
I’ve seen every single episode of Peaky Blinders, which PEAKED (Get it? Peaked? Peaky? I crack myself up!) my interest in the city of Birmingham.
Which is one of the many reasons why I decided to book a train ticket here.
Yeah, I know how crazy that sounds. But hey, don’t judge me.
To be totally honest though:
Everyone really did think I was kind of CRAZY for visiting this English city.
And while it wasn’t my favorite day trip from London by train:
I still got to see some truly unique museums that I absolutely loved, like the Pen Museum and the Coffin Works Museum.
Yeah no, I am 100% not joking!
Now, the pen museum is, surprise, surprise, all about PENS and, well, the steel industry in Birmingham that created them.
Believe it or not, this museum is actually the only museum in the entire UK that is dedicated to the history of pens.
And I swear, it’s super interesting!
And the coffins?
Well, I know it all sounds super morbid but it was actually crazy fascinating.
Especially since the Newman Brothers were a giant institution that actually built coffins for uber-famous Brits like Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother.
Don’t listen to the haters and go see this diamond in the rough for yourself!
London train Station to Depart from: London Euston or London Marylebone
Rough Price: Round trip tickets start at $30 per person.
How long to get there: 1.5 – 2 hours
Not gonna lie:
This day trip requires a bit of an early start.
I promise the early wake-up time will be well worth it since the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury are two of England’s most iconic attractions.
Any residual sleepiness that you may experience will be, quite literally, blown away by the breathtaking views that you’ll encounter at the White Cliffs of Dover.
Because on a clear day:
You’ll be able to see all the across the English Channel and into France.
Depending on how enchanted you are by the White Cliffs, you can either stay and marvel at them for a little longer, or head on over to Dover Castle, where you can explore an assortment of medieval tunnels, an underground hospital, AND even a secret, underground bunker!
It’s also the LARGEST castle in England!
This place is kind of a big deal.
You’ll travel onwards, to historic Canterbury, which was famously written about by one of England’s greatest poets from the Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer!
He’s someone you’ll learn infinitely more about as your guide takes you on a not-so-spontaneous walking tour through Canterbury.
And, just in case you couldn’t already tell:
This tour is extremely active.
Come prepared and be sure to wear an extra comfortable pair of walking shoes!
Once your walking tour has ended, you’ll have a bit of free time to grab some lunch and explore the rest of this picturesque city.
And while I’m not usually a church person:
The Canterbury Cathedral is an absolute must-see since the wonderful archive here contains a wealth of historic books, maps, and manuscripts, some of which date all the way back to the 8th century!
Yes dear reader:
That is what we call bananas level awesome.
Cost of the tour: $79 per person
Length of tour: This tour starts at 7:45 am and will get you back to London by 6:15 pm, depending on traffic.
Meeting Point: Noura restaurant in Victoria
Nearest Tube Station: Victoria Station
You should definitely consider taking a trip to Whitstable if you’re looking to escape the craziness of the city in the summer.
Because generally speaking:
Brits like to holiday in colorful beach huts where they can consume copious amounts of fish and chips and ice cream cones.
Sounds pretty great right?
Well, that’s because it is since this type of London day trip is equal parts idyllic and chill AF.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, which was spent walking along the beach and sunbathing (or burning as the case may be) until my skin rather loudly proclaimed, “no more”!
I definitely already mentioned the ice cream.
Because no joke, it’s literally everywhere. As are fish and chips shops since like with most British seaside towns, the main fare here is, DUH, fish and chips.
In Whitstable specifically, they’re also ALL about the oysters.
If you’re an oyster loving fool, then Whitstable should be at the very top of your day trips from London by train bucket list.
Since I personally don’t eat seafood, I was genuinely more than a little concerned that I wouldn’t find anything to eat.
I should have left all my worries back in London since most eateries here have at least one veggie option on their menu (vegan friendly foods are a little harder to come by).
If you’re one of my many, veggie-loving homies out there, then I highly recommend Farm & Harper, a wonderful local restaurant that has a few veggie AND vegan-friendly entrees for you to enjoy!
Because I’m not gonna lie:
I practically inhaled my roasted cauliflower and lentil dahl and washed it all down with a beyond delicious chai latte.
Also, if you can:
Try and stay for sunset since the view from the beach is absolutely stunning and well worth the wait.
And for all the drinkers out there:
Be sure to stop for a pint at the Old Neptune, which is a traditional English pub that sits right ON the beach (I pinkie promise that it’s infinitely more unique than it sounds).
London train Station to Depart from: London Victoria or London St Pancras
Rough Price: Round trip tickets start at $45 per person.
How long to get there: It should take anywhere between 1 and 2.5 hours to get there.
All of my friends always rave about Bristol.
And now I know why!
Because no joke:
This city is beyond cool and is brimming over with copious amounts of culture at every turn.
I’m not gonna lie, I would have happily moved to Bristol…if only it was easier – and cheaper – to live in the UK (insert a huge sigh of discontentment here).
Since, like me, you probably won’t be able to move to Bristol, then you’ll have to settle for a quick weekend trip.
And if that’s the case:
Then I totally recommend this awesome local tour, which introduces you to some of the amazing street art, myths, and history of the area.
Also, as it turns out:
Bristol has this weirdly wonderful past that is loosely based around equal parts seafaring and engineering culture.
Totally random, right? But also uber-fascinating!
Which is why you should head straight for the SS Great Britain, a piece of nautical history that is considered by many to be one of the most important ships of all time!
The SS Great Britain was actually the first ship of it’s kind to sail across the Atlantic (feel free to be duly impressed).
And added bonus?
Any entrance ticket that you purchase for the SS Great Britain also includes admission to the Being Brunel Museum, a historical institution that celebrates the life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the man who designed the SS Great Britain.
He’s also one of the most revered civil engineers of all time.
I told you Bristol had a crazy cool history.
There are also some super insta-worthy sites here that are definitely worth checking out, like Bristol’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.
And If you happen to be in the city in August:
Then you’ll be able to watch hot air balloons sail through the air during the city’s annual Balloon Fiesta!
But, for truly beyond epic views:
Head to Avon Gorge, grab a drink on the terrace of the White Lion Bar and marvel at the pure awesomeness that lays before you.
Just trust me on this because you will not regret it.
If you’re looking for some slightly more alternative things to do in Bristol, then you can always explore the city’s amazing street art scene.
Because believe it or not:
Banksy himself is actually originally from Bristol.
You’ll be able to see several Banksy originals scattered throughout the city, especially in places like Stokes Croft (This is also where you’ll find some of the best murals in the entire city).
And if you’re looking for something REALLY quirky to do, then you could always visit Vale Street, which is known for being the steepest street in England!
It’s SO steep, that residents actually have to tie their cars to lampposts when it snows!
Yup, it’s total madness and mayhem I tell you!
London train Station to Depart from: London Paddington
Rough Price: Round trip train tickets start at $115 per person
How long to get there: 2.5 hours
One of the best things about embarking on some day trips from London by train is that sometimes, you can actually visit another country!
Yeah, it’s the capital of Wales, which is one of the four countries that makes up the United Kingdom.
Not to worry though because you definitely won’t need your passport to visit.
Cardiff really isn’t all that far away from London.
You can quickly and easily find yourself visiting an entirely different country with its very own language!
And If you’re feeling super brave:
You can even try saying the name of some of Wales’ other cities!
You know, places like:
Anyone? No? Buehler?
Yeah, no way could I ever actually pronounce the name of that city.
What I can tell you is that it will take around three hours to travel between the two capital cities.
And once there:
Your visit will begin with a guided tour, by sightseeing bus, of this fine city.
Because Cardiff has recently undergone some major redevelopment, it has become quite the modern, cosmopolitan city.
As a result:
It now has it’s very own shopping and leisure district, which would rival even some of the snazziest retail areas that you’d find in London.
After your bus tour, you’ll be whisked away to Caerphilly Castle, which is known for having some of the most elaborate water defenses in all of Britain.
And added bonus?
This Welsh Castle also has its very own Leaning Tower – proudly known to be even more lopsided than the one in Pisa!
Because the 4th Marquess of Bute began restoring Caerphilly Castle in the early 20th century, a statue of him now stands here and literally holds up the Leaning Tower!
Aww! Poor guy!
Talk about having the weight of the world on your shoulders!
Cost of the tour: $97 per person
Length of tour: The tour begins at 8:15 am and lasts all day.
Meeting Point: Opposite Earls Court tube station (Warwick Road exit)
Nearest Tube Station: Earls Court
15. St Albans
What I love most about this tour is that is has a bit of a more personalized feel about it, and is perfect for anyone who loves history, nature, and architecture.
If you do decide to book this tour, you’ll first get picked up from your hotel by a private car that will then whisk you away on a scenic, 45-minute drive to St. Albans.
Your expert guide will take you through this idyllic, former Roman city.
What you may not know is that St. Albans was previously known as the city of Verulamium, the second-largest Roman city in England after Londinium (which is now London).
There’s a LOT of history here, including major attractions like ancient Roman ruins, Tudor period buildings, and St. Albans Abbey (AKA the city’s premiere, ancient cathedral).
Yes, my fellow history nerds!
Rise up and rejoice with gladness
But wait, because it gets better!
See, your guide will give you the skinny on all things St. Albans related.
By the time you’re back in London, you’ll be a bonified, St. Albans expert!
Oh, and along the way:
You’ll also have the opportunity to stop for some refreshments (complimentary drinks available) and food so that you don’t turn into a hangry beast of a human.
If you like:
You can even drop by one of the oldest pubs in England for a little pick-me-up (insert a winkie emoji here).
It’s off to the bustling market of St. Albans, for a bit of bargain hunting and souvenir shopping, followed by a visit to the final resting place of one of England’s most famous and important statesmen: Sir Francis Bacon!
I actually got a little tired just typing about all that awesomeness.
But I promise:
This tour really is worth the distinct possibility of needing a nap later in the day.
Cost of the tour: $328 per person
Length of tour: The tour starts at 10:00 am and will drop you off back in London around 4:00 pm.
Meeting Point: Pickup available from your hotel
Nearest Tube Station: The nearest one to your hotel
Yeah, I know:
Doing a trip to Edinburgh from London sounds more than a little MENTAL!
Because when people think day trips from London by train, they usually don’t mean Edinburgh.
The first time I went to Edinburgh, I did this and it was chaotic AF, but also totally amazing.
Because in all seriousness, I just HAD to see Edinburgh.
And when the travel bug takes over, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Especially as she tries to fit as much travel into her minimal amount of vacation time as humanly possible.
Come on, hands up if you can relate! Because I know you can!
If you really want to do this, the key is to book an unescorted tour.
The tour company can do all that annoying stuff, like sort out your train tickets, and will even provide you with a handy, informational guide to the city (which will tell you important things like where to get the best shortbread in the city).
You’ll even receive tickets to Edinburgh Castle, as well as the city’s hop-on hop-off bus, which will make getting around Edinburgh even easier.
Just a great way to quickly and easily see all of Edinburgh’s top attractions.
If you’re looking to get off the well-trodden tourist trail, then you can always substitute any one of the city’s top attractions with one of these amazing, unusual Edinburgh activities instead.
If you do want to do this tour, then you will need to get up stupid early.
You can sleep on the train. So, it’s not quite as awful as it initially seems.
And while this tour is definitely pricey at $265 per person:
Edinburgh is DEFINITELY worth it. Seriously, it’s one of my FAVE cities.
And real talk?
If left to my own devices, I could EASILY spend that much money during a single day in London.
I’ve got plenty of tips on how to save money in Edinburgh to help out, just in case parting with that type of cash makes you want to die a little on the inside.
And if you feel like staying in Edinburgh just a little bit longer:
Then I’ve got you covered with this budget Edinburgh accommodation guide, as well as a 2 day and 4 day Edinburgh itinerary to help you plan the perfect trip to this amazing city (Seriously! Edinburgh is the best!).
Cost of the tour: $265 per person
Length of tour: The tour starts at 6:30 am and you’ll get back to London around 10:30 pm.
Meeting Point: Information booth in Kings Cross Rail Station
Nearest Tube Station: King’s Cross & St Pancras
17. Isle of Wight
Technically speaking, you can’t really get ALL the way to the Isle of Wight by train.
You’d have to take a train to Portsmouth and then hop on the ferry, just downstairs from the station, to the Isle of Wight.
The Isle of Wight isn’t exactly the easiest place to navigate without a car.
I’d HIGHLY recommend booking this tour right now, which will organize everything for you.
I ended up loving the Isle of Wight may more than I thought I would.
And with this tour:
You’ll get transportation to and from the Isle of Wight, as well as a super knowledgable guide.
A special kudos goes out to my beyond patient guide who answered ALL of my clueless queries and even threw a bunch of different fun facts my way!
Did you know that the Isle of Wight is actually the smallest island in the UK? But ONLY at high tide.
The Isle of Wight is actually the only place in the world with a commercial hovercraft!
Yup, I had no idea either!
But, enough with the fun factoids!
Because I know you’re way more curious about what you can actually see and do while you’re here!
You could always visit the popular seaside town of Shanklin, which is full of quirky local shops or explore the mesmerizing natural beauty of Shanklin Chine.
What? You have no idea what a chine is?
Yeah, me either. But as it turns out, there are actually several different definitions (thanks, Webster!) of the word.
The only one that you need to know, as related to the Isle of Wight, is that a chine is a local island word for a landmass (typically a cliff, valley, or gorge) with a stream of water running through it, into the ocean.
The Isle of Wight actually has several different chines on it, most of which are quite old.
So, what’s so special about the Shanklin Chine?
Umm, it’s a beyond beautiful forested area where you can take a stroll through the woods and just enjoy nature!
They have a cute AF tea garden where you can stop and get a cream tea with a scone, clotted cream, and jam (Because I mean really, can you actually have a scone any other way? I think not!).
You’ll also stop at Godshill along the way, a small English village that is brimming over with AMAZING, thatched-roof homes.
I really do get nerd level excited about finding cool AF architecture.
Which is good because:
Godshill’s main attraction is a giant model village.
Wait, that came out wrong…
Because while this is a model village full of miniature thatched roof homes, hot air balloons, and soccer fields, this space is also much bigger than you’d initially think.
I also promise that this attraction is much less lame than it initially sounds.
And, full disclosure:
No way will you able to see all that this enchanting island has to offer in a single day.
And while this place may be more than a little touristy:
It’s still a fun island to explore and provides a much-needed respite from the sometimes chaotic feel of life in London.
Cost of the tour: $131 per person
Length of tour: This tour starts at 7:30 am and lasts all day.
Meeting Point: Bus Stop C Outside Earls Court Underground Station (Warwick Road exit)
Nearest Tube Station: Earl’s Court
18. Battle & Hastings
Not gonna lie:
This is without a doubt one of the best day trips from London by train for anyone out there who is also an unofficial member of my history nerd herd.
Did you know that Battle is actually the site of the Battle of Hastings – even though there is a town nearby called Hastings?
Yup, MIND BLOWN!
So, not surprisingly, I just HAD to visit for myself and see all this historical majesty in person.
And one of these stunning, must-see, historical attractions?
Why, Battle Abbey of course!
Because when I finally did visit this historic, center of worship:
I was totally surprised by just how massive this place really was.
Kind of like a T.A.R.D.I.S., it was beyond huge from the outside, but was even bigger on the inside!
And once you’re finally done exploring this T.A.R.D.I.S. like Abbey:
You can also visit Senlac Hill, the site where the aforementioned battle took place, as well as see two of the area’s museums, both of which are entirely dedicated to the history of Battle!
And while that might not initially seem like a lot:
It is when you consider that Battle is a really small town.
Now that you’ve finished seeing all that there is to see in Battle, hop back on the train, stay on there for 15 minutes, and get off at Hastings.
It’s really easy to get tickets since you can just purchase them at the station.
Do try buying them as in advance as possible since the price goes up significantly at the station.
And once you’re finally in Hastings:
Embrace your inner tourist and ride the local funicular all the way to the top of a nearby cliff, where you can enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the coast.
While I was here I also loved visiting Hasting Castle, The True Crime Museum, and walking along Hasting’s Pier.
London train Station to Depart from: Charring Cross
Rough Price: If you book your tickets in advance, round trip tickets can cost as little as $35 per person.
How long to get there: It will take you about 1.5 hours to get to Battle.
Did you know that Norwich used to be England’s most important city?
Shocking, I know, but totally true!
Because for hundreds of years, Norwich was actually way more important than London! That’s also why you’ll find a ton of amazing things to do in Norwich.
So, obviously, you need to visit! Like, right this minute!
Aside from its historical significance (Because this city does have over a thousand years of history. But really, whose counting?), Norwich is also a small, incredibly walkable city, that has a variety of different things for you to do.
Good things really DO come in small packages!
While you’re in the area, feel free to visit some the city’s many cafes, pubs, and restaurants, as well as a huge covered market in the main square, where you can find all manner of local produce and tasty treats (See, no need to worry about morphing into a HANGRY beast as a result of a distinct lack of foodage).
And just one street over from the market is none other than Norwich Castle – the squarest castle that you ever did see.
There’s also Norwich Cathedral, where you can spend some time wandering through the beautiful gardens, grounds, and covered walkways here.
If churches really aren’t your thing, you can always get your drink on at Adam and Eve pub, which dates all the way back to the 13th century and is the oldest pub in the city.
It’s also literally right across the street from the Cathedral and is the perfect place to enjoy a nice, rational pint of English ale.
And if you want:
You can also head on over to Elm Hill and see where scenes from the 2007 fantasy film Stardust were filmed!
Train Station to Depart from: London Liverpool Street Station
Rough Price: Run trip tickets to Norwich start at $14 per person.
How long to get there: The train trip to Norwich takes about two hours.
Don’t ask me why, but a lot of people don’t seem to visit Coventry!
So much so that most of the Brits I met were actually surprised that I’d even consider a trip here.
I really liked it!
It was actually one of the most chill day trips that I took from London by train.
However, that’s also probably because:
I personally find WWII history super interesting.
It’s no surprise that I enjoyed my time here since there’s a lot of WWII history in Coventry.
Not only was the local cathedral completely destroyed during WWII, but Coventry, as a whole, was actually one of the most bombed cities in all of Europe.
Unlike most of the UK, which opted to rebuild any damaged structures in their original, architectural style (mostly Victorian-era buildings), most of Coventry was rebuilt using 1950s and 1960s era designs.
Which, I’m not gonna lie, is more than a little ugly.
This is also something that makes Coventry incredibly unique.
Per usual, my first stop while I was here was the Old Coventry Cathedral.
And even though the foundation is all that remains from the old church, since the structure was totally cleared out after the bombings of WWII, a new foundation was also built right next door, creating two separate churches that you can easily visit.
And while I’m not always overly impressed by churches and cathedrals:
Coventry’s cathedrals definitely left me in pure awe since the old cathedral is eerily beautiful.
You can even walk around what’s left of the church and climb to the top of the adjoining tower for a lovely, aerial view of the city (If you like history, you can also visit The Blitz Museum, where you can hear personal accounts of the Coventry Blitz!).
Head just next door to see the stunning stained glass that lines the walls of the New Coventry Cathedral.
You are not permitted to leave this city without first visiting the Coventry Transport Museum.
In truth though:
I definitely thought that this museum would be a total snooze fest.
it ended up being one of the highlights of my trip to Coventry, in a low-key, cool AF kind of way.
Did you know that bikes were partially responsible for the development of a more progressive style of women’s dress in the UK?
That’s because women who rode bikes refused to wear the standard clothing of the time since their long skirts and dresses routinely got caught in the spokes of their bicycles.
Over time, it became more socially acceptable for women riding bikes to wear pants.
Which is why this place is equal parts fun and interesting.
Train Station to Depart from: London Euston
Rough Price: Run trip tickets start at $20 per person.
How long to get there: The trip to Coventry will take about one and a half hours.
If you loved Bath, then Chichester is the perfect follow up day trip from London by train.
I was just as surprised by this fact as you probably are right now.
Because in truth:
I’d never even heard of Chichester before someone had mentioned the city to me while I was publicly swooning over the beyond gorgeous beauty of Bath.
But, as it turns out:
Not only is Chichester picturesque AF (if the weather is nice, take a stroll through the city and visit the local cathedral, the idyllic city center, and the local canal), but there are also a whole set of Roman ruins in here too!
So, while you’re here:
You can swing by both the Fishbourne Roman Palace and the Novium Museum.
Nothing here is quite as impressive as anything you’ll see in Bath, but I still had a great day out none the less.
Before we totally move on, let’s talk a bit more about Fishbourne Roman Palace, which is not surprisingly, located in the village of Fishbourne.
To get here, you can either take a leisurely, 45-minute walk from the train station (trust me, if I can do it then you can definitely do it), or you can take the train since the ride is literally, 3 minutes and costs less than $5 (Once here, the Fishbourne Roman Palace is less than a 10-minute walk from Fishbourne Train Station).
As it turns out, The Fishbourne Roman Palace is actually the largest residential Roman building in the UK!
So yeah, it’s pretty big! Plus:
It dates all the way back to 75 AD, which was just 30 years after the Romans first conquered Britain.
And once you’re on-site:
You can take a walk through the beautiful gardens here and enjoy some of the tile mosaics on display here since this palace is home to the largest collection of them in the entire UK.
Some of them have only been partially restored and some are missing quite a few bits, but many are surprisingly intact and are truly stunning to behold.
If you have time and have a special place in your heart for Roman artifacts, then you should definitely swing by The Novium Museum, which sits right inside Chichester proper.
It’s here that you’ll find a HUGE collection of Roman antiquities that are all spread throughout an incredible, three separate floors of the building!
Many of the items here do come from the Fishbourne Roman Palace dig site, but not all of them.
This place really is every history lover’s dream since it shows you exactly what life was like for Romans way back in the day (PSST: There are also some more recent items here that relate to the history of Chichester itself).
Train Station to Depart from: London Victoria
Rough Price: Round trip tickets start at $25 per person.
How long to get there: The trip to Chichester will take about 1.5 hours.
Nestled along the southern coast of England:
Southhampton is a perfect day trip from London by train.
Because not only does this city have ties to many different periods in history, but there are also a wealth of different museums here where you can learn all about this city’s fascinating past.
Southampton is still home to some of the most complete medieval defense walls in the entire country, many of which were built during the 14th century and can still be found throughout more northern and western sections of the city (Hint, hint: Scale some of these walls for excellent views of the city).
Without a doubt, one of the most famous historical artifacts in all of Southhampton is the Supermarine Spitfire airplane, which is known for being one of the most important airplanes of WWII.
Because believe it or not:
This plane was actually first designed and developed in Southhampton, which is why you can learn all about it, and various others, at the local, Sea City Museum.
Southampton is not known for its aerial engineering alone!
Southampton is probably more well known for the fact that the HMS Titanic actually set sail from here, on her maiden (and only) voyage, in 1912.
Yup, THE Titanic sailed from here (minus Kate and Leo of course)!
That’s also why the multimillion-pound SeaCity museum first opened on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s departure and now has a “Titanic Story” exhibit where you can listen to audio recordings from some of the surviving passengers.
If you’re feeling a bit museumed out and kind of want to get outside, then Southampton Common and the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens are the perfect places to do so!
Because with over 500 acres of collective land between them:
These natural areas have enough green space to exhaust even the most energetic of nature-lovers (Think live events, thousands of different plant and tree species, and so much more!)!
Train Station to Depart from: London Waterloo or London Victoria
Rough Price: Prices do vary but round trip tickets start at $37.00 per person.
How long to get there: Typically a train trip to Southampton will take about 1.5 hours.
If you’re looking for one of the many pleasant day trips from London by train that have a bit of a literary twist, then Gloucester is the destination for you.
Because, fun little factoid for you!
Gloucester is almost TWO THOUSAND years old.
And you know what they say?
With great age comes great history. Or something like that.
And much the history here is centered around the royal family since, well, we ARE in Great Britain after all.
It’s not really all that surprising that Gloucester is the final resting place of King Edward II, whose death was marred in controversy since many people believed that was actually murdered.
Henry III was later crowned King here, and at the ripe old age of ten!
As I stated earlier, Gloucester also has some pretty big literary connections to authors like Beatrix Potter.
Known for writing the Peter Rabbit stories:
The inspiration for her character, “The Tailor of Gloucester” actually came for this very city.
There’s actually a museum here that is dedicated to the author and that sits inside the very building that inspired Beatrix Potter to write her stories; a building that was later used as the inspiration for the story’s illustrations.
But, hold onto your hats ladies and gents!
Because the epic literary connections just keep on coming.
Gloucester is a major city in Gloucestershire, which is the exact place where JK Rowling was born.
Yes, THAT JK Rowling.
That’s also probably why Gloucester Cathedral was later used as a real life stand-in for Hogwarts in many of the Harry Potter films!
Get your geeky swerve on and prepare to walk through the hallowed halls of THE most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world!
The cathedral also occasionally offers tours, so feel free to take advantage of this fact and indulge in geekiness of the purest form!
Train Station to Depart from: London Paddington
Rough Price: A round trip ticket will cost around $47 per person.
How long to get there: A direct train to Gloucester will take about 1 hour 45 minutes. But, the journey will take longer if you need to change trains.
Did you grow up wishing that you were alive at the height of Beatle mania?
Yup, you and me both.
That’s why I was super stoked when my friend recommended this awesome tour to me!
“But, what’s actually included?” I hear you rightly wondering.
Well, included with this snazzy little tour are round trip train tickets from London to Liverpool (you can also upgrade to first class), tickets to The Beatle’s Story Museum, entrance to a 2-hour Magical Mystery Tour, and a stop at the Cavern Club, where the Beatles first started.
Not gonna lie:
The music nerd in me totally loved every minute of it!
Seeing places referenced in songs like Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane was more than a little magical (PSST: Both are very REAL places).
I also loved that everything was pre-arranged and that you even get a map (and information guide) to help you navigate the area.
Prior to the start of the Magical Mystery Tour, you will kind of be on your own.
That just means that you’ll have plenty of time to explore Liverpool’s historic docks.
And just in case you have zero idea what to do while you’re there:
Feel free to grab a cappuccino and tasty cake at A Small Fish in a Big Pond, which is a relaxed, dog-friendly cafe that is a hidden gem of sorts.
You MUST track down the bright yellow, Superlambanana statue.
Originally a commentary on the perils of genetic engineering:
This quirky AF statue has become a Liverpool icon that you are absolutely required to see in person.
Cost of the tour: $205 per person
Length of tour: This tour starts at 7:30 am and will get you back to London around 8:30 pm.
Meeting Point: Main ticket office at Euston Station
Nearest Tube Station: Euston Station
Do you love street art?
If so then I have JUST the day trip from London by train for YOU!
And it’s to Sheffield!
Yeah, I know, Sheffield surprised me too with its chic vibe and vibrant culture.
Because no joke:
There is street art everywhere!
If you want specifics, just head over to the Sheffield Hallam University area, where you’ll find tons of murals all around the school and in many of the nearby alleys.
There are also a bunch of super cute cafes here where you can stop for a cuppa!
What, street art ain’t your thing?
If so then no worries because you can always swing by The Sheffield Peace Gardens, after dark, when they’re beautifully lit up.
Be on the look out for a GREEN police box of old!
Because as far as I know:
It’s the only one left in Britain.
But, what makes it so special?
Well, aside from the color, this police box was designed to be used a temporary holding cell.
Criminals were actually locked inside while police officers went to get handcuffs and batons, or whatever else they needed to detain prisoners.
Just in case the weather sucks and you kind of need to head indoors, then you can always visit some of Sheffield’s uber-cool museums, like the National Emergency Services Museum (dedicated to all the brave people who risk their lives to protect others) and the Alfred Denny Museum (which is kind of creepy but in a good way).
Train Station to Depart from: London Paddington
Rough Price: A round trip train ticket to Sheffield with cost around $47 per person.
How long to get there: A direct train here will take around 1 hour 45 minutes. But, the trip will be longer if you need to change trains
So there you have it my travel loving homies! 25 amazing and totally easy day trips from London by train!
Tell me though, did your absolute fave location make the list? If not, let me know in the comments below and I’ll definitely check it out during my next trip to the United Kingdom!
And if you found this post even a little bit helpful, then feel free to pin it now and read it again later!
Come on, you know you want to! I mean, all the cool kids are doing it!