While filling up your itinerary in London is easy, exploring its surrounding towns won’t leave you disappointed.
There’s a whole heap of captivating places to visit just a short hop from London. Visit Oxford to discover one of the world’s oldest universities, and head over to Windsor Castle to dive deep into British history.
Here’s a list of the 7 very best day trips from London that’ll take you to discover some of England’s most beguiling destinations. Have a look below!
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The 7 Best Day Trips From London, England
Oxford might be small, but there is plenty to see and experience in this lovely destination. Located just a 1h30 drive from central London, this history-filled university city is well-loved for harboring top-notch universities, lush green spaces, charming cobblestoned streets, and century-old buildings in every style of English architecture.
An absolute must-visit in Oxford is the prestigious Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. This world-famous institution encompasses 38 colleges, the most famous of which is the Christ Church College, founded in 1546 by King Henry VII. Christ Church is home to a stunning Great Hall (used as a set for several Harry Potter movies), a monumental bell church, the Tom Tower, and a gorgeous cathedral with a large rose window.
After discovering the beauty of Oxford University, allow time for a few hours to visit Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill was in 1874.
Distance From London: 1 hr 33 min
Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument located in southwest England, just a short drive from Salisbury train station.
Known for its outstanding natural beauty, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have been a burial ground and was built over 1,500 years. It consists of an outer ring made up of 100 massive upright stones, each around 13 feet high, seven feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons.
The whole monument, now ruinous, was built to align with the sun on the solstices. Every June 21st, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the northeast part of the horizon, and its first rays shine into the heart of Stonehenge.
Recommended Reads: How To Get To Stonehenge From London and 13 Summer Traditions And Festivals You Need To Know About
Distance from London: ~2h30
Are you seeking to dive deeper into British history? If so, Windsor Castle is definitely worth visiting. Built by William the Conqueror back in the 11th century and is the longest and largest occupied castle in Europe – 40 monarchs called it home throughout the ages!
Located in the town of Windsor on the River Thames, the magnificent home to the British Royal Family is filled with otherworldly treasures. Its lavish 19th-century state apartments are finely decorated with
paintings by Holbein, Van Dyck, and Rubens, while the Grand Reception Room boasts beautiful chandeliers and a large malachite urn, presented to Queen Victoria by Tsar Nicholas I in 1839.
While exploring this dreamy castle, which is home to 1000 years of royal history, you’ll also come across fascinating examples of porcelain, furniture, paintings, armor, silver gilt, and sculpture.
Distance from London: ~1 hour
Cambridge is a small university town with a huge charm. Situated on the River Cam, approximately 55 miles north of London, the city is home to an array of lauded upscale universities that educated notable alumni like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
The city’s highlights include the Queen’s College Cambridge, famous for its medieval and modern architecture and sprawling gardens, and St John’s College, founded in 1511 by the Tudor matriarch Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.
Another bucket-list sight in Cambridge is the distinguished University of Cambridge, which dates back more than 800 years, and it’s the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Many notable alumni, such as Stephen Hawking and Charles III, King of the United Kingdom, have studied there.
Tip: A walking tour with a student guide is a great way of learning everything about Cambridge University.
Other Cambridge must-sees are King’s College, which harbors a stunning chapel decorated with 12 large stained glass windows and a rood screen that was a gift from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn; and the dreamy bridges that cross the River Cam.
Distance from London: ~2h
Named after its natural hot springs, the city of Bath has been a place of relaxation and serenity since Roman times. Nestled in England’s West Country, in the valley of the River Avon, the city is known for its luscious spas, incredible Georgian architecture, sprawling gardens, and precious museums.
Thanks to its cultural and historical significance, Bath is the only city in the UK to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the main attractions in Bath is the Roman Baths. These remarkably preserved remains of a grand Roman bathing complex still flow with natural hot water, and visitors can even drink the hot spa water at the fountain, which contains 43 minerals.
Another well-worth-visiting place in Bath is the Thermae Bath Spa, a historic spa located at a state-of-the-art contemporary building with an open-air rooftop pool and an indoor Minerva Bath.
The Thermae Bath Spa offers show-stopping views of Bath Abbey, a Gothic-style cathedral that boasts an artfully designed ceiling that is considered one of the finest examples of fan vaulting in England.
While wandering around Bath, make sure to stop by the Pulteney Bridge, one of the most photographed spots in the city, and the Royal Crescent, a row of 30 terraced houses designed in the 18th century by famed architect John Wood the Younger.
Distance from London: ~4h
Stratford upon Avon
Bookworms can’t pass up the chance to go on a day trip to Stratford upon Avon. Developed along the banks of the River Avon, this picturesque town is best known for being the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the English language.
Here, make sure to visit the carefully restored Shakespeare’s Birthplace, where the writer was born (the interiors remain unaltered); and Anne Hathaway’s cottage, a twelve-roomed farmhouse where Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, lived as a child. This
the incredibly quaint cottage still contains original features and furnishings and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
If you have some spare time, stop by the Church of the Holy Trinity in which Shakespeare is buried. The writer’s tomb is located in the chancel between the pulpit and the high altar.
Distance from London: ~2h30
In existence since 857, the majestic Leeds Castle is gloriously perched on islands in a lake formed by the River Len. The castle has seen many purposes over the years — it came into the hands of King Edward I in the 13th century, and in the 16th century, Henry VIII used it as a dwelling for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Leeds Castle also served as the private property of six medieval queens — Eleanor, Isabella, Philippa of Hainault (wife of Edward III), Joan of Navarre, Catherine de Valois, and Catherine of Aragon. Not by chance, Leeds Castle is often referred to as the “Castle of Queens, Queen of Castles”.
The castle’s interiors are currently the result of the massive refurbishment throughout the 1920s and 30s for its last private owner, Lady Baillie. Now, the property offers visitors a delightful array of experiences ranging from scenic garden tours to luxury overnight stays in the Manor House.
Distance from London: ~2h
What is a good day trip from London?
The best London day trips are:
- Windsor Castle;
- Stratford upon Avon;
- Leeds Castle.
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