The problem with London is that it’s hard to leave. The city is so big and has so much to offer that it would be easy to spend a lifetime here without feeling done. But there are a lot of great places outside of London, too, and it’s worth getting away sometimes. As such, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to the 15 best day trips from London.

Best Day Trips from London

Best Day Trips from London

The best day trips from London are:
1. Oxford
2. Cambridge
3. Bristol
4. Brighton
5. Stonehenge
6. St Albans
7. Rye
8. Henley-on-Thames
9. The Cotswolds
10. The New Forest
11. Whitstable
12. Canterbury
13. Lincoln
14. Bath
15. Stratford-upon-Avon

You can read more about them in Frommer’s Best Day Trips from London. If you’re in the UK, get it here. If you’re in the US, get it here.

London Day Trips for University Lovers

Oxford
Home of one of the world’s most famous universities, Oxford needs no introduction. The beautiful architecture of the colleges and incredible sense of history mean that there’s a lovely surprise around every cobbled corner. The city also has a lot to offer beyond just the academic highlights, from museums like the Ashmolean to the famous Covered Market and loads of Alice in Wonderland lore.

Oxford
Read more about Oxford.

Cambridge
England’s other famous university town, Cambridge rivals Oxford in both academic achievement and architectural beauty. Don’t tell anyone, but I think Cambridge is a tiny bit more beautiful than Oxford, even if the town is a bit smaller. The chapel at King’s College has the most beautiful fan vaulted ceiling I’ve ever seen, and watching the idyllic punts float along the river makes for a perfect afternoon.

Cambridge
Read more about Cambridge.

London Day Trips for Hip Urbanites

Bristol
I didn’t know anything about Bristol when I moved to London, but I met enough people that raved about their university experience there that I decided to take a trip. I’m glad I did, too. The city has great museums—the M Shed is a great place to get a feel for the people and life of Bristol—a pretty waterfront, and sweet boutiques and shops. The fact that there were red pandas at the zoo when I was there was a huge added bonus—my favorite animal is generally an elusive little critter.

Bristol
Read more about Bristol.

Brighton
Another of the best day trips from London, Brighton is a seaside city with something for everyone. From the expansive beaches and famous pier to the little lanes and grand pavilion, it has kept me entertained on countless trips. I never get tired of the lavish interiors of the 18th century Royal Pavilion or the funky shops in the North Laine area, and I love that the bars and restaurants are always buzzing.

Brighton Pavilion
Read more about Brighton.

London Day Trips for History Lovers

Stonehenge
One of England’s most famous landmarks, Stonehenge can be a controversial day trip. Is it a fascinating Neolithic circle that offers insights into ancient ways of life, or just a boring group of rocks? I’m in the former camp—I find it mesmerizing—and I’ve taken several worthwhile trips to Stonehenge. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, it’s easy to combine it with a trip to Salisbury where there’s more to see and do. Like a cathedral with one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta in it.

Stonehenge
Read more about Stonehenge.

St Albans
One of the easiest day trips from London, St Albans is only a 20-minute train ride away and full of all things Roman. I’m a bit obsessed with the fact that Britain has so much more history than my native California, where we only became a state in 1850. St Albans’ Roman ruins, including a giant section of Roman wall and a Roman theater, fascinate me. Add to that the historic cathedral and colorful markets, and it makes for a great day out.

St Albans
Read more about St Albans.

London Day Trips for Lovers of Lovely Towns

Rye
Rye is my favorite day trip from London, if for no other reason than that its pretty little streets and quiet charm offer the perfect escape from the urban intensity of the capital. The mock Tudor buildings and pretty green squares are great for exploring, and the little details on the houses and shops give it a great sense of place. Its proximity to the coast means there’s always good seafood in Rye, too.

House in Rye
Read more about Rye.

Henley-on-Thames
Famous for its annual rowing regatta, picture pretty Henley-on-Thames is a great day out from the capital. I love going for afternoon tea or a walk along the river, soaking up the green spaces and watching the boats go by. Henley, as locals call it, also has lovely little streets and a market square that I can spend hours exploring.

Boats in Henley on Thames
Read more about Henley-on-Thames.

London Day Trips for Nature Lovers

The Cotswolds
One of the loveliest places in the UK, the Cotswolds are known for their idyllic landscapes and storybook villages. They’re every expat’s vision of Ye Olde England, and they very much live up to the reputation. Rolling hills, spring lambs, and skinny roads with giant hedges on either side give way to thatched roof cottages and mock Tudor high streets. My favorite towns in the Cotswolds are Upper and Lower Slaughter and Bibury, all of which are impossibly pretty and overflowing with charm.

The Cotswolds
Read more about the Cotswolds.

The New Forest
The New Forest in Hampshire is one of my favorite days out from London. When I’m in the mood to immerse myself in nature, there’s no better place to get away than the area’s leafy trails and pastures full of ponies. I love visiting in the autumn when the colors are bright with fall foliage, but long summer afternoons are great, too. When I need a break from rambling through the woods, The Pig is the perfect place to indulge my inner foodie.

New Forest in Autumn
Read more about New Forest.

London Day Trips for Foodies

Whitstable
Over in Kent, Whitstable is my favorite place for seafood in England. The town is famous for its oysters—as the annual oyster festival suggests—and I love sitting by the water on sunny days enjoying giant trays full of them. Whitstable is also full of great little shops and cafes, and it’s worth spending time exploring them after a day on the waterfront.

Whitstable
Read more about Whitstable.

London Day Trips for Cathedral Lovers

Canterbury
Steeped in history, Canterbury is home of one of England’s most famous cathedrals. I could spend hours taking in the Disneyfied stained glass windows and marveling at the sword sculpture dedicated to Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. But there’s more to Canterbury than just the cathedral. The city also has a lot of good shopping and pretty parks, as well as an array of great markets.

Canterbury Cathedral
Read more about Canterbury.

Lincoln
Lincoln wasn’t on my radar screen until an English friend recommended I take a day trip there when I moved to London. When I did, I discovered a beautiful city with rich history. From the stunning cathedral to the historic castle, the 16th century Guildhall to the cobbled streets, I fell in love with Lincoln as soon as I arrived.

Lincoln Cathedral
Read more about Lincoln.

London Day Trips for Literary Types

Bath
I first learned about Bath from Jane Austen novels, and dreamed of visiting the Pump Room like so many of her heroines. But when I finally traveled to Bath for the first time, I realized that the city has a lot more going for it than just Jane Austen. The beautiful buildings feature the famous Bath stone that glows golden in the afternoon sun, and I love visiting the Royal Crescent just before sunset. Bath also has ample shopping and dining options, and the awe-inspiring Roman baths that gave the city its name.

Royal Crescent in Bath
Read more about Bath.

Stratford-upon-Avon
The birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is still known for its links to The Bard. With some of the most famous theaters in the country there and Shakespeare’s house open to visitors, it’s the perfect place to learn about the life of one of the world’s great playwrights and watch his works performed on stage.

Stratford upon Avon
Read more about Stratford-upon-Avon.

How about you? What do you think are the best day trips from London?

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Best Day Trips from London

79 Comments on Lady’s 15 Best Day Trips from London

  1. Henar
    April 14, 2015 at 8:52 am (2 years ago)

    Brighton is specially nice around summer, and so lively. Loved it on my day trip from London. Superb for a day off from busy London life!
    Same goes for Canterbury…there I’d recommend walking around the cathedral’s cloister, sometimes you get lucky and get a private hearing at the amazing Choir!

    Wonderful post, beautiful photographs, and great tips (I’d not have thought of some of these!) 🙂 thanks a lot for sharing (both on here and over the weekend at the Hive!) Inspiring!

    Henar

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks! Those are great tips for Canterbury!

      Reply
  2. Bronwyn
    April 14, 2015 at 10:49 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve done several of these day trips while of vacation in London. Next on my list is Rye and Brighton. My faves in the past have been Salisbury and St. Albans. I love a pretty town with lots of historical significance!

    Reply
  3. The slow pace
    April 14, 2015 at 11:51 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Julie! It was lovely meeting you at The Hive! 🙂 I didn’t know you can visit the Cotswolds as a day trip from London! We will be visiting London next month and we were thinking about escaping somewhere in the nearby… maybe we give Rye a try, since it’s your favorite day trip!
    xx,
    E.

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm (2 years ago)

      It was great meeting you, too! I hope you enjoy your day trips!

      Reply
  4. Eden
    April 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Great ideas, I might be heading to London this fall so I definitely want to do some of these side trips too 🙂

    Reply
  5. Ed Rex
    April 14, 2015 at 12:54 pm (2 years ago)

    I would pick Cambridge and Stonehenge. Not even been to them yet!

    Reply
  6. Susan
    April 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Fabulous photos!! Makes me what to get outside and see more of this gorgeous country I live in! Thanks!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks! Glad you found inspiration in it!

      Reply
  7. Cristina
    April 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm (2 years ago)

    The Royal Pavilion is such a beautiful building! I also loved the decorations inside, it’s spectacular!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 14, 2015 at 7:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Yeah, it’s amazing. I love the interiors!

      Reply
  8. Robert Ailman
    April 14, 2015 at 8:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Been reading a wonderful book that spins off this great idea of “day trips” – titled “Prospects of England” by Adam Nicolson and Peter Morter. subtitled “2000 years seen thru 12 English towns”..,the story of Chipping Campden, for example, in the Cotswolds, talks about the unique stone used to construct the High St city core buildings – oolite..,cider-colored limestone..,beautiful pics, again, Julie..,thanks!

    Reply
  9. Brenna
    April 14, 2015 at 10:34 pm (2 years ago)

    You must have read my mind… I’ve just been researching the best day trips from London because one of my goals this summer is to see a lot more of the UK! Love this, thank you for posting it!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 15, 2015 at 7:49 am (2 years ago)

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy exploring!

      Reply
  10. gemmajaneadventures
    April 15, 2015 at 5:33 am (2 years ago)

    Hi,

    That’s certainly a pretty diverse list of places! I’m from the UK but still haven’t been to Stonehenge, shame on me, although I recently discovered and visited a copy in New Zealand, which seemed bizarre but was really interesting!
    If you love history how about visiting Warwick? It’s a beautiful old city, with cobbled Tudor streets, and the Castle is awesome! It’s about an hour away from where I grew up, and it often has events on during school holidays, which make it even more interesting, I’ve been to a few awesome snow fairs there on Boxing Day, but I know they have things all year round. Really, there’s a lot of cool places around the UK, i’m glad I’ve visited quite a lot of them, but there’s still lots more I want to go to when I finally return home!

    All the best,

    Gemma

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 15, 2015 at 7:50 am (2 years ago)

      I’ve been to Warwick Castle, but not the town. I’ll have to go back!

      Reply
  11. Corinne
    April 15, 2015 at 7:25 am (2 years ago)

    Julie, I’ve bookmarked this page for my summer trip with my daughter…can’t wait!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 15, 2015 at 7:50 am (2 years ago)

      That’s great! I hope you two have a good time!

      Reply
  12. Stephanie
    April 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm (2 years ago)

    Brighton is truly a great place to visit,.. especially love Brighton Pier when the lights are on and the sun is setting – beautiful
    Next stop Stratford-upon-Avon 🙂

    Reply
  13. Tamsin @ A Certain Adventure
    April 16, 2015 at 11:46 am (2 years ago)

    Woohoo, Cambridge certainly just pips Oxford to the post on beauty (not that I’m biased or anything :P) Definitely going to be adding a few of these to my day trip list – I’d love to go to Whitstable later this summer and I must go to Bristol zoo for the red pandas! x

    Reply
  14. Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun
    April 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm (2 years ago)

    In another lifetime I briefly toyed with the idea of moving to London and now I kind of regret that it never happened. I’d love to explore all of these places!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Yeah, there’s a lot to keep a person busy here!

      Reply
  15. Maja
    April 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Awesome post! And blog. Thank you thank you thank you. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Fabio Joseph
    April 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm (2 years ago)

    You have gathered a good set of collection of nearby places. It’s very useful when sometime you just want to go away from city but that too a nearby place which you can cover in just weekends. Thanks for your information.

    Reply
  17. Stacey
    April 25, 2015 at 9:47 am (2 years ago)

    I booked a short trip to Bath after reading this post quite late at night – can’t wait to go!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy it, and I’m glad you found inspiration on my blog!

      Reply
  18. Anna
    May 4, 2015 at 4:57 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve been to Bath and Oxford on past trips to the UK. I absolutely loved Bath – it’s such a trip back in time, such a quintessentially British place. I think next time I’d hit up Brighton, bc that pavilion looks like something that has to be seen to be believed, and Cotswolds, because it’s just a perfect combo of lovely nature and cute villages and towns.

    Reply
  19. J.R. Duren
    May 25, 2015 at 9:06 am (2 years ago)

    I ended up here via the shout-out you got from Lonely Planet. I’m not disappointed! All of the places on the list look lovely…I think if I had to choose between them, I’d head to The Cotswolds, Oxford and Cambridge.

    Reply
  20. M Parker
    May 30, 2015 at 4:59 am (2 years ago)

    Really beautiful photographs! The resolution and colors are brilliant. I enjoyed your post.

    Reply
  21. K
    September 4, 2015 at 6:12 am (2 years ago)

    Nice post & thanks for the great tips!
    I’m visiting the UK in Oct. Wanted to visit Brighton but was told it’d be too windy there. Is Cotwolds / Cardiff good to visit in Oct in your opinion? 🙂

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      September 4, 2015 at 8:07 am (2 years ago)

      Glad you like the post! The weather is always unpredictable, so I recommend going where you want to go and dressing in layers!

      Reply
  22. Angoo
    October 5, 2015 at 10:49 am (2 years ago)

    Many thanks for taking the time to write and share. We are in Central London right now. We will be using your invaluable list for our day visits.

    By the way, London is super! We love this beautiful and international city loaded with history and landmarks.

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      October 5, 2015 at 12:33 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m glad you’re enjoying London and that you’ve found the blog helpful!

      Reply
  23. Tillie Adelson
    October 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this guide. I was just in London a few weeks ago and didn’t get to take any trips out of the city but I’m hoping to get back there soon and certainly want to explore some of these towns. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      October 20, 2015 at 2:05 am (2 years ago)

      You’re welcome! I hope you get to explore some of them on your next visit!

      Reply
  24. Amber
    October 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Great overview of places to visit! For a 2 day trip early December would you go to Rye, Henley-on-Thames or the Cotswolds?

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      October 28, 2015 at 6:08 am (2 years ago)

      All three are great, so you can’t go wrong. Just remember to dress warmly!

      Reply
  25. Eileen
    November 1, 2015 at 1:37 pm (2 years ago)

    These all look great. What would be your pick for day trip with 2 young kids (8 and 4). I figure Stone Hedge is out. We are travelling to London in April.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      November 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm (2 years ago)

      They’re all great! If you want more detail about which would be best for you, please take a look at my Travel Planning Services page.

      Reply
  26. Matt
    November 13, 2015 at 4:46 am (2 years ago)

    Fantastic Blog! I get to come to London for 2 weeks this winter (right after Christmas). Which of these would you say are best to visit even though it is winter?

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      November 14, 2015 at 7:49 am (2 years ago)

      They’re all fine to visit in winter, it’s just a matter of dressing for the weather!

      Reply
  27. Kasey
    November 13, 2015 at 5:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey there. You recently came to talk to my class and so when I was researching the best places to go on day trips from London, and your name popped up I had to click it. I have a free day in a few weeks and definitely want to take a trip outside of London for the day. I’ve been to a lot of the places that you mentioned in this post in the past 2 months: Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Stonehenge, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon. So I was wondering if you had a suggestion for my next place? Which was your favorite apart from those I have already been to? Or if you’ve been to a new place since this article was published…maybe somewhere new? I think it’s important while studying abroad to see as much of England as possible. Thank you!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      November 14, 2015 at 7:51 am (2 years ago)

      A lot depends on what you’re interested in, but Bristol might be a good choice. There’s a lot to do and see there for a range of interests.

      Reply
  28. Mimi
    December 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! I came across your blog and this post while Googling “best day trips from London”. I love your blog and photos! I lived in Cambridge for over a year in 2012 and totally agreed with your view that Cambridge is a bit more beautiful than Oxford! I admit, I am a little biased :). I am visiting London in mid January. What are your recommendations for scenic day trip from London in the winter?

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      December 9, 2015 at 10:12 am (2 years ago)

      That’s great! Cambridge is lovely. All of the trips are fine in January. Just dress warmly!

      Reply
      • Mimi
        December 14, 2015 at 9:40 pm (2 years ago)

        Thank you!

        Reply
  29. Allison
    January 11, 2016 at 11:26 am (2 years ago)

    Hey! So happy to come across your blog – I am a southern california girl who is spending the next three months in London on a relocation for my husbands career (I’m also 6 months pregnant and looking for good ways to fill my last few days of alone time 🙂
    Of the above do you have any more specific shout outs for winter visits (Jan through March)? I see your most recent comment above that all are great in winter, but just thought I would ask again if you had to pick 3 or 4 that still deliver on charm and substance while cold and trees are bare… Thanks again! Excited to read more!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      January 12, 2016 at 3:12 am (2 years ago)

      How exciting for you! I think they’re all great in winter, and I’ve done a lot of them in the colder months. Just make sure to dress in layers!

      Reply
  30. Caitlin
    February 5, 2016 at 12:43 am (2 years ago)

    Such a great lost and beautiful pictures! I’m planning a trip to London next year and was searching for some day trips outside of the city when I found your post through Pinterest, it definitely helped me to choose a few places to see!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      February 5, 2016 at 9:25 am (2 years ago)

      I’m glad to hear it! I hope you have a great time here, and that you enjoy any day trips you take!

      Reply
  31. Coleen
    February 20, 2016 at 5:07 pm (1 year ago)

    Are all of day trips listed accessible by train?

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      February 21, 2016 at 11:49 am (1 year ago)

      Yes, I did them all by train. Sometimes you’ll need to take a bus or taxi from the station to your final destination.

      Reply
  32. Marion Bregman
    April 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm (1 year ago)

    We are visiting England in mid-May and would like to spend 5 days in the country side or small villages or towns. We have been to the Cotswolds, new Forest and Lake District – loved all- but are looking for other destinations. Devon or Bath? And, in Devon, where would you suggest?

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      April 11, 2016 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

      Great ideas! I’ve written about Devon and Bath before, so feel free to take a look at my posts about those places. If you need further assistance, please visit my Travel Planning Services page and get in touch.

      Reply
  33. Heather - New Zealand
    April 19, 2016 at 10:49 am (1 year ago)

    This is an excellent post – we will be in London in June and July – great list that we will work our way through.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  34. Charlotte
    August 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi
    I love taking day trips from London. I’d really recommend taking the high-speed from St Pancras to Deal via Folkestone and Dover. Deal is a cute seaside town with nice backstreets but the best bit is the train between Folkestone and Dover which goes right by the sea, with the chalk cliffs on the other side. On a sunny day it’s awesome!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      August 6, 2016 at 8:36 am (1 year ago)

      That sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation!

      Reply
  35. Adriana
    September 4, 2016 at 8:03 am (12 months ago)

    Thank you for your recommendations. Based on it, I visited Henley-on-Thames and had a lovely time 🙂

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      September 4, 2016 at 9:38 am (12 months ago)

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  36. Adelina Radu
    September 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm (11 months ago)

    good article, your Cotswolds suggestion was really helpful. I’m trying to find places to see during weekends without spending hours on the road 🙁

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      September 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm (11 months ago)

      That’s great! I’m glad to hear it. I hope you enjoy visiting. It’s a lovely part of the UK.

      Reply
  37. Jennifer Blevans
    September 27, 2016 at 9:45 pm (11 months ago)

    Your article is so well written and helpful. My husband and I are going to London this Christmas for a week (12/21-12/28). We were last there in 1989, so everything will definitely be new again! We are now thinking of extending our stay through New Year’s Day and would love to take 1 or 2 day trips. This is not the perfect time, weatherwise! Any suggestions, obviously towns on the coast might not be the best. Thank you!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      September 28, 2016 at 6:51 am (11 months ago)

      Sounds like a great trip! I recommend checking opening hours since you’ll be traveling around the bank holidays. Other than that, choose whichever day trips sound best to you.

      Reply
  38. Fiona Mai
    December 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm (8 months ago)

    Thank you for such a comprehensive list! I’m travelling to London for the first time next weekend. With one free day I now have various options to choose for my day trip from London.

    Reply
  39. Rachel
    July 21, 2017 at 10:20 am (4 weeks ago)

    Great ideas for day trips from London. It’s great if you can just hop on a train and be in a totally different city for the day! I have lived in Brighton and Canterbury so can recommend those places and there’s tonnes of cool stuff to do in each. I love Whitstable – lush beaches and nice little shops. I guess other coastal places would be Hastings and Camber Sands – both quite touristy and popular but that’s not unlike the others listed!

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      July 21, 2017 at 10:45 am (4 weeks ago)

      Thanks for the recommendations! I love Camber Sands, too.

      Reply

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