One of the most common questions I get asked is “what are the best day trips from London?”. I’ve written about the subject before, but today I want to bring you new locations and A Lady in London’s guide to choosing the right day out for your travel style and personal taste.

Day Trips from London

Day Trips from London

Below are 17 day trips that cover a range of geographies and cater to a variety of interests. I’ve visited all of the destinations, and can personally vouch for how good they are. There’s more about day trips in the beautiful book Escape London: Days Out within Easy Reach of London, too. You can get it here.

House in Margate

I’ve also written about day trips in the summer, winter, spring, and autumn, so you can look at those posts if you want recommendations for specific seasons.

1. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle was one of my first day trips from London when I moved to the UK. It was just as magical as I remembered it from a childhood visit, and I loved everything from the decadent interiors to the fascinating history. It’s close to London, too, so makes for a good day trip if you love all things royal and are pressed for time.

Windsor Castle

2. Winchester

I’ve taken several day trips to Winchester over the years, and every time I go I fall more in love with the city’s pretty streets, secret gardens, and bucolic riverside walks. It’s the perfect day trip for history lovers and cathedral fans.

Hospital of St Cross, Winchester

3. Stamford and Burghley House

Friends introduced me to Stamford and Burghley House in Lincolnshire recently. I loved the beautiful streets in Stamford and the rooms and grounds at Burghley House. This is a great day trip if you like stately homes and English towns with rich heritage.

Burghley House

4. Hever Castle

I visited Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, on a day trip to Kent with friends. The castle and moat were stuff of fairytales, and I adored how the expansive gardens were bursting with color. It’s the ideal day trip if you’re a castle fan or garden lover.

Hever Castle

5. Petworth

Down in West Sussex, I went to Petworth with friends for a day last year. From cobbled streets and cozy pubs to the incredible art and gardens at Petworth House, I was thoroughly impressed. Petworth is one of the perfect day trips from London for art lovers and country house enthusiasts.

Garden in Petworth, West Sussex

6. York

York might seem a long way from London, but I discovered how easy it was to take a day trip by train a number of years ago. I was won over by everything from York Minster cathedral to the tiny Snickelway lanes lined with half-timbered facades. York is your ideal destination if you love historic streets.

York, England

7. Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Back in Kent, I discovered the beauty of writer Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden my first year in London. The flower beds and bluebell woods were spectacular, and the backdrop of the castle and oasts rounded out the idyllic scene. Sissinghurst is the perfect outing for garden lovers and literary types.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

8. Margate

I took a day trip to Margate—aka “Shoreditch-on-Sea”—last year and enjoyed soaking up the hipster paradise on the Kentish coast. With an amusement park, vintage shops, a contemporary art gallery, and charming streets, Margate is a great day out for hipsters and seaside lovers alike.

Shop in Margate

9. Birmingham

I discovered Birmingham a few years ago when I took a day trip from London to visit the city’s famous Christmas markets. I’ve been back since and found a city full of creative spaces, beautiful architecture, and amazing museums. This is a great day out if you love exploring cities.

The Old Crown, Birmingham

10. Durham

I fell in love with Durham as soon as I saw its famous cathedral from the train. It took a few more years to visit, but when I did I found a gorgeous university city full of pretty streets and classic English atmosphere. Durham is for you if you love a collegiate environment.

Durham, England

11. Leicester

Leicester surprised me. Perhaps the most underrated city in Britain, I arrived with low expectations and left overwhelmed by the city’s rich history, great cafes, and stunning architecture. From Richard III’s burial site to impressive Victorian buildings and a Roman Wall, Leicester is for you if Shakespeare, history, and unexpected treasures get your heart pumping.

Clock Tower in Leicester

12. Leeds Castle

I’ve visited Leeds Castle twice, and both times I fell for its historic charm, striking moat, and vast grounds. It’s just the place if you love a legendary fortress with a storied past.

Leeds Castle

13. Cheltenham

Out in the Cotswolds, I adored the pretty spa town of Cheltenham as soon as I saw it. Since then I’ve been back several times to explore its colonnaded streets, impressive art gallery, and horse racing. Cheltenham is a great day trip from London if you love Regency buildings, the Arts and Crafts Movement, or the thrill of the races.

Shop in Cheltenham

14. Newcastle

Newcastle is another city I thought was too far to visit in a day. But again the train proved me wrong, and my first visit to the city was a day packed with Victorian streets, stunning bridges, and great art museums. If urban exploration is your idea of a good time, Newcastle is for you.


15. Dover

The iconic white cliffs first drew me to Dover, and I stayed for the castle and its secret World War II tunnels. On subsequent day trips I explored the waterfront and enjoyed views across the English Channel. Dover is a great choice if you like military history and intrigue.


16. Leeds

Leeds was another city that caught me unaware and thoroughly delighted me. I arrived not knowing what to expect, but I quickly became enamored with its Victorian shopping arcades, the interior of its Corn Exchange, and its cool cafes. It’s just the place if you love to shop.

Leeds, England

17. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace wowed me from the moment I arrived. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and an impressive building in its own right, I found the palace and gardens stunning. Easily twinned with a trip to nearby Oxford, this is just the place if you love stately homes and want to see one of Britain’s finest.

Blenheim Palace

I hope this guide has helped you choose the perfect place for your travel style. Happy travels!

Have you taken any exciting day trips from London? What were they?

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Day Trips from London

22 Comments on Lady’s 17 Lovely Day Trips from London

  1. Great selection of places, Julie. It’s hard to pick a favourite there, since they’re all really good. But if I had to, I’d choose Blenheim Palace, Leeds Castle and York. See, it’s so hard that I had to pick three. 🙂

  2. This is a great reference for future trips. And I would think you can use this list and add it to the previous articles you’ve posted regarding day trips from London that include some of the more famous day trips like Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Rye, and Brighton? You mentioned this article was more for trips that aren’t as obvious as the more traditional ones, which makes sense. I would think the average person wouldn’t be aware they could do a day trip to Durham or Newcastle from London! Thanks again!

  3. Hi, just want to say Thank you for this amazing blog about London. It is really a big help for people who wants to explore this amazing city. London is on the top of my travel list and I know it is a hard job to plan A itinerary that includes all of its features. I like your blog style and the image quality, I wonder if you are a photographer :). I did some research on London for my future travel and found some people are talking about HMS Belfast and the Shard, I didn’t find much information about these two places, do you think they are good to be included in a three days trip in London? Thanks again for your work and hope you can keep it up!

  4. Nice list! I would not go to Durham or Leicester with thr kiddies for the day, but very much love the closer gems like Windsor castle & Bleinheim palace.

  5. Love this list! I have to say though that I didn’t know you can actually go to York as a day trip, I’ve been trying to arrange a weekend there but the hotel prices are too expensive. I might as well just do a day tour instead. 🙂

  6. Last time we were in London, my sister & I traveled to Bletchley Park. Anyone interested in WWII history will be fascinated with the museum. I wasn’t feeling well & it was raining so we didn’t explore all the buildings or the grounds but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Love your blog!

  7. I was so happy you included the wonderful town of Leicester! I lived there for over a year while attending the University and discovered so many amazing historical sights and gorgeous green pastures with sheep! So many cultural events and great shopping as well. I loved the restaurants and tea rooms and the friendly people. I went to London frequently by train and bus. Terrific. I’m a California girl too!

  8. Brill post with some great ideas, as usual! I love the look of all the castles, few of which I have been too. Love how you can get to these places quite easily from London.

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