Today I want to bring you my guide to the best half day trips from London. Whatever your interests are, there are a lot of exciting places you can go for part of a day out from the UK capital. I’ve included a map of all the destinations, too.

Half Day Trips from London

Half Day Trips from London

Whether you’re into legendary castles, ancient stone circles, Harry Potter, sunny beaches, or something else, there are lots of great places to visit near London that won’t take up a full day of your time.

Some of them are easy to get to independently by train, while others are better suited to taking a guided day tour. Whatever your preference, you have plenty of choices when it comes to half day trips from London.

I’ve visited all the destinations on my list (many of them more than once), and I can personally vouch for how worthy they are of several hours of your time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Windsor Castle, England

1. Stonehenge Half Day Trip

Stonehenge is one of the most popular half day trips from London. Its mystery and history draw visitors from all over the world to circle the stones and imagine how they got here and why. It’s one of the most magical places in the UK.

You can book tickets in advance to save time when you arrive. Once here, there’s an audio tour to guide you around the site. There are also Neolithic houses, a virtual tour, and exhibitions to bring the place to life.

Driving or traveling by a combination of train and bus to Stonehenge takes a while, so I recommend visiting on a guided tour. I’ve done tours with GetYourGuide and I’ve really enjoyed them. You can see their Stonehenge tours here.


2. Windsor Castle Half Day Trip

A half day trip to Windsor Castle from London is another fun excursion. One of the most famous castles near London, it’s a great place to get into all things royal.

Windsor is close enough to the UK capital that it’s only a 40-minute train ride from Paddington station. You can also get here on a guided tour. You can book one here.

There’s a lot to see on a half day trip to Windsor Castle. Most visitors tour the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel to see the historic and ceremonial highlights. You can get tickets here.

There’s more beyond the fortified walls, too. Windsor and Eton are full of shops, historic buildings, and green spaces. It’s easy to spend an hour or two exploring them after you tour the castle.

Windsor Castle Guards

3. St Albans Half Day Trip

A half day trip to St Albans is another great choice. That’s not least because it’s so close to the UK capital it’s practically next door.

Getting from London to St Albans is quick and inexpensive by train, and services depart frequently from central stations like Blackfriars, Farringdon, and St Pancras. That means you’ll spend little time in transit and have lots of time to explore.

Which is great, because there are plenty of things to do in St Albans. The city is known for its ancient Roman ruins, and you can see a Roman wall and explore Verulamium Park while you’re in town.

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral is worth visiting, too. It’s the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain, and there’s a lot of history inside.

St Albans is also home to a number of street markets and farmers’ markets. Visiting them and browsing the wares is fun, and there are lots of things to buy.

4. Hampton Court Palace Half Day Trip

A half day trip to Hampton Court Palace is next on my list. It’s a short train ride from the city center (or a boat trip from Richmond), leaving you plenty of time to explore the interiors, gardens, and grounds.

Hampton Court Palace

There’s a lot to see at Hampton Court Palace. From the State Apartments and private rooms of William III and Mary II to the gardens, kitchens, and courtyards, there’s plenty to keep you busy. You can book a ticket here.

And that’s to say nothing of the UK’s oldest surviving hedge maze and the centuries-old Great Vine. The latter is the largest grapevine in the world.

If you can time your visit to coincide with the annual Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, you’ll be in for even more of a treat.

Garden at Hampton Court Palace

5. Warner Bros Studio Tour Half Day Trip

The Warner Bros Studio Tour is another of my favorite half day trips from London. This is where the Harry Potter movies were filmed, and you can see all the sets from his world of wizardry here.

From the Gryffindor common room at Hogwarts to Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Diagon Alley, and Dumbledore’s office, visitors can get up close with the highlights and enjoy interactive exhibits.

Located near London, the Warner Bros Studio Tour is easy to get to by a combination of train and shuttle. It’s a 15-20 minute ride from Euston station to Watford Junction, from where regular shuttles make the 15-minute trip to the studio.

You can also take a guided tour from London, which you can book here. It will make it an easier trip since you’ll be with someone the whole way.

Diagon Alley at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London

6. Sevenoaks Half Day Trip

Out in Kent, Sevenoaks is another of the best half day trips from London. The town is close to the UK capital, and it’s a quick and easy train ride away.

Once you’ve arrived, there are plenty of things to do in Sevenoaks. The center is full of historic streets and buildings, and Knole Park is the ideal place for a Sevenoaks walk. Make sure to look out for the famous deer while you go.

The impressive Knole is one of the best stately homes near London and one of the top places to visit in Kent. If you’re a National Trust member, it’s free to enter. If not, you can still pay to tour the rooms or just walk through the historic courtyards.


7. Bray Half Day Trip

Next on my list of the best half day trips from London is Bray. This beautiful village in Berkshire is so close to London you can take the Elizabeth Line (plus a short taxi ride) to get here.

Once in town, there are some exciting things to do in Bray. The village streets are packed with picturesque cottages, and the riverfront scenery on the Thames is beautiful. There are great walks you can do here, too.

But let’s be honest. Most people come here for the food. Bray is known for its Michelin-starred restaurants and pubs.

The Hinds Head, Bray

From The Fat Duck to the Waterside Inn, it has more stars than many major cities. It’s a treat to come here for half a day to see the village and enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants or pubs.

8. Oxford Half Day Trip

A half day trip to Oxford is another fun thing to do while you’re visiting London. Whether you want to see the Harry Potter filming locations, discover Alice in Wonderland’s Oxford, or take in the sights, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

The train ride from the UK capital is around an hour, so you’ll have plenty of time to see the highlights when you arrive.

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

The city center is compact, and strolling around and seeing the historic colleges, famous buildings like the Radcliffe Camera, the Covered Market, and the castle is easy.

If you want some direction, my free self-guided walking tour of Oxford will show you the highlights in half a day. You can also take a guided tour that includes entrance to a famous college. You can book one here.

If you don’t want to walk, punting in Oxford is a popular activity. You can also take a scenic river cruise on a boat. You can book one here.

Oriel College Dining Hall, Oxford University

9. Cambridge Half Day Trip

I couldn’t mention Oxford without mentioning its rival. Taking a half day trip to Cambridge from London is another fun thing to do.

It’s less than an hour by train from the UK capital if you take a fast service. From the station, you can take a bus or taxi into town to save time (it’s a 20-minute walk).

That leaves you with a couple hours to see Cambridge. The center is small, so it’s easy to walk around the colleges, take in the heritage buildings, go punting on the river, or shop in the charming streets.

Mathematical Bridge, Cambridge

My free self-guided walking tour of Cambridge can show you the highlights in a short amount of time, too. You can also take a guided tour that includes entrance to the famous King’s College Chapel. You can book one here.

Add to that beautiful waterfront scenery, rows of stalls in Cambridge market, and great pubs, and there are plenty of things to do in Cambridge that can keep you busy for part of a day.

10. Surrey Half Day Trip

Another of my favorite half day trips from London is Surrey. It’s so close it doesn’t take long to get here, which leaves you plenty of time to explore.

Gate on a Country Walk in Surrey

You have lots of options, too. The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is just south of London, and it has everything from storybook villages to scenic trails. There are great country walks in Surrey, too, including the iconic Box Hill.

The village of Shere is famous for being a filming location for The Holiday, one of my favorite movies set in England. The hills in the surrounding countryside are dotted with adorable sheep as well.

In the summer, there are lavender fields you can visit in Surrey. You can get to them by car or public transport. They make for fun photo opportunities and beautiful half days out when the sun shines.

Lavender Field in Surrey, England

11. Brighton Half Day Trip

When it comes to seaside trips from London, a half day trip to Brighton is hard to beat. The city is less than an hour by train from the UK capital, leaving you with plenty of time to explore when you arrive.

Brighton offers a lot of entertainment for visitors. You can wander through The Lanes and North Laine to shop and take in the city’s famous street art scene, visit the Royal Pavilion and its surrounding gardens, and soak up the sun (if it’s out!).

This is a great beach trip from London in the warmer months. If you love the seaside, you’ll enjoy walking along the shore and out to the famous pier.

Brighton Beach View

12. Epping Forest Half Day Trip

Out east, Epping Forest is another of the best half day trips from London. This ancient woodland on the border of the UK capital is so close to the city you can get here on the tube. Because of this, it’s a quick and easy excursion.

There are lots of things to do in Epping Forest. The main one is walking, and there are great signposted walking routes throughout the wooded areas and surrounding villages.

I’ve written a guide to walking the Oak Trail in Epping Forest. It will take you through the trees and along the deer sanctuary for a peaceful escape from the city.

Epping Forest Oak Trail Path

13. Greenwich Half Day Trip

Some of the easiest half day trips from London are places in the city itself. Greenwich is a prime example. It’s easy to get here by public transport from the city center. You can even take a boat from central London.

There’s plenty to do on a half day trip to Greenwich. The area is full of historic treasures. Everything from the National Maritime Museum to the Queen’s House, Old Royal Naval College, Royal Observatory, and Ranger’s House is here.

Greenwich Park is famous, too. Climbing the hill to take in the stunning views from the top is worthwhile, and seeing the rose garden is a treat in the warmer months.

View from Greenwich Park

Greenwich Market is fun to browse, too. There are great food stalls, not to mention vendors selling all kinds of art, handcrafts, and London souvenirs.

And speaking of shopping, there are independent shops and high street names in Greenwich. When you’re exhausted from retail therapy, the area has fun pubs where you can relax, too.

I’ve published a free self-guided Greenwich walk that will let you explore more of the area and its side streets. It’s ideal if you want to live like a local and see places most visitors miss.

Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

14. Kingston-upon-Thames Half Day Trip

Sandwiched between London and Surrey, Kingston-upon-Thames is another of my top picks for half day trips from London. Like Greenwich, it’s so close to the city center that getting here and back is quick and easy.

There’s a lot to do in Kingston. The Market Place fills with stalls on market days, and it’s fun to drift from one vendor to the next to see what’s on offer.

There’s history to take in while you’re here, too. The facade of the historic Market House, the gilded statue of Queen Anne, the Tudor buildings, and the Market Place have a lot to discover.

Bridge in Kingston-upon-Thames

All Saints Church has a 17th-century marble font attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, and seven Anglo-Saxon kings were said to have been crowned on the 10th-century Coronation Stone.

The Clatterton Bridge is the oldest bridge in Surrey still in use, and it’s perfect for photos. Add to that colorful boats on the Thames and the eye-catching falling phone box sculpture on Old London Road, and there’s a lot to see in Kingston.

15. Lewes Half Day Trip

Lewes is another of my favorite half day trips from London. This town is one of the best places to visit in East Sussex. It’s full of beautiful streets, a historic castle, and independent shops.

Street in Lewes, Sussex, England

Lewes is an hour from London by train, leaving you plenty of time to explore. There are lots of things to do in Lewes, including visiting the priory ruins, seeing the historic houses, and taking in the stunning views from the town’s hills.

There’s even a legendary fortress here. Lewis Castle is a Norman number that was built by supporters of William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings. You can tour it if you want to see it up close.

16. Richmond Half Day Trip

In the same way Greenwich is one of the best half day trips from London in the southeast of the city, Richmond is the perfect place to spend several hours in the southwest.

Boats on the Thames in Richmond

This beautiful area is quick and easy to get to by tube or train from the city center, and there’s a lot to do here. Whether you love waterfront walks, stately homes, shopping, parks, or riverside pubs, there’s something for you in Richmond.

Strolling along the Thames is a highlight of a half day trip to Richmond. There are boats galore, and the scenery is peaceful and beautiful. It’s fun to sit along the banks and watch the world go by, too.

There’s more to see in the streets as well. Historic alleys like Brewers Lane are ripe for exploring. They lead to Richmond Green, which has beautiful houses and pubs to admire, and cricket matches to watch. It’s a Ted Lasso filming location, too.

Richmond Houses, London

There’s also great window shopping along Richmond High Street, and it’s fun to go for a drink at one of the historic pubs in the area.

If you want more direction, my free self-guided Richmond walk will take you around to the highlights of the area, including the famous Richmond Park.

17. Battle Half Day Trip

Battle is another of my top picks for half day trips from London. This town in the High Weald in East Sussex is famous for its abbey, but there are lots of other things to do in Battle that make it worth spending several hours here.

Battle High Street

Battle is famous for being the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, defeated the English army of King Harold here.

His victory kicked off the Norman conquest of England, rendering the battle one of the most important in British history.

The fighting took place in a field in the present-day town of Battle. After his victory, William the Conqueror founded an abbey on the site.

Battle Abbey Sculpture of an Archer

Remnants of both the battle and the abbey remain, and they’re what draw most visitors to the town today.

In addition to walking the battlefield and taking in the abbey ruins, you can discover the high street and side streets and tour the Battle Museum of Local History.

18. Amersham Half Day Trip

A half day trip to Amersham is another great one. Just outside London in Buckinghamshire, Amersham is so close to the UK capital you can reach it on the tube.

Amersham Houses

Amersham is famous for the historic houses and buildings on the high street in Old Amersham. It’s also known for country walks, as it’s located in the Chiltern Hills.

This is a fun place to visit if you want an easy half day trip from London with as little time in transit as possible.

19. Kew Gardens Half Day Trip

Another great half day trip from London is Kew Gardens. Like Amersham, it’s so close to the city center you can take the tube.

Japanese Gateway in Kew Gardens

The royal botanic gardens here are some of the most impressive flower beds and green spaces in Britain. The collection of historic glasshouses transport visitors straight back to Victorian England, too.

There are also plenty of walking paths here, as well as an impressive Treetop Walkway. There’s even a historic royal palace on the grounds.

Map of Half Day Trips from London

As promised, I’ve created an interactive Google map of all the destinations on my list. You can see it here. If you click on the blue pins, you can find my relevant blog posts about each one.

Round Tower at Lewes Priory

Best Half Day Trips from London

I hope this blog post has helped you discover some half day trips from London that appeal to you.

You don’t have to spend an entire day to have a good time discovering somewhere new, and the experiences and memories will last a lifetime.

If you have more time, you can take a look at my blog posts about the best day trips from London. They’ll let you see where you can go if you want to spend a full day out from the city. Happy travels!

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Half Day Trips from London

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