London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s visited by millions of tourists every year. If you plan on spending a few days in London, you can easily sneak out of the city and visit one of many nearby destinations by train. There are plenty of equally worthy destinations just outside the city that will make your London trip filled with more exciting adventures and sightseeing. Check out these 20 easy, epic day trips from London by train.
When it comes to the best day trips from London, Bath is one of the can’t-miss destinations. The journey via train from London to Bath takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes from the London Paddington Station.
As the largest city in Somerset, England, Bath hasn’t changed much since the times of Jane Austen and Ralph Allen. This city in the UK is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman Baths, which date back to AD 43, are the city’s most famous attraction. As you explore the city on foot, you’ll also stumble upon locations and points of interest that might have heard about in Jane Austen’s novels including The Circus and Royal Crescent. At every corner, the impeccable history and heritage of the city is undeniable and hypnotizing.
Cotswolds is another must-visit day trip destination from London that you can access by taking a 3 hour train (it can vary from 2 hours 50 to 3 hours and 30 minutes depending on the type of train service you choose).
Cotswolds is a charming day trip from London famous for its picturesque and fairytale-like villages. This rural area in south central England is unique because it’s the only one in the UK recognized as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). When you visit on a day trip, you’ll marvel at the stately homes built with local yellow limestone, along with the thatched medieval homes, churches, grasslands, and rolling hills.
Visiting Brighton from London via train takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Since Brighton is a popular destination for weekend getaways by Londoners, expect this journey time to be longer on weekends and holidays!
Brighton is a seaside town in East Sussex. This city is stylish, progressive and fun- it’s no wonder it has earned the nickname as the UK’s party capital. It’s known for its quirky shopping areas, a large musical and cultural art scene, and the beautiful seaside towns perfect for weekend relaxation.
Canterbury is another easy day trip from London and it will take you about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get here via train. This is another city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is best known for its historic cathedrals. Since the Middle Ages, Canterbury is a well-known pilgrimage site, too.
If you visit England’s historic cathedral city, there are plenty of things to see and do. First and foremost, of course, you can’t miss a visit to Canterbury Cathedral. This place of worship has been around for more than 1,500 years, making it the oldest in England. Other famed attractions in Canterbury are the Westgate Gardens, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and the Westgate Towers & Museum.
While not as popular as the other few mentioned above, Guildford is a great day trip destination from London. It takes around 1 hour and 8 minutes to reach Guildford from London by train. There are 228 trains that travel in between these cities on a daily basis, so you’ll have no trouble getting on one.
Guildford is a large town that belongs to the county of Surrey in England, and at its heart you’ll find the medieval Guildford Castle that features beautifully landscaped gardens and the prominent square tower. Another must-see attraction in town is the Guildford House, which is a 17th century town home with a rotating exhibition in its gallery. Other can’t-miss attractions include Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and the Loseley Park.
A visit to Richmond on a day trip from London is ideal because it’s only 30 minutes away via train. This is an affluent residential district on the border of the River Thames. One of the most famous attractions in Richmond is the Kew Gardens. This huge arboretum is a must-visit for botanical enthusiasts.
The 17th century Kew Palace is also here in Richmond along with the Richmond Park – a favorite picnic spot among locals. If you are up for some shopping or you want to check out upscale dining options, visit the Quadrant main street. Better yet, you can catch live performances at the Richmond Theatre!
The journey from London to Oxford via train takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes so it’s a great choice for a day trip destination when you are in London – and Oxford is a definite must-visit!
Known as the university town, Oxford is in central southern England. Of course, it’s most known for the prestigious, 12th century Oxford University. There are 38 colleges within the city’s medieval center and each of them is also appreciated for their architectural beauty. Among the top attractions to see in Oxford are the Oxford City Center, Christ Church Cathedral, Christ Church College, Magdalen College, and Radcliffe Square.
Mayfield Lavender Farm
If you need a break from the city, the Mayfield Lavender Farm is a great day trip destination from London. From the Victoria Station in London, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the Mayfield Lavender Farm.
This family-run lavender farm is in Barnstead and is open from June 1 to August 31. It’s the perfect spot to go to if you want to visit a picture-perfect spot filled with exquisite colorful lavender blooms. There’s also a nursery and gift shop on-site that you can check out!
If you plan on visiting Arundel, a market town in Sussex, from London via a day trip, you can take the train and be there in about 1 hour and 30 minutes (or 1 hour and 40 minutes, depending on which station you depart from).
One of the reasons tourists flock to Arundel is that it’s a well-conserved town. It’s home to medieval castles, old Roman Catholic churches, and more. A few highlights to your day trip visit to Arundel should include the 11th century Arundel Castle, the Arundel Cathedral, Arundel Museum, and the Arundel Wetland Centre.
Cambridge is one of the best day trip destinations from London that is easily accessible by train. The journey to get here takes around one hour (50 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes depending on which train station you depart from).
Once in Cambridge, you’ll discover what makes it popular – an idyllic beauty filled with so much history of more than 800 years. This city is also known for having more museums, collections and galleries per square mile than any other city outside of London. The best part is that you can explore most of these spots for free! When in Cambridge, don’t forget to stop by the St John’s Chapel, Fitzwilliam Museum, or Trinity College’s Wren Library. You can also go antique shopping at the Cambs Antique Centre and Hope Street Yard!
A day trip to Mersea Island from London will take longer than most of the other destinations on this list, but best believe it’ll be worth it. A train ride from London to Mersea Island takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Mersea Island is part of Essex and is known as the most easterly inhabited island in the UK. This is a great day trip destination for anyone looking to add a sense of adventure to their day – after all, it takes planning to get here and it’s really worth it. One part of the island is filled with guesthouses, shops, and restaurants and the other is known for its estuary views, jetties, and beaches.
Stratford-upon-Avon is another medieval market town belonging to the West Midlands region of England. It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes of travel via train from London with only 11 trains traveling per day so you should expect a longer journey when you are visiting on a weekend or holiday.
Stratford-upon-Avon is known as the birthplace of 16th century playwright William Shakespeare – probably the most famous literary figure in England so it’s a perfect travel destination for any fan of Shakespeare or literature, in general. There are plenty of cultural, literary, and historical sights to explore in this town including Shakespeare’s Birthplace (his childhood home was turned into a museum), Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Fish & Chip Suppers, Spa Valley Railways
If you are up for a unique experience, then you should hop on board the Spa Valley Railway to try Fish & Chip Suppers. You’ll be able to ride a heritage diesel train as you travel through the High Weald countryside! While on-board the train, you’ll be able to indulge on an English classic – fish & chips! On top of that, you’ll also be able to enjoy all kinds of drinks on the train – from bottled beers, wines, cider, and real ales!
Rye is a town in East Sussex and is often referred to as one of the postcard-perfect towns in the UK. If you want to visit this quaint village from London, you can take the train for an average journey of 1 hour and 30 minutes (including transfers).
Rye is like a labyrinth filled with winding streets, medieval cafes and inns, and quirky shops. For a perfect day, make sure to visit the Rye Nature Reserve or the Camber Sands. For a trip down historical lane, stop by the Rye Castle Museum, Mermaid Street, and Lamb House.
Blenheim Palace is a monumental country house that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This alone makes it a worthy day trip destination from London, which is about 2 hours away by train.
The palace serves as the official residence of the Dukes of Marlborough making it the only non-royal country house to be called a palace. This palace has over 300 years of history and the romantic park that surrounds it’s just as popular as a tourist attraction.
Seven Sisters Cliffs
The Seven Sisters Cliffs is a series of chalk cliffs that are close to the English Channel. It’s part of the South Downs National Park and is a popular day-trip destination from London. It’s quite a journey to get here and it can take up to 5 hours to get here from London via train (including transfers).
The long journey is worth it, though, because the cliffs are startlingly picturesque. They are recognizable for their bright white color, which is due to the abundance of chalk that forms the cliff face. There are also many hiking trails on the cliff and most of them are relatively easy!
Windsor Castle is one of the most iconic buildings in the UK. If you get the chance to visit it on a day trip from London, be sure to take advantage! Getting here via train is relatively easy as there are trains that regularly depart from the Paddington Station. The journey takes an average of 50 minutes (or 1 hour and 20 minutes from Waterloo Station).
This castle serves as a royal residence in Windsor, Berkshire. This castle has had a long association with the English and British royal family, and it’s also noteworthy for its breathtaking architecture. Known as the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been around since the 11th century.
When it comes to the best day trips from London, Stonehenge is one that shouldn’t be missing on your list. This prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Stonehenge consists of a ring of standing stones that are approximately 13 feet high. Although they are believed to have been constructed around 3000 BC., it’s still quite a mystery.
To visit the Stonehenge, you can take the train from London and the journey will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is a train that departs every 30 minutes to Salisbury Station so you’ll get on one quite easily!
Whitstable is a great day trip destination from London for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. This is a charming fishing village that is filled with shingle beaches, colorful houses, and fishermen’s huts. It’s a truly picturesque town and small enough to explore on foot. I’d recommend that you join other tourists and visit the local beachfront restaurants to enjoy the view of the coast while digging into their fish and chips.
Traveling to Whitstable via train from London takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Royal Turnbridge Wells
In western Kent, the Royal Turnbridge Wells is a historic spa town with more than 400 years of history. This town used to be known as one of the most fashionable towns in England and it’s easy to see with the abundance of independent shops that line the High Street. In addition to that, there are many quaint cafes, buzzy bars, and one-of-a-kind shops worth visiting.
To get to Royal Turnbridge Wells from London, you can take the train with an estimate journey time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.