7 Easy Daytrips from London

Posted on 24. Jun, 2010 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, United Kingdom

Daytrips are definitely the greatest way of discovering other areas of the country you’re visiting, if you’re in the capital for a couple of days.

And London is no exception - even though it’s definitely capable of filling every day of your trip, a little bit of exploration doesn’t hurt (most of the time anyway). And since  the train system is so effective and spread out (at least for us Westerners), it’s easy to reach many interesting destinations within a two hour time frame.

All the locations are fairly easy to get to via a number of transport methods - on one hand, trains are quick but can be expensive, and on the other hand, buses are cheap but can take a long time to reach destination, which isn’t ideal for a daytrip.

Where should you go on daytrips from London?


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Daytrips from London

Brighton

daytrips from london

Sunset in Brighton

London by the Sea, it’s called. Easily rechable in one hour from Victoria and London Bridge, Brighton has more to offer than salty air and gays - and offers gorgeous sunsets. The flamboyant Royal Pavilion transports us in India for a little moment, while the Palace Pier takes us to Wonderland and from which you can hum, admire the wreck of West Pier. The area around North Laine is ideal for shopping for pretty much anything. Although Brighton is a seaside city, the beach is kind of rocky so not really ideal for a tanning session (plus its Britain after all, no one actually has the capacity to tan.)

Oxford

Harry Potter frenzy in Oxford

Internationnaly known as ze University City in Great Britain. If you do plan on visiting colleges, make sure you check out the schedule of every college as they all have different opening times.  You can find many green spaces and gourmet cafes to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Check out the great architecture on Cornmarket. Harry Potter fans, your heaven is in Christ Church. Very easy to get to either by train or by coach.

Bath and/or Stonehenge

Early morning at Stonehenge

Many bus tours offer daytrips to both places, but make sure not to choose one that also visits Windsor, otherwise it will be too cramped and unenjoyable. Bath and Stonehenge is doable. Bath is a very interesting place, even for non-history buffs. The architecture is very typical of the Georgian era and is still today in very good condition. And of course, the Roman Baths are quite something. As for Stonehenge, there isn’t much more to say than what’s already known - but still not to be missed.

Liverpool

Strawberry Field in Liverpool

One word: Beatles. I’ve done the Magical Mystery Tour and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. The guide is kind of funny (beware the Liverpudlian accent though) and the bus feels an authentic 60s bus with brown seats, dark orange walls and smells.  The tour visits all the famous sites, from John Lennon’s old house to Penny Lane and Cavern Club. Lasts around an hour and is worth every penny!

York

Historic buildings in York

Reachable in just two hours from King’s Cross, York is said to be the most haunted city in England.  Interesting sights include York Minster (make sure to climb all the way up in the tiny, tiny staircase), York Wall and Bars, the Shambles (check out the quaint architecture) and Betty’s Café (make sure to try the famous York ham sandwiches). If you plan on staying overnight, the late night activity called The Ghost Hunt is really funny and visits York’s most famous ghosts. It’s definitely one of the most popular daytrips from London!

Dover

The white cliffs of Dover

Dover is a great discovery. Do walk the scenic North Downs Way, a trail that follows the famous white cliffs. If you want to see those cliffs from another angle, hop on the Dover-Calais ferry and enjoy the views (prices vary). Another jewel of Dover is its castle, one the most ancient Roman construction of Britain, built 2000 years ago. Known as the “Key to England” because of its military history, it was last used during the WWII (check out the Secret Wartime Tunnels part of the Castle). But don’t spend all your time indoors; get out and smell the fresh air!

Windsor

Windsor Castle

An ideal 40 minutes train ride from Liverpool Station,  a visit to Windsor can easily last a whole day. The castle itself takes a good three hours, while the village and the nearby community of Eton (remember that Bridget Jones’ line about a poker shoved up one’s ass) can last up to a entire afternoon.

Paris

The pyramid of the Louvre Museum

Maybe not the most obvious choice for daytrips from London, it’s actually an easy option. If it’s your first trip to Europe, why not kill two birds with one stone and add Paris to your visit? Thanks to Eurostar, central London and central Paris are now linked by a direct 2.5 hours train ride. Of course, there’s no need to list all the reasons why a daytrip to Paris is a good idea!

Are there cities in there you would leave out? Any you would add? What are your best destinations for daytrips from London?

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7 Responses to “7 Easy Daytrips from London”

  1. violette

    25. Jun, 2010

    Oxford: Wow! All those bicycles and the architecture… a must!

    Bath and Stonehenge: Loved both of them. I would return anytime. For the visit, if you take an audioguide, I would recommand to allow yourself some time if you are the curious kind and want to listen to all the information available.

    Liverpool: Besides all the Beatles references (which are awesome), the city is pretty ordinary in my opinion.

    York: So beautiful! A must too, just for hanging out.

    What about Stratford-upon-Avon? Is it very far from London? It’s really touristic, but it’s so pretty! And the visit of Shakespeare’s house is nice too.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      25. Jun, 2010

      Thanks for your comment!
      I was thinking on doing another daytrip post, but more focused on countryside cities, like Stratford-upon-Avon. Thanks for suggesting it! :)

      I thought Liverpool was pretty boring actually, apart from the Beatles references. It’s the only reason I wanted to go there and I’m glad I didn’t get my hopes too high.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Veronique

    21. Jan, 2011

    Oh! J’ai adoré certains de ces endroits: Oxford, Bath/Stonehenge, Brighton.

    J’aurais beaucoup aimé aller à York. On m’en dit de bonnes choses.

    J’ajouterais à ta liste Winchester! Une découverte et un coup de coeur pour moi. Chaque fois qu’on avait des visiteurs, on les emmenait là. La ville a gagné “best place to live in Britain” à quelques reprises, je crois.

    Si on aime Oxford, Cambridge est super aussi. C’est plus petit, mais tout aussi mignon et historique.

    Enfin, je prêche pour ma paroisse, mais Portsmouth vaut le détour, même si on pense ne pas aimer l’histoire navale. Le vieux Portsmouth et ses musées, ses vieux bateaux, ses pubs, etc. Ça vaut une journée. Et avec Mégatrain, on peut y aller pour 1 poud :-)

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      29. Nov, 2011

      York est effectivement un endroit superbe qui vaut largement le coup - je le recommende à tous !

      Reply to this comment
  3. Amanda

    01. Dec, 2011

    I really think I’m going to need to extend my time in London next summer just so I can take a lot of these day trips!

    I’m definitely already planning a Beatles tour in Liverpool, and a trip to Stonehenge. But now York and Oxford sound wonderful, too!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sherry

    18. Apr, 2014

    I’ve never considered Paris from London - that is a great idea that I will try the next time I’m there.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      18. Apr, 2014

      Definitely! And if you book soon enough, the Eurostar isn’t all that expensive.

      Reply to this comment

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