Top 9 Day Trips From London And Why They’re Worth It

While there’s plenty to do in London, after you’re ridden the London Eye, toured the Tower of London, and explored all the museums you can handle, you might want to take a day trip. 

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What are the best destinations for a day trip outside London?

If you’re looking to get out of London for the day, there are a lot of fantastic excursions to enjoy just outside of the city. Check out one of these spots the next time you’re looking for the best day trips around London:

  • Stonehenge
  • Avebury
  • Salisbury
  • The Cotswolds
  • Windsor Castle
  • Brighton
  • New Forest National Park
  • Bath
  • Dover

Whether by car, train, or other public transport, there are a long list of enticing options that can be reached within just a couple of hours.


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Stonehenge is less than a two-hour drive from London, and there are many tours that will pick you up right from your hotel. 

The ancient stone circle with its massive standing stones believed to have been constructed over several phases between 3000 and 2200 BC is impressive from afar, but for the most rewarding experience, take Lion Tours’ Special Access tour.

These excursions are led by a passionate archaeologist who will put its story into perspective while allowing you to walk the landscape filled with burial grounds before standing inside the inner circle to contemplate one of the greatest mysteries of all time. 


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If the Special Access tour isn’t available while you’re in London, consider visiting Avebury which some say rivals Stonehenge, providing a different kind of experience where you can walk through the stones and touch them at your whim to see if you can feel their purported magnetic energy. 

Believed to have been built around the same time as Stonehenge, there’s as much mystery surrounding it as its more well-known counterpart that lies about 25 miles to the south. It looks like a huge circular bank and encloses a 281-acre area with an inner circle of standing stones that envelop two more stone circles.


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It’s easy to complement your Stonehenge or Avebury tour with a visit to Salisbury, home to the Salisbury Museum which holds one of the most extensive collections that relate to the stone circles and Old Sarum. That includes the Amesbury Archer skeleton and grave goods that are believed to date from 2300 BC.

There are many other fascinating exhibits here, including a costume gallery that includes dress from the mid-18th-century onwards. 

Salisbury Cathedral is a must-visit, stunning from the outside with the tallest tower in London, soaring over 400 feet. It also includes the oldest working mechanical clock in the world, which dates all the way to 1386. 

One of the top attractions here are the Magna Carta documents, a historic agreement between King John and his barons that have been influencing law in England since the early 13th century. Visitors can view the most well-preserved of the four that have managed to survive the test of time. 

The Cotswolds

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Less than two hours from London, a scenic drive through The Cotswolds region feels as if you’re traveling through a storybook. It’s made up of endless green hills, gently flowing streams crossed by stone bridges, and numerous charming villages that stretch through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. 

In such a large area, it can be hard to decide where to go, and it’s fine to simply get lost among the back roads, but you might want to visit the village of Bibury. 

River Coln dominates the main street, and you’ll see many ancient stone cottages with their steep pitched roofs. Arlington Row is a highlight as a lane of 17th-century cottages that were built to house the weavers who worked at Arlington Mill.

Castle Combe is another stunner with its homes that are made of Cotwold stone. It’s so picturesque it’s been used as a film setting, featured in the original “Dr. Doolittle” among numerous others.

Windsor Castle

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If you’re looking for something a bit closer to London, Windsor Castle can be reached in just a half-hour by train from Paddington Station. Europe’s longest-occupied palace, it dates back to the 11th-century and sits above the River Thames on 13 acres of lush gardens and impeccably manicured lawns. 

The State Apartments can be explored on a self-guided tour which includes the intimate chambers of Charles II and ceremonial rooms that are used today by the Queen and members of the Royal Family.

The Grand Reception Room with its sparkling chandeliers and gilding is absolutely stunning. 

If you’re here on a nice day, be sure to explore Savill Garden, an enclosed area in Windsor Great Park. It’s lovely for a stroll with interconnecting gardens that include a rose garden and rare plants from across the globe.


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If you’re in the mood for a day at the beach, head to Brighton. It can be reached in 90 minutes by train or car and offers an iconic pier with rides, arcades, and other attractions, along with the world’s oldest still operating aquarium, Sea Life Brighton. 

There’s plenty to do on Brighton Beach too, including wading and watersports like stand-up paddle boarding.

Or simply relax with a good book enjoying the fresh salty sea air. While you’re here, don’t miss the Royal Pavilion, one of the most flamboyant royal residences, with turrets, Chinese motifs, and a minaret. It was designed as a seaside getaway for George, Prince of Wales. King George IV also lived here with his mistress until 1827.

New Forest National Park

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Originally created as a hunting forest by William the Conqueror in 1079, today New Forest National Park offers many outdoor activities along with natural beauty. 

Located in England’s southeast, two hours by car or 90 minutes by train from London, one of the highlights is looking for the New Forest ponies. 

There are around 3,000 that roam freely as they have for centuries, owned by commoners who have rights of pasture here. A unique type of pony, it traces its lineage back nearly a thousand years.

Bike rentals are available for pedaling the network of paths and forest roads, or you can explore on foot, enjoying the rare primeval forest, farmland, coastal marshes, heather-blanketed heaths, and lush lawns.


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Bath is, not surprisingly, the place to go when you’re in the mood for a spa day. Named for the natural hot springs that were used for Roman baths 2,000 years ago, it’s just an hour by train from Paddington Station. 

Here you can even soak in original Roman-style baths. A tour of the baths is a definite-must before unwinding at the Thermae Bath Spa which offers spectacular views over the city from the rooftop pool.

The streets are lined with gorgeous Georgian architecture that make them enjoyable to stroll and you’ll discover many cultural and historical sites too. Some of the most popular include the Jane Austin Centre, a shrine to Bath’s most famous resident, the Fashion Museum, and the Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass. 


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About an hour and 40 minutes southeast of London by car or two hours by train, Dover is part of White Cliffs Country. The highlight is the chalky White Cliffs of Dover that stretch for five miles along England’s eastern coast. 

You can get a better look by taking a boat tour or hiking one of multiple trails. 

This is also a destination for history buffs with a network of Secret War Time Tunnels that are nestled deep inside the cliffs that were once used as a military enclave and underground castle. Medieval Dover Castle is well worth a visit too.

Founded in the 11th-century it played a significant defensive role throughout English history, commanding the Strait of Dover, the shortest sea crossing between continental Europe and England.