What to See Around London: The Best Day Trips

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

London it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which pushes many tourists to spend all their available time exploring it far and wide.

Personally, although I am sure that London will capture your heart and you would like to stay there forever, I would like to advise you (if you have more than 3 days) to take the opportunity and see something more of the United Kingdom (and the famous English countryside! ): around London in fact there are some things to see that are wonderful and also easily reachable in a single day.



From the classic seaside trip to Brighton, to tours of Oxford and Cambridge, from visiting Windsor Castle to discovering Stonehenge, in surroundings of London you can find small characteristic villages, monuments of great historical importance and the palaces of the Royal family.

In fact, many of Britain's most popular locations are within easy reach of London, making organizing a day tour extremely easy.

The ease with which it is possible to travel from one place to another by both train and bus makes it extremely easy to create a one-day itinerary to discover some of England's most famous places.

All these places are in fact easily accessible independently by public transport. Alternatively, you can take part in one-day organized tours departing from central London that I would recommend because although more expensive, they allow you to see more things in a shorter time.

If you don't have a rental car (watch out for the drive on the left!) And you want to see as much as possible, organized tours are the best choice.


PRO tip to travel to the UK: To reduce transport costs, try a book TRAIN TICKETS about dell'AUTOBUS well in advance to take advantage of the lowest rates!


But let's get to the point and why you are reading this article: what to see around London?

  • Brighton e le Seven Sisters Cliffs
  • Leeds Castle, the Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury
  • Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath
  • Oxford and Cambridge
  • Warwick Castle, the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Tour at Harry Potter ai Warner Bros Studios

Brighton e le Seven Sisters Cliffs

Brighton

Di Alexey Fedorenko /

Brighton it is only an hour by train from London and is undoubtedly one of the busiest seaside resorts in the area.

When you think of Brighton, the first image that comes to mind is its beach and its pier, the Brighton Pier, which during the summer season attract Londoners and tourists alike in search of sun and sea.

In addition to the beach, walking along the promenade, you can find restaurants, kiosks selling fish and chips, ice cream parlors, shops, street artists and the famous Luna Park, full of attractions for both adults and children.

And if, in addition to spending some time on the beach, you also want to visit the city, Brighton is full of places of interest and attractions such as Royal Pavillion, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, the aquarium Sea Life, the observation tower British Airways i360, or you can go shopping and partake in the local nightlife in the neighborhood of Brighton Lanes.



How to get to Brighton yourself:

There are regular buses and trains between London and Brighton. TRAINLINE e OMIO are two great websites for checking train and bus timetables and tickets.

  • In trainTrains depart approximately every 15 minutes from London Bridge or Victoria Station and take approximately one hour.
  • In auto: Brighton is located 54 miles south of London. It takes about 1h30 to get there. South of the M25 ring road, the M23 leads to Brighton.
  • In busBuses from London to Brighton take between one hour and forty minutes to over three hours. There are some cheaper tickets for each trip and they sell out quickly, so it's a good idea to buy your tickets well in advance. Buses travel hourly between London Victoria Coach Station and Brighton Pier Coach Station.

Seven Sisters Cliffs

Di ian woolcock /

Le Seven Sisters Cliffs they are easily accessible not only from London, but also from Brighton.

These are seven very white cliffs (they are made of chalk!) Overlooking the sea that are located between Eastbourne e Seaford on top of which it is possible to admire the wonderful coastal panorama.

Pssst: the 7 Sisters Cliffs are even whiter than the cliffs of Dover!

A nice walk on the top of the cliffs inside the is therefore essential Seven Sisters Country Park, but don't get too close to the cliff edge, it often blows a strong wind and could be dangerous.



How to reach us

  • Yes Brighton in particular, the easiest way to reach them is to take one of the many direct buses, very convenient as they stop right near the entrance to the Seven Sisters Country Park.
  • From London instead you can reach Brighton by train and then take the direct bus to reach the cliffs.
  • With a tour. THIS TOUR from London combines a visit to the Seven Sisters Cliffs with other attractions.

Leeds Castle, the Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury

Leeds Castle

By FlySbt /

Often referred to as "the most beautiful castle in the world", the Leeds Castle it is located in the middle of the Kent countryside, just an hour by train from London.

Surrounded by defensive walls and 500 hectares of lush parkland, it is certainly one of the must-see attractions around London.

Built in 1119 by the Normans, the castle rests on two islets located in the center of a small lake.

Over the years it was a royal residence, prison and fortress, over the centuries it has also been the home of several queens, including Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII.
In addition to the visit inside the castle, complete with walls and drawbridge, you cannot miss a visit to the surrounding park, with the famous hedge maze.

How to get to Leeds Castle by public transport

  • By bus: take a bus from London Victoria bus station to Maidenhead. From Maidenhead station, take a local taxi. The bus journey is very long, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • By train: from Victoria Station to Bearsted Station (Bearsted Station is closest to Leeds Castle). From there you should take a connecting bus that will take you directly to the castle.
  • With a tour: tours like THIS include the Leeds Castle along with Dover and Canterbury. If you want to save and see it all (recommended) the tour is definitely the best option.

Dover

By NikKulch /

Dover it is about two hours by car from the cliffs of the Seven Sisters and, although of similar conformation, both deserve to be visited.

In addition to the spectacular cliffs, which need no introduction, the Dover Castle (HERE you can find the online ticket), one of the most beautiful in Great Britain.

In and around the city you can still see many signs of the ancient fortifications built to defend Dover from enemy invasions.

Dover is also easily accessible from London by train in about an hour and a half.

How to reach us

By train: it takes 1 or 2 hours depending on the train you choose, but it is recommended. Certainly more expensive than the bus, but it takes much less time and travels better. Here, too, I advise you to look up Train Line because it is very easy to use, you can pay with paypal and you can compare prices and the various types of trains.

By bus: it takes a lot of time, but it is cheaper. Also here check Omio for the best buses. Keep in mind that if you take the bus you won't be able to see Canterbury and Leeds Castle as well.

In tourThere are tons of tours that include the Cliffs of Dover in their itinerary. THIS TOUR which includes the cliffs and Canterbury Cathedral (see below) is the cheapest and the my favourite because it leaves enough time to enjoy everything to the fullest.

Alternatively, if you want to see more (albeit a bit more of a rush) there is THIS TOUR which includes the cliffs, Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle and even Greenwich. In short, if you want to see all-all-all this is what you should choose!

Canterbury

Di Digalakis Photography /

Made famous by the Canterbury Tales of the writer Chaucer, Canterbury for centuries it was a pilgrimage destination (and here my husband Massi received his doctorate!).

It is currently the spiritual seat of the Church of England, at the head of which we find the figure of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and is the seat of one beautiful cathedral and several other churches.

The historic city center is also perfect for a stroll, as it is full of shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries.

Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath

Stonehenge

Stonehenge it is perhaps one of the most iconic places in all of Britain.

Located on Salisbury Plain, this archaeological site is nothing more than a complex of huge stone megaliths dating back 5000 years.

Maybe you might also be interested in reading about how to organize the visit of Stonhenge

There are countless theories and legends related to the birth and use of this circle of stones: some believe it was a place of worship or burial, others still hypothesize it was a gigantic astronomical clock.

The site is easily accessible from London, but admission is regulated by timed tickets which should be purchased in advance.

⇒ You can BUY THE TICKET ONLINE HERE

The entrance includes both the visit to the archaeological site itself and the entrance to the Visitor Center, which is a museum space linked to the history and legends of Stonehenge.

How to get to Stonhenge and Salisbury

  • By train: Trains from London Waterloo to Salisbury depart 20 minutes and 50 minutes past the hour during the day. The journey takes approximately one hour and 20 minutes. Salisbury Reds offers regular bus services from the train station to the Stonehenge Visitor Center.
  • By car: Stonehenge is approximately 85 miles from central London via the M3 and A303.
  • In tour: Stonehenge is very famous and therefore the number of tours available is enormous. THIS TOUR it is the simplest and includes visit and entrance with audio guide and transport from London. You can choose whether to go in the morning or in the afternoon. If, on the other hand, you want something more in-depth, I personally recommend the tour including Stonhenge, Baths and Windsor Castle.

There are plenty of tours to Stonehenge and all different from each other ⇒ FIND THEM ALL AT THIS LINK.

Windsor Castle

Di Mistervlad /

After the visit to Stonehenge, you can move to Windsor, a holiday destination for the British nobility and a wonderful town surrounded by nature.

The city of Windsor is located about 40 kilometers from London and, thanks to its strategic position and proximity to the river and the forest, it was chosen by the Saxon royalty as the seat of the royal palace.

Its importance is testified by the fact that during the First World War the queen was forced to abandon the name Sassonia-Coburg-Gotha, of strongly German root, and choose Windsor as the new proper name.

Il Windsor Castle it is the symbol of the city and still hosts the royal family, especially the queen, who often comes here to spend her weekends.

The complete visit of the castle can last up to three hours, passing by the royal apartments, where the famous Queen Mary's Dolls House is located, then passing by the Chapel of St. George, the Albert Memorial Chapel, the Upper Tower and the Henry III Tower and finally the spectacular visit to the park.

⇒ HERE you will find the ENTRANCE TICKET to the castle with audio guide

How to get to Windsor Castle

  • By trainTrains run regularly from Paddington Station in London to Windsor & Eton Central. The castle, a few steps from the station, dominates the city and it is impossible not to see it. The journey takes between 25 and 40 minutes depending on the train chosen.
  • By car: Windsor Castle is located 24 miles from central London. Take the A4 and M4 to junction 6, then follow the signs for the center and the car park.
  • By bus: Green Line buses (701 and 702) depart every hour from Victoria station, stopping at Windsor Castle and Legoland Windsor.
  • In tour: there are also in this case many tours that include Windsor Castle with other places of interest (Oxford, Stonehenge, etc etc). If you are looking for something simple there is this tour with only the afternoon visit to the castle, but in my opinion it's a little wasted money. Better a TOUR LIKE THIS which includes Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge, or THIS which includes in addition to Stonehenge, also Oxford.

Bath

Di BGphotographer /

Like many of the places around London, a Bath you can choose to spend a few hours as well as a whole day.

Famous for its Roman baths, Bath is an elegant town that was once also home to Jane Austen, who lived here for a few years.

His visit is usually included in the day tours that include Stonehenge and Salisbury, as it is extremely convenient to reach, even if in reality it would be worth a full day visit on its own.

Unfortunately, time is often the worst of tyrants when traveling, so even a short visit is better than nothing.

From the interactive visit to the ancient Roman baths, passing through the modern Thermae Bath SPA, then moving to visit the Cathedral of Bath, The Circus and the Royal Crescent, the Holburne Museum and the Pulteney Bridge, to finish with the Jane Austin Center, Bath is a city full of attractions.

Bath can be reached by train, bus and tour. my favorite is the tour che include Bath, Stonehenge e West Country.

Salisbury

By martinjamescook /

Salisbury is a charming town nestled in the Wiltshire countryside, along the banks of the River Avon.

Famous for its CathedralAs well as the main attraction, Salisbury can also be visited Old Sarum, that is the original residential unit, the Salisbury Museum Mompesson House and Boscombe Down Aviation Collection.

The city itself is modern and lively, full of shopping centers, restaurants, pubs, parks and gardens in which to relax and unwind.

A visit to Salisbury Cathedral is usually combined with day tours which also include Stonehenge and Bath.

Oxford and Cambridge

Oxford and

Di Erwin Herzog /

Famous for its university, Oxford and it is one of the ideal destinations for a day trip outside London.

Immersed in the Oxfordshire countryside, it is famous for the extensive range of courses held within the famous medieval structure.

The rest of the city can be visited on foot or by bicycle and, among the 39 colleges present, it is interesting to visit the Christ Church College, whose chapel has become none other than the main Cathedral of Oxford.

Also very fascinating are the boat ride and the old pubs of Oxford, perfect for soaking up the local atmosphere.

How to get to Oxford

  • By train: Express trains to Oxford from Paddington Station are frequent and take approximately one hour and back. If you don't take the express train, a conventional journey takes about an hour and 45 minutes.
  • By car: Oxford is 62 miles northwest of London via the M4, M25, M40 and A roads. It takes approximately one and a half hours to drive. Parking is difficult but the city is surrounded by Park and Ride car parks with cheap bus services into the center.
  • By bus: Oxford Underground is a very popular way to get to Oxford by bus. The company runs buses every ten minutes, 24 hours a day, with pickup from multiple stops in London and Oxford.

Cambridge

Di Pajor Pawel /

Cambridge It is home to one of the most renowned universities in the world, and an eternal rival to Oxford, but, in addition to colleges, the city has much more to offer.

The original settlement has very ancient origins which still today give the city a unique atmosphere.

In addition to visiting some of the many colleges present here, it is possible to visit some of its museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, MAA (Museum of Archeology and Anthropolgy) ed il Whipple Museum.

Then strolling through the streets of Cambridge you can pass on Bridge of Sighs, that is the Bridge of Sighs, dating back to the nineteenth century, browse the stalls of the markets or stroll in the Milton Country Park.

Y

While completely different from London, Y it represents the quintessence of classical England.

Surrounded by ancient walls and characterized by narrow streets that intersect the city center, York is definitely worth a visit.

Among the attractions of the city we find the famous Shambles, that is, very ancient buildings that give the impression of being about to collapse, the York Minster cathedral, National Railway Museum and Jorvik Viking Center.

York can be reached by train from London in about two hours.

Warwick Castle, the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon

Warwick Castle

By Madrugada Verde /

Among the favorite destinations for tourists around London, the Warwick Castle, famous as it is present in numerous tales and legends concerning King Arthur.

Located in north London, the castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and became the property of the Earl of Warwick in 1088.

The visit of the castle includes a tour of the towers and ramparts, from which to admire the wonderful panorama, the Guard Room, the basement with the ancient prisons, the Great Hall and the State Rooms.

⇒ Find HERE the ENTRANCE TICKET TO THE CASTLE

Finally, you cannot miss a walk in the magnificent gardens.

Bibury as the Cotswolds

By SScott514 /

Declare Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Area of ​​Exceptional Naturalistic Beauty), le Cotswolds they are the place where the classic English countryside imagery with small stone cottage villages comes to life.

One of the most visited villages in the Cotswolds is Bibury, located about 100 kilometers from central London, defined by the writer William Morris as one of the "most beautiful villages" and most photographed in England.

Bibury is characterized by small stone cottages whose walls are covered with ivy, the old mill and the river Coln complete the fairytale image.

How to get to Bibury

It is not really easy to get to Bibbury from London, but if you want, here are some indications:

By train: The closest railway station to Bibury is Kemble, a few miles from Cirencester and approximately 14 miles from Bibury. Once at Kemble train station you can take a taxi to Bibury.

By bus: there are no direct buses. If you are coming to the area by train (Kemble train station), you may want to visit Cirencester before heading to Bibury. There is a regular bus service from Cirencester. If you are traveling by bus to Cirencester from London, you will likely be dropped off on London Road in Cirencester. You can then walk to Market Place and take a bus to Bibury from there.

Stratford-upon-Avon

Di Jeff Land Photography /

My heart always beats when I talk about Stratford-upon-Avon because it's one of the places I spent the summer as a teenager (when my parents sent me to England to study English). To tell the truth I learned very little English: most of the time, instead of studying, I spent it having fun!

Stratford-upon-Avon it is one of the places that you absolutely must visit if you are passionate about literature.

In Stratford-upon-Avon it is indeed possible to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the cottage of actress Anne Hathaway, take a trip along the river and see a show by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Stratford-upon-Avon it can be reached from London in just two hours by train.

If you want to go on tour, these below are the ones that I can recommend the most.

  • Warwick, Oxford e Stratford-upon-Avon: tour from London: in my opinion the best you could choose!
  • Oxford, Stratford e Cotswolds: tour da London. This is also a nice tour. Choose based on what you most want to see.

Tour at Harry Potter ai Warner Bros Studios

At Lucy Clark /

A little more commercial, but inevitable for fans of the famous magician, is the Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros Studios.

The average duration of this tour is about 7 hours and retraces the behind the scenes of the films, including props, extravagant sets and the original costumes used to shoot the films of the saga.

You can also venture into the Gryffindor common room and retrace Harry Potter's footsteps along the streets of Diagon Alley… and taste real butterbeer!

How to get to Harry Potter Studios

  • By trainTrains from Euston Station in London leave for Watford Junction approximately every ten minutes during the day. The journey takes between 15 and 20 minutes. Once at the station, a colorful bus takes you directly to the Studios. The bus meets passengers in front of Watford Junction Station. Trains from Birmingham New Street also stop at Watford Junction.
  • By car: The attraction is located a few kilometers from the M1 and M5 motorways and once you leave the motorways, there are brown signs that will lead you where you need to go, just follow them.
  • With a tour: HERE THE COMPLETE LISTthere are many tours. Maybe they cost a little more, but if you don't want to organize alone and waste too much time, they are very comfortable and well organized. Find.
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