Excursions from London: the best day trips around London

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Visited by millions of tourists every year, London is a city to see and explore thoroughly. Metropolitan city, multicultural and with an ancient history, London is huge and has many places to visit, the visit it cannot run out in a weekend, even more so if you intend to see the surroundings. But what are the best destinations for a nice excursion out of town? Let's find the best ones together day trips around London.

Index

  1. Stonehenge
  2. Oxford and
  3. Cambridge
  4. Canterbury and its Cathedral
  5. Leeds Castle
  6. Dover and the cliffs
  7. Seven Sisters Country Park
  8. Windsor Castle
  9. Warwick Castle
  10. Hampton Court Palace
  11. Warner Bros Studio
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Stonehenge

With their charm and mystery, the gigantic stones of Stonehenge have spanned the millennia to reach the present day. Impossible not to visit the Neolithic site, if you are in London, why it is only 137 km from the British capital.

It is a cromlech, that is a circular construction, made up of stones, also called megaliths, topped by architraves. Although the function of the stones of Stonehenge remains debated, it is thought that it was an astronomical observatory which, in fact, shows all its beauty on the nights of the equinox and solstice. Unfortunately, however, the stones were moved and reinforced in the early twentieth century and it can only be theorized that they now represent the original layout.



  • Range: 137 km
  • you can take a train from Waterloo Station to Salisbury, there is one every hour and the journey takes 1 hours. The cost of the ticket is £ 36,00 (approximately € 42,00). Salisbury is almost 15km from Stonehenge and to reach the site you can take the Stonehenge tour buses outside the station, one runs every half hour, tickets start at £ 17,00 (€ 19,50).
  • meeting at 13:30 for the summer afternoon tour, or at 10:30 for the winter tour. At 08:00 for the morning one. The tour takes 6-7 hours. The site is open from 09:30 to 20:00 in summer, in winter until 17:00.
  • £ 19,00 (€ 21,00)
  • From London: Stonehenge half-day tour

2 - Oxford

What about Oxford, which is not already known? It is home to one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world, and, with its very British atmosphere, it is a truly quaint place to visit. Oxford is not even 90 km from London, an excursion that is easily done in a day, planning well the places to visit.

In fact, Oxford is full of colleges that can be visited, but also of museums and libraries that you will find while exploring the characteristic and ancient city. A museum among all, the Museum of Natural History of the University of Oxford, not to be missed. This is not only a place where culture reigns supreme, it has also become a very touristic place and setting for the adventures of Harry Potter, so, if you want, you can also take part in a tour dedicated to the places of the wizard.



  • Range: 90,6 km
  • from Paddington there is a train every half hour, the journey takes about an hour starting from £ 21.00 (€ 23,00 approximately) each way. There are also numerous organized tours departing from London. Get directions
  • the numerous colleges can be visited at different times which can be consulted on their website
  • starting at £ 2.00 (€ 2,23), some colleges or museums are free, as is the Natural History Museum
  • Oxford: city and university walking tour

3 - Cambridge

After Oxford, we can't miss the other world-famous university city, Cambridge, a hundred kilometers north of London. Cambridge can also be visited with numerous combined tours with Oxford and departing from London, but if you decide to go on your own, don't worry! On site you can take part in the official guided tours of the University of Cambridge lasting a couple of hours on average, and learn about the history of this institution, visit the huge rooms covered with books of the various colleges and hear anecdotes about the most famous students. Tours usually start from the Cambridge Visitor Information Center and you can choose various formulas, the most classic among which is the visit to the University of Cambridge with St. John's College, you will find out where Newton studied and you will get to know his famous tree of Apple.

  • Range: 87,4 km
  • Trains depart every 10 minutes from King's Cross station and take 50 minutes, tickets vary from £ 25.00 (€ 27,00) each way. Get directions
  • the classic Cambridge and St. John's College tour departs at 12 noon from the Visitor Information Center and takes 00 hours.
  • starting from £ 20.00 (€ 22,30)
  • University of Cambridge: student-guided walking tour

4 - Canterbury and its Cathedral

The city of Canterbury, of very ancient origins, is located on the coast south-east of London, a hundred kilometers from the capital. Canterbury is particularly famous for its historic Cathedral, which in the Middle Ages became a very important destination for many pilgrims. The center of the city, of medieval origin and aspect, is surrounded by walls built by the Romans crossed by very characteristic cobblestone streets.

The Cathedral dates back to 597 AD and is still the seat of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Its architecture features Gothic and Romanesque elements, with beautiful stone sculptures and stained glass windows. After visiting the Cathedral, it will be nice to get lost in the streets of the charming center. Numerous tours departing from London offer a visit in combined with Leeds Castle and the city of Dover.



  • Range: 92 km
  • from St. Pancras station you can take a train on the Southeastern line, it takes less than an hour and runs every twenty minutes to half an hour. Tickets start at £ 34.00 (€ 38,00). Get directions
  • the Cathedral can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00, on Sunday from 12:30 to 14:30
  • £ 12.50 (€ 14,00) the ticket to the Cathedral, free on Sundays
  • From London: Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover

5 - Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is located about forty kilometers from London to the south, and you can usually choose to take tours that also include the above destinations in combination. Indeed, it is impossible to leave England without visiting one of its very famous and numerous castles.

That of Leeds, in particular, is among the most beautiful castles in the world. Leeds Castle it is 900 years old, well worn, no doubt about it. Not only the rooms of the Castle, well preserved, will be able to kidnap and transport you far in time, but also the 500 acres of the surrounding garden and the free falconry shows, a dip in English medieval traditions.

  • Range: 66,2 km
  • from Victoria there is a half hour train to Hollingbourne, which takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then, from Troys Mead stop you can take bus 13 towards Penfold Hill, from here the Castle is 400 meters away. The train costs £ 20.00 (€ 23,00) one way. Get directions
  • the Castle is open every day, in the summer season from 10:00 to 18:00, in winter it closes at 17:00
  • £ 26.00 (€ 30,00)
  • From London: Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover

6 - Dover and the cliffs

London is close to the coast that overlooks the Channel and is very well connected to all the coastal cities, so why not go as far as the very famous cliffs of Dover, where the tumultuous waters of the Atlantic crash, outpost of England? For centuries, when ships cross the canal, the first sign they see appear in the distance are the steep, white cliff walls of Dover, overlooking the sea, truly spectacular.

Very interesting in Dover is also the Dover Castle, where the Secret Wartime Tunnels are preserved, tunnels built by General Twiss during the Napoleonic Wars and then discovered and used during the Second World War as a refuge and secret switchboard. From London it is possible to take part in numerous private tours to visit Dover, also in combination with Canterbury.



  • Range: 116 km
  • from London Bridge Station you can take a Southeastern line train which takes 1 hour 45 minutes. There are frequent ones, every half hour, starting from £ 28.00 (€ 31,00) each way.
  • the cliff is always accessible, the Castle is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00
  • the ticket to the Castle costs £ 20.00 (€ 23,00)
  • From London: Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Dover

7 - Seven Sisters Country Park

The cliffs of Dover are certainly not the only scenic and interesting point of the southern English coast, quite the opposite! From London it is possible to depart to numerous destinations, for example Eastbourne, from which the Seven Sisters Park, so called because it is made up of seven rocky promontories, a wild and green natural landscape in which to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of London.

There is a marked path, which can be traveled from Eastbourne to Seaford, it is quite easy to cross and very suggestive from a landscape point of view. In particular don't miss out Beachy Head, the limestone promontory from which you can see two lighthouses, that of Belle Tout, no longer functioning, and that of Beachy Head, at the foot of the cliff. The latter is truly spectacular and still in operation. If you want to go on this excursion, remember to bring food and water with you, on the route there is only one room available, the area is truly unspoiled.

  • Range: 96,5 km
  • from Victoria station you can take one of the very frequent Southern Line trains to Eastbourne and from there walk to the beach. The journey takes 1 hours from £ 34.00 (€ 38,00) each way.
  • always accessible, the complete walking tour takes 3 hours, round trip.
  • free
  • Seven Sisters and South Downs day tour from London

8 - Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is located about forty kilometers west of London, an hour by train, and is really worth a visit. This magnificent castle it is the largest and oldest on the European continent and it is still in operation, this means that over the centuries it has never been abandoned and still maintains its original destination: the second residence of the Queen of England. Founded around 1070 with an imposing wall fortification that is still standing today, the Castle has not, however, always had this aspect. The successive monarchs have in fact given, some more, some less, their contribution to the architecture of the castle.

A striking example is the beautiful St. George's Chapel, started by Edward IV and completed by Henry VIII. The village of Windsor, around the Castle, is also very impressive. They can also be visited inside the Castle the State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms, if, of course, the Queen is not present at the Castle.

  • Range: 35,8 km
  • from Waterloo Station take a train to Windsor & Eton Riverside, station a 10 minute walk from the castle (1 hour, £ 10.80 / € 12,00) (Get directions). Tours from London are also available with transfers included
  • the Castle is open every day, in the summer season from 09:45 to 17:15, in winter it closes at 16:15, with last admission one hour before closing. St. George's Chapel is closed on Sundays for the service, but you can attend without visiting.
  • £ 20.00 (€ 22,30) in normal operation, half if the Queen is present and therefore part of the Castle is closed to the public.
  • Windsor Castle admission ticket

9 - Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in England, enveloped in a truly unique aura of charm, just 147 kilometers from London: a must. The Castle, built starting in 1068 by William the Conqueror on the banks of the Avon River, is magnificently preserved and it is possible to visit the towers, the turrets, the State Rooms, the Victorian apartments and the areas called Mill and Engine House.

From the historical point of view it is associated with the figure of the Earl of Warwick, one of the oldest noble titles in England. Also beautiful gardens are a must visit, they extend for 64 acres and were designed by Capability Brown, a famous English landscape architect, in 1750. Inside you can see ancient armor, handicrafts and precious objects, and there is also an actor's company which offers daily shows to recreate that magical medieval atmosphere in the rooms of the castle and its basement.

  • Range: 147 km
  • from London Marylebone you can take a Chiltern Railways train to Warwick, the journey takes 1 hour and 25 minutes, there is one every half hour, the ticket costs £ 31.30 (€ 35,00) one way. From the station, the Castle is a 15-minute walk away. Get directions
  • open every day from 10: 00 to 17: 00
  • £ 20.00 (€ 22,30)
  • tour to Warwick Castle

10 - Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court is a beautiful building in south west London, just a few kilometers away and easily accessible, its magnificence really deserves a day to visit, especially since it is located within a lush park. The building was built in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who, having risen to the office of Chancellor, wanted a home worthy of his prestige. In a short time, however, King Henry VIII, not obtaining the approval for the divorce from Catherine of Aragon by the Pope, broke off relations with the cardinal and took possession of the palace by expanding various areas. Furthermore, at the end of the seventeenth century, a further restructuring gave life to the encounter between the Tudor and Baroque styles. The palace is huge, so plan to dedicate a whole day to it, you can have lunch in the medieval restaurant that is located inside.

  • Range: 20,2 km
  • from London Waterloo you can take a South Western train to Kingston, the journey takes half an hour, runs every ten minutes and costs £ 7.40 (€ 8,25) each way. From Kingston R stop you can take bus 111 and get off after 5 minutes at Hampton Court Gardens. Get directions
  • open every day from 10: 00 to 18: 00
  • £ 22.70 (€ 25,31)
  • Hampton Court Palace Tour

11 - Warner Bros Studio

The Warner Bros film studios, about 31 miles north of London, are a true paradise for Harry Potter fans. The visit takes about half a day, inside the studios the props are kept to recreate the original settings, like this It is possible to enter the Gryffindor rooms, in Dumbledor's office, in the Great Hall and in many other places of the saga of the most famous wizard in the world.

Inside the studios there are many merchandising shops where you can indulge yourself and numerous attractions to visit, moreover you can choose between various types of visits, almost all offer the transfer service from London or even just the guide, which in some cases is a Muggle, who will accompany you on the train journey from London and during the visit to the Studios. You we highly recommend booking the visit, income flows are usually sold out months before.

  • Range: 31,7 km
  • from London Euston you can take a West Midlands train to Watford Junction, it takes about 10.50 minutes, tickets cost £ 11,70 (€ 10) one way. From the station you can take bus 10 and get off after 8 minutes at Ashfields, the entrance to the Studios is about an minute walk. Get directions
  • open every day from 08: 30 to 22: 00
  • variable according to the type of visit and the presence of private transfer or not, starting from € 11,38
  • Harry Potter studios and private transfer from London

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