Easy Day Trips from London by Train
This guide provides 25 easy day trips from London, including 10 day trips within 1 hour and 15 day trips within 1-2.5 hours. The guide includes how to book the train tickets, the length of the train, and a list of top destinations in each day trip destination.
25 Places • 15 Saves • ago
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Train Trips Within 1 Hour of London

Cambridge

From London's King Cross Station to Cambridge, the trip takes about 50 minutes. The Cambridge train station is within a ten minute walk of city center so it is easy to get around. Cambridge is famous for Cambridge University. The college town provides a great escape from busy London and has many fun activities to do. A few options include: 

-Crossing the mathematical bridge

-Punting down the river in the summer months

-Exploring King's College Chapel

-Visiting the Botanic Gardens

-Vintage shopping along Mill Road

-Visiting The Corpus Clock,

-A university tour, the only way to see the tightly regulated campus

-Touring The Fitzwilliam Museum

-Visiting the top of Great St. Mary's

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Oxford

Another university town famous for Oxford University, this train departs from London Paddington and takes about 50 minutes. The Oxford train station is about a ten minute walk from city center so you are immediately well located. The main highlight of a visit to Oxford include:

You are touring campus sights like the Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Library. To enter any of the Oxford sights, you must be on a guided tour. If you are content looking at them from the outside, I recommend going to the Vault Cafe by the Radcliffe Camera for a coffee when you arrive. 

In addition to campus, the city boasts a covered market, punting, and numerous parks. The city also holds the oldest coffee house in England called The Grand Cafe - well worth a visit for lunch or a spot of tea. 

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Bletchley Park

From London's Euston Station, you can arrive at the town of Bletchley in about 45 minutes. Bletchley Park was the home of London's code breakers during World War II and is famously depicted in The Imitation Game and Enigma. The museum is five minutes from the train station and costs GBP 25.50. A comprehensive visit will take between 3-5 hours. The park hosts two cafes and a large garden, so an accessible space to have lunch, either packed or purchased. Your entrance to the museum includes an audio guide or a guided tour of the grounds. For any World War II aficionados, it is a must-visit. 

Bletchley Park
@elizabethrickert
This museum discusses how the UK broke the codes used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The activities here have been shown in the Imitation Game. The gardens and grounds are gorgeous! They make for a very nice picnic spot if you pack or you can enjoy one of the cafes. This is about an hour from London so it's a small trek but there's plenty to do there!
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St. Albans

St. Albans is one of the closest day trips to London! It's only 20 minutes by train via London's St. Pancras station. The city is home to plethora of Roman ruins including the old city wall and Roman theater. A few things to see in St. Albans include:

- St. Albans Cathedral, one of the oldest continuous Christian worship sites in Britain)

- the Roman sites,

- Beautiful town homes

- Window shopping

If you can, I recommend visiting St. Albans on market day. Their market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

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Winchester

A visit to Winchester starts at London Waterloo and takes about an hour. Winchester is one of the oldest cities in Britain and is a Roman established town. A few highlights include:

- The Great Hall, a 13th-C medieval aisled hall that is rumoured to be that of the legendary King Arthur

- Winchester Cathedral, one of the world's longest medieval churches where several notable individuals are buried including Jane Austen

- Dean Garnier Garden

- Walk along the River Itchen and scenic Colebrook Street

- Winchester City Mill, oldest working watermill in the UK

- Wolvesey Castle, ruins of a 12th C bishops' palace

- Hospital of St Cross, houses one of England's oldest continuing almshouses. 

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Hampton Court Palace

From London Waterloo to Hampton Court you can arrive at Hampton Court Palace in about 35 minutes. The train station is a five minute walk from the palace and trains run every half an hour. Tickets to the palace cost GBP 29 during peak and GBP 26.30 off peak.

The palace was King Henry VIII's residence on the River Thames. The earliest sections are Tudor and date from the late 15th century. It was rebuilt during the reign of William II in a baroque style providing a unique mixture of architectural styles blended together beautifully. The palace provides art treasures, beautiful courtyards, the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze, the Royal Tennis Courts, as well as more than 60 acres of gardens. 

Hampton Court Palace
@elizabethrickert
This palace is most famously known for it's relationship to Henry VIII. A visit there involves discussion about the Tudors and William and Mary. Additionally, you can spend hours strolling the gorgeous gardens! You can easily spend a whole day here. The palace is about 40 minutes outside of London.
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Brighton

The journey to Brighton takes about 1 hour and leaves from London Bridge station. As a beach town Brighton is best in the warm months. A few highlights include:

- Spot the street art on Trafalgar Street and North Laine

- Participate in vintage shopping in North Laine

- Visit the Royal Pavilion, George IV seaside retreat

- Walk along Brighton Palace Pier

- Lounge on Brighton Beach and Seafront

- Explore Brighton's West Pier and Bandstand

- Photograph and admire the Hove Beach Huts

This is one of the easiest beach fronts to visit from London in the summer!

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Harry Potter Studios

A visit to the Harry Potter Studios starts at London Euston. It's about a 20 minute journey from Euston station to Watford Junction. Once you arrive you'll see a shuttle bus. The bus journey is included as part of your entry ticket and takes about 15 minutes. The buses run at least every 30 minutes.

The tickets to the Harry Potter Studios cost GBP 51.50 and must be booked in advance. While at the studio you'll see the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Knight Bus, and props from the movie. You'll even be able to sip butter beer!

Harry Potter Studio Tour
@elizabethrickert
This all day activity takes you through the sets of Harry Potter. It’s a little outside of London but pretty easy to access. I highly recommend booking your tickets well in advance as this books up!
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Windsor Castle

One of the easiest ways to get to Windsor Castle is to take the direct train from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside. This journey takes 55 minutes and generally runs every 30 minutes. The castle is located a five minute walk from the train station. Entry tickets, including an audio guide, cost GBP 30 day of and GBP 28 advance. The tour takes you through the staterooms and St. George's Chapel. 

Windsor Castle
@elizabethrickert
One of homes currently used by the royals this makes for a fun visit since you're able to see how the royal family presents themselves today.
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Rochester

A visit to Rochester starts at Victoria Station. The train ride takes about 40 minutes. The city is famous for its rich history, Charles Dickens connections, and high street. A few things to do in Rochester:

Charles Dickens Related Locations (Dickens lived in Rochester as both an adult and child):

- Shop at Baggins Book Bazaar, England's largest second-hand bookshop.

- Visit the Six Poor Travellers House, inspired the story The Seven Poor Travelers and is a free museum today.

- Tour Eastgate House, a historic home with Dickens connections.

- Peruse the Restorian House Gardens, inspiration for Miss Havisham's House in Great Expectations and housed King Charles II on his first night back on English soil when he went to reclaim the throne in 1660.

- Explore the Guildhall Museum including their Dickens exhibits.

Non-Dickens Related Locations:

- Tour the Rochester Cathedral founded in 604 and the second oldest cathedral in England.

- See the Textus Roffensis, the only existing copy of the first code of English law. It is located in the Rochester Cathedral.

- Visit the Rochester Castle founded in the 12th century. It is one of the tallest and best preserved keeps in England.

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Train Trips Within 1-2.5 Hours of London

Bath

The journey from London to Bath starts at Paddington Railway Station and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bath holds over two-thousand years of history and there is plenty to do there! A few highlights include:

- Visit the Pulteney Bridge

- Tour the Roman Baths, the most famous Roman baths in England and the namesake of the city

- Relax at the Thermae Spa andtake a dip in the geothermal pools

- Explore Bath Abbey, founded in the 7th century

- Stroll Green Street for shopping

- Learn more about Bath's most famous author at the Jane Austen Centre

- Admire the Royal Crescent, one of the best preserved Georgian buildings and a famous filming location

- Peruse the markets of Bath

- Take a boat ride on the River Avon

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Bristol

A visit to Bristol starts at London Paddington Railway Station and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Bristol offers a more cool and edgy day trip option. A few of the visit highlights include:

- Visit the Bristol Cathedral, originally constructed in the 13th century it was reconstructed in 1877

- Admire the views from Cabot Tower, 19th century tower commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first sailing of John Cabot from Bristol to Canada

- Explore the SS Great Britain, historic passenger steamship currently operating as a museum

- Find Bristol's Street Art, the city has amazing street art and is the hometown of the legendary Banksy

- Enjoy St Nicholas Market, great place to stop for lunch,

- Peruse Wapping Wharf, renovated shipping containers that are home to restaurants, shops, and artists' spaces

- Explore M Shed, museum depicting a holstic view of life in Bristol

- Enjoy Bristol's craft beer scene

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York

The direct trian from London to York takes about two hours from London's King's Cross Station. The town of York is a medieval English city is rumored to be the most conquered city. A few of the things to do here:

- Walk the city walls, originally built by the Romans they are the longest medieval town walls in England

- Visit the JORVIK Viking Center to learn more about the viking's settlement in York

- See the National Railway Museum to understand England's historic impact on the transportation industry

- Take a tour of York's Chocolate Story including a delicious tasting

- Explore the York Art Gallery

- Enjoy a classic British afternoon tea at Betty's

- Stroll through the Shambles, a narrow medieval street thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley

- Visit the York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in England built in 637 AD

- Go on a ghost tour in one of England's most haunted cities

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For more information on a visit to York, see my 5 days in York Itinerary: 

Dover

The train from London St Pancras International to Dover takes a little over 1 hour. Dover is historically rich and famous for its gorgeous coastline. A few of the most popular things to do are:

- Dover Castle, originally built as a fortification in the 11th C is in remarkable shape,

- White Cliffs of Dover, these will need to be reached by taxi from the city of Dover. They are an iconic landmark for England as a symbol of coming home and war time defence

- Fan Bay Deep Shelter, World War II Tunnel Complex you can explore

- South Foreland Lighthouse, a Victorian lighthouse built to warn mariners of shifting sands and guide them through the Strait of Dover

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Bourton-On-The-Water

The train from London Paddington to Bourton-on-the-Water takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. This town is a charming village in the Cotswolds with traditional stone buildings and quaint cottages. A day in town can include: 

- Visit Bourton-on-the-Water's famous Birdland Park

- Explore the Dragonfly Maze,

- Admire the Model Village, an exact replica of the town

- Tour the Cotswolds Motoring Museum

- Eat a meal or two at one of the many pubs

- Take a walk on one of the trails throughout the city

- Enjoy a paddle down the River Windrush

Bourton-on-the-Water
@elizabethrickert
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Moreton-in-Marsh

The average journey time from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh by train is 1.5 hours. This classic Cotswold town provides a relaxing day for long walks, boutique shopping, and visit to classic English pubs. 

A few highlights include: 

- The Cotswold Tearoom for a traditional English cream tea

- Batsford Arboretum, a spectacular garden with England's largest private collection of trees and shrubs

- Sezincote House, an Indian palace set in pretty gardens 

- Bourton House Gardens, a famous three-acre garden surrounding an 18th Century manor house

Moreton-in-Marsh
@elizabethrickert
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Canterbury

The train journey from London St Pancras to Canterbury takes a little over 1 hour. This town was first made famous over 1,000 years ago by pilgrims traveling here to visit the Saint Thomas shrine. It was again memoralized by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 

A day trip to this town can include: 

- Visit Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe during the medieval ages

- Vusut Westgate Gardens, one of the oldest and most scenic parks in England

- Westgate Towers Canterbury, well preserved medieval gatehouse on Canterbury's high street

- The Old Weaver's House, one of Canterbury's most iconic buildings 

- Canterbury River Cruise down the River Stour

- Crooked House of Canterbury, 17th century crooked house also known as Sir John Boy's House 

- Canterbury Roman Museum, a museum about Roman Canterbury outlining Roman Britain

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Stonehenge

To get from London to Stonehenge, take the train from London Waterloo to Salisbury (approx. 1 hour and 25 minutes) and then the bus to Stonehenge (about 35 minutes). 

Stonehenge has a visitors center outling the history of the site before taking visitors to the famous rocks. Entrance to the museum and site cost GBP 29 during peak and GBP 26 standard. Stonehenge offers a discount for booking online. 

Stonehenge
@elizabethrickert
This is located just outside of London but any respectable Londoner has made the trek. This ancient sight is worth a visit! Stonehenge is only free on the solstice and that’s also the only day you can walk next to the stones. If you’re committed to see Stonehenge up close and personal than this would be the way to do it!
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Liverpool

Trains from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street take 2 hours and 21 minutes. Liverpool was put on the map through its iconic connections to pop culture (aka the Beatles!) and history. 

For one day in Liverpool, here are a few highlights: 

- Liverpool Cathedral, the biggest Anglican Cathedral in Europe

- Royal Albert Dock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains cafes, shops, restaurants, and bars

- National Maritime Museum, houses a permanent exhibit on the Titantic

- International Slavery Museum, highlights the uglier side of the city's maritime expansion

- Tate Gallery, perfect for modern art lovers

- Beatles Story, museum following the story of the Beatles rise to global stardom

- White Star Line HQ, the former headquarters of the company that owned the Titanic

- Anfield, Tour the field of Liverpool Football Club one of the UK's most successful teams

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Leeds

A journey to Leeds starts at London King's Cross and takes 2.5 hours. This university town has become a student-hub making it budget friendly. 

A few activities for a day trip could include: 

- Vintage shopping at Leeds Corn Exchange

- Leeds Art Gallery, variety of art that is regularly rotated

- Kirkstall Abbey, 850-year-old ruins of an ancient monastery

- Henry Moore Institute, one of the largest sculpture gallery spaces in Europe 

- Leeds City Museum, provides a space to discover the natural world

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Manchester

A trip to Manchester takes a little over two hours leaving from London Euston Station. Manchester is one of England's most famous industrial cities and has heavily influenced the world's music scene. 

A few things to do during a Manchester include: 

- Tour the Manchester United or Manchester City stadiums

- Visit the National Football Museum

- John Rylands Library, one the city's most beautiful buildings and a must for literary lovers 

- Manchester's Central Library, a gorgeous library both inside and out

- Manchester Cathedral, one of England's smaller cathedrals but exceptionally beautiful exceptionally inside

- Historic City Center, wander around the city center to visit places like Albert Square, Piccaddilly Gardens, Cinatown, Castlefield Conservation Area, Affleckks, and Arndale

- Manchester Museums like the Science and Industry Museum or the Imperial War Museum

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Whitstable

A journey from London St Pancras to Whitstable takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you're looking for a day on the seaside, consider Whitstable. 

A few things to do on the day out include: 

- Whitstable Harbour, this working harbour offers the opportunity to get out on the water with a mixture of boat trips on offer. 

- Colorful Beach Huts, the iconic beach huts are a great spot to walk around and take in the seaside vibes

- Whitstable Beach, this is a pebble beach with plenty of room for all visitors

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Brussels, Belgium

For an international day trip take a journey to Brussels, Belgium! This journey is a little under 2 hours from London St. Pancras. A reminder - now that the UK has left the EU, visitors need to arrive about an hour before their train time to go through passport and customs check. 

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is famous for its food and connection to the EU. A few fun things to do on your day trip include: 

- Visit Spy Manneken Pis, the most famous statue in Brussels 

- See the Grand Place, includes the City Hall and the Maison du Roi which now houses the Brussels City Museum

- Visit the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, shopping arcades with chocolate shops, boutiques, and bookshops

- Wander the Mont des Arts district, the historic area offers a birds eye view of Brussels and features the Royal LIbrary of Belgium and the Congress Palace of Brussels

- Visit the Brussels Cathedral, church built between the 11th and 15th centuries

- If you visit in the summer, tour the Palais de Bruxelles (the Royal Palace of Brussels)

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Paris, France

A direct train from London St Pancras to Paris takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Since you're traveling to the EU, you'll need to budget about an hour for the passport and customs check. This still leaves you plenty of time to see a drop of Paris. A few things to see on a quick day in France's capitol city: 

- The Eiffel Tower, as the most iconic symbol of Paris I think it's pretty self explanatory as to why it's worth a stop

- Notre-Dame Cathedral, medieval Catholic cathedral in the heart of Paris

-Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris honoring those who fought during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars

- Sacre Coeure, located at the summit of the butte of Montmarte the basilica overlooks the entire city of Paris

- Musee de l'Orangerie, world class art museum contains many amazing pieces but if you're short on time it's worth a visit just to see Monet's waterlillies 

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Lille, France

The fastest international train journey from London, at least on this list, is to Lille, France. From London St. Pancras the trip takes you an hour and 22 minutes. Lille is fairly small and compact so most the major attractions are accessible on foot. The Flemish city is characterized by its unique Flanders style of architecture and smattering of UNESCO world heritage sits. A few things to do during your day in Lille: 

- Climb Beffroi de Lille, the 104 metre tall bell tower and UNESCO World Heritage site

- Visit the Porte de Paris, a triumphal arc in city center celebrating the victories of Louis XIV

- Tour the Palais des Beaux Arts, a cultural space dedicated to fine arts, mmodern art, and antiquities

- Visit the Grand Palace, regal building constructed in the Flanders style fashion

- Shop at the Old Bourse book market, this market is open throughout the year from Tuesday through Sunday between 1:00pm and 7:00pm

- Tour the Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral, a modern and ecclesistical building 

- Have a drink in the Place aux Oignons, an attractive square in the heart of Lille

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How to book train tickets in the UK: 

There's an unusual number of scam websites for booking train tickets in the UK, which creates the problem of knowing whether you're actually on a reputable website. A personal favorite train ticket website for me is thetrainline.com. They provide valuable information on the routes and are easy to use. 

If you're debating between first-class and standard-class tickets, there is not much of a difference on short trains. If the ride is under an hour - save your money. If the ride is over an hour, the train will serve you a meal and beverage. I only consider booking first class if the difference in ticket is equivalent to the meal I will receive. 

If you are living in the UK and under the age of 30 or over the age of 60, investing in a railcard may make sense for you. This provides discounts on all train rides throughout the UK, including tube rides in London. 

If you've enjoyed this guide on day trips from London by train please share, write a review, or leave a tip! Thank you!

If you would like guidance on how to pick the right day trip for you or on how to incorporate one of these day trips into your next trip to London, please consider booking a 30 minute consultation appointment. I'd love to help!

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Easy Day Trips from London by Train
This guide provides 25 easy day trips from London, including 10 day trips within 1 hour and 15 day trips within 1-2.5 hours. The guide includes how to book the train tickets, the length of the train, and a list of top destinations in each day trip destination.
25 Places • 15 Saves • ago
Free

Train Trips Within 1 Hour of London

Cambridge

From London's King Cross Station to Cambridge, the trip takes about 50 minutes. The Cambridge train station is within a ten minute walk of city center so it is easy to get around. Cambridge is famous for Cambridge University. The college town provides a great escape from busy London and has many fun activities to do. A few options include: 

-Crossing the mathematical bridge

-Punting down the river in the summer months

-Exploring King's College Chapel

-Visiting the Botanic Gardens

-Vintage shopping along Mill Road

-Visiting The Corpus Clock,

-A university tour, the only way to see the tightly regulated campus

-Touring The Fitzwilliam Museum

-Visiting the top of Great St. Mary's

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Oxford

Another university town famous for Oxford University, this train departs from London Paddington and takes about 50 minutes. The Oxford train station is about a ten minute walk from city center so you are immediately well located. The main highlight of a visit to Oxford include:

You are touring campus sights like the Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Library. To enter any of the Oxford sights, you must be on a guided tour. If you are content looking at them from the outside, I recommend going to the Vault Cafe by the Radcliffe Camera for a coffee when you arrive. 

In addition to campus, the city boasts a covered market, punting, and numerous parks. The city also holds the oldest coffee house in England called The Grand Cafe - well worth a visit for lunch or a spot of tea. 

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Bletchley Park

From London's Euston Station, you can arrive at the town of Bletchley in about 45 minutes. Bletchley Park was the home of London's code breakers during World War II and is famously depicted in The Imitation Game and Enigma. The museum is five minutes from the train station and costs GBP 25.50. A comprehensive visit will take between 3-5 hours. The park hosts two cafes and a large garden, so an accessible space to have lunch, either packed or purchased. Your entrance to the museum includes an audio guide or a guided tour of the grounds. For any World War II aficionados, it is a must-visit. 

Bletchley Park
@elizabethrickert
This museum discusses how the UK broke the codes used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The activities here have been shown in the Imitation Game. The gardens and grounds are gorgeous! They make for a very nice picnic spot if you pack or you can enjoy one of the cafes. This is about an hour from London so it's a small trek but there's plenty to do there!
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St. Albans

St. Albans is one of the closest day trips to London! It's only 20 minutes by train via London's St. Pancras station. The city is home to plethora of Roman ruins including the old city wall and Roman theater. A few things to see in St. Albans include:

- St. Albans Cathedral, one of the oldest continuous Christian worship sites in Britain)

- the Roman sites,

- Beautiful town homes

- Window shopping

If you can, I recommend visiting St. Albans on market day. Their market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

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Winchester

A visit to Winchester starts at London Waterloo and takes about an hour. Winchester is one of the oldest cities in Britain and is a Roman established town. A few highlights include:

- The Great Hall, a 13th-C medieval aisled hall that is rumoured to be that of the legendary King Arthur

- Winchester Cathedral, one of the world's longest medieval churches where several notable individuals are buried including Jane Austen

- Dean Garnier Garden

- Walk along the River Itchen and scenic Colebrook Street

- Winchester City Mill, oldest working watermill in the UK

- Wolvesey Castle, ruins of a 12th C bishops' palace

- Hospital of St Cross, houses one of England's oldest continuing almshouses. 

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Hampton Court Palace

From London Waterloo to Hampton Court you can arrive at Hampton Court Palace in about 35 minutes. The train station is a five minute walk from the palace and trains run every half an hour. Tickets to the palace cost GBP 29 during peak and GBP 26.30 off peak.

The palace was King Henry VIII's residence on the River Thames. The earliest sections are Tudor and date from the late 15th century. It was rebuilt during the reign of William II in a baroque style providing a unique mixture of architectural styles blended together beautifully. The palace provides art treasures, beautiful courtyards, the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze, the Royal Tennis Courts, as well as more than 60 acres of gardens. 

Hampton Court Palace
@elizabethrickert
This palace is most famously known for it's relationship to Henry VIII. A visit there involves discussion about the Tudors and William and Mary. Additionally, you can spend hours strolling the gorgeous gardens! You can easily spend a whole day here. The palace is about 40 minutes outside of London.
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Brighton

The journey to Brighton takes about 1 hour and leaves from London Bridge station. As a beach town Brighton is best in the warm months. A few highlights include:

- Spot the street art on Trafalgar Street and North Laine

- Participate in vintage shopping in North Laine

- Visit the Royal Pavilion, George IV seaside retreat

- Walk along Brighton Palace Pier

- Lounge on Brighton Beach and Seafront

- Explore Brighton's West Pier and Bandstand

- Photograph and admire the Hove Beach Huts

This is one of the easiest beach fronts to visit from London in the summer!

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Harry Potter Studios

A visit to the Harry Potter Studios starts at London Euston. It's about a 20 minute journey from Euston station to Watford Junction. Once you arrive you'll see a shuttle bus. The bus journey is included as part of your entry ticket and takes about 15 minutes. The buses run at least every 30 minutes.

The tickets to the Harry Potter Studios cost GBP 51.50 and must be booked in advance. While at the studio you'll see the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Knight Bus, and props from the movie. You'll even be able to sip butter beer!

Harry Potter Studio Tour
@elizabethrickert
This all day activity takes you through the sets of Harry Potter. It’s a little outside of London but pretty easy to access. I highly recommend booking your tickets well in advance as this books up!
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Windsor Castle

One of the easiest ways to get to Windsor Castle is to take the direct train from London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside. This journey takes 55 minutes and generally runs every 30 minutes. The castle is located a five minute walk from the train station. Entry tickets, including an audio guide, cost GBP 30 day of and GBP 28 advance. The tour takes you through the staterooms and St. George's Chapel. 

Windsor Castle
@elizabethrickert
One of homes currently used by the royals this makes for a fun visit since you're able to see how the royal family presents themselves today.
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Rochester

A visit to Rochester starts at Victoria Station. The train ride takes about 40 minutes. The city is famous for its rich history, Charles Dickens connections, and high street. A few things to do in Rochester:

Charles Dickens Related Locations (Dickens lived in Rochester as both an adult and child):

- Shop at Baggins Book Bazaar, England's largest second-hand bookshop.

- Visit the Six Poor Travellers House, inspired the story The Seven Poor Travelers and is a free museum today.

- Tour Eastgate House, a historic home with Dickens connections.

- Peruse the Restorian House Gardens, inspiration for Miss Havisham's House in Great Expectations and housed King Charles II on his first night back on English soil when he went to reclaim the throne in 1660.

- Explore the Guildhall Museum including their Dickens exhibits.

Non-Dickens Related Locations:

- Tour the Rochester Cathedral founded in 604 and the second oldest cathedral in England.

- See the Textus Roffensis, the only existing copy of the first code of English law. It is located in the Rochester Cathedral.

- Visit the Rochester Castle founded in the 12th century. It is one of the tallest and best preserved keeps in England.

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Train Trips Within 1-2.5 Hours of London

Bath

The journey from London to Bath starts at Paddington Railway Station and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Bath holds over two-thousand years of history and there is plenty to do there! A few highlights include:

- Visit the Pulteney Bridge

- Tour the Roman Baths, the most famous Roman baths in England and the namesake of the city

- Relax at the Thermae Spa andtake a dip in the geothermal pools

- Explore Bath Abbey, founded in the 7th century

- Stroll Green Street for shopping

- Learn more about Bath's most famous author at the Jane Austen Centre

- Admire the Royal Crescent, one of the best preserved Georgian buildings and a famous filming location

- Peruse the markets of Bath

- Take a boat ride on the River Avon

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Bristol

A visit to Bristol starts at London Paddington Railway Station and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Bristol offers a more cool and edgy day trip option. A few of the visit highlights include:

- Visit the Bristol Cathedral, originally constructed in the 13th century it was reconstructed in 1877

- Admire the views from Cabot Tower, 19th century tower commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first sailing of John Cabot from Bristol to Canada

- Explore the SS Great Britain, historic passenger steamship currently operating as a museum

- Find Bristol's Street Art, the city has amazing street art and is the hometown of the legendary Banksy

- Enjoy St Nicholas Market, great place to stop for lunch,

- Peruse Wapping Wharf, renovated shipping containers that are home to restaurants, shops, and artists' spaces

- Explore M Shed, museum depicting a holstic view of life in Bristol

- Enjoy Bristol's craft beer scene

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York

The direct trian from London to York takes about two hours from London's King's Cross Station. The town of York is a medieval English city is rumored to be the most conquered city. A few of the things to do here:

- Walk the city walls, originally built by the Romans they are the longest medieval town walls in England

- Visit the JORVIK Viking Center to learn more about the viking's settlement in York

- See the National Railway Museum to understand England's historic impact on the transportation industry

- Take a tour of York's Chocolate Story including a delicious tasting

- Explore the York Art Gallery

- Enjoy a classic British afternoon tea at Betty's

- Stroll through the Shambles, a narrow medieval street thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley

- Visit the York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in England built in 637 AD

- Go on a ghost tour in one of England's most haunted cities

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For more information on a visit to York, see my 5 days in York Itinerary: 

Dover

The train from London St Pancras International to Dover takes a little over 1 hour. Dover is historically rich and famous for its gorgeous coastline. A few of the most popular things to do are:

- Dover Castle, originally built as a fortification in the 11th C is in remarkable shape,

- White Cliffs of Dover, these will need to be reached by taxi from the city of Dover. They are an iconic landmark for England as a symbol of coming home and war time defence

- Fan Bay Deep Shelter, World War II Tunnel Complex you can explore

- South Foreland Lighthouse, a Victorian lighthouse built to warn mariners of shifting sands and guide them through the Strait of Dover

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Bourton-On-The-Water

The train from London Paddington to Bourton-on-the-Water takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. This town is a charming village in the Cotswolds with traditional stone buildings and quaint cottages. A day in town can include: 

- Visit Bourton-on-the-Water's famous Birdland Park

- Explore the Dragonfly Maze,

- Admire the Model Village, an exact replica of the town

- Tour the Cotswolds Motoring Museum

- Eat a meal or two at one of the many pubs

- Take a walk on one of the trails throughout the city

- Enjoy a paddle down the River Windrush

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Moreton-in-Marsh

The average journey time from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh by train is 1.5 hours. This classic Cotswold town provides a relaxing day for long walks, boutique shopping, and visit to classic English pubs. 

A few highlights include: 

- The Cotswold Tearoom for a traditional English cream tea

- Batsford Arboretum, a spectacular garden with England's largest private collection of trees and shrubs

- Sezincote House, an Indian palace set in pretty gardens 

- Bourton House Gardens, a famous three-acre garden surrounding an 18th Century manor house

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Canterbury

The train journey from London St Pancras to Canterbury takes a little over 1 hour. This town was first made famous over 1,000 years ago by pilgrims traveling here to visit the Saint Thomas shrine. It was again memoralized by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 

A day trip to this town can include: 

- Visit Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Europe during the medieval ages

- Vusut Westgate Gardens, one of the oldest and most scenic parks in England

- Westgate Towers Canterbury, well preserved medieval gatehouse on Canterbury's high street

- The Old Weaver's House, one of Canterbury's most iconic buildings 

- Canterbury River Cruise down the River Stour

- Crooked House of Canterbury, 17th century crooked house also known as Sir John Boy's House 

- Canterbury Roman Museum, a museum about Roman Canterbury outlining Roman Britain

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Stonehenge

To get from London to Stonehenge, take the train from London Waterloo to Salisbury (approx. 1 hour and 25 minutes) and then the bus to Stonehenge (about 35 minutes). 

Stonehenge has a visitors center outling the history of the site before taking visitors to the famous rocks. Entrance to the museum and site cost GBP 29 during peak and GBP 26 standard. Stonehenge offers a discount for booking online. 

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This is located just outside of London but any respectable Londoner has made the trek. This ancient sight is worth a visit! Stonehenge is only free on the solstice and that’s also the only day you can walk next to the stones. If you’re committed to see Stonehenge up close and personal than this would be the way to do it!
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Liverpool

Trains from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street take 2 hours and 21 minutes. Liverpool was put on the map through its iconic connections to pop culture (aka the Beatles!) and history. 

For one day in Liverpool, here are a few highlights: 

- Liverpool Cathedral, the biggest Anglican Cathedral in Europe

- Royal Albert Dock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains cafes, shops, restaurants, and bars

- National Maritime Museum, houses a permanent exhibit on the Titantic

- International Slavery Museum, highlights the uglier side of the city's maritime expansion

- Tate Gallery, perfect for modern art lovers

- Beatles Story, museum following the story of the Beatles rise to global stardom

- White Star Line HQ, the former headquarters of the company that owned the Titanic

- Anfield, Tour the field of Liverpool Football Club one of the UK's most successful teams

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Leeds

A journey to Leeds starts at London King's Cross and takes 2.5 hours. This university town has become a student-hub making it budget friendly. 

A few activities for a day trip could include: 

- Vintage shopping at Leeds Corn Exchange

- Leeds Art Gallery, variety of art that is regularly rotated

- Kirkstall Abbey, 850-year-old ruins of an ancient monastery

- Henry Moore Institute, one of the largest sculpture gallery spaces in Europe 

- Leeds City Museum, provides a space to discover the natural world

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Manchester

A trip to Manchester takes a little over two hours leaving from London Euston Station. Manchester is one of England's most famous industrial cities and has heavily influenced the world's music scene. 

A few things to do during a Manchester include: 

- Tour the Manchester United or Manchester City stadiums

- Visit the National Football Museum

- John Rylands Library, one the city's most beautiful buildings and a must for literary lovers 

- Manchester's Central Library, a gorgeous library both inside and out

- Manchester Cathedral, one of England's smaller cathedrals but exceptionally beautiful exceptionally inside

- Historic City Center, wander around the city center to visit places like Albert Square, Piccaddilly Gardens, Cinatown, Castlefield Conservation Area, Affleckks, and Arndale

- Manchester Museums like the Science and Industry Museum or the Imperial War Museum

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Whitstable

A journey from London St Pancras to Whitstable takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you're looking for a day on the seaside, consider Whitstable. 

A few things to do on the day out include: 

- Whitstable Harbour, this working harbour offers the opportunity to get out on the water with a mixture of boat trips on offer. 

- Colorful Beach Huts, the iconic beach huts are a great spot to walk around and take in the seaside vibes

- Whitstable Beach, this is a pebble beach with plenty of room for all visitors

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Brussels, Belgium

For an international day trip take a journey to Brussels, Belgium! This journey is a little under 2 hours from London St. Pancras. A reminder - now that the UK has left the EU, visitors need to arrive about an hour before their train time to go through passport and customs check. 

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is famous for its food and connection to the EU. A few fun things to do on your day trip include: 

- Visit Spy Manneken Pis, the most famous statue in Brussels 

- See the Grand Place, includes the City Hall and the Maison du Roi which now houses the Brussels City Museum

- Visit the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, shopping arcades with chocolate shops, boutiques, and bookshops

- Wander the Mont des Arts district, the historic area offers a birds eye view of Brussels and features the Royal LIbrary of Belgium and the Congress Palace of Brussels

- Visit the Brussels Cathedral, church built between the 11th and 15th centuries

- If you visit in the summer, tour the Palais de Bruxelles (the Royal Palace of Brussels)

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Paris, France

A direct train from London St Pancras to Paris takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Since you're traveling to the EU, you'll need to budget about an hour for the passport and customs check. This still leaves you plenty of time to see a drop of Paris. A few things to see on a quick day in France's capitol city: 

- The Eiffel Tower, as the most iconic symbol of Paris I think it's pretty self explanatory as to why it's worth a stop

- Notre-Dame Cathedral, medieval Catholic cathedral in the heart of Paris

-Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris honoring those who fought during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars

- Sacre Coeure, located at the summit of the butte of Montmarte the basilica overlooks the entire city of Paris

- Musee de l'Orangerie, world class art museum contains many amazing pieces but if you're short on time it's worth a visit just to see Monet's waterlillies 

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Lille, France

The fastest international train journey from London, at least on this list, is to Lille, France. From London St. Pancras the trip takes you an hour and 22 minutes. Lille is fairly small and compact so most the major attractions are accessible on foot. The Flemish city is characterized by its unique Flanders style of architecture and smattering of UNESCO world heritage sits. A few things to do during your day in Lille: 

- Climb Beffroi de Lille, the 104 metre tall bell tower and UNESCO World Heritage site

- Visit the Porte de Paris, a triumphal arc in city center celebrating the victories of Louis XIV

- Tour the Palais des Beaux Arts, a cultural space dedicated to fine arts, mmodern art, and antiquities

- Visit the Grand Palace, regal building constructed in the Flanders style fashion

- Shop at the Old Bourse book market, this market is open throughout the year from Tuesday through Sunday between 1:00pm and 7:00pm

- Tour the Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral, a modern and ecclesistical building 

- Have a drink in the Place aux Oignons, an attractive square in the heart of Lille

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How to book train tickets in the UK: 

There's an unusual number of scam websites for booking train tickets in the UK, which creates the problem of knowing whether you're actually on a reputable website. A personal favorite train ticket website for me is thetrainline.com. They provide valuable information on the routes and are easy to use. 

If you're debating between first-class and standard-class tickets, there is not much of a difference on short trains. If the ride is under an hour - save your money. If the ride is over an hour, the train will serve you a meal and beverage. I only consider booking first class if the difference in ticket is equivalent to the meal I will receive. 

If you are living in the UK and under the age of 30 or over the age of 60, investing in a railcard may make sense for you. This provides discounts on all train rides throughout the UK, including tube rides in London. 

If you've enjoyed this guide on day trips from London by train please share, write a review, or leave a tip! Thank you!

If you would like guidance on how to pick the right day trip for you or on how to incorporate one of these day trips into your next trip to London, please consider booking a 30 minute consultation appointment. I'd love to help!

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CURATED BY
Drawing from my rich experiences exploring over forty countries across the globe, I offer unparalleled insights and invaluable advice to fellow travelers seeking unforgettable adventures. Whether you're planning a leisurely getaway, an off-the-beaten path expedition, or a cultural immersion, my diverse expertise ensures personalized recommendations tailored to your preferences. From hidden gems to iconic landmarks, let me and my guides, assist you on your journeys and provide you with adventures filled with discovery, authenticity, and unforgettable moments.
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