London is the first place most people think of when holidaying in the United Kingdom, and it is undoubtedly an incredible place to visit. But, if you are planning a week or two in the UK and are staying in the capital city, try to leave a few days free for some trips to explore other wonderful destinations in England (and possibly further afield). This article will suggest ten great day trips for you to consider, all of which are no more than an hour and a half away by train:
1. Windsor, Berkshire
With its magnificent castle (which is the main private home of our Royal Family, who take their name from the town) Windsor is a delightful destination. Sitting on a peaceful stretch of the River Thames, its great shops and restaurants make it a a great place to visit, especially in the summer.
2. Canterbury, Kent
A historic city with so many choices for visitors that a day might not be enough! River trips, a Cathedral, a castle, and The Canterbury Tales attraction are just a few of the things you can do here.
3. Leeds Castle, nr Maidstone, Kent
Leeds Castle is quite possibly the most beautiful castle in the UK. Many events are held here, and it is set in extensive parkland. There is a lot to see and do and tickets are valid for a year so you can return as many times as you like.
Just over an hour on the train from London, Brighton is a vibrant seaside resort. Great for kids, with amusements and rides on the pier, and for shoppers, clubbers and fans of history, culture and the arts too.
Oxford is a beautiful historic city with many interesting sights, and is well known for being home to England’s oldest University. Go punting on the river, picnic in the grounds of a historic college, take an open top bus ride around the city, shop ’til you drop or have a drink and watch the world go by.
Yes, Paris! The journey time is a little longer than the others on the list, but the Eurostar from St Pancras International station will get you into the centre of Paris in just two hours. Book in advance to get the best prices, but in terms of time it is definitely do-able in a day. Lille in France is also reachable on the Eurostar, and Belgium’s capital, Brussels, isn’t much further.
7. Epping Forest, Essex
Epping Forest may not be an obvious choice but it is a beautiful location for walking or horse riding. The best station to go to is Chingford. From there it is only half a mile to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, built by Henry VIII. The Lodge is not always open to the public, so if you want to see it, check before you go.
Home to England’s other famous University, Cambridge offers similar attractions to Oxford, and is less than an hour from London if you get the fast train. The city’s Fitzwilliam Museum contains large collections of Egyptian, Roman and Greek antiquities, and the 15th century King’s College Chapel, known for its world-famous choristers, is another favourite of visitors.
9. St Albans, Hertfordshire
With a stunning cathedral, some lovely shops, restaurants and cafes, and a beautifully restored independent cinema as well as Roman remains, this small city is easily accessible from London and worth spending at least half a day in.
10. Winchester, Hampshire
Another historic city with a wide range of attractions, independent retailers, and acres of beautiful parkland close by. Certainly worth adding to your itinerary if you have time.
A guest writer on the Londoneer, Esther is a financial journalist and writer. She spends most of her days blogging about umbrella companies and taxes but loves to travel around Europe exploring new destinations in her spare time.