London is a fantastic city, but it’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle every now and then. Fortunately, there are a fair few places easily accessible from the capital that aren't far away. That means you can be back in your humble abode with ease.
But where are these areas located? In this guide, we’re listing the best day trips from the capital. So read on and find out which towns, cities, villages and rural areas made the cut.
Brighton is the unofficial beach of London and perfectly combines retro seaside fun with progressive culture. Whether you’re walking along Palace Pier, chilling out on the cobbled beach, or wandering The Lanes, the upmarket shopping area, there’s a bit of something for everyone in this Sussex city.
And let’s not forget about the nightlife scene, which is one of the best in South England. Brighton is only 47 miles from London, and you can even get train tickets for as little as £10 if you book in advance.
If lush rolling greens and quaint villages float your boat, then you’re going to love the Cotswolds. It’s around 85 miles from London and features a range of beautiful villages like Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold.
Wander the different areas, admiring the pretty stone cottages before going for long country walks. Round your trip up by visiting one of the tea rooms or local country pubs for some seriously good food. Then head back down the M4 to London.
The New Forest
Escape from the city in The New Forest, an ancient woodland filled with beauty as far as the eye can see. A trip here is a release for Londoners who want to get away from the urban sprawl for a few hours, and you can enjoy walks with ponies, cattle and pigs in the scenic country settings.
There are plenty of villages to explore along the way, where you can visit independent boutiques and stop by local restaurants, cafes and pubs. You can drive to The New Forest or take the train from Waterloo.
The Kent countryside is a hop and a skip from London, but it’s not just rolling greens in this part of England. Deal is a seaside town that you can reach from King’s Cross St Pancras in a little under an hour-and-a-half.
Walk the Georgian streets and admire the postcard-perfect settings of this charming town with an exciting array of shops, cafes and galleries. Rummage through the Saturday Market for a gem or two before heading for a walk along the beach.
Sussex has proven to be a popular getaway for Londoners, and Lewes is among the best places you can visit in the county. It’s a quaint market town that sits among the backdrop of chalk hills and green peaks in the South Downs.
Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets at your own pace while visiting the independent shops that sell local craftsmanship, from jewellery to books and more. You’ll also find a selection of vintage shops and a cluster of restaurants serving everything from British classics to modern European dishes.
One of the UK’s most famous cities, Oxford is quintessentially British in its make-up. A visit here provides the chance to admire the beautiful architecture and see famous landmarks like Oxford University. Even the cinemas feature Palladian domes.
Head to the town centre for a spot of shopping and a bite to eat. And if you fancy staying overnight, you can sample the local nightlife of this university city at places like Fued Bar; a stained-glass church converted into a classy cocktail bar.
If one university city wasn’t enough for you, how about another one in Cambridge? It’s filled with picturesque sights, whether it’s the university itself or The Backs, an open space widely regarded as one of the best in the UK.
Cambridge isn’t all about the history and grand institutions, though. Over the years, it’s become a hotbed for tech companies in the bioscience space, and there’s an element of modernity to the city, with areas like Market Square brimming with independent boutiques and restaurants.
Surrey is super close to London, which makes the journey a breeze. There’s plenty to see and do here, including a visit to King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace, the Grayshott Health Spa set in 47 acres, and the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew.
Go for an upmarket meal at Sorrel in the town of Dorking. It’s a Michelin star restaurant with a seriously delicious menu. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more energising, spend a day thrill-seeking at Thorpe Park, a popular theme park in Surrey.
Escaping the city
In our opinion, it’s hard to beat the bright lights of London. But it’s nice to get away every now and then and discover something different. Plus, we remember just how much we love the capital when we get back. And if you’re looking to get away for the day, then any one of the options on our list will provide a great day trip experience.