London is cool and all, but there’s a whole lot going on beyond the boundaries of the British capital. Being a transport hub, day trips from London are a breeze. You’ll be where you want to be in (almost) no time at all.
From coastal towns to historic haunts and plenty of green spaces outside the big smoke, here are just the 5 best day trips you could take from London.
In the southwest of the outskirts of the capital (Greater London, to be exact) is Hampton Court. Right on the boundary with leafy Surrey, this royal palace is a simple 40-minute train ride from Waterloo.
The palace has a picturesque spot on the Thames and is, understandably, a Grade I listed property. Due partly to the palace’s connection to the ever-famous King Henry VIII, but most so how stunning the place is. It’s old enough, that’s for sure, dating back to 1514.
You can tour the palace itself and lose your self in the gardens or sit back and have a picnic. You can also visit the nearby Royal Bushy Park. Head here to see deer roam freely.
Hop on a train from Victoria station, and you’ll be at the famous seaside city of Brighton within an hour. This much-loved coastal enclave is a haven for hippies, creatives, and a thriving LGBTQ+ community alike. Visiting here for the day is a must if you’re going to spend any time at all in London.
Here you can stroll along the seafront (watch out for seagulls – no, seriously), go shopping among the boutiques and vintage shops of the Lanes, lunch on vegan and vegetarian food, chill on the pebbly beach, gawp at the Indian-inspired Royal Pavilion, and try your luck at the arcades on Brighton Pier. Throw in a pub or two, and it’s the ideal day trip from London.
For a breath of fresh air, why not mosey on down to the New Forest? This national park is a 90-minute train ride from Waterloo, and it’s one of the largest remaining areas of forest and heathland in Southern England.
It’s also steeped in history. William the Conqueror made it a royal forest (that is, his personal hunting grounds) not long after the invasion of Britain in 1066, and it’s even mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. It might be called new, but it’s pretty old.
The natural beauty afforded by this London day trip cannot be overstated. Wild horses roam through the woods, ancient trees twist along hiking trails, and tea rooms dot the area – perfect for refreshment.
Being only 90-minutes away this stunning area is definitely one of the 5 best day trips from London.
Just west of London and also on the River Thames is the historic market town of Windsor. The town – and its famed castle, of course – was founded by that same old William the Conqueror. Since then, it has been home to 39 monarchs throughout the centuries.
You learn abouYou may recognize Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel from such royal events as Harry and Meghan’s wedding and Prince Philip’s funeral, among others. Fun fact – the castle is actually the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
As well as seeing the castle (when the Queen’s not in, of course), you can also stroll around Windsor Great Park – an aptly royal park that stretches for 2,020 hectares close to the castle. The heritage walk in the town itself takes you along the Thames, to Eton College, and past multiple historic buildings.
Also with royal connections – due to this being home to the Royal Navy – Portsmouth or “Pompey” can be reached in around two hours by train from London (driving is quicker, and easy, too). Once there, you’ll have the port city and its colorful history at your fingertips.
For one thing, you’ll be able to hop aboard the HMS Victory and see what life was like for the British Navy in the early 1800s. That’s pretty cool. Elsewhere you can get a bird’s-eye view of the city at Spinnaker Tower, shop till you drop at outlet mall heaven Gunwharf Quays, and check out a number of old-timey pubs.
If you get to Portsmouth early enough, you can hop on a ferry across the Solent and spend time exploring the countryside island that is the Isle of Wight. Not bad for a day trip from London!
So, have any of the 5 best day trips from London piqued your interests? Why not consider a working holiday with the UK Pub Co.