5 Day Trips to take from London
London may be the ultimate tourist destination, but it also makes an excellent base for exploring loads of additional sites and attractions around England. If you fancy a break from sightseeing in the city, carve out some room in your itinerary for one (or more!) of these great day trips from London!
With its idyllic thatched-roof cottages and tranquil riverside locale, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a calm countryside oasis famous for its connection with William Shakespeare. Several homes with direct ties to his life are still standing and open to the public. At Shakespeare’s Birthplace you can trace the footsteps of the famous playwright and get a feel for how he grew up. A mile down the road is Anne Hathaway’s idyllic countryside cottage, where Shakespeare courted his bride-to-be. Other notable sites in Stratford-Upon-Avon include Nash’s Croft, Hall’s Croft, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Getting there: Take the train from London Marylebone to Stratford-Upon-Avon (2 hrs.)
Just 30 minutes from Central London, Windsor Castle is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen and also holds the distinction of being the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. Originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, a tour of its magnificent interior takes you through opulent state apartments and semi-state rooms (Oct – Mar) where you’ll get a taste of life as a royal, both past and present.
Getting there: Trains run from London Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central via Slough (25 – 35 min.)
A definite crowd pleaser if you’ve got kids, Thorpe Park is a mere 20 miles from London and offers a full day of non-stop fun! Thorpe has 27 different rides to choose from, ranging from the new and family-friendly Angry Birds 4D experience, to pulse-pounding thrill rides like Nemesis Inferno, Colossus, and Saw – The Ride. The park also has you covered for food with several affordable eateries and cafes, so you can enjoy a full day of family fun without interruption.
Getting there: Take the train from Waterloo to Staines, and then board the Thorpe Park shuttle (1 hr.)
Set against the backdrop of rural Oxfordshire, Oxford is arguably England’s prettiest university town. Visitors can tour most of Oxford’s colleges, including Christ Church College of Harry Potter fame. The college’s Grand Hall was featured in the Harry Potter film franchise as Hogwart’s Hall, and Christ Church also boasts literary links to Alice in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll was a student at Christ Church and Alice was the Dean’s daughter. Hire a rowboat along Oxford’s beautiful canal and you’ll see where Carroll got his inspiration for Alice’s Wonderland.
Getting there: Trains run from London Paddington to Oxford (1 hr.)
Stonehenge and Bath
A combined trip to Stonehenge and Bath packs a lot of sightseeing into one day. Starting off with Stonehenge, you’ll get up close and personal with the mysterious prehistoric monument. The site also boasts a new visitor’s centre complete with museum-quality exhibits and artefacts. Moving on to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath, you can visit Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, or enjoy some time at one of the city’s relaxing day spas.
Getting there: Self-drive, or take one of the many coach tours departing from Central London
About the author
Cheylene Thongkham is a freelance writer and American expat living in London. She has a passion for all things travel and has spent the past four years exploring Europe and Asia. When she's not travelling Cheylene makes the most out of her London home base, discovering new neighbourhoods and hidden gems throughout the city. She blogs about her life in London at Girl in London and her travels at Wanderbliss