Whether you’re a visitor from overseas wanting to see more than just London or you’re a UK citizen who wants to explore our great British Isles, day trips from London by train are a really easy way of seeing some of the best destinations. All of our recommendations are less than two hours from the Capital. Enjoy your ride!
Day trips from London by train
Home to Windsor Castle and her Majesty the Queen, Windsor and Eton is an easy half an hour journey on a fast train ride from London Paddington station. The Berkshire town that shares a name with the British monarchy offers plenty to do and see for Royal fans and lovers of everything English.
You can marvel at the castle which was built in 1070, take a walk in the delightful Windsor Great Park or head over a footbridge on the Thames to the charming village of Eton, home to the world-famous school that spawned twenty British Prime Ministers (including Boris). There are plenty of great places to eat and drink on the Thames and in Eton too.
Pretty Cambridge is an easy one hour, 19 minute journey from London Liverpool Street station. It’s a compact city so it’s easy to walk around and see the sights but if you like cycling, hire a bike and join the students as they pedal around town. Must-sees include the Gothic King’s College Chapel, the compact Fitzwilliam Museum and the university itself.
Book on to a tour that’s run by the students themselves and you’ll soon see why Cambridge University is one of the finest in the world. The city is also known for its charming riverside pubs so make sure you stop for a pint and admire the brave souls who take a punt down the river Cam.
Home to not one but two world famous universities, Oxford is loved by locals and visitors alike. With its perfectly preserved buildings in Cotswold stone and gleaming spires, it’s magical at any time of the year. The fast train journey from London Paddington to Oxford takes 52 minutes. Want to know what goes on at this world famous uni?
Then book on to a University tour, where the knowledgeable guides will take you round the best colleges and quads. On the tour you’re bound to see Hertford Bridge (famously known as ‘the Bridge of Sighs’) which links two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane. Museum geeks are in for a treat too with the wonderfully macabre archaeological Pitt Rivers Museum, which is home to some of the most shrunken heads in the world. One of our favourite sights is the Bodleian Library. Home to over 12 million items, it is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. There’s also plenty of places to eat and drink in this wonderful city – just stop and ask a student for their recommendations if you want to eat like a local.
In Victorian times Margate was one of the most popular seaside destinations for Londoners desperate to leave the city. In the 20th century it hit some hard times but now, thanks to an influx of young hipsters who have made it home, Margate is a thriving coastal town with a real energy. You can travel from three London stations to Margate (Victoria, Charing Cross and London St Pancras) with a fast train getting you there in an hour and a half.
British artist Tracy Emin hails from here and she recently moved back home. You can find some of her work in the trendy Turner Contemporary gallery which is right on the seafront. Nearby is the bustling Old Town, home to some great vintage stores, cake shops and pubs. On the seafront look out for the famous fish and chip shops, they’re excellent and very good value. And if you love all things kitsch don’t miss the chance to spend a couple of hours at Dreamland where you’ll find some great vintage fairground rides and plenty of candyfloss too.
Just over an hour from London Victoria by train, Brighton is one of the UK’s most popular seaside destinations, and you can see why. This compact city (which incorporates nearby Hove) boasts a busy beach, a Victorian Palace, the Brighton Pavilion, Kemptown, a great LGBT neighbourhood, cool boutique shops in the Lanes and some of the best restaurants and bars in the UK. There’s something for everyone here and it’s a great daytrip from London.