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10 of the Top Day Trips From London

From Stonehenge to the White Cliffs of Dover, some of England’s best destinations lie within day-trip distance of the British capital.
Hi, I'm Zoë!

Zoë Smith is a British travel writer, editor, and digital content creator who has lived, worked, and traveled over six continents, and is currently based near Nantes, France. She has written for Rough Guides, CNN, and Culture Trip, and is digital editor at FrenchEntrée.

With epic coastline, verdant countryside, and storied cities all within easy reach, London’s day trip options are as varied as the capital itself. Follow in the footsteps of monarchs and movie icons, discover knockout views along the south coast, or check out some of England’s headline acts, from Stonehenge to Shakespeare’s birthplace. Whether you prefer a history-loaded castle or a cross-Channel adventure, these recommendations offer plenty of day-trip inspiration.

1. Stonehenge

stonehenge, large rocks arranged in a circle, in the south of england
Stonehenge is one the most popular day trips from London.Photo Credit: Mr Nai / Shutterstock

88 miles (142 kilometers) from London

The brooding monoliths of Stonehenge have long captured the imagination of the British public, standing watch over the Wiltshire countryside since Neolithic times. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and spiritual stomping ground of hippies and druids, Stonehenge remains one of the country’s biggest mysteries, with multiple theories as to its origins. Book round-trip transport from London to explore the site independently or combine it with a visit to the Roman spa town of Bath on a day tour.

2. Harry Potter Studios

The Great Hall set from the Harry Potter films at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London.
Of course, you can't miss the chance to visit the Warner Bros. Studios.Photo Credit: Dasian / Shutterstock

21 miles (34 kilometers) from London

Everyone’s favorite fictional wizard has long been adopted as an honorary Londoner, with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour one of the capital’s most popular family attractions. Located in nearby Hertfordshire, it’s easy to combine tickets with round-trip transport from London. On arrival, lose yourself in the wizarding world as you explore Ministry of Magic and Diagon Alley movie sets, try out real costumes and props from the films, and sip a pint of Butterbeer.

3. Windsor

windsor castle
Windsor Castle, an icon of English history.Photo Credit: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

23 miles (37 kilometers) from London

From its early days as a William the Conqueror–built wooden fortress to its more recent role as the wedding venue of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Windsor Castle is ingrained in British history. Discover the legacy of the world’s largest and oldest occupied castle and visit the royal town on a half-day tour, explore at your own pace with a private driver, or stop by on a wider tour of the region, calling at local landmarks like Bath, Lacock, and Stonehenge.

4. Blenheim Palace

blenheim palace and its garden
Blenheim Palace has been used as a filming location for many popular shows.Photo Credit: Inga Kebleryte / Shutterstock

65 miles (105 kilometers) from London

One of Oxfordshire’s grandest estates, Blenheim Palace is best known as the birthplace of British icon and wartime leader Winston Churchill. Peek inside the UNESCO World Heritage–listed palace on a guided tour and enjoy access to the Churchill Exhibition and Capability Brown–designed gardens. To make the most of limited time, look out for full-day trips that include a visit to the Cotswolds, a traditional pub lunch, and a visit to Bampton village, where the popular TV series Downton Abbey was filmed.

5. Stratford-upon-Avon

tudor-style half-timber buildings and a stone tower
Birthplace of the Bard, Stratford-upon-Avon.Photo Credit: Dave Knibbs / Shutterstock

104 miles (167 kilometers) from London

The timber-fronted houses, thatched-roof cottages, and medieval lanes of Stratford-upon-Avon make a fitting hometown for history’s most famous wordsmith. Visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare and wander the streets that inspired his young mind on a guided tour of Shakespeare's Houses and Gardens, including Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. (No, not that one.) Day tours from London often also visit Oxford or the Cotswolds, offering a wider perspective of England’s rural gems.

6. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
One of the coolest castles in England, Warwick Castle is well-worth the trip.Photo Credit: St. Nick / Shutterstock

98 miles (158 kilometers) from London

If you’re tempted to write off Warwick Castle as just another castle, think again. On the banks of the River Avon, this medieval marvel has been transformed into a historical theme park where you can dress up in traditional costumes, watch jousting tournaments and battle reenactments, and delve into dungeons. Visit on a guided tour from London to get an intimate glimpse of the battlements, towers, armory, and more.

7. Kent

canterbury cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral is just one of Kent's star attractions.Photo Credit: Alexey Fedorenko / Shutterstock

40 miles (64 kilometers) from London

Patchwork farmlands give way to white-chalk cliffs and sandy beaches in the home county of Kent, the rural retreat of choice for many Londoners. Take in the regional highlights of Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle, and the White Cliffs of Dover on a day trip from London or hire a driver for the day to create your own personalized tour of the "Garden of England."

8. Cambridge

University of Cambridge buildings across a river
The University of Cambridge makes for an easy day out from London.Photo Credit: Pajor Pawel / Shutterstock

61 miles (98 kilometers) from London

Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of literary legends and Nobel Prize winners, go punting on the River Cam, or admire centuries-old architecture, there’s plenty to do in the university city of Cambridge. Visit the famous university colleges, Fitzwilliam Museum, and Cambridge Market on a guided tour, or check off two of the world’s most revered academic institutions on one tour with a day trip to Oxford and Cambridge.

9. Cardiff

red brick pierhead building along the cardiff waterfront
The Pierhead Building in Cardiff.Photo Credit: Billy Stock / Shutterstock

150 miles (240 kilometers) from London

For a change of scenery—and country—skip over the Welsh border and spend a day discovering the capital of Wales. Cardiff has everything you might want from a city: a medieval castle, a buzzing waterfront, impressive architectural landmarks, and great shopping (hence its nickname, the "City of Arcades"). It’s small enough to take in the highlights on a day trip from London, while Whovians can even tag on a tour of the city’s Doctor Who filming locations.

10. Paris

the arc de triomphe in Paris, France
The Arc de Triomphe is an icon of the French capital.Photo Credit: Jakub Barzycki / Shutterstock

470 miles (756 kilometers) from London

Postcard views, freshly baked pain-au-chocolat, and the world’s most-visited art museum—the Louvre, of course—can be found just a train ride from London. Hop on the Eurostar at St. Pancras International, then spend the day sightseeing, shopping, and munching colorful macarons around the streets of Paris. Adventure solo on a self-guided day tour, take a small-group guided tour to tick off the top sights with ease, or spoil yourself on a luxury tour that includes Champagne lunch at the Eiffel Tower.

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