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Emily
Ann Arbor

England, London

Best cities in England to visit by train from London?

I'll be arriving to London from Paris through the tube.  I'll be there for a couple of weeks, so once there, I would like to venture outside of London for a couple day trips or overnight trips.  What other nice towns are there to visit that are good to get to by train?  I love rustic towns, and towns with cute main streets and lots of cultures, but am really open to any ideas!


19 Answers

top answer by
Daniel from Wiesbaden

Hi Emily,

Cambridge (England) and Oxford are both only a 1h train ride from London (from King's Cross station and Paddington Station respectively). They are both worth visiting and have a very special atmosphere due to the academic institutions located there.

If you visit Oxford, you could prolong your trip to visit the Cotswolds, especially Broadway (England), which is a beautiful little town just like you described. Nearby is also Stratford-upon-Avon, which has the famous Shakespeare Theatre Company, in case you're interested in a little culture.

In the south, I can recommend Lulworth Cove, which is a place that will blow your mind. You can make fantastic walks here. It's about a 2 h train ride from London.


Enjoy!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)
  2. Oxford (attraction)
  3. King's Cross station (attraction)
  4. Paddington Station (attraction)
  5. Broadway (England) (city)
  6. Stratford-upon-Avon (city)
  7. Lulworth Cove (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Lindsey from Gilbertsville, New York

The tube isn't expensive, get a day pass or longer and you'll be good to go there! The train -can- be expensive but I'm the grand scheme of things it isnt the worst mode of travel.  

 

I would visit Cambridge (England) and Bury St. Edmunds, I lived in bury for a few years and would always recommend a visit to anyone, it's quaint but has the bustle of a decent sized town. If you have the chance get a ticket to a show at the royal theater while you're there. If you have time I'd also venture out to the coast!!  

 

As for places to go outside yet near London I'd consider Hampton Court Palace, it's right outside of London and steeped in history, Bath to see the Roman Baths, and if it fascinates you spend a hour or two at Stonehenge (I never "got" Stonehenge personally but a lot of people are very fascinated by it).  

 

Tourist traps in London that are totally worth it: Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and Harrods!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)
  2. Bury St. Edmunds (city)
  3. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  4. Roman Baths (attraction)
  5. Stonehenge (attraction)
  6. Covent Garden (attraction)
  7. Westminster Abbey (attraction)
  8. London Eye (attraction)
  9. Harrods (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Lizzy from Winchester, Hampshire

For a day trip it is well worth heading to Winchester, it is the old capital of England and was home to King Alfred, and only 1 hour from London! It is a small city with lots of old English architecture, small street cafes, little boutiques and LOTS of culture! Try food at The Mucky Duck or Ginger Two. Best cocktails at No. 5 Bridge Street, and amazing lunch spot The Square. Hope this helps!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Winchester (city)
  2. The Mucky Duck (restaurant)
  3. Ginger Two (restaurant)
  4. No. 5 Bridge Street (restaurant)
  5. The Square (attraction)
3 thankscomments (2)


answered first by
Michelle from Melbourne

Train travel inside England can be really expensive. You may wish to consider some of the bus lines instead. If you're comfortable driving on the other side of the road from what you're used to, I'd hire a car for maximum flexibility and I still think it would work out cheaper than the train system! In terms of places to go that aren't too far from London, perhaps Oxford, Cambridge (England), Bath or maybe Portsmouth. Of course there are some wonderful day trips, such as to Hampton Court Palace or perhaps Stonehenge (although that's a bit further out).


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
  2. Cambridge (England) (city)
  3. Bath (city)
  4. Portsmouth (city)
  5. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  6. Stonehenge (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Matthew from Hartlepool

Brighton (England)is a short train ride away, and is a really fun, traditional English seaside town with lots to do, but also some really nice upmarket bars and restaurants.


Oxford would tick the "quaint" box - historic university town, easy to get to from London, and really quintessentially English.


Further afield, if you wanted to see the north of the country, York is another historic town with a beautiful cathedral in the centre, and is close to some brilliant countryside if you want to venture out into the North York Moors National Park or the Yorkshire Dales (location seems to set itself as Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre). 


Or completely different to the traditional English town, Manchester (United Kingdom) is brilliant city, again in the North, a nice change from London - more down-to-earth and with an attitude all of its own. 


Have fun!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brighton (England) (city)
  2. Oxford (attraction)
  3. York (city)
  4. North York Moors National Park (attraction)
  5. Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre (attraction)
  6. Manchester (United Kingdom) (city)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Kumail from London

Brighton (England) seems like the place you want, though I may be biased (I went to university there), it is an amazing town. 50min train south from London. Oxford and Cambridge (England) would also probably be worthy candidates that are reasonably close.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brighton (England) (city)
  2. Oxford (attraction)
  3. Cambridge (England) (city)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Benjeev from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hi Emily,

I'd highly recommend visiting Cambridge (England) for the day. It's about 45mins by train from Kings Cross (tickets range from £14 up to £28 for a day return, check out www.nationalrail.co.uk for information on train schedules).

As it's a university town, it's a fantastic place to just walk around and soak in the atmosphere. Make sure to go punting down the river while you're there! If you're with friends, I'd highly recommend buying some drinks and food from a grocery store (there's a Sainsbury's near where the punts start), rent your own punt and just cruise for 2-3 hours. Really great way to see the colleges as a lot of them are placed along the river.

Oh and take some time out to have a pint at the The Eagle Cambridge. Fantastic place steeped in history (it's where Francis Crick and James Watson announced that they had discovered DNA)!

Hope you enjoy your trip!




Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)
  2. Kings Cross (neighborhood)
  3. The Eagle Cambridge (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Lissa from Boston

Lots of good answers but you can also skip the train and take a boat ride up the river to Greenwich, where you can visit the Maritime Greenwich and the Royal Observatory, where you can stands along the Greenwich Mean Time. More nautical/British Naval history can be explored in Portsmouth, a few hours by train. Also available via train is the quaint town of Salisbury (England), which is home to the lovely Salisbury Cathedral.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Greenwich (attraction)
  2. Maritime Greenwich (attraction)
  3. Royal Observatory (attraction)
  4. Portsmouth (city)
  5. Salisbury (England) (city)
  6. Salisbury Cathedral (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Dabs from Chicago

There are so many, my favorites are:

Bath with it's beautiful Georgian architecture, it's connection to Jane Austen, the fabulous Roman baths, you could easily spend a day or two here

York is a beautiful walled city about 2 hours from London, I'd love to overnight there sometime and do a ghost tour

Warwick (England) has one of the most fabulous castles I've seen, in the summer they have lots of extra things but even in the winter, it's a beautiful place to visit

Edinburgh if you can do an overnight, I think it's about 4 hours by train and has lots to visit, the castle, the Royal Mile, lots of museums

Windsor is one of the easiest, just an 1/2 hour outside of London.  The castle is the main draw but the town is lovely and you can visit nearby Eaton

Hampton Court Palace is another easy one, the only real draw there is the Palace which was built for Cardinal Wolsey and "gifted" to Henry VIII when he decided that he wanted it

Hever has the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, it's a bit of work to get there from the train station, I did it on foot but it was a good 1/2 hour walk

Arundel is another lovely town, I liked the town almost as much as the castle

Oxford is a well known university town, if you make the trek out there see if Blenheim Palace is open, it is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.  It was a quick bus ride from Oxford

Eltham Palace and Gardens is another that is a short train ride from London, the interior was redone in art deco style which is one of my favorites so I really enjoyed that.  A short walk from the train station.

Chatsworth House Trust, not sure how easy or hard this is to do on a train, we rented a car this summer and visited here, Lyme Park, Highclere Castle and a bunch of other places. Chatsworth is where they filmed one of the Pride and Prejudice movies (and "Death at Pemberly" which was just on PBS last night) and Lyme Park is where they filmed the other "Pride and Prejudice".  And Highclere is where they film Downton Abbey


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. York (city)
  3. Warwick (England) (city)
  4. Edinburgh (city)
  5. Windsor (city)
  6. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  7. Hever (city)
  8. Arundel (city)
  9. Oxford (attraction)
  10. Blenheim Palace (attraction)
  11. Eltham Palace and Gardens (attraction)
  12. Chatsworth House Trust (attraction)
  13. Lyme Park (attraction)
  14. Highclere Castle (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Julie from York

Hi Emily

for an overnight trip, head north to York. You'll find a walled city, a huge Minster, loads of Tudor buildings, and a vibrant cafe, dining and bar scene.book your tickets from London in advance though, as they can be pricey. Trains fake around 2 hours from Kings Cross. Enjoy!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. York (city)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Jaleh from Baltimore

I would agree with Michelle, taking the trains can become really expensive really quickly. Just taking a train for a half hour ride to a nearby town can cost about 7 pounds or more each way. That being said, some of the nearby towns that I've visited and enjoyed are OxfordHampton Court Palace, and Cambridge (England). Those would be my top three, but there are so many things to do in London that you could spend most of your time in the city and still not see everything.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
  2. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  3. Cambridge (England) (city)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Adam from Southampton

Hello Emily!

Oxford down south is pretty nice, lots of rich culture down there. Further south is Southampton which is one of the big ports of england with lots of things to see. A longer train ride could take you into Wales, Cardiff is a very nice city but there is a straight train to chester which is one of my favourite cities in the u.k :D


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
  2. Southampton (hotel)
  3. Wales (country)
  4. Cardiff (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Doon from North Sydney

Try Bath which is a beautiful old village and Brighton (England) is very cool right now.  Blackpool is a bit of a journey but it is so campy and fun with its old seaside vibe its worth the visit.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. Brighton (England) (city)
  3. Blackpool (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Abbie from Kingston, Rhode Island

When I was in England I spent a few days in Oxford.  It has a small-town feel while you're surrounded by historic sites and some of the best schools.  It's really an amazing place to walk around, discover local pubs, and even hop on a ghost tour! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Jonathan from Sint-Agatha-Rode

Definitely check out Bath - great culture, beautiful sights, roman baths, friendly nightlife and you can get everywhere by foot!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Anna-Fee from Freiburg im Breisgau

I'm actually quite surprised that no one suggested Canterbury yet. It takes a bit over one hour to get there by train from London. I lived in Canterbury for quite some time and in my opinion it's the cutest little English town. Brick houses, small streets, tea rooms, handmade fudge stores, a little river and old city gates make this a very attractive and picturesque town. So much Englishness there! Canterbury has really everything you'd expect from a prototypical English town. And you shouldn't miss the spectacular Canterbury Cathedral! If you go there feel free to ask me for some insider tips. ;-) 

Also, Brighton (England) is quite close to London. I've only been there once but I immediately fell in love with that city. It has a nice maritime atmosphere and a very diverse cultural scene. There's plenty to see and do but even a long walk along the beach is worth a trip to Brighton. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Canterbury (city)
  2. Brighton (England) (city)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Adam

Bath is an easy trip by train from London and you will get to experience a beautiful small city - make time to visit The Crescent


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. London (city)
  3. The Crescent (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Tonco from London

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
  2. Cambridge (England) (city)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Cassandra from London

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. Oxford (attraction)
  3. The Cotswolds (attraction)




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