Drive      Fly      Stay      Login    Signup



Quaint day trips outside of London

What are some good day trips outside of London during the summer? I've been to Windsor and Oxford and loved them…. so, something along those lines but more of a quaint town that's not over touristy. I'm traveling with my friend. We like window shopping, hiking, museums/castles, we are pretty openminded. We love good food and company/meeting locals.

18 Answers

top answer by
Desiree from Kaohsiung

Everyone will say Brighton (England) but I hated Brighton, probably because of the high expectations set beforehand by everyone (London by the sea) and because I had already been to Eastbourne, which was so much better than Brighton and seemingly forgotten by the locals.

Eastbourne has Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters (white cliffs, gorgeous) trails located right in town. There's a lovely pebble beach and pier and boardwalk too. It's a bit sleepy but excellent for hiking and crowd-less seashore.

Bath is quaint and makes for a lovely day trip, especially for Jane Austen fans.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brighton (England) (city)
  2. Eastbourne (city)
  3. Beachy Head (attraction)
  4. Seven Sisters (attraction)
  5. Bath (city)
9 thanks

answered by
Dabs from Chicago

The easiest to get to is Hampton Court Palace, 1/2 hour outside of London by train.  This is the palace built by Cardinal Wolsey and then "gifted" to King Henry VIII when Henry developed a little palace envy.  Another place that is very close to London is Eltham Palace, the interior of which was redecorated in the Art Deco style.  If you get to either of these by train, print out a 2 for 1 coupon from the Days Out website.  A little further out, and not very well known, is the beautiful Arundel Castle, about 90 minutes outside of London by train.  Set in a lovely little town, it's well off the beaten path.  York is about 2 hours outside London by train, while there is no castle to visit, there is the York Minster, the city walls, the Shambles, one of my favorite daytrips from London.  Bath is certainly touristy but that shouldn't stop you from considering it, if you are fans of Jane Austen, it's almost a must.  You can have a lovely cream tea at the Pump Room, visit the Roman Baths, walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen.  Hever Castle is also a bit off the beaten path, it was Anne Boleyn's childhood home, then given to Henry's 4th wife, Anne of Cleves and eventually ending up in the hands of the Astor family.  I haven't been to Leeds Castle in quite a few years but that's another one to look at.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  2. Eltham Palace (attraction)
  3. York (city)
  4. York Minster (attraction)
  5. Bath (city)
  6. Hever Castle (attraction)
  7. Leeds Castle (attraction)
  8. Arundel Castle (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Erin from Kentucky

I really enjoyed Bath. I loved walked through the Roman Baths, extremely fascinating. The town is very visitor friendly. Lots of great little shops. I found several boutique with blankets, scarfs and sweater made locally. It made for a nice day trip outside of the city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. Roman Baths (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Oliver from Munich, Germany

If you liked Oxford you will love Cambridge (England). It's just about an hour up north from London by train. If the weather is nice you should definitely go Punting on the River Cam. Afterwards take a stroll trough the University Of Cambridge Tired of walking? Enjoy a great art house flick at the Arts Picturehouse

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)
  2. Punting on the River Cam (attraction)
  3. University Of Cambridge (attraction)
  4. Arts Picturehouse (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

It's pushing it to call this a day trip, but do NOT miss Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Gardens. It's not even an hour out of the city and super easy to get to by train and it's one of the most amazing things I think I've ever seen in my life. The grounds in and of themselves are breathtaking--add to that some of the most astonishing Victorian architecture you've ever seen in your life plus some of the most incredible flora and fauna (hello, below?!?) you've ever seen and you'll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place. I ended up here when my passport was stolen and I had to stay in town four extra days and it almost made me glad it happened (almost). My only complaint is that you can't bring seeds back into the States from the U.K. and it was actually painful to visit the gift shop and have to look at all these incredible seeds knowing I couldn't have any of them. Seriously, though, don't miss it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Gardens (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Joy from Berlin

If you want quaint and local, the village of Shere in Surrey makes a great day trip. It's tiny, picturesque, and what you'd imagine a quaint English countryside village to look like. The White Horse pub is a local staple, as it was built in the 1400s, and it's a great place to try a shandy. And if you've ever seen "The Holiday," the movie was filmed in Shere.

Birmingham (England) would also make a good day trip. It's not quaint, but it's a good city to get away from the crowds of London and check out a concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall.

I'll also second Bath. The Roman Baths are definitely cool to visit, if you're into history.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Birmingham (England) (city)
  2. Birmingham Symphony Hall (attraction)
  3. Bath (city)
  4. Roman Baths (attraction)
  5. The White Horse (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Shelly from Denver

Hi Kay:

One of my favorite places that's a train ride from London is Bath. I can't promise it won't be touristy but it's well worth it. After visiting the Roman Baths, it's a great place to walk around and enjoy the shops and restaurants. The locals are friendly and the homes and gardens are beautiful. I think it's even worth it to have a  bite to eat or tea at the Pump Room. Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. Roman Baths (attraction)
  3. Pump Room (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Thomas from London

Hey Kay,

If you enjoyed Oxford, you'll definitely love Cambridge (England), which I found even more impressive than Oxford. You should definitely try out the river punting if you go there!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Ken from Melbourne

You gotta go to Bath, such a beautiful city just 2 hours away from London by public transport. For shopping go to Bicester Village at Bicester 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
  2. London (city)
  3. Bicester (city)
  4. Bicester Village (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Lissa from Boston

Lots of great answers! OxfordBathHampton Court Palace Hotel... good choices! (I'd say skip Brighton (England) - it's over-rated.) However, missing from all the answers is Salisbury (England), which has a gorgeous Salisbury Cathedral that houses an original Magna Carta. En route, you can stop and visit Stonehenge, and if you want to explore on to the coast, visit Portsmouth. It has cool nautical and British Naval history.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)
  2. Bath (city)
  3. Hampton Court Palace Hotel (hotel)
  4. Brighton (England) (city)
  5. Salisbury (England) (city)
  6. Salisbury Cathedral (attraction)
  7. Stonehenge (attraction)
  8. Portsmouth (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Joel from Lincoln (England)

Give Lincoln (England) a try. It's a similar historic city to Oxford/Windsor but less known so won't be as touristy. Lots of lovely little boutiques to shop in and the stunning Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle to explore for your history fix.

Plus there's a great modern vibe in the lower part of the city for a great night out, like the Brayford Waterfront. Check out Visit Lincoln for more ideas.

It's a bit further out than Oxford but just two hours by train from London and definitely something unique to call home about!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lincoln (England) (city)
  2. Lincoln Cathedral (attraction)
  3. Lincoln Castle (attraction)
  4. Brayford Waterfront (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Tom from Chicago

Leeds Castle is a great day trip from London. It's not actually in Leeds and is probably a 1.5hr drive from London. You could also try Bath for the Roman Baths and cathedral or Cambridge (England). Canterbury is also a great option for the history and cathedral. Have Fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Leeds Castle (attraction)
  2. London (city)
  3. Bath (city)
  4. Roman Baths (attraction)
  5. Cambridge (England) (city)
  6. Canterbury (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Elizabeth from Ottawa

Canterbury is so worth the trip and take the guided tour of the cathedral - you won't regret it.  Also, Dover or Leeds Castle .  All one day do-able, but Hampton Court Palace and Bath are the top of the list (for me) :) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Canterbury (city)
  2. Dover (attraction)
  3. Leeds Castle (attraction)
  4. Hampton Court Palace (attraction)
  5. Bath (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Mary from Leicester

I'm not really sure what you mean by 'quaint'? 'Lots of history'? Almost all UK cities, towns and villages have very ancient roots and, if you seek their history, you'll generally find it. 

I'm also not sure what you mean by 'over-touristy'. Nowhere is deliberately created for 'tourists' (except places like The London Dungeon and similar) so perhaps you mean 'lots of other visitors? 

I assume you'll be using public transport? Train times, details and fares on the official United Kingdom site:

I'm afraid you are spoiled for daytrip choice. So, with those caveats in mind, off the top of my head and in no particular order:

Rochester (England): wonderful ancient cathedral & castle, lots of older buildings, strong links with Dickens.

Canterbury: superb ancient cathedral, lots of old buildings, city walls.

St Albans: yet another superb ancient cathedral, superb Roman remains including a theatre. 

Letchworth Garden City: somewhere completely different from the other places I've listed. First 'garden city', started in early 1900s, lots of interesting & varied architecture, plenty of green spaces plus black squirrels (yes, really). Plus the world's first roundabout (traffic circle) from 1909. :-)

Winchester: equally wonderful ancient cathedral, lots of ancient buildings, England's capital before London, good shopping & nice river walks.

Cambridge (England): ancient colleges, River Cam (walks & punting), excellent museums, 

Bath: Roman baths, Yellow-toned spa town, Medieval cathedral, lots of Georgian architecture, excellent shopping.

Brighton (England): seaside, shopping, exquisite Brighton Pavilion.

Salisbury (England): magnificent Medieval cathedral, old buildings, not particularly touristy, easy access to Stonehenge and Old Sarum (Iron Age hill-fort & site of Salisbury's castle and the first cathedral) using the hop-on bus which leaves from Salisbury railway station:

Moreton-in-Marsh: attractive Cotswolds town with interesting old buildings.

Stratford-upon-Avon: yes, of course there are often lots of visitors (it *is* Stratford!) but it has lots of old buildings, plus the Shakespeare element, plus riverside walks and good shopping.

Portsmouth: get the train to Portsmouth Harbour to visit the unique and wonderful Mary Rose MuseumHMS Victory, the rest of the historic Dockyards complex, the old sea defences and 'Old Portsmouth' itself. Good walks along the harbour, Gunwharf Quays 'outlet mall'. 

Norwich: superb ancient cathedral, castle (an excellent museum), riverside walks,  lots of ancient buildings & very good shopping.

York is a feasible daytrip with an early start. Superb Medieval Minster, city walls, Roman remains, lots of old buildings, excellent museums, river walks, excellent shopping.

And there are even more places.......

I'll shut up now. As I said, you really are spoiled for choice. Enjoy researching and making a decision! :-)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The London Dungeon (attraction)
  2. United Kingdom (country)
  3. Rochester (England) (city)
  4. Canterbury (city)
  5. St Albans (city)
  6. Letchworth Garden City (city)
  7. Winchester (city)
  8. Cambridge (England) (city)
  9. Bath (city)
  10. Brighton (England) (city)
  11. Brighton Pavilion (neighborhood)
  12. Salisbury (England) (city)
  13. Moreton-in-Marsh (city)
  14. Stratford-upon-Avon (city)
  15. Portsmouth (city)
  16. Portsmouth Harbour (attraction)
  17. Mary Rose Museum (attraction)
  18. HMS Victory (attraction)
  19. Gunwharf Quays (neighborhood)
  20. Norwich (city)
  21. York (city)

answered by
Sean from Hudson Valley

Hello Kay,

I would like to echo Ricky Abbott's suggestion of the Cotswold's towns. 

Formerly the sheep rearing center of England, it was left behind by the industrial revolution.  What remains is a series of wonderfully preserved English villages.  They are a beautiful collection of stately houses, modest thatched roof homes, small businesses, a number of small museums and delightful walking trails.

From London, rail service brings you to Moreton-in-Marsh in under an hour and forty five minutes.  From there, bus (coach) service can connect you to many of the other nearby villages, including Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stratford-upon-Avon and Chipping Campden.  Information about local bus service can be found at

Each town has it's own unique atmosphere and attractions.

  • Moreton-in-Marsh boasts the largest open-air market in the Cotswolds.
  • Chipping Campden is home to the wonderfully preserved High Street, and the remains of it's 14th century market.
  • Burton-on-the-Water incredibly picturesque; with it's canals.  It's also home to a delightful automobile museum.
  • Stratford-on-Avon is well known as the home of William Shakespeare, and, depending on the day, can get quite touristy.

Of course, if you're driving all the Cotswold is open to you. 

Since you've mentioned hiking, you'll be interested in knowing that the Cotswolds is home to an extensive series of walking trails.  Enjoyable in their own right, these trails also bring you to any number of smaller villages, some not served by public transport.  Amongst my favorites are Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Blockley and Burton-on-the-Hill.

One of the nicest things about the Cotswolds is that interacting with the locals is simple.  Just go into any pub, sit down and say hello (although the Black Bear Inn, in Moreton-in-Marsh is my favorite).

You can find tons of information, including attractions, maps, dining options, and other stuff at,

Detailed, local bus information can be found at,

One thing to know, however, is that if you do visit over the bank holiday weekend things can get a bit crowded.  This is specially true of lodging.  If you decide to stay in the Cotslwolds over the bank holiday, and don't already have a reservation, it can get tricky.  I'm not saying it's impossible!  I'm just saying it isn't easy.  It is worth it, though!

Happy Travels!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Moreton-in-Marsh (city)
  2. Stow-on-the-Wold (city)
  3. Bourton-on-the-Water (city)
  4. Stratford-upon-Avon (city)
  5. Chipping Campden (city)

answered by

I visited 12 cities in November throughout England and Cambridge (England)  was absolutely one of the highlights. I even scheduled an extra night there at the end of my trip instead of staying in London because it was so accessible from there. Another highlight of my trip was renting a bike in London on a Sunday when there wasn't so much traffic. It only cost £2 for a 24 hour period and it's an excellent way to cover a lot of territory!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambridge (England) (city)

answered by
Ricky from London, United Kingdom

Definitely give Cotswolds a trip, it's beautiful, especially over the bank holiday weekend. If you are interested, there's an article on my site here and if you click explore this region it'll show you the best local places to go.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cotswolds (attraction)

answered by
Harriet from Worcester, Worcestershire

How about Oxford and go punting on the river?

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oxford (attraction)

© 2018   ·   View: Full | Mobile

Follow us:        
Questions   ·   Destinations   ·   Drive   ·   Fly   ·   Airports   ·   Stay   ·   Search

Login   ·   FAQ   ·   About   ·   Feedback   ·   Privacy   ·   Terms