Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Day Trips from London

kensington streets in london UK
When I visited London in 2019, I spent about a week in England. I was fortunate enough to see a lot of London and some of the iconic surrounding cities. I mentioned in my London blog post that I was in awe of how old some things are in the UK. When we learn United States history, it typically dates back to around the 1700s. Some of these day trips from London will take you back as early as the 11th century. During my trip to London, we rented a car for some exploring but opted for the train on other days. Depending on your schedule, either way may be more practical for you. The trains around the United Kingdom are incredibly accessible compared to public transportation in the United States.


roman baths pool in bath, uk

Bath, UK

2 hour 30 min drive from London or 1 hour 15 min train ride

The Roman Baths are the most obvious destination in Bath, but there are plenty of other things to do as well. Give yourself up to two hours for your self-guided tour of the baths. Walking around the practically ancient town will offer a ton of photo-ops, like the Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. There are also several parks and museums to explore. If you want to get away from town, head out to Cheddar Gorge for iconic views of limestone cliffs. 

brighton palace pier in brighton, uk

Brighton, UK

2 hour drive from London or 1 hour train ride

If you are seeking ocean air, head out to Brighton Beach. Take a walk along the rocky shoreline and explore Brighton Palace Pier. We grabbed lunch and a cocktail at the Palm Court Restaurant and Bar on the pier. There are several iconic carnival-style rides and arcade games for family fun. Be sure to check out the Royal Pavilion, a former royal palace built in the late 1700s mimicking Indian architecture. While in Brighton, you can also take a ride up the British Airways i360 for panoramic views. 

Oxford, UK

1 hour 30 min drive from London or 1 hour train ride

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the world and they started teaching as early as 1096. Oxford is the original university town in England and the area is packed with museums, castles and other historic sights. The Christ Church College is a must see for Harry Potter fans, as it served as inspiration for the Great Hall. Some other notable landmarks include Oxford Castle & Prison, the Bodleian Library, the Bridge of Sighs and the Sheldonian Theatre. The Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum is one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. Take a stroll through to see over 5,000 plant species. 

eiffel tower in paris, france

Paris, France

2 hour 30 min train ride from London

Okay, so it is totally possible to visit Paris for just a day from London if you take the first and last trains. Paris is actually one hour ahead of London, which helps get you back earlier than you think. You will have to be a well-timed traveler to achieve this, but the city isn't too sprawling, so you could definitely see a few iconic sights in one day. I suggest prioritizing the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and taking a cruise along the River Seine. Stick to the city center and be sure to book any necessary tickets ahead of time to make the most of your time in Paris. 


stonehenge in salisbury, uk

Stonehenge

1 hour 45 min drive from London or 2 hour 15 min train ride

Stonehenge is an iconic sight in England and a must-see if you are in London for more than a few days. When visiting, you will either walk 2.6 miles to the landmark or take a short shuttle ride. Walking up to Stonehenge was introduced to reduce contact during COVID-19. You can easily spend two hours at Stonehenge or make a day out of it in Salisbury. Some other notable sights include Old Sarum, Salisbury Museum and the historical Salisbury Cathedral. This day trip will take you way back in time. 

Windsor

1 hour drive from London or 30 min train ride

Immerse yourself in British royalty with a short trip out to Windsor Castle, home of the Queen. Be sure to time your visit so you can watch the iconic Changing of the Guard.  There are plenty to see during your visit to Windsor Castle, including state rooms & apartments and St. George's chapel, so allow at least an hour and a half to tour the grounds.  There are a ton of cafes and souvenir shops around Windsor as well.

Many of these destinations are very picturesque and walkable so be sure to give yourself time to enjoy the sights. Whether you're in London for a week or a local looking to get out of the city, England is packed with historical sights not far from the capital.

xo,

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