Best day trips from London by train! We list cities you can visit within two hours that offer cultural, dining, and shopping experiences.

Best Day Trips From London By Train

Best day trips from London by train! We list cities you can visit within two hours that offer cultural, dining, and shopping experiences.

Best Day Trips From London By Train

London is a great city. There are so many places to eat and so many things to do. But, what if you want to spend some time outside of England’s capital city? Luckily, you can take a lot of day trips that are within a two-hour train ride from London. You can spend time in seaside towns or walk along ancient Roman walls. You can imagine you’re in a Harry Potter movie or visit some of the best vineyards in the UK.

So if you want to venture out for a bit, keep reading. We’ve put together a list of the best day trips from London by train. Enjoy!


By Milijana of World Travel Connector

Visiting charming Arundel in West Sussex is among the best day trips from London by train. Beautiful Arundel with the Arundel Castle is a must-visit in England. Arundel is only one hour and 30 min by train from London.

Captivating Arundel is one of the prettiest towns in Sussex, and Arundel Castle is one of the most magnificent castles in England. 

Arundel is a town with a rich historical and cultural heritage. If you love art and Georgian architecture, you will enjoy the stunning Georgian buildings of the historic center filled with art galleries. 

The medieval Arundel Castle and Arundel Cathedral are the most famous landmarks of Arundel. The Duke of Norfolk calls the castle home and keeps a part of it open to the public. The Victorian-style Arundel Castel and the world-renowned Castle Gardens are must-see once in a lifetime. To get valuable insights into the history of Arundel, join the walking Arundel Historical Tour. The lovely center of Arundel is known for its cozy pubs, trendy cafes, tea rooms, coffee shops, and restaurants. So, head to a traditional pub for a pint of good English ale. Or, go to a cozy tea room for traditional British tea for refreshment. 

Book your table at the Michelin-star The Parsons Table restaurant in Arundel for some proper bites of traditional British food

After lunch, head to the banks of river Arun for some relaxing moments near the water. Take walking paths along the river or hire a rowing boat, kayak, or paddleboard on the river.

Arundel is a must-see in England for history and art lovers, outdoor fans, and romance seekers. Visiting Arundel is a perfect day trip from London for solo day trippers, couples, and families.

one of the best day trips from London by train is to Arundel


By Nichola of Global Mouse Travels

In less than an hour and a half, you can travel from central London to the historic and beautiful city of Bath. It will feel a world apart from the sprawling capital city. Here you can wander on foot to all the main sites. 

This historic city is jam-packed with Georgian sights and is so picturesque. The best thing to do is really to lose yourself in the streets here. Almost every way you turn will be another architecturally beautiful sight from the wonderful Crescent to the picture-perfect Circus. 

If you love history then you can go back much further than the Georgians and explore the Roman culture here with a trip to the baths. You can then try out a modern alternative with Bath Thermae Spa where you can relax in waters using the same supply the Romans once enjoyed. 

If you’re looking for things to do in Bath with kids then don’t miss Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, which adults will also love. Mary Shelley, like Jane Austen, made Bath home for a while so it’s the perfect place to explore their literature. 

Don’t miss the chance to try a bun from Sally Lunns. This shop has been selling its sweet breads since the 17th century so is a great place to rest tired feet. It’s also set in one of the oldest houses in the city, dating back to the 15th century.

Bath, England


By Angela of Exploring Dorset

If you want to visit Bournemouth from London by train, the good news is you can be in Bournemouth within two hours. Bournemouth train station is located just outside of the main town and beaches. However, there are frequent buses to the town center. 

When you arrive in Bournemouth, you may be a little overwhelmed with what to do first. The majority of visitors flock to Bournemouth beach and pier. Everything is in a very central location, and some of the popular things to do in Bournemouth also include playing pirate-themed adventure golf with a view of the beach. 

If you’re brave, why not take on the 250-meter zip line from the end of the pier to the shore? After all that excitement, why not take a trip on the Bournemouth Sightseeing bus which leaves just in front of the pier? This is a great way to see the sights of Bournemouth while also enjoying a rest.

If a bus ride isn’t your choice of things to do, then a boat trip between Bournemouth and Poole is a great option. Boat tours leave from the end of Bournemouth Pier and take around 40 minutes. Sights include Old Harry Rocks and Poole Harbour. At the end of your boat trip, you’ll deserve a drink and a bite to eat in Key West. It is conveniently located at the end of the pier with great views out to sea.

Bournemouth, England


By Dan of Urban Abroad

Located on the south coast of England, Brighton is a popular coastal resort and one of the best day trips from London by train. The train leaves frequently from various London railway stations and takes less than two hours to arrive.

Being close to the seaside at Brighton Pier is a 100% unique experience, especially if you dare to take a ride on the i360. The Brighton i360 takes you 138 meters high in a futuristic glass viewing pod where you get the best panoramic views of the coastline. Then, of course, you have the pebbled Brighton Beach. It is the perfect place to connect with English seaside culture with traditionally themed attractions on both the pier and along the seafront. With a host of seaside-themed food and drink stalls on display, you can try one of the many treats on offer.

Once you’ve spent some time by the sea, head over to ‘The Lanes.’ They are a collection of narrow streets famed for antique shops and jewelers. Another attraction worth visiting during your trip would be a walk over to The Royal Pavilion. Also known as Brighton Pavilion, which is a Grade I listed building that was once the home to George the Prince of Wales. At the Pavilion you can take a moment to admire the dwelling as you walk around its surrounding gardens, you can also go inside if you have time.

When traveling to Brighton from London you can get the train from one of the main stations whether that be Kings Cross, London Bridge, or London Victoria and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

One of the best day trips from London by train is to Brighton


By Stephanie of The World As I See It

One of the best day trips from London by train is to Bristol! This hip, historic, and eclectic city has something for everyone! Visitors can grab the train from Paddington Station in London to Bristol Temple Meads Station. The train takes approximately one hour and forty minutes. Plus, the train station in Bristol is conveniently located in the city center and has a consistent flow of buses to take you where you want to go.

There is a wealth of things to do in Bristol to suit every traveler’s interest! Across the city are a range of museums, parks, and great places to eat. Bristol is great for families and solo travelers. Plus, with all its free attractions, it’s ideal for those traveling on a budget.

Bristol is famous for many reasons, one of which is its incredible harbor. Here, you’ll find museums, restaurants, and iconic boats like the S.S. Great Britain. Another place to visit downtown is the Bristol Cathedral to be wowed by its grandeur! For lunch, pop into St. Nicholas Market. This covered historic market is filled with stalls selling a variety of tasty treats as well as interesting shops to browse.

Bristol is also the home of the famous artist Banksy! If you’re a street art fan then you’ll love wandering the streets downtown hunting for street art! Along with plenty of Banksy pieces, there are ones from artists around the world. Plus, you can even hop on a street art tour of Bristol!

If you have more time, consider adding Cabot Tower, the Bristol Museum, and the Suspension Bridge to fill out your day trip!

Bristol, England


By Tracy of Tracy’s Travels in Time

Located only 55 miles from London, the city of Cambridge is a perfect day trip destination. Taking under 2 hours direct by train from St Pancras International Train Station, Cambridge is also an easy destination to visit.

Cambridge is home to one of the world’s most famous and prestigious universities. With so much to do and see in Cambridge the best way to orientate yourself quickly is to book a walking tour of the city with a University graduate. This is also an excellent way to learn about the history of the various colleges and of Cambridge itself.

In addition to the University college buildings, other highlights of Cambridge include King’s College Chapel, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and going for a punt on the River Cam. 

The River Cam runs through the heart of the city. Sights not to miss as you travel along the river include the mathematical bridge and of course the famous views of the backs of colleges such as St John’s College and Trinity College.

It is good to know when planning your day to add time to get from the train station into the city center. The train station is located a little way outside the historic center of the city so the easiest way is to either hop on a bus or take a taxi from outside the train station.

Cambridge, England


By Joanna of The World In My Pocket

Canterbury is a wonderful city to visit on a day trip from London. There are plenty of trains leaving London towards Canterbury, connecting the two cities in around one and a half hours.

There are plenty of things to do on a day trip to Canterbury. Start with visiting the famous Cathedral, which is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The Cathedral is impressive, and it will take a good 2 to 3 hours to visit. It is highly recommended to book your ticket ahead of time, if you are in town only for one day, and visit it first thing in the morning, as you arrive.

Another great place to visit in Canterbury is the ruins of St Augustine Abbey. This was destroyed in the 16th century after Henry VIII’s passed the dissolution of the Monasteries policy. 

To relax and see Canterbury from a different perspective, you can join a historic river tour on a punt. The 40-minute tour on the river Stour is not only relaxing but also a great history lesson about Canterbury.

Another great place to visit in Canterbury is the Roman Museum. It is built around the ruins of a 1st century Roman townhouse.

One of the best day trips from London by train is to Canterbury


By Cath of Wales with Kids

If you are looking to take a day trip from London by train, then a destination to consider is Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Located approximately 150 miles west of London, the convenient thing about visiting Cardiff is that it has direct train links with London Paddington train station. The train runs regularly throughout the day and generally takes two hours between the two locations.

Cardiff has lots to offer visitors, whether their interests are history, architecture, or simply retail therapy.

In the center of Cardiff, a short walk from the train station is where you will find Queen Street and St David’s Shopping Centre. These are the retail hubs of the city where you will find all the usual high-street shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants for refueling.

If you want to learn about the city’s history and wider Wales, pay a visit to the Cardiff Museum and Cardiff Castle. Both are located at the west end of Queen Street and are a few minutes from one another.

Within Cardiff Castle, there are Castle Apartments to discover, the Norman Keep, and the walls of the castle have an interesting secret to share with those who visit. And, depending on when you visit, you might get lucky and visit when there is an event taking place such as a medieval day.

A short bus ride or taxi ride from the city center is Cardiff Bay. Here you can enjoy the unique architecture of the Millennium Centre and the Senedd Building, or enjoy a spot of lunch while looking over the bay.

Whatever your interests, a day trip to Cardiff from London is an enjoyable experience and an easy way to visit two capital cities of the UK in one trip.

Cardiff, Wales

Castle Combe

By Ann of The Road Is Life

The idyllic village of Castle Combe is located within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Full of charming old buildings and picturesque scenery, Castle Combe is one of the most popular villages to visit in the Cotswolds. Taking a day trip to Castle Combe from London is the perfect way to escape the bustle of the city for a day.

The most direct way to get there is by catching the train from London’s Paddington Station to Chippenham. The train journey will take one hour. Once you arrive, you can take a 15-minute taxi ride to reach Castle Combe. There are plenty of taxis lined up at the Chippenham Train Station.

As you explore the cobbled lanes of Castle Combe, be sure to stop at the Manor House. This stunning 17th century building is covered in ivy and located in a peaceful countryside setting. The Manor House is home to a 5 star hotel and a Michelin star restaurant but it’s worth checking out even if you don’t plan to dine there.

You simply can’t visit Castle Combe without having tea and freshly baked scones at the Castle Inn. Located in the heart of the village, this cozy 12th century pub also serves a great traditional lunch. Before leaving Castle Combe, take a stroll across the town’s famous bridge to capture the best view of the town.

Castle Combe, England
Castle Combe


By Lizzie of Wanderlust & Life

One of the best day trips from London by train has to be Chester. Located in Cheshire, in the North West of England, this vibrant city is only a 2 hour and 2 minute journey from London Euston.

Chester is known for its extensive Roman walls and Tudor-style buildings. The city was founded in 79AD by the Romans. The remains of the Empire are still seen around Chester today. The Roman Walls, are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Originally built to defend the city, they are now the best preserved walls in the UK.

Another must-see attraction in Chester is the Rows, which are buildings that date back to the 13th Century. They are essentially a series of covered walkways, on the first floor, that lead to several shops and cafes. They are certainly very unique and Chester is the only place in the world you will find these.

Another must-see in the city includes the Roman amphitheater, which was used for entertainment and military drills in Roman times. Another is the Chester Cathedral, where if you are lucky, you might even stumble upon a full orchestral performance.

All in all, Chester is an incredibly unique city, that you have to see to believe. For more information on what to do on a day trip to Chester, you can visit our blog.

Fun Fact: Did you know you can see Roman ruins in Morocco?

Chester, England


By Catrina of 24 Hours Layover

Coventry is a fun and convenient day trip from London, taking just over an hour on the fast train from London Euston. You can see a lot in one day in Coventry. It’s a charming city that often gets overlooked by its neighbors of Birmingham and Stratford-Upon-Avon. See the famous Lady Godiva Statue, as well as one of England’s most famous Cathedrals, and visit the Transport Museum – Coventry was after all one of the car manufacturing capitals of the world until not long ago!

In 2021 Coventry was named the UK City of Culture due to its historical cultural influence on the UK. Some 900 years ago, Lady Godiva rode through the streets of Coventry naked on a horse in protest to a tax her husband had imposed. You’ll find the statue of her riding the horse in the city, as well as the bust of ‘Peeping Tom’ who was caught looking at her.

During WWII Coventry was one of the most bombed cities, and in the Blitz, the medieval Coventry Cathedral was completely destroyed. You can visit this Old Cathedral. The ruins still remain today so you can walk around them, as well as visit the New Cathedral adjacent to it. Both look fantastic in the day as well as lit up in the evening.

If you plan to visit Coventry at the beginning of September you can combine your trip with the Godiva Festival. It’s a fun family festival in the city that hosts many famous performers!

Coventry, England


By Paulina of The UK Every Day

If you are looking for a well-known movie location where Avengers or Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows were filmed, you will find it only a one-hour train ride from London. The White Cliffs of Dover are not only one of the most popular filming spots in the country but also an iconic historic site with incredible coastal views of the English Channel.

Dover is a great destination to visit if you want to understand a little bit about English history because it was a famous place during World War II. You can explore underground tunnels or visit Dover Castle, but there is nothing more enjoyable than a cliff hike.

Summer is the ideal time of the year for admiring colorful flowers on the rolling hills of Dover. If you are lucky, you may also spot some rare plants like Spider Orchids. A walk along the coast is a great way to spend a day out with nature outside busy London.

Planning this journey is quite simple because there are so many trains that run between London and Dover throughout the day. When you reach Dover Priory train station, you can take a bus or walk through the town to get to the cliffs of Dover.

one of the best day trips from London by train is to Dover


By Cristina of My Little World of Travelling

If you would love to have a taste of the north of England, Leeds is a great city to visit for a day trip as it is 2 hours and 10 minutes from London by train.

Leeds is very walkable and the train station is central which makes it very easy to explore in a day. Also, there are many free things to do in Leeds.

The city is home to two fantastic museums and an art gallery that you can enter for free. Leeds City Museum is a must-see where you can learn about the history of the city through objects and stories.

Not far from this museum, you will also find the Leeds Art Gallery which has a collection of modern and contemporary British art. It is also worth stopping by the Tiled Hall Cafe for a hot drink. This cafe connects the art gallery with the library and used to be a reading room. The architecture is stunning.

If you love shopping, you are in one of the best cities in the north of England. You will find three different shopping centers within a walking distance of each other: Trinity Leeds, Victoria Leeds, and Corn Exchange. The latter is your best option if you prefer to buy from independent shops that offer more unique things.

Last but not least, Leeds is known for its excellent choice of restaurants, cafes and bars. No matter what type of cuisine you would like to have, it’s likely you will find it in Leeds.

Leeds, England


By Abi of IGOA-Adventure

Somewhere which is an easy two hours train ride away from London is the city of Lincoln. It’s a fantastic city in the heart of Lincolnshire with a rich history going back over 2000 years! The city is thriving with weekend markets including a farmers market, local crafts, and antiques which make planning your day trip during the weekend a good idea. 

One of Lincoln’s crowning glories (and biggest tourist attractions) is the breathtaking Cathedral and Castle. Many people visit just to see these top sites, however, there is so much more on offer. Some other top things to do in Lincoln include braving one of the steepest hills in England. Originally called Steep Hill, here you can browse through a handful of boutique shops and tea rooms.

Shopping is a big deal in Lincoln. It has a buzzing high street full of your typical high-street shops, local boutique shops, designer shops, cafes, and sometimes pop-up stalls where you can find some amazing deals!

If you’re a foodie (like us) Lincoln is full of devilishly delicious treats, including but not limited to, the famous Lincolnshire cheese. One place this can be enjoyed is The Cheese Society – which is behind the Castle. It’s a cute but small cafe, perfect to make your day trip to Lincoln the best!

Lincoln, England


By Sinead of Map Made Memories

Cosmopolitan Manchester is two hours by train from London Euston rail station. The train brings you into the heart of the city. From there, most of the major attractions can be visited on foot or by a short bus or tram ride. 

Visit the Science and Industry Museum, located on the site of the world’s first train station, which is one of the best free things to do in Manchester. Art lovers should visit Manchester Art Gallery (another free attraction) whereas football fans cannot miss the National Football Museum. The People’s Museum charts the history of trade unionism and campaigning in Britain whilst the Manchester Museum delves into the history of the city. Architecture fans should not miss the ornate John Ryland Library, the town hall, or Manchester Cathedral. Make time in your day trip to stroll around Manchester city center seeing the city’s 19th century architecture or soaking up the atmosphere in St. Peter’s Square. Walk along Manchester’s famous canals or take a canal boat tour. 

If you have any time left in your day trip, take a short tram ride out to Salford Quays to visit the Lowry Museum, the sobering Imperial War Museum, or to enjoy a wander around the Blue Peter garden at Media City.

Manchester, England


By Anisa of Norfolk Local Guide

Visit Norwich and you can explore what was England’s second city (behind London) during medieval times.  It’s an easy day trip from London since there is a direct train from London Liverpool Street Station that takes a little less than two hours.  There is plenty to do in the Norwich city center within walking distance of the train station. 

Start your day by visiting Norwich Castle which has been turned into a family-friendly museum with a diverse collection.  It was built sometime in the late 11th century by William the Conqueror.

Next, you must head to Norwich Cathedral which was built around the same time as Norwich Castle.  It’s the most complete Norman Cathedral in England and one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.  It’s free to go inside this beautiful building and see the largest collection of medieval roof bosses in the world.

Just a short walk from the Cathedral, you will find the picturesque Elm Hill. It is arguably one of the prettiest streets in England.  While it is full of Tudor-style buildings, the Briton Arms is the only building now standing in Elm Hill older than 1507. It survived the disastrous fire that destroyed over 700 houses in Norwich.

Foodies should not miss Norwich Market which is one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country.  The streets around the market, called the Norwich Lanes, are full of independent shops and restaurants too.

one of the best day trips from London by train is to Norwich


By Taylor of Traverse With Taylor

A train ride from London to Oxford takes just over an hour, making a getaway to Oxford one of the best day trips to take from the city!

This quintessential British town is walkable and full of charm. From old restaurants and pubs to the oldest University in the United Kingdom and the charming cobblestone streets filled with character, Oxford is bound to blow you away. 

Duck into the Covered Market and sample some of the cheese that Oxford is most famous for, the Oxford Blue. Take a ride on the Oxford River in a lovely river boat. Afterwards, enjoy some afternoon tea at the Folly Restaurant.

One of the neatest experiences in Oxford is climbing the Carfax Tower. Take the 99 steps to the top of this tower for a birds-eye-view of the city and some incredible pictures. Or, meander to the north part of town to The Eagle and Child. This pub has been in business for more than 400 years. It boasts of being the writing place for people like C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Another thing that makes Oxford special is its connection to the world of Harry Potter. Many movie scenes were filmed here, meaning that a Harry Potter walking tour is one of the top-rated things to do.

Oxford, England


By Vanessa of Wanders Miles

A day trip to Rye from London by train will take just over 1 hour (on the fast train) so best to leave early to soak up the 12th-century history, the coastal landscape, and a multitude of wonderful eateries. 

Rye is a fortified town in East Sussex. It has a turbulent past being a vital defense of the south coast of England. To get an overview of the town and how it was created, visit Rye Harbour Discovery Centre to watch their model light show. Learn more in the museum at the hilltop Ypres Tower. Also, don’t miss a trip up the belfry clock tower of St Mary’s Church to gaze across the town and River Rother. 

The historic half-timbered buildings are preserved well. Wander down the cobbled Mermaid Street, and explore the listed Mermaid Inn with smugglers’ tunnels and passages, as well as tales of haunted rooms. Get lost in the lanes with antique shops and small contemporary art galleries.

A trip down to the picturesque Rye Harbour is a must. Explore the dunes at Camber, Rye Bay, and Romney Marsh, enjoy bird-watching on Rye Nature Reserve, and check out the WWII pillboxes relics dotted along the coast. Leave some time to enjoy the catch of the day at the famous Bosun’s Bite, or frequent the historic William the Conqueror pub famed as being the scene of the Norman invasion. 

The Rye Waterworks Micropub will delight curious visitors with its quirky décor and awesome selection of locally produced ales & ciders. It is conveniently located near Rye train station, making this a better option than the waiting room to head back to London.

Rye, England


By Sarah of Slow Travel

Salisbury is incredibly easy to reach from London. Just hop on a direct train from Waterloo and in 90 minutes you will find yourself in a medieval city filled with historical sites to visit and many things to do.

Most visitors to the city go to Stonehenge. The Stonehenge Explorer bus leaves regularly from the train station and takes you straight to the pre-historic stones. After that there is the whole city to explore – the ancient Salisbury Cathedral with the tallest spire in the country, the local church of St. Thomas with the restored Doom Painting which is the largest in the country, ancient Old Sarum high up on a hill and once home to Romans, or you could take a wander around the magnificent Cathedral Close, which is full of museums and beautiful picnic spots.

If you like shopping then the Charter Market, which has been held in the same place for 800 years, is always a good place. Or try Fisherton Mill, a Victorian mill building filled with local artists selling their creations. We are spoilt for medieval pubs in Salisbury so why not end your day with a meal in the Haunch of Venison, a 15th century pub which has a mummified hand on display, or have drinks in Caboose, a highly Instagrammable 1920s bar.

However you prefer to spend your time, Salisbury will have something to interest you. With trains between Waterloo and Salisbury leaving twice an hour from early to late every day, there is plenty of time to fit everything in.

Pro Tip: Check out our guide on Stonehenge!

One of the best day trips from London by train is to Salisbury

Stratford upon Avon

By Faith of XYUandBEYOND

Stratford upon Avon is easily reached by train from London from Marylebone Station and takes just under 2 hours.   

Stratford is fairly compact. Most of what you will want to see is within easy walking distance of the River Avon. If you head towards the Visitors Centre by the River you can pick up a map and take advantage of some of the many tours that allow you to experience the town fully.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust takes you through 5 historic Shakespeare locations all within walking distance of the central pedestrian area. A general ticket for all 5 locations includes entry to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Mary Arden’s Tudor Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place, and Hall’s Croft.

While you are in Stratford and have time, take the opportunity to take in a show at the Royal Shakespeare Company. The building sits on the edge of the Avon Canal. You can also take backstage tours of the building including a visit to the costume area.

Just outside Stratford itself, you can visit the farm where Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden lived and worked.  At the farm, you get to experience all the sights, sounds, and smells of a working Tudor farm.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage can also be seen just outside Stratford. Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife and they married when Shakespeare was 18 and Anne was 26 years old. The cottage is a beautiful Tudor thatched building with 9 acres of gardens. You take a guided tour through the cottage with animators who are passionate about their Shakespearean history.

Stratford upon Avon, England
Stratford upon Avon

Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden

By Marcie of Marcie in Mommyland

One of the best day trips from London by train is the WB Studio Tour. This is the place where they filmed all the Harry Potter movies and it’s a full-day outing. The journey from London to the WB Studios in Leavesden takes just over an hour by train.

When you arrive, you will literally enter the world of Harry Potter. It’s set up as a self-paced tour, but you’ll want to walk quickly if you want to see all the exhibits in just one day. There are tons of interactive sets, detailed costumes, amazing props, and more photo ops than you could ever dream up. You’ll find both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

There are also several places to eat throughout the studio as well as a place to get authentic Butterbeer. One of the highlights is walking through Diagon Alley. You will really feel like you are in a Harry Potter movie! Plus, there’s an impressive gift shop that sells items you won’t be able to find anywhere else. This is a must-do for any Harry Potter fan. And if you want to be a little bit “extra”, this is a great place to wear your Hogwarts robe and scarf!

WB Studios, England
WB Studios


By Steph of Big World Small Pockets

The coolest place on the Kent coast, there’s no question Whitstable is one of the best day trips from London by train.

Easy to access in under 90 minutes from London St Pancras or Victoria, trains to Whitstable run frequently. This makes it the perfect last-minute option to escape the city smoke and head for some fresh sea air.

On arrival, head straight for Whitstable Beach, which is about 10 minutes on foot from the train station. Here you can enjoy seafood markets (fresh oysters are the order of the day) and locals perching keenly in their pretty colored beach huts. The pebbly stretch here also makes for a perfect beach day. Plenty of people enjoy a paddle board or kayak, taking a refreshing dip, or simply lounging between the wooden groynes –  craft beer in hand!

Crabbing is also popular with families and The Street trail, which can be accessed along the seabed at low tide, is a must if you time your visit right.

Reminiscent of the English seaside images you now only see on vintage postcards, Whitstable is far from faded, however, with a lovely community atmosphere and plenty of quirky features.

Don’t miss the fantastic Old Neptune pub, which is located right on the pebbles. Also don’t miss the great vintage stores, arty galleries, and trendy food delis of the old town, which lies just behind the harbor. 

For those keen on traveling a bit further, there’s the fantastic Whitstable Coastal Trail. It leads into the Oyster Bay Trail and makes for a great place to cycle, stroll, and explore more of the striking Kent coast.

Whitstable, England


By Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: A Travel Blog

The cathedral town of Winchester is one of the best day trips from London by train, located just an hour and 20 minutes away. An ancient city still surrounded by Roman walls, Winchester was once the seat of England’s Anglo-Saxon kings. William the Conqueror built a castle here. Only the Great Hall (rebuilt in the 1200s) remains of William’s castle. Inside the Great Hall, you’ll find the Round Table of King Arthur fame. 

Indeed, Winchester is a delight for literary fans. The town is dominated by Winchester Cathedral which is the final resting place of Jane Austen. If you’re an Austen fan, you can grab a bus in downtown Winchester to nearby Chawton to visit her house. During your visit to the Cathedral, don’t miss Antony Gromley’s “Sound II” sculpture in the crypt.  

Other attractions in this cathedral town include the Winchester City Museum, Wolvesey Castle, and the Hospital of St. Cross. Stroll down High Street to check out the shops and other historic sites such as the Guildhall and City Mill. When you’re ready to put your feet up, pop into the Royal Oak. It is said to be the oldest bar in England. Or, head to Winchester Distillery for a tour and gin tastings.

one of the best day trips from London is to Winchester


By Maja of Away With Maja

York is a beautiful historic city, full of attractions and things to do. It’s approximately 2 hours by train north of London, making it easy as a day trip from the capital.

Walking the City Walls is completely free, and will help you get oriented in the city. The City Walls in York are the most complete set of city walls in England. Some sections date back to the medieval era! The entire walk is about 2 miles, but the section between Bootham Bar and Monkgate Bar is the best. York Minster should be your next stop – this beautiful 13th-century Gothic cathedral is the most iconic sight in the city. Climb the 275 steps up to the tower for a unique view of the city.

Visit Jorvik Viking Center to learn about the Viking history throughout York. It includes a ride through a recreated Viking village. Give yourself plenty of time to wander the charming cobblestone streets. The Shambles is the most famous. It’s the oldest shopping street in Europe – but there are plenty of other snickelways (narrow pedestrian-only alleyways) to explore, too.

Stop by any of the cozy cafes or coffee shops for brunch or a hot drink on your visit. Favorites include Brew and Brownie, Pig and Pastry, and Gatehouse Coffee.

one of the best day trips from London is to York

Final Thoughts On Best Day Trips From London By Train

There are a lot of great places you can visit by train from London in less than two hours. We love that there’s a variety of things to see and do. That means that whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with your family, you’ll find a city that’s perfect to visit.

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Best day trips from London by train! We list cities you can visit within two hours that offer cultural, dining, and shopping experiences.

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