5 Fabulous Day-Trips from London, by Your Local Travel Expert!

I love my home city of London and cannot imagine living anywhere else.

But even I sometimes have had my fill of its museums, galleries and especially its crowds, and like to escape for the day.

This can be to breathe in a lungful of sea air, explore more of England’s history or to revel in its green and pleasant land. I always return refreshed and ready to take on the city again.

Here are my favorite five-day trips from London. All of these destinations are easily accessible by public transport and can be reached within 1hr 30 mins by train from London.

1. Brighton

Brighton Pier, UK
Brighton Pier, a fun place to spend time. It can get windy here on a cold and rainy winter day. Photo: © TheFlashpacker

Where is Brighton

Brighton is in East Sussex on the south coast of England.

Why visit Brighton

For its broad shingle beach, its cool bohemian air and an extraordinary building.

What to do in Brighton

Visit The Royal Pavilion 

The No. 1 attraction in Brighton is the opulent palace of Prince George, later Prince Regent and then King George IV.

Built in three stages from 1878, it is as extravagant and eccentric as its first occupant. Indian on the outside and Chinese on the inside, it seems peculiarly out of place in an English seaside town.

Take a stroll along Brighton Pier

The Edwardians knew a thing or two about pier building and this is a splendid example. Admire the architecture, risk instant diabetes by filling your face with candy floss and try your luck in one its amusement arcades.

Go shopping in The Lanes

The Lanes are a cluster of narrow lanes that are home to independent shops, including some good antique shops, jewellery shops, and boutiques.

Fun fact

Did you know that Brighton has the UK’s largest Jedi population? Feel the force!

How to get to Brighton

Frequent trains depart London St Pancras International and London Victoria for Brighton. The journey time is around 1hr 15 mins.

2. Cambridge

Cambridge College, UK
Cambridge College. Photo: © TheFlashpacker

Where is Cambridge

Cambridge is a major university city in the East Anglia.

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Why visit Cambridge

For an elegant vibrant university city which is also home to one of the best museums in the country.

What to do in Cambridge

Tour the university buildings

Revel in the architecture and grounds of the beautiful central college buildings that were once home to such famous alumni as Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin by taking a tour of these buildings.

This is easy to do in a DIY fashion. But if you are short on time and want to know a littler but more about their history, why not take a guided tour. 

Take a punt along The Cam

The Cam is the river flowing through the centre of Cambridge (Cam Bridge. Geddit?).

Let someone else do the hard work and glide along the river in a punt – a narrow flat-bottomed boat that is propelled with a long pole –  taking in iconic sights such as the Bridge of Sighs.

Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum 

In my view, one of the best museums in England, largely because of the sheer variety of its collection.

Fun fact

Apparently, Cambridge natives have the third sexiest accent in England. 

How to get to Cambridge

Fast trains from London Kings Cross station will whisk you to Cambridge in 50 minutes.

3. Whitstable

Whistable, London, UK
Whitstable is a charming town. Credit: Unsplash

Where is Whitstable

Whitstable is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent, five miles north of the cathedral city of Canterbury.

Why visit Whitstable

For superb day hikes, fabulously fresh seafood and beach huts galore.

What to do in Whitstable

Eat the freshest fish and seafood

Visitors come to Whitstable just to do this. Take your pick of the many places near its pebble beach. And if there’s an R in the month, it’s a native oyster season.

Splash the cash in one of Whitstable pastel-painted shops

The town has a great selection of independent shops lining its streets, including art, clothes and antique stores.

Take a hike

Get a lungful of bracing sea air by taking one of the many short walks around Whitstable.

The area around Whitstable forms part of the Saxon Shore Way, a 163-mile coastal footpath from Gravesend to Hastings.

For example, the 5-mile walk from Whitstable to Herne Bay should take you less to 2 hours to complete. There’s a train station at Herne Bay to get back to Whitstable.

Fun fact

The oldest railway bridge in the world was in Old Bridge Road in Whitstable.

How to get to Whitstable

Frequent trains depart London St Pancras International for Whitstable.

The journey time is around 1 hr 20 mins.

4. Rochester

Rochester Castle, UK
Rochester Castle. Photo: © TheFlashpacker

Where is Rochester

Rochester is a town on the Medway in Kent, around 30 miles from London.

Why visit Rochester

For its rich history and all things Dickens.

What to do in Rochester

Walk the Charles Dickens trail

Charles Dickens lived in nearby Higham and based many of his novels in the area.

Stop by the Tourist Information Office and pick up a self-guided Dickens tour map from £1.

Visit Rochester Cathedral

This majestic cathedral is a lesson on how to come second.

It’s the second oldest medieval church and the second most visited pilgrimage site in England.

Visit Rochester Castle

Although only a shell of the original building remains, its 12th century stone tower is said to be one of the best preserved in England and there are great views from the top.

Fun fact

On the first weekend of May each year, Rochester hosts the Sweeps Festival, celebrating the ancient tradition of Morris dancing.

How to get to Rochester

Frequent high-speed trains leave London St Pancras International, whisking you to Rochester in under 40 minutes.

Slower trains depart London Victoria.

5. Bath

Bath, UK
The impact of the former Roman settlement of Bath is not hard to spot. Credit: Unsplash

Where is Bath

Bath is in The Cotswolds in Wiltshire.

Why visit Bath

For a perfectly preserved Georgian town, Roman spa and all things Austen.

What to do in Bath

Visit the Roman Baths    

Bath was originally a Roman settlement and no trip to the city would be complete without visiting the Roman Baths.

Have a soak in the rooftop Thermae Bath Spa   

Although you can’t even dip your toe in the Roman Baths, you can luxuriate in the rooftop Thermae Bath Spa.

Stroll around the Royal Crescent

Perhaps the most famous Georgian terrace in England, and beloved of period drama producers, this never disappoints.

Walk in the steps of Jane Austen

Bath was home to England’s beloved author from 1801 – 1806 and it is still possible to visit sites that provided inspiration for Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Check out this excellent resource from Bath’s Tourist Office for further information

Fun fact

Residents of the Royal Crescent felt that the iconic red phone box was too glaring and was therefore painted grey.

How to get to Bath

Trains leave London Paddington for Bath Spa.

The journey time is 1 hr 30 mins.

For general information about train travel from London, including timetables, engineering works and fares click here 

The Royal Cresent, Bath
The Royal Cresent, Bath. Credit: Unsplash

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