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18 Places to Visit Near London by Train

Updated: November 3, 2023
 By Margaret

This post will provide information about some of the best day trips you can take from London.

Each of the locations included is a popular destination, and most outings include both transportation and a tour.

Towns and Districts

This section covers some of the best towns and districts you might want to visit on a day trip from London.

We include details about why to make the journey and some of the best ways to get there.

Most of these locations are an hour or just under 2 hours away from London.


Discover the history of this college town up close and personal by taking a day trip to Cambridge.

This is where some of the most brilliant minds in the UK and the world received their education, including people such as Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, and many more.

Visit by Train

If you come on your own, expect to pay £15-£25 return for the train. Departures from London to Cambridge take place every 10-15 minutes.

Travel time typically takes about 50-90 minutes on average, which is actually quite quick.

Find train tickets here.

Public bus prices can be significantly cheaper, but travel time is much longer.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

You can expect a day trip to Cambridge on an organized bus tour to last 6-8 hours or longer, and tickets will usually cost about £50-£60 per person.

Once you get there, you can also enjoy walking and punting tours around the town or even a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

If you’re looking for ways to save money on these tours, it’s worth noting that trips to Cambridge are frequently included with combo packages to Oxford and other popular destinations.

You’ll find more details about what to see and do and how to get there on our post covering Cambridge tours.


Much like Cambridge, Oxford is also well known as the site of a world-class university, and there are a lot of other things to do and see here as well.

In addition to the historic Oxford University, you’ll also find sites such as Oxford Castle, the Museum of Natural History, Christ Church College, Christ Church Cathedral, the Museum of Modern Art, and more.

This is also home to several notable filming locations, including sites used in both the Harry Potter films and Downton Abbey.

Day Trip by Train or Bus

If you come on your own, expect to pay £11-15 return for the bus and £25-30 for the train.

While the bus will usually take about 90 minutes to get from London to Oxford, the train only takes an hour. Trains are also available every 15-30 minutes.

Look for train or bus tickets.

We also created a free, self-guided tour of Oxford for the DIY crew.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

If you come by organized tour, tickets are anywhere from £40-£50 per person. Day trips to Oxford are typically about 6-8 hours in total, giving you about 5 hours in the city.

As with Cambridge, there are also hop-on-hop-off bus tours you can take in Oxford, as well as walking tours that cover a variety of subjects.

In addition to being included on combo packages, Oxford day trips are also offered at a discount on some London tourist attraction passes (iVenture, London City Pass).

Please check our post about how to get to Oxford from London for more details about Oxford day trips and things to do while you’re there.

3. BATH 

This is one of the most popular destinations to visit from London, as there are some notable things to see in the area.

The historic Roman Baths are perhaps the biggest attraction, but this is also the site of some beautiful Georgian architecture as well as both the American Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery.

Better yet, as the name implies, this is a great place to go to a spa and enjoy a nice soak after traveling and touring all day.

Visit by Train

Depending on when you get your tickets, you can expect return train tickets to cost £40-£75 per person.

Bus tickets cost less at around £18-£25 per person, but they take much longer.

Look for train tickets.

While the journey by train is typically about 80-90 minutes, the bus can take 3-4 hours.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Most of the day trips to Bath include stops at popular destinations such as Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, and prices range from about £50-£70 depending on which activities are included.

There are also walking tours, including free tours, and hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Bath, so there are plenty of different ways to explore this location.

If you want to save some money on day trips to Bath, keep in mind that these excursions are included with some tourist passes (iVenture, London City Pass).

You can also find good deals with either the 2-for-1 program, Discount London, the National Trust touring pass, or Groupon.

For more details on this activity, check this post about Bath day trips.


This is another popular tourist destination due to all the beaches and seaside attractions in part of East Sussex.

In addition to sites such as the Brighton Palace Pier, you can also see landmarks like the Royal Pavilion and the Sea Life Centre.

Visit by Train

You can take a train to Brighton, and prices can be as low as £30 for a return ticket. Bus return tickets start at around £17.

The nice thing about getting here by train is that the journey only takes an hour, while even the fastest bus will typically be 2-3 hours.

Look for train tickets.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Day trips to Brighton are usually around £60-£70, and they aren’t typically included with any combo packages.

Considering that some Brighton day trips include additional activities like a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, you could actually end up getting more for your money by choosing this option.

However you decide to get there, it should be noted that you can get some pretty good deals on popular Brighton attractions by using the 2-for-1 program, Discount London, and Groupon.

For additional details, check out this post about Brighton day trips.


There are a lot of interesting attractions to see in and around Canterbury, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is a popular destination for going on holiday.

In addition to the famous Canterbury Cathedral, this location isn’t too far from other landmarks such as Leeds Castle and the White Cliffs of Dover.

Visit by Train

A return train ticket to Canterbury will typically cost about £23-£30, while prices for bus tickets start at around £10.

Getting here by train will take between 60-90 minutes, but the bus trip usually lasts for about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Look for train tickets.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Due to its proximity to other notable sites, most day trips to Canterbury include stops at other attractions.

Canterbury day trips typically last for 10 or more hours and prices range from £60-£90 depending on which locations are included.

You can also save money on activities in the area by using services like the 2-for-1 program, Discount London and Groupon.

Check this post about Canterbury day trips for more information or to purchase tickets.

Alternatively, if you'd like to make the trip yourself, consider the following options:


This city is rich in history, and there are a lot of notable things to see here that make it the perfect location for a day trip.

In addition to sites such as Bristol Cathedral and SS Great Britain, there are also landmarks like the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Cabot Tower.

Visit by Train

Sadly, there aren’t many companies that offer day trips to Bristol, but you can always hop on a train and go on your own self-guided excursion.

Tickets start at about £35, and you can stay in the area as long as you want to explore at your own pace!

Just keep in mind that a return ticket could cost £70-£75, so it won't necessarily be cheap. The journey will take about 90 minutes each way.

Look for train tickets.

Although there aren’t many deals offered by London discount services, you may want to check the 2 for 1 program or Groupon for savings on popular activities in the area.

For more details about what to see and do while you’re there, check this article about making a day trip to Bristol.


Literature and poetry enthusiasts, especially fans of Shakespeare,  will find interesting historical sites in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Popular spots include the birthplace of William Shakespeare, his wife, Anne Hathaway's cottage the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and Holy Trinity Church - where Shakespeare is buried.

These places and others are included at a discount on the Shakespeare’s England Explorer Pass.

It will take 2 - 3 hours to reach Stratford-Upon-Avon from London, whether you drive, take a train, or go with an organised tour group.

Visit by Train

Return train tickets to Stratford-Upon-Avon are usually about £35-£40, and you can expect the journey to take about 2 hours on average.

Bus tickets are only about £10 less, and it takes 60-90 minutes longer to get there. As such, we highly recommend taking the train instead.

Look for train tickets.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

If you want to learn about the history of the area, consider taking an organised tour for the convenience of transportation and a guide to the town, as well as surrounding areas.

It is actually quite cost-effective to take a tour from London with multiple destinations that include Stratford-Upon-Avon. We have a list of tour comparisons and prices.

Learn more about this day trip in our full post.


The Cotswolds is a large area comprising many small towns, so if you’re planning a day trip, you’ll want to decide on a few specific locations you’d like to visit.

Alternatively, you can also take an organized bus tour to the Cotswolds, and these services typically choose a few towns to visit, giving you less to worry about.

Here are a few of the towns you can expect to visit on these outings:

  • Bibury
  • Burford
  • Stow-on-the-Wold
  • Bourton-on-the-Water
  • And others

Learn more about visiting the Cotswolds.

Historic Castles

In addition to all the notable towns around London, there are also plenty of beautiful and historic castles. This section covers how to visit some of these locations on a day trip.

For more details about these attractions, make sure to read our full post on Castles in London or Nearby.


Located in the town of Windsor, this historic castle is a popular tourist destination on the outskirts of London.

Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle has been a primary seat of the royal family ever since.

Queen Elizabeth, II is buried here at St. George's Chapel along with Henry VII and many other royals.

Visit by Train

Look for train tickets here.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

We have a post detailing a trip to Windsor.

Organized bus tours to Windsor Castle start at about £50, while combo tours are between £80-£100.

In addition to the combo tickets, you can also save money on day trips to Windsor Castle with the London City Pass.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, check this post on Windsor Castle day trips.


Dover Castle, known as the "Key to England," has been perched on the cliffs above the English Channel for more than 900 years.

One of the most significant and substantial castles in the nation, it benefited from its fortification and enviable position atop the well-known White Cliffs of Dover.

Dover Castle would later be vital to the Evacuation of Dunkirk during WWII.

Visit by Train

Train tickets from London to Dover typically cost about £35-£40 and you can expect the journey to take just under 2 hours on average.

Look for train tickets here.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

There are a lot of bus tours from London that visit the White Cliffs of Dover, and along with a trip to this landmark, you can usually also expect a stop at Dover Castle.

These outings typically cost anywhere from 70-120 per person.

Look for Dover Castle day trips here.


This magnificent castle is unique from others. It's the castle from Downton Abbey!

Highclere is a highly well-liked attraction because of its prominent position in this wildly popular TV series.

The land has been mentioned in writing since the late eighth century, and the opulent castle was constructed in 1679.

Highclere Castle served as a military hospital for injured soldiers during WWI. Highclere also served as a refuge for kids who had been evacuated from London throughout WWII.

The Earls of Carnarvon have called Highclere their country residence since the 17th century.

Visit by Train

Although there are no trains directly to this castle, you can catch a train to the town of Newbury where the landmark is located.

Unfortunately, the Highclere Castle is just outside of the town, so you'll need to find other transportation to get there from Newbury.

Tickets are 70 per person and it typically takes 1-2 hours to get there.

Get train tickets here.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Since this location isn't too easy to reach from the town of Newbury, you might want to consider taking an organized bus tour instead, as they actually include travel directly to Highclere Castle.

Check for Highclere Castle day trips.


If you're interested in visiting some of the other noteworthy castles near London, there are several you might want to consider:

  • Leeds Castle
  • Hever Castle
  • Warwick Castle
  • Bodiam Castle
  • Deal Castle
  • Arundel Castle
  • Broughton Castle
  • And more!

For more details about these attractions, make sure to read our full post on Castles in London or Nearby.

Historic Palaces

In addition to all the wonderful castles near London, there are also a lot of palaces you might want to visit as well.

Here are a few of our favorites and information on how to get to each location!


This Palace was initially constructed by Cardinal Wolsey, a close ally and employee of King Henry VIII, but it eventually passed into the hands of the king.

It is now the best example of a Tudor palace that is known to exist.

King Henry VIII's kitchens, as well as the majestic Great Hall, Chapel, and royal chambers, are among the original Tudor buildings that may be seen.

Here, King Henry VIII gave birth to his much-desired son and heir, lost his third wife Jane Seymour, and this is also where he last saw his fifth wife Katherine Howard just days before she was put to death.

King William III gained control of the Palace in the 17th century and constructed new structures in the Baroque style, the majority of which were created by renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren.

Visit by Train

The National Rail offers trains to Hampton Court Palace every 20-30 minutes during the day, and tickets are reasonably priced.

Check for train tickets to Hampton Court Palace.

Visit by Shuttle Bus

In addition to taking the train, there are also usually shuttle buses available which include stops both at this palace and Windsor Castle.

For more details and information about other ways to get here, make sure to read our full post covering Hampton Court Palace.


On this location along the Thames, there have been a number of Kew Palaces; however, the current Palace was erected - and partially designed - by King George III in 1802.

King George IV, George's son, later tore down some of his father's palace, but a sizable and incredibly opulent structure still stands.

Even though it hasn't been a royal residence in 200 years, Prince Phillip hosted Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday celebration here!

Only those with tickets to the gardens can enter Kew Palace, which is located right next to Kew Gardens.

Visit by Train

You can use the tube to reach Kew Garden, where you can of course access the palace as well.

Alternatively, there is also a National Rail service to this historic site.

Check here for train tickets to Kew Palace.

Visit by Bus

You can also visit Kew Palace by using either the 237 or 267 public bus.

For more details on how to visit this landmark, check our full post covering Kew Gardens.


Somerset House was built in 1549 by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and passed to the Crown upon Seymour's execution in 1552.

Elizabeth I resided here throughout Queen Mary I rule.

The structure later won the approval of several queen consorts: Anne of Denmark, the wife of King James I, Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I, and later Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II, all worked tirelessly to enhance and improve the structure.

Christopher Wren renovated the structure in 1685; it afterward passed out of royal control in the 18th century and is now accessible to the public.

Today, Somerset House is home to the Gilbert Collection of Decorative Arts, an exhibition space with changing performances, a store, a cafe, and a visitor center that provides information about the history of the structure.

The courtyard hosts summer concerts and winter ice skating, and it is regularly utilized for filmmaking (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Duchess, Sherlock Holmes, Sleepy Hollow, etc).

Visit by Train

The easiest way to get here is by tube, and the nearest stations to Somerset House are Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross, and Embankment.

You can also use the National Rail traveling to either Charing Cross, Blackfriars, or Waterloo station.

Your journey should take no more than 10-15 minutes depending on where you are in London.

Click here to check for train tickets to Somerset House.

Visit by Bus

There are several public buses that offer service to Kew Palace and Kew Gardens, including 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 26, 59, 68, 76, 87, 91, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1 and X68.

For more details, make sure to check our post on how to use buses in London.


Aside from the palaces we already have listed, you might also want to visit some of the following historic locations:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Kensington Palace
  • St. James's Palace
  • Eltham Palace
  • Whitehall Palace
  • Lambeth Palace
  • Winchester Palace
  • And more!

For even more notable attractions to visit and additional details about the sites listed above, check our post on Royal Palaces near London.

Film History Sites

If you're a film lover, there are a lot of noteworthy sites you might want to visit in and around London.

Here are just a few of our favorite filming location day trips that you might want to consider.


If you’ve ever wanted to see where the Harry Potter movies were filmed, a trip to Warner Bros. Studios is absolutely required.

Thankfully, there are several day trips you can take which include this activity.

Alternatively, you can also travel there by public transport and potentially save some money.

Visit by Train

You can get a train ticket to the studio for £5-£10 and potentially save a lot of money, but this option won’t include any of the additional activities offered with various day trips.

The closest railway station is Watford Junction. Find train tickets here.

If you do plan on making the trip yourself to save a few pounds, it’s worth noting that you can get an extra 10% off the Making of Harry Potter tour with the London City Pass.

Tickets for the tours are about £40-£45, while the full-day trips with everything included are closer to £100-£120 per person.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Most Harry Potter studio tour day trips are about 6-8 hours long, but some of the cheaper options will only take 4 hours to enjoy.

Each day trip includes a tour of Warner Bros. Studios, and some also offer fans the opportunity to try a free Butterbeer and meet famous Harry Potter actors like Warwick Davis!

You can read more about the Harry Potter day trips on our guide to visiting Warner Bros. Studios.


Fans of this hit British television show may want to consider taking a day trip to see some of the filming locations for Downton Abbey.

These excursions usually include a visit to sites such as Highclere Castle and Blenheim Palace, which can be difficult to obtain tickets to see.

Of course, because it’s hard to get into some of these locations, you may want to consider signing up for a Downton Abbey day trip at least 6-12 months in advance – if not even further ahead of time!

Tickets range from £60 for a more basic service to £120 for access to notable locations.

You can expect these outings to last for 10 hours or more, and some are even so extensive that they last for 2 days.

Since admission to these areas isn't easy to come by, an organized bus tour day trip is pretty much your only option in this case.

While there aren’t many discount opportunities for Downton Abbey day trips or tours, you can find some pretty good deals with the 2-for-1 program and Groupon.

If you’re looking for more details about these opportunities, make sure to read our full post covering Downton Abbey tours.


If you’ve ever wanted to see this prehistoric monument, consider taking a day trip from London to experience the landmark for yourself.

Stonehenge from London

Visit by Train or Bus

Train tickets can range from £16 - £40 round-trip, depending on when you travel, how far in advance you purchase, and whether your return ticket is open or for a specific train.

Find tickets.

You can also take a coach bus for about £16-£20 round trip with the same considerations as the train. Find tickets.

Both the train and bus will take you to the City of Salisbury, where you can then take a bus to Stonehenge for an extra £16 round trip.

If you take a public coach bus or a train on your own, expect to spend at least 7 hours total round trip by train and at least 9 hours by public coach. 

London to Stonehenge by Train Map

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Most visitors from London opt to join organized bus tours to Stonehenge and this is our recommended way to travel. 

In just about every instance, this is the cheapest and most efficient way to visit, costing around £53/adult including entry tickets and as short as 5 hours return. 

Some of these organized tours also include stops in Salisbury, Bath, Windsor Castle, and Oxford for an additional fee. 

Tickets for Stonehenge are an additional £19/adult with concessions available for kids, seniors, and students, although there is a way to see Stonehenge for free.

As you might have already figured out unless you take advantage of the free visit hack or you are simply an independent traveler, you are likely to spend more time and money visiting on your own.


Although it’s not quite as easy to take a day trip to Paris, this is a fantastic and historic tourist destination that you can actually reach by train in just 2 short hours.

In addition to sites such as the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, there are also hop-on-hop-off bus tours, cruises on the river Seine and many other fun things to see and do.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for fun activities, make sure to read our post covering things to do in Paris for more ideas.

Visit by Train

Yes, you can actually visit Paris from London by train. Prices range from £130-£170, and the journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

If you choose to take the bus, prices are as low as £35. However, the travel time by bus is very long, with each trip taking approximately 9 hours.

Purchase train tickets here or read our post on taking the Eurostar.

Visit by Organized Bus Tour

Tickets for Paris day trips are typically anywhere from £170 - £220, and they usually last at least 14-16 hours.

Some day trips to Paris include admission to popular attractions or activities, and these options usually cost a bit more than the basic services.

While there aren’t many ways to save money on the day trip itself, you can get a Paris tourist attraction pass for discounts on popular activities during your time in the city.

To learn more about this opportunity or purchase tickets, read this post about Paris day trips.

About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: November 3rd, 2023
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