This post will provide information about some of the best day trips you can take from London.
Each of the locations included are popular destinations, and most outings include both transportation and a tour.
- Windsor Castle
- Harry Potter Studios
- Downton Abbey
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If you’ve ever wanted to see this prehistoric monument, consider taking a day trip from London to experience the landmark for yourself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 world received their education, including people such as Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, and many more.
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.
If you come on your own, expect to pay £15-£25 return for the train. Public bus prices can be significantly cheaper, but travel time is much longer.
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, 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 trips to Oxford are typically about 6-8 hours long, and if you come on your own, expect to pay £11-15 return for the bus and £25-30 for the train.
We also created a free, self-guided tour of Oxford for the DIY crew.
If you come by organized tour, tickets are anywhere from £40-£50 per person.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
For more details on this activity, check this post about Bath day trips.
Located in the town of Windsor, this historic castle is a popular tourist destination on the outskirts of London.
Due to its proximity near Heathrow Airport, it’s actually pretty easy to get here using public transport, but there are day trips available as well.
We have a post detailing a trip to Windsor.
Most of the day trips include additional attractions such as Stonehenge and Oxford, making it more affordable to visit several notable landmarks.
Unfortunately, the disadvantage of these combo packages is that you usually won’t have much time to spend at Windsor Castle.
If you want to take more time looking around the castle and exploring the town of Windsor, consider taking a train instead.
This method only takes about an hour from London. Train tickets will be about £10 and admission to the castle will be another £22.50.
That said, you can save money on admission to Windsor Castle by using the London Pass.
Regardless of which option you choose, tours of the castle are available that last for about 2 hours and you will also usually have an opportunity to see the changing of the guard.
Day trips 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.
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.
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!
Tickets for the tours are about £40-£45, while the full-day trips with everything included are closer to £100-£120 per person.
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.
If you do plan on making the trip yourself to save a few pounds, it’s worth noting that you can get an extra 20% off the Making of Harry Potter tour with the London City Pass.
You can read more about the Harry Potter day trips on our guide to visiting Warner Bros. Studios.
This is another popular tourist destination due to all the beaches and seaside attractions in the area.
In addition to sites such as the Brighton Palace Pier, you can also see landmarks like the Royal Pavilion and the Sea Life Centre.
Day trips to Brighton are usually around £60-£70, and they aren’t typically included with any combo packages.
You could just take a train to Brighton, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll save a lot of money because tickets to and from the town usually go for around £50 per person.
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 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.
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.
The iVenture tourist pass includes tickets for a day trip that includes Canterbury. Depending on how you use the pass, this could make your ticket for the day trip less than £18!
Check this post about Canterbury day trips for more information or to purchase tickets.
This city is rich with 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.
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!
For more details about what to see and do while you’re there, check this article about making a day trip to Bristol.
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.
If you’re looking for more details about these opportunities, make sure to read our full post covering Downton Abbey tours.
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.
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.
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.
12) STRATFORD-UPON-AVON DAY TRIPS
Literature and poetry enthusiasts, especially fans of William Shakespeare, will find interesting historical sites in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Popular spots include Shakespeare's birthplace, his wife'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.
We suggest taking an organised tour for the convenience of transportation and a guide to the town, as well as surrounding areas.
It is actually more 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 on our full post.