20 Best Family Day Trips From London

Family day trip

Have you ever wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of London life, but don’t have the time or money for a full vacation? If so, you’re in luck! There are plenty of day trips from London that are perfect for those looking to explore Britain’s countryside and take in its many wonders. From historic castles to picturesque coastal towns and designer shopping these day trips offer something for everyone. Here’s 20 of the best day trips from London:

Family planning a day trip

1. Brighton

brighton pier at night time

Brighton is a popular seaside town located just over an hour by train from London. It is known for its pebble beach, Victorian pier, and family friendly tourist attractions. Explore the Lanes an historic area of narrow streets and alleys which is packed with independent shops, boutiques, cafes, and pubs. It’s a great place to find unique gifts, try some local cuisine or grab a coffee.

The fun Upside Down house attraction can also be explored in Brighton. This quirky attraction gives you plenty of opportunities for memorable pictures! There;s an aquarium and toy museum too!

Don’t miss a walk along Brighton Beach for some fresh sea air that you won’t get in the city. Stroll along the pebble beach and grab some ice cream or fish and chips from one of the many seaside vendors! Also, check out Brighton’s famous Pier to enjoy the traditional seaside fun with classic arcade games, rides, and attractions that all the family will love!

Down on the seafront the awe inspiring Brighton i360 ride will send you whizzing up to amazing heights for a great view of this popular British seaside resort.

2. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

Located only a short car or train journey away from London. A family day trip to Windsor Castle is a great idea! Windsor Castle is the official residence of the British royal family and a must-see attraction. There are plenty of things to see and do within the castle and grounds.

Check out the State Apartments a series of rooms that are used by the Royal Family for official occasions. Visitors can see the magnificent decorations and furnishings that have been used for hundreds of years. Then, there’s the beautiful St George’s Chapel. This is the burial place of 10 monarchs, including King Henry VIII and Queen Jane Seymour. The chapel is also the venue for royal weddings and christenings.

Kids will love Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. This miniature palace was built for Queen Mary in the early 20th century. It has working lights, running water, and even a miniature library. How cute!

Before you go make you sure you don’t miss The Changing of the Guard: This is a ceremony that takes place at the castle’s main gate. Visitors can watch as the new guards take over from the old guards. An impressive sight for any royal and military fans!

3. Stonehenge

stonehenge

Stonehenge is an ancient stone circle located in Wiltshire, England, and one of the most recognizable Prehistoric monuments in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can be reached in less than two hours from London by car or train, making it a perfect day trip.

We recommend taking a guided tour. Stonehenge has knowledgeable guides who can provide detailed information about this mysterious monument, its history, and significance. Then, make sure you visit the Visitor Centre which features an informative exhibition about Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape.

4. Bicester Shopping Village

family shopping

Fancy a day out shopping? Bicester Village is a luxury shopping destination located in the town of Bicester, Oxfordshire, England. The shopping village features more than 160 high-end boutiques, including famous brands such as Burberry, Gucci, Prada, Versace, and many more.

It attracts both domestic and international shoppers who come to take advantage of the discounts offered on luxury goods, with some items discounted up to 60% off the original price. So, you can be sure to grab a bargain here!

Aside from shopping, Bicester Village offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. There are also several amenities such as a children’s play area, valet parking, personal shopping services, and a tourist information center to assist visitors.

Bicester Village is located just a short distance from London and can be easily accessed by train, car, or coach. You can travel to Bicester Village Station in 46 minutes by train from London Marylebone.

5. Paris

the eiffel tower in paris and river seine.

Yes really! You can easily take a day trip to another country from London. France and the beautiful city of Paris are only around two and a half hours away on the Eurostar train from London St Pancreas International.

You can arrive in time to enjoy a delicious lunch on the Champs-Elysees and a Seine riverside walk. Then, spend the afternoon taking in iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Cathedrale Notre Dame. Take in priceless works of art in the famous Lourve Museum and don’t forget to make time for some shopping! Paris has a wide variety of shops to browse from designer boutiques to independent retailers. Just make sure you can carry all the bags as you catch your evening train home!

6. Hastings

View of Hastings from the pier

Hastings is a charming seaside town located on the south coast of England, and there are plenty of fun things to do while you’re there. You can board a train at London Bridge station direct to Hastings. With a travel time of only an hour and a half from the city this is a popular day trip to enjoy some time by the coast.

Take a stroll along Hastings Pier, its is a beautiful spot for a walk, with stunning views out to sea. If the weather is good why not take a dip in the sea? Hastings has a lovely beach. So, take a swim in the sea or build sandcastles on the beach.

Explore the town and discover narrow streets and picturesque buildings with plenty of independent shops and cafes. Then, make sure you visit Hastings Castle. This historic castle dates back to the 11th century and offers fantastic views of the town and the sea.

For extra family fun, take a trip on one of the cliff railways in Hastings. The heritage, Victorian railway West Hill takes you up a steep incline to enjoy sea views across the English Channel. You’ll really feel like you’ve got away from the city as you take in the different skyline.

7. Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

For minimal travel time take a train ride to Kew Gardens and spend a day trip surrounded by over 50,000 plants from around the world! It’s only around 50 minutes by train to get from London to Kew Gardens.

You can relax in nature and take a leisurely walk around the gardens and explore the many different landscapes, including the Palm House, the Princess of Wales Conservatory, and the Waterlily House.

Don’t miss a visit to the Treetop Walkway. A walkway that takes you high up into the treetop canopy to marvel at the stunning views of the gardens and the city skyline.

8. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

You can travel to Blenheim Palace via car in only an hour and a half from London and its also easily reached by train. Take a train ride from London Marylebone to Oxford Parkway. The birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a great idea if you like your day trips with an historical twist.

What is there to see on a day trip at this Oxford grand estate? Well, where do we start?

Explore the impressive palace. You can take a guided tour of the Palace to learn about its rich history and beautiful architecture. The tour includes the State Rooms, the Churchill Exhibition, and the Palace gardens.

The Churchill Exhibition, showcases the life and legacy of this important political figure through photographs, personal letters, and artifacts.

Walk through the Gardens: Blenheim Palace has over 2000 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore. The Formal Gardens, Water Terraces, and Rose Garden are particularly impressive.

Children will love The Pleasure Gardens which offer a range of activities for all ages, including a butterfly house, adventure playground, and miniature train ride.

9. Rye and Camber Sands

A street in the town of Rye, Camber Sands

Rye is a perfect day trip destination from London, taking just under 2 hours by train. Enjoy both exploring the town and all the delights of the seaside too!

Rye Town

Rye is a charming medieval town with cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, and a rich history. You can visit the Rye Castle Museum to learn more about this historic town’s past. Then, climb to the top of the Ypres Tower for panoramic views of the town, or simply wander through the winding lanes and browse the independent shops. The Rye Heritage Centre is another great place to visit, featuring interactive exhibits and displays about the history of the town. You can also book a guided tour of the town from here.

Rye is known for its local food and drink, such as the famous Rye Bay scallops and locally brewed beer. There are many restaurants and pubs to choose from, so be sure to try some of the local specialties. You can also take a boat tour from Rye Harbour to explore the nearby coastline and spot wildlife such as seals and birds.

Camber Sands Beach

Camber Sands is a stunning stretch of sandy beach that stretches for miles along the coast. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports such as kite-surfing and windsurfing. The beach is also surrounded by sand dunes and has several cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.

If you’re looking to get active on your day trip, there are many hiking trails in the area to explore. The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a great place to go for a walk and spot wildlife, while the Camber Sands to Winchelsea Beach walk offers stunning views of the coastline.

10. Leeds Castle Kent

Leeds Castle Kent

Leeds Castle is a top attraction in Kent and only a short distance from London! It’s  An ideal attraction to visit for the day. There’s plenty to see and do for all ages.

Explore the castle’s rich history and architecture by taking a guided tour and then, take a stroll around the magnificent grounds and gardens. Kids will love the outdoor fun with a maze and not just one but two adventure playgrounds!

There’s also amazing falconry displays to enjoy which happen throughout the year.

11. Bath

Georgian architecture in Bath city, UK

The journey from London Victoria to Bath city centre takes only 1 hour 20 minutes by train. Bath is a charming city located in the southwest of England, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, shopping and natural hot springs. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or simply looking to relax and unwind, there are plenty of things to do in Bath to suit all tastes.

One of the top attractions in Bath is the Roman Baths, which date back to the 1st century AD. This well-preserved historical site offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ancient Romans who once lived in Bath. Visitors can explore the various chambers, walkways, and pools.

Another must-visit attraction in Bath is the iconic Bath Abbey. This magnificent church has been a focal point of the city for over a thousand years. Visitors can take a tour of the abbey and attend one of the regular services or concerts held here.

Rooftop Pool

No visit to Bath would be complete without a dip in the city’s famous hot springs. The Thermae Bath Spa is the perfect place to experience the restorative properties of the natural mineral-rich waters. Here you can relax in the rooftop pool with stunning views of the city, enjoy a variety of spa treatments, or indulge in a delicious meal at the spa restaurant.

Don’t forget to spend some time during your day trip browsing the many shops in Bath city from well know high street retailers to independent stores there’s plenty to explore.

12. Beale Wildlife Park Reading

three zebras tilting their head in chessington's zoo enclosure

Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens is the perfect place for a fun-filled family day out. The park is home to over 160 species of animals including tigers, lions, monkeys, lemurs, micro pigs, goats and many more!

In addition, to animals there are also beautiful gardens and grounds to explore with a wide variety of flowers and plants on display. Kids will be spoilt for choice with plenty of activities to keep them entertained such as a jumping pillows, playgrounds and splash pool.

Journey times to Reading are perfect for a day trip from London. The town where Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens are located is only a short car drive or train journey.

13. Canterbury

Canterbury

Canterbury is a lovely English city located in Kent, just an hour away from London. Here you can enjoy some of the best examples of English architecture. Visit the world-famous Canterbury Cathedral and explore the historic landmarks and famous university buildings. The city also has a great selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.

14. Oxford

Oxford University

Oxford is a historic university city located only 2 hours from London by train. Oxford, known as the “City of Dreaming Spires,” is a stunning destination for a day trip. Start your day with a visit to the historic Oxford University, which is famous for its impressive architecture and stunning libraries.

Take a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens, visit the Ashmolean Museum to learn about the history of Oxford, or climb to the top of Carfax Tower for panoramic views of the city. Then, make sure you stop by one of the local cafes or pubs for a traditional English lunch-you’ll need to keep your energy levels up for more exploring!

To wrap up your day take a walk to Christ Church Cathedral and explore the many Harry Potter filming locations.

15. White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover

The iconic Dover Cliffs is a must-see when visiting the area. The views are breathtaking and you can see all the way across the English Channel to France on a clear day! There are plenty of coastal walks around the cliffs so why not take some time to explore and appreciate this beautiful part of England.

You can drive to Dover from London in under 2 hours or catch a train from London’s Kings Cross. Choose the fast train and you could be in Dover within an hour!

16. Winchester

Winchester Cathedral

Experience the majestic beauty of Winchester Cathedral on a day trip from London. This stunning building dates back to 1079 and is renowned for its impressive architecture and history. Take a journey through the cathedral’s long and varied past by taking a guided tour. There’s also a science museum, shopping and don’t forget Jane Austen‘s house. Any fans of period dramas will find this a must see!

The city of Winchester is also worth exploring with its historic buildings, cobbled streets and beautiful parks.  Direct trains from London can get you to Winchester in an hour and a half.

17. Hampton Court Palace

a far off photo of the grounds of hampton court palace

Hampton Court Palace is one of the most famous and iconic palaces in England, located just 20 miles from London. Here you can explore the palace and its magnificent gardens, which are home to an array of exotic plants and wildlife.

Step back in time as you wander through the Tudor kitchens, Great Hall and Chapel Royal inside the palace.

18. Cambridge

Cambridge

Cambridge is a well known university city located only an hour away from London, making the perfect destination for a day trip. Start your visit by exploring the wonderful colleges of Cambridge University, including the famous King’s College Chapel. Then take a punting tour along the River Cam and explore the beautiful college gardens.

The city also has plenty of museums, shops and cafes to explore. Kids will love The Centre for Computing History which shows how computers and gaming has evolved over the decades.

19. Harry Potter Studios

Harry Potter Studios

For a truly magical day out, head to the Harry Potter Studios in London. Located in Leavesden, just 20 miles from the centre of London, this is the home of the original sets and props used in all 8 Harry Potter movies.

Explore Diagon Alley and discover intricate sets that were used for filming. You’ll be able to wander through Hogwarts castle with its grand corridors and staircases and get up close to iconic props like Hogwart’s Express. Visit the world of Harry Potter, explore the Forbidden Forest and take a ride on a broomstick! The perfect day trip for any fan of the series.

20. Legoland Resort Windsor

Legoland Windsor

Legoland in Windsor is an ideal day trip for any family with young children. This theme park has a host of exciting rides, interactive attractions and shows to keep the little ones entertained. You can explore the world of Lego, visit Mini Land where you can see famous landmarks made from over 40 million Lego bricks and get creative in the building workshops! Plus, don’t forget all the amazing theme park rides to enjoy.

Soar through the air on The Flight of the Sky Lion, battle snakes and ghosts on the Ninjago ride, then get ready for a lesson at Legoland’s own driving school. Can you pass the test? There’s all this and more only a short distance by road or rail from London!

family having fun

We hope this helps inspire your day trips from London. There are lots of places to explore in a day from the capital city. Where will you choose?

Are you looking for more inspiration for places to visit? Then, you’ll like our 20 Best Cities To Visit In The UK blog. Or if you want to stay longer than a day trip, how about planning a family weekend away or mini holiday? You’ll find lots of ideas from our Best UK Family Staycation article.

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