London is one of my favorites cities. With it’s many museums, parks, upscale shops, bookstores, and attractions, there is always so much to do there.
But London is also a great base for daytrips into the surrounding countryside. Here are seven of my favorite London daytrips. You may want to consider them for your next trip!
One of my favorite places to visit from London is the old town of Windsor, located on the River Thames just 25 miles just west of London. You’ll love the 800-year-old medieval castle castle – the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world – which is also a royal residence.
Built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle has been occupied by many monarchs since, and today the Queen spends most of her private weekends there. The castle is often used for ceremonial and State occasions.
Tour the elaborate state apartments and a grand reception hall, which displays a fascinating array of architectural styles. The exclusive Eton School lies across the river; you can tour the facilities there from late March to early October.
What could be more romantic than a punt down the River Cam between the neatly kept lawns of Cambridge’s famous old colleges?
In Cambridge you can also visit the Fitzwilliam Museum for some fabulous art, or just have a look in some of the city’s many great bookshops.
Admire the ornate medieval architecture that is everywhere, especially in King’s College Chapel. Cambridge is about 60 miles north of London, an hour or so by train from King’s Cross.
Oxford – one of my favorite towns – is a university town with towering spires. When it’s not exam time, you can stroll through the inner courtyards of the centuries-old residential colleges (there are 35 of them!) and gaze at the different architectural styles. Save some time to browse the city’s quaint shops and fine museums.
The Oxford Express and Oxford Tube are inexpensive bus services that make the 50-mile trip from London to Oxford every 15-30 minutes from Victoria Coach Station, Marble Arch or Baker Street in London. It takes about 90 minutes, depending on traffic. Or you can take the train from from Paddington Station, about an hour’s ride.
Scenic Leeds Castle is set on two small islands in the middle of a lake, surrounded by 500 acres of lushly landscaped grounds. Dating from the Norman era, it is one of the best-preserved castles in Britain.
The maze here was created by 2,400 yew trees, and it’s worth spending a little time getting lost in it.
At Leeds Castle you’ll see birds from around the world in the aviary and be amazed at the extravagance in the – believe it or not – Dog Collar Museum.
Coach tours from London can be arranged, or you can take a train from Victoria Station for the hour-long journey. A regular shuttle links the train station with the castle. The castle is located near Maidstone, Kent, 40 miles east of London.
Are you a Jane Austen fan? She was Bath’s most famous resident. There’s even a small museum chronicling her life and times, plus a delightful Regency tearoom.
But that’s not all. Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably one of England’s loveliest cities. The city is famed for its natural hot springs and mineral baths. In fact, you can tour its old Roman Baths and spend time in the Thermae Bath Spa, which offers the chance to dip into the only natural hot spa in Britain.
But even that’s not all! There’s also stunning Georgian architecture, breathtaking countryside, gardens, an abbey, plus many appealing restaurants. Bath is 90 minutes by train from Paddington Station.
This pretty seaside town remains an English favorite. Be sure to venture beyond the pebble beaches, though, as Brighton is far more sophisticated than its fish-and-chips eateries by the sea, delish as they are.
The cobblestoned maze called “The Lanes” is filled with antiques shops and boutiques, and the iconic Brighton Pavilion is a must-see of fantastical architecture and interior design. It’s also known as the Royal Pavilion, built as the seaside pleasure palace for King George IV. Brighton is 50 minutes by train from Victoria Station.
You will probably need a car to explore the Cotswolds, and of course, be prepared to drive on the left side of the road. But you will be awarded for your effort. The area, roughly bordered by Oxford, Gloucester and Stratford-upon-Avon, is replete with historic, small villages, thatched-roof cottages and stately manor houses.
Many of the area’s manor houses have been converted into luxury accommodations, but Snowshill Manor and Garden near Broadway is open to the public from mid-March to October.
You’ll want to explore the picturesque Upper and Lower Slaughters, the market town of Cirencester (where you’ll find good Roman ruins) and Stanton, which has a pub perched on a hill overlooking the tiny village. You can visit the area in a day, but why not spend a night there? It’s worth a stay.
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