Best Day Trips From London By Train

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Travelers movement in tube train station, London

London has long been a haven for travellers the world over, and with its extensive rail network, many people can visit the city very easily indeed. With 14 rail terminuses across the city, getting into the UK capital and close to hotels such as the Montcalm Hotel has never been easier. 

However, getting out is another question entirely. During the COVID pandemic lockdowns, many Londoners might have felt a need to escape and get out of the city. Whilst this might have been impossible during the stay at home orders of 2020, the loosening restrictions means that national travel is now possible under certain circumstances, perfect for London visitors who want to explore the surrounding area, and of course city dwellers themselves.

This blog explores the many day trips one can take from the city, ensuring that locals get the fresh air they need and those capitalising on the increasing number of London hotel deals get back in time for dinner! From the home counties to the beaches across the south and east coasts, these are the best day trips you can take by train from London.

Train Terminuses

London is teeming with train stations that give you access to many parts of the country. From Paddington Station’s links to the West of England to Kings Cross and its direct trains to Edinburgh, there’s a lot of ways into London for guests in the city. Furthermore, London’s mix of nippy bus routes and underground network means that it’s easier than ever to travel further out of the city.

Brighton

Brighton is well known for being a hotspot for Londoners. This southeast coast escape is easily reachable from London Victoria and Kings Cross Station and only takes one hour on the train. Brighton is well known for its lively pebbly beaches, great party atmosphere and gaudy Regency-era architecture.

Margate

Based on the tip of southeast England, you can reach Margate from Kings Cross St Pancras in just an hour and a half. Margate is known for its pleasant, sandy beaches, pleasure pier and Turner Art Gallery and due to its compact size, the area is entirely navigable in a day.

Bath

You can reach the historic city of Bath in just an hour and 18 minutes from Paddington Station, and will no doubt find its rich history and scenic views absorbing and pleasant. With plenty of museums, culture and architecture to marvel at, it’s easy to see why Bath is a UNESCO world heritage site. Make sure to visit the gothic Bath Abbey and the Roman Bath ruins that inspired its name. Whilst they might be ruins now, the Roman Baths were once the equivalent of the best spa breaks in London!

Bristol

Another one that travels from London Paddington, nearby guests from budget hotels in London can be in Bristol in just over an hour and a half. Based in the West of England, Bristol is a hub for tourists, filled with maritime museums, zoos and scenic riverside walks along the River Avon.

Cambridge

Cambridge is known for being home to one of the best universities in the world, but this medieval town in Cambridgeshire has a lot more to offer than just academia. Located on the banks of the River Cam, Cambridge is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the country, whilst the university itself provides tours across its many colleges. 

Oxford

The rival of Cambridge University, Oxford University is located in a beautiful city that is just an hour outside of London. With its main attractions just a 15-minute walk from its train station, Oxford is home to many popular tourist attractions such as the Ashmolean Museum. Alongside this art and history exhibition space, you’ll find tours around the most famous Oxford Colleges as well as historic tributes to past students such as JR Tolkein and CS Lewis. 

Leeds

This historic city in Yorkshire might look far away on a map but only takes 2 hours by train to reach London. With cheap buses to explore further out of the city and into the Yorkshire Dales, the city itself is home to unique museums like the Royal Armouries, where you’ll find stunning relics from historic warfare. Furthermore, Leeds is home to some beautiful historic sites, such as Kirkstall Abbey, which was founded way back in 1152.

Canterbury

Canterbury is an ancient cathedral city that is located on the coast of Kent. Here you’ll find plenty of cafes and monuments inspired by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and instead of the long pilgrimage that Londoners used to take to the city, you can get here in just under an hour nowadays. There’s a lot to see too, including ancient church tours and of course, a lot of traditional English pubs to wet your whistle at.

Whitstable

Whitstable is another great choice for Londoners in Kent and is a little quieter than its cathedral clad big brother. Whitstable is a small harbour town that has become famous for its oysters, which you can still find restaurants dedicated to today. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can even enjoy the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival.

Colchester

Another Roman gem that’s just under an hour away from London Liverpool Street Station, Colchester i72a town in Essex that was once the Roman capital of England. Whilst times might have changed in the last 1600 years, there’s a lot you can still enjoy in modern-day Colchester, including Roman museums, audio-guided walking tours of the city and an 11th-century priory called St Botolphs which can be visited for free.

Hampton Court

Located a half-hour train journey from Waterloo Station, Hampton Court was once the main premises of the royal family during the Tudor period. Visit the museum here to learn more about the life of Anne Boelyn and Henry VIII, and soak in the scenic gardens surrounding the beautiful castle. There’s a lot to see here, especially for architecture experts, who will no doubt notice that the castle has many different wings from many different periods of English history.