London has many big highlights to see such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul Cathedral, National Gallery and many more. If this is your first time to London definitely stay for at least 4 days to see all of them. If you have more than 4 days in London, then it’s time to hop on to a train or bus and see more of UK.
Before we go with the suggested day trip let’s get familiar with transportation option in the great Britain. There are 2 main options: Train and Buses. Unlike other European countries who only have 1 railway company managing the whole train operation in the country, UK has 28 different train operators across Great Britain. So if you have a connecting train when travelling from one place to another sometimes it involves 2 train operators however you don’t necessarily have to to buy the ticket from 2 train companies.
You can find out which train company to buy the ticket from by simply googling “Train from A to B” and you can see the railway. Below you can see it is run by Great Western Railway company.
Here’s a list of some of the Railway Companies which covers major destinations within the UK from London:
- Chiltern Railway: Operates a number of services between the UK’s major cities of London and Birmingham.
- Great Western Railway: Operates services from London to the southwest, west and West Midlands of England and most of Wales.
- Northern Railway: Operates local and long distance commuter rail services all across Northern England.
- Southern Railway: Operates services to and from London across the counties of East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire.
- Avanti West Coast: Operates services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland. They connect six of the largest cities in the UK: London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.
- C2C rail Limited: Connecting London with rail destinations in Essex and Southend-on-Sea.
- East Midland Railway: connecting London to cities such as Liverpool, Nottingham, Corby, Derby, York, Leeds and Sheffield in the north.
There are many more but above is the most common one to use from London.
Here’s our suggestion on where you can go on a day trip from London, what to do and how to get there.
Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, on the River Cam approximately 89 km north of London. Cambridge has a population of 158,434 and around 30,000 are students. It became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.
University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university, as well as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge. Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions organized into six schools. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. Cambridge does not have a main campus, and its colleges and central facilities are scattered throughout the city. Undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is organized around weekly small-group supervisions in the colleges – a feature unique to the Oxbridge system. These are complemented by classes, lectures, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further supervisions provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.
Top Things to Do:
- Pop inside King’s College Chapel
- Go Punting. Splitting the city in two is the River Cam, which passes by some of the prettiest areas of the city like the city’s own water highway. Best of all, you can pop onto a punt and explore the city. Over the years, punting has become a proper institution and a great way to see inside some of the colleges right from the river itself.
- See the Mathematical Bridge
- See St. John’s College
- Spot the Corpus Clock
- See the View from Great St Mary’s Church
- See the Bridge of Sighs
- Find Christ’s College
How to get there:
- By Train: King’s Cross and Liverpool Street Station are the station from which most trains depart for Cambridge. Between the two stations, there are trains departing every 10-15 minutes from 4:00 am until midnight. Visitors should expect travel time to take anywhere between 50 minutes – 1½ hours. Expect a price of at least £16-£25 return depending on whether you get a peak or off-peak tickets. Once you arrive, there will be two stations to choose from: Cambridge and Cambridge North. Stop at Cambridge main station as most of the bus services in the area operate from there. You can book your train ticket online from EastMidlands Railway website here.
- Take Public Coach from London: There are several coach companies that offer services between London and Cambridge such as National Express and Megabus. Both have coaches departing from either location every 1-2 hours throughout the day. These public coaches can take anywhere from 2 – 2 ½ hours to reach Cambridge from London.The price of the journey varies immensely depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket. Expect tickets to run from £5-£15 (depending on whether they are one-way or return) when you buy them ahead of time. Tickets purchased within a few days of the journey can be more expensive, whilst tickets purchased at least a week in advance are often much cheaper than the train.
- Take Organized Tour from London: If you don’t want to think about travel expenses and paying for additional activities in Cambridge this is the easiest option. An organized bus tour typically includes a return coach ticket, a free guided sightseeing tour, and potentially even entry to one or more popular attractions. While some organized tours to Cambridge will give you an entire day to explore the city, others last for 8-10 hours on average, with 4-5 hours of that being travel time to and from the historic college town. Ticket prices for this service typically range from £50-£60 per person, but you can also get combo packages which include day trips to Oxford and other locations such as Oxford and Cambridge Universities Tour.
Bicester Village Factory Outlet
Bicester Village, sitting in the Oxfordshire countryside, first opened its doors in 1995. Since then, this pedestrian open-air setting has grown to include more than 160 boutiques lining the Village’s beautifully landscaped streets. Bicester Village features boutiques from British and international luxury brands – offering year-round savings on the recommended retail price – sit alongside restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy all-day dining and on-the-go culinary treats.
Open seven days a week (Monday to Saturday 08.00-21.00 Sunday 10.00-19.00), the Village offers an array of services, including a multilingual Concierge, Personal Shopping, Hands-free Shopping and Virtual Shopping. Try going to Bicester Village on weekdays so it is less crowded. I have been here few times and weekend is the most crowded, as we also have locals coming to shop. Bicester Village has several restaurants and they get very busy during lunch time. Pret a Manger has the biggest seating areas and faster service as you just need to get what you need from the shelves, if you just want to have a quick lunch. They also have hot food such as soups and hot wraps on top of their usual sandwiches.
How to get there:
- By Train: Travel directly to Bicester Village Station in 46 minutes from London Marylebone Station with Chiltern Railway. Trains to Bicester Village depart from London Marylebone every 30 minutes with, on average, 36 trains per day on weekdays. The off-peak return London to Bicester Village train price starts from £28.00. Alternatively if you combined Bicester Village with Oxford, Chiltern Railway also has a train from Oxford which takes about 13 minutes and price is £3.20 one-way
- Taking a Bus from Oxford: Stagecoach service from central Oxford, leaving every 15 minutes. For timetables and fares, call +44 (0)1865 772 250 or click here. If you travel from London, you can take the Oxford Tube from London and connect to Stagecoach Oxford’s S5 service to get to Bicester Village. If you buy an Oxford Tube Connector ticket you just pay for your Oxford Tube fare.
Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. In the early Bronze Age many burial mounds were built nearby.
For centuries, historians and archaeologists have puzzled over the many mysteries of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect. Located in southern England, it is comprised of roughly 100 massive upright stones placed in a circular layout.
While many modern scholars now agree that Stonehenge was once a burial ground, they have yet to determine what other purposes it served and how a civilization without modern technology—or even the wheel—produced the mighty monument. Its construction is all the more baffling because, while the sandstone slabs of its outer ring hail from local quarries, scientists have traced the bluestones that make up its inner ring all the way to the Preseli Hills in Wales, some 200 miles from where Stonehenge sits on Salisbury Plain. Today, nearly 1 million people visit Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, every year. Stonehenge is located approximately 87 miles (140 km) from Victoria Station in Central London.The ride to this historic sight takes less than 2 hours by car or organized bus tour, approximately 2 1/2 hours by train, and roughly 3-4 hours by public coach.
How to get there:
- Take the Train to Salisbury: Trains depart from London’s Waterloo Station approximately every 30 min and arrive in the City of Salisbury which is 16 km south of Stonehenge. . You can buy train ticket directly from South Western railway website. From Salisbury, you will need to transfer to the Stonehenge Bus (£8 each way) or take a taxi to get to the historic site. If you have 3 or 4 people, an Uber X is probably the cheaper way to go.Train ticket prices from London to Salisbury vary depending on date and time of departure and how far in advance you purchase them. Expect a round trip ticket to cost as low as £23 (off-peak) up to £45 (peak) and take less than 2 hours. Add on another 30-60 minutes to transfer to the bus to Stonehenge and arrive at the site. With that in mind, travelers should prepare for a total travel time of 7 hours if planning to visit Stonehenge via train from London and back.
- Take Public Coach from Victoria Station London. You can expect your trip by National Express Coach to take approximately 3 hours to get to Salisbury, but you should factor in another 30-60 minutes to get to Stonehenge from Salisbury.
- Take Organized Tour. Taking a tour can often be cheapest and fastest because tours will take you directly to Stonehenge, there’s no need to travel to Salisbury (which is the case with the public train and public coaches). Day trips from London to Stonehenge can take anywhere from 5-7 hours on average. Ticket prices also include entry to the site, so you don’t need to worry about choosing the right entry time.Tickets for organized bus tours are typically around £55-£60 per person. And you can also choose a tour which combined Stonehenge with other location such as Bath, Windsor, Oxford etc. Example of Stonehenge & Bath Full day tour here.
Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for and named after its Roman-built baths. Bath is located in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles southeast of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987. The main attraction of Bath is the Roman Bath and the city cathedral. Bath, the famous spa town in Somerset England, has attracted people from near and far for centuries to its healing springs and baths. Today the city is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and as the destination for the wealthy elite of the 18th and 19th centuries CE.
What to do in Bath:
- See Pulteney Bridge. Completed around 250-years-ago, Pulteney Bridge is smack-bang in the centre of Bath so you really can’t miss it. Pulteney Bridge has a heap of buildings that house a number of shops along the bridge itself.
- Explore the Roman Bath. Probably the most famous Roman baths in England, the Roman Baths is the exact reason why Bath (as a city) was established. For hundreds of years, the Romans used these baths for public bathing, while also hosting the Sacred Spring, a Roman Temple and the Roman Bath itself. Nowadays, you can pop inside and still see the geo-thermally heated bath, whilst exploring more about the sacred spring and the temple that the Roman’s built here.
- Visit Bath Abbey, next door to the Roman Bath. Founded in the 7th Century, Bath Abbey is one of the highest buildings in Bath and well worth a visit once you’re in the city centre. Built with Bath Stone, you’ll notice the Abbey matches the rest of the city. This is because Bath stone has a distinct colour and each building has traditionally been built with this and is now protected, too.
- Stroll Green Street for some shopping.
- See Royal Crescent and the circus. Built around 250-years-ago, the Royal Cresent is said to be one of the best Georgian buildings to see anywhere in the country. Take a little wander around the crescent and stroll on down (through Brock Street) to the Circus, too. Built by John Wood, the Elder, it’s actually a copy (of the circular dimensions) of Stonehenge. The reason for this is that John Wood believed that this area of England was one of the most important places in the world for Druids.
- Walk to St. John’s Place, one of the winding streets in the centre of Bath
- Take a boat in the Avon River. It’s a great way to see the city if you fancy a little chill time and the weather is nice and sunny.
- Enjoy the market of Bath. There are a number of market places and stalls in Bath, with a heap of goodies and treats to buy. There is the outdoor stalls near the Roman Baths and the Guildhall Market that’s well worth a visit. If you come in December then these area turned into Christmas market.
How to get there:
- Take the train from London Paddington Station. Great Western Railways can get you to Bath in around 1.5 hours.
- By public coach. A good choice for those on a budget, connections from London to Bath by bus are certainly the least expensive means of travel. National Express, frequently offers off-peak one-way trips for as little as £5 for those booking in advance online. Journey times can take upwards of three hours.
- By organized tour. A popular tour option for sightseeing in southwest England is to travel from London to Stonehenge via Windsor Castle and including Bath. With departures from London’s centrally located Victoria Coach Station, this 11-hour tour hits the road at 8am.
Oxford, a city in central southern England, revolves around its prestigious university: the world famous University of Oxford, established in the 12th century. The architecture of its 38 colleges in the city’s medieval center led poet Matthew Arnold to nickname it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. Situated only 88.5km west of Central London, Oxford is an easy day trip independently with frequent bus and coach services. The River Thames runs through Oxford in the early stages of its flow down to London through the Thames valley. Today, Oxford is also famously known for its Harry Potter and Alice (Lewis Carrol) connection.
What to Do in Oxford:
Most things to see in Oxford are directly or indirectly associated with the University. Once you have arrived in Oxford the only practical way to get around is to walk as everything you will want to see is in a compact and well sign-posted central area.
- Oxford University. As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford University is an historic institution and the single main draw for visitors to Oxford. The 38 colleges are spread throughout the city but the oldest and most historic are clustered together in the ancient centre of Oxford. Christ Church is the largest college and is the single most popular destination with its connections to Harry Potter.
- Bodleian Library. One of the great libraries of the world since the 17th century with every new book published in the UK here. A total of nearly 6 million books clearly needs a great storage area, much of it spreading underground.
- Radcliffe Camera/Reading room. Camera is the medieval name for a room. The earliest example of a round reading room and still in use today as the reading room of the Bodleian Library. Over 600,000 books are stored alone in its underground store. Can be visited by prior arrangement.
- University Church of St Mary the Virgin
Historically this is at the heart of the start of the University. Built in the 14th Century, the early colleges started up within and all around this church. The earliest library for example was within the church. Today the most popular attraction is climbing to the Tower for panoramic views of the City of Oxford.
- Museum of History of Science
Home to an unrivaled collection of scientific instruments from medieval times to the 17th century. Its collection of 18th and 19th-century instruments is also substantial. It is the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. Notable exhibits include Einstein’s blackboard.
- Sheldonian Theatre
The Theatre, built in 1664-9, was the very first work of Sir Christopher Wren. The Theatre is much used today for University occasions, including degree ceremonies.
- Oxford covered market
Today Oxford is a regional shopping centre meeting the every day needs of the local population. It is little different to other similar sized cities with the usual chains and mix of retail outlets. The Covered Market takes you back in time and is worthwhile even if shops aren’t your scene. The Covered Market was opened in 1774 and is very atmospheric with a thriving community of stall holders covering a wide range of subjects.
- Blackwell’s book shop
Blackwell’s main bookshop is comprised of four old shops in Broad Street: Nos. 48, 49, 50, and 51. All four are Grade II listed buildings. The resulting retail shop is a maze to negotiate. Stocking more than 200,000 titles this is Oxford’s largest bookshop. It includes as part of its basement the Norrington room which gained a place in the Guinness Books of Records with the largest single display of books for sale in the world.
- Alice’s Shop
In Oxford a popular place to visit is the world famous ‘Alice’s Shop’, selling all sorts of Alice related souvenirs. Located just opposite Alice’s childhood home, just across the road from Christ Church College, Alice’s Shop is in fact the actual shop where the real life Alice would have gone for her sweets and groceries. Lewis Carrol wrote the shop into her story Through the Looking-Glass, and it soon became a place for tourists on the ‘Alice trail’ to visit. At some point it moved on from being an ordinary grocers to a shop specializing in all things Alice related.
How to get there:
- Take the Train from London Paddington Station. These trains depart throughout the day from 07.00 to 23.00, and the journey only takes about an hour on average. Prices vary depending on dates and times, but you can expect tickets to range from £25 – £35 on average for an adult return ticket. Depending on when you decide to leave for Oxford, you can expect trains to leave once every 10-15 minutes during busy hours and every 15-30 minutes at quieter times. The best way to save money on tickets is to purchase them well ahead of time and plan to travel off-peak times. You can buy the ticket online from Chiltern Railway website.
- Taking the Bus
– Oxford Tube: They offer a bus to Oxford once every 10-15 minutes, 24 hours a day. There are a total of 5 designated stops in London (Victoria, Marble Arch, Notting Hill Gate, Shepherd’s Bush, and Hillingdon and the trip will take about 100 minutes to complete. Price starts from £12/One Way | £18/Return
– National Express: They offer Bus to Oxford every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day leaving from Victoria Coach Station to Oxford Bus Station in Gloucester Green. Ticket starts from £9/One Way | £18/Return
– Megabus. This company offers some of the cheapest tickets to Oxford, but their prices are based on when you choose to go. If you purchase your ticket at least a few days ahead of time, you should be able to get the best prices. Megabus offers up to 296 trips per day and the fastest bus will get you to Oxford in as little as an hour. Ticket prices aren’t based on age, so all you have to do is plan ahead to get tickets for as little as £5 per person
- By Organized tour. There are many organized tours of Oxford that begin and end from London. There are tours specific for Oxford and its Harry Potter connection and there are also tours which combined Oxford with places such as Cottswold here, or together with Stratford and Cotswold here, and many more.
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio
If you are a true Harry Potter Fans like us then this Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio is the ultimate tour you cannot missed. The museum is located in Leavesden, 32km outside London. All tickets to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London must be pre-booked and access is only available to those with a valid booking confirmation. Standard ticket starts from £49.95 and it has limited availability so you need to book months in advance. We booked ours three months prior. Read here for our detailed day trip.
When your allocated time slot opens, your tour will start where you can discover the followings:
- Step onto iconic sets like the Great Hall, Forbidden Forest, Platform 9 3/4, Diagon Alley, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and Professor Sprout’s green house
- Spot your favourite props from the film: Potions Classroom, Memory cabinet in Professor Dumbledore’s office, Professor Umbridge’s office, Puking Pastilles, The Knight bus, Hagrid’s motor and Ron’s dad car
- See up close the intricate detail hidden in every costume such as Quidditch, the final scene 19 years later, The Yulle Ball, Beauxbatons uniform.
- Discover how the special and visual effects teams made Harry and his friends fly, Chamber of secret door, Invisibility Cloak, Whomping Willow, Green Screen
- Learn how magical creatures were brought to life on screen thru creature effect such as the Basilisk, Buckbeak, Goblin heads and Aragog.
- From technical drawings to scale models, learn how Hogwart Castle were created
- The Studio also has outdoor section where you can buy butterbeer and walk around Privet Drive, Godric Hollow, Tom Riddle Gravestone and see more props
How to get there by Public Transport:
- Shuttle bus from Watford Junction
These shuttle buses are powered by electric so your journey to the Studio Tour is carbon-free. This journey is included as part of your entry ticket. Regular shuttle buses operate from Watford Junction to the Studio Tour with a journey time of around 15 minutes. Buses run at least every 30 minutes from 9.20am (with additional services available from 8.15am when the first tour is at 9am). The last return shuttle bus back to Watford Junction will depart the Studio Tour when the Tour closes. Check the opening and closing calendar here
- By Train: The Studio Tour’s nearest railway station is Watford Junction and direct services arrive there from both London Euston (20 minute journey) and Birmingham New Street (1 hour journey). Other non-direct train services operate from London Euston, but please be aware that these may take longer to arrive at Watford Junction. Oyster cards are valid between London Euston and Watford Junction.
- By Taxi: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has a drop off and pick-up point which you can navigate to using our postcode WD25 7LR or the What3Words app with the keywords ///grabs.intent.movies. The studio recommend only use pre-booked licensed taxis.
- Bus transfer from Kings Cross/Victoria/Birmingham from Golden Tour which you can purchase together with the entrance ticket. If you already purchased the ticket you can still book the transport separately here. If you want a full immersion of Harry Potter experience then I suggest you arrive in style with this bus.
Brighton is a seaside resort and one of the two main areas of the City of Brighton and Hove in the county of East Sussex, England. It is located 76km south of London. Best visited in summer, here’s what you can do in Brighton:
- Cycle along the Undercliff Path. There is a path that follows the shoreline from Brighton Marina to the village of Saltdean, found just beyond Brighton Marina. This path sits beneath the chalk cliffs which line the coast east of the city towards Eastbourne. It takes around half an hour to cycle from the Palace Pier to Saltdean. Brighton’s city-wide BTN BikeShare scheme means it’s easy and cheap to get out here on two wheels.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee at one of Brighton’s amazing coffee shops. Brighton’s coffee scene is arguably the best in the UK. Brightonians spend more on coffee per head than any other city in the UK. With owners who spend time researching and tasting the best beans, you won’t struggle to find a caffeine fix here.
- Explore Brighton Palace Pier. It is a Brighton’s Grade-II listed pleasure pier with fairground rides, bars and restaurants stretching out into the sea. Brighton Palace Pier is a tough old bird. Having stood for well over a century now, this Grade II-listed pier has survived two world wars, constant battering by storms (one of which almost destroyed it before it opened in 1899) and millions of visitors every year. Join the masses in a pilgrimage to the arcade games, fairground rides and chippy vans.
- Marvel at the grand Royal Pavilion, a rather fantastical-looking palace in the middle of town. While you could imagine this infrastructure perched on the banks of the Yamuna in India, the Royal Pavillion is a Brighton’s gem. This ornate, Grade I-listed structure was designed by John Nash in the early nineteenth century – in the Indo-Saracenic Revival style, fyi – and was once a holiday home for George, Prince of Wales (later George IV). Today it’s frequented by visitors after a glimpse inside its quaint replica rooms, art galleries and very impressive grounds. Don’t miss the secret tunnel in the building links the Pavilion to Brighton Dome (once George’s riding stable). While you can’t see it on the standard tour, special tours of the tunnel and basement run on selected dates.
- Fill your bags with indie treats at the Open Market. Brighton has a vibrant covered market filled with independent shops, street food and artists’ studios. The market packs independent boutiques, artists’ studios and traditional market stalls all under one roof. Shop local and pick up some fresh nosh or grab a book from the dinky bookshop.
How to get there by Public Transport:
- By Train: It is the fastest and all-around easiest way to travel to Brighton. The ride often takes about an hour and trains run every 15 minutes or less all day long. Trains depart from major stations like London Victoria Station, Gatwick, and St. Pancras, so you should have no problem getting a ride any time of day or night. Single advance tickets start from £5.5 when you book well in advance from Southern Railway website.
- Take the Bus: National Express coach departs from London Victoria Coach Station every two hours, 24 hours a day, and the ride can take up to three hours and 50 minutes. One way ticket cost £8.8