When staying in London, it’s hard to imagine needing to leave the city to find interesting things to do. It’s a big, wonderful city packed with activity, interesting sights, and enough culture to satisfy any traveller. That said one of the best aspects of visiting the UK is that it’s a relatively compact nation. In a matter of just a few hours you can cross the country to enjoy a whole new experience.
For this reason it can be a lot of fun to look into the odd day trip if you are staying in London for an extended period. Depending on the length of your stay, a day or two away can make for a nice break from the crowds, and gives you the opportunity to see more of the UK. Keeping this in mind, we wanted to point out a few ideas (though there are many more out there) for day trips from London.
1. The Cotswolds
For a lot of people the UKs rolling green hills, narrow roads and charming villages are among the main images associated with the country. Tthe Cotswolds region to the west of London can meet or exceed any traveller’s expectation of the English countryside.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the area, and you can read about them in detail at Cotswolds Info. Some people like to go on walking tours, some prefer to rent a cottage or room at an inn for a few days or book a hot air balloon experience that showcases the stunning countryside from above. But if you’re staying in London and looking for a day trip, you may simply enjoy driving through the area. Part of the appeal is rolling along with the hills, seeing various villages, stately homes, and flocks of sheep as you go.
Another idyllic image of the UK that a lot of people have is that of beautiful and historic universities catering to (and perhaps crafting) some of the greatest minds in history. Whether your interests lie in scientific inquiry, literature, or most anything in between, there’s an iconic British figure who advanced the field at one point or another. And many of these figures passed through some of the country’s esteemed universities.
The University of Oxford stands as one the most famous and recognisable schools in the country, and makes for a pretty spectacular architectural experience. It’s the oldest English-speaking school in the world, and boasts an absolutely incredible lineup of alumni ranging from C.S. Lewis and Stephen Hawking to Chelsea Clinton and Kate Beckinsale. Few locations in the UK, or indeed the world, have such a tangible sense of history. And beyond that, it’s simply a beautiful city to explore!
3. Visiting The Emmerdale Sets
Emmerdale may sound like an old name to you, but this iconic British soap still carries some weight today (nearly 45 years after its debut). Not only are they still filming episodes, but Emmerdale has carved out a pretty loyal fan base over the years even among modern viewers. This present-day popularity may be best explained by the fact that the games at Gala Bingo now include an “Emmerdale Country Capers Slot” experience in addition to bingo rooms based on the show. Here, online gamers can enjoy various settings and features that come straight from the soap, as well as some fun and relevant mini-games like Pub Darts. Most games like this on modern casinos deal with more contemporary shows or films, but it would seem that the Emmerdale theme still draws a crowd.
You can become part of that crowd in real life with just a three or four hour drive from London. Though it’s trickier to visit the current sets, Brit Movie Tours offers a fairly comprehensive tour of old Emmerdale sets throughout West Yorkshire. It’s a charming area for anyone with an interest in film or television to visit and a thrilling stop for fans of the show.
4. Broadstairs Beaches
It’s interesting that a lot of international tourists don’t necessarily think of England as a destination for beaches. In fact, there are dozens of wonderful coastal stretches and oceanside towns to enjoy throughout the country. Frankly, there are loads of different options even for a day trip from London, as the southern and southeastern coasts are quite within reach. But a ranking of sandy beaches by Metro put Broadstairs, Kent at the top of the list, and it’s hard to argue with the idea.
At Broadstairs you’ll find lovely, traditional beaches made for family recreation as well as some more unique places to enjoy. For instance, some travellers may be interested to learn that the Viking Bay beach was a favourite vacation destination for celebrated author Charles Dickens, or that there are starkly beautiful chalk cliffs in the Botany Bay area. It’s a great destination for beach lovers of all kinds, and it’s a very manageable drive from the London area.
Here’s one you probably didn’t see coming! Paris has always been one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. Everyone wants to see the City Of Light, whether to visit the Eiffel Tower, experience baguette at an authentic cafÃ©, or simply explore and take in the romance and beauty of this legendary city.
What many don’t realise until they’re in London is just how close Paris actually is. World Of Wanderlust’s recommendations for London day trips noted that it’s actually just two hours away by Eurostar, which means you can wake up early in London, spend a whole day in Paris, and be back to your hotel after dinner. It’s a busy day to be sure, and not nearly enough time to experience all that Paris has to offer. But if you’re the sort who likes to squeeze everything you can out of a vacation it’s a day trip well worth considering.