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15 Day Trips From London by Car

Most tourists come to the United Kingdom and never step foot outside of London. But they are missing out on so much history, culture and adventure by staying in London. 

Some of my favourite cities in the world are located in England and I wanted to show how many cool day trips from London by car there are to explore.

It is easy to experience the UK, outside of London, whether you live in Britain or if you are visiting for a holiday. 

London is one of my favourite cities in the world, second to Amsterdam. It has stolen my heart so many times and there are so many things to do during an adventurous 2 days in London.

But if you have more than 2 days in London, you should take the opportunity to get out of London and head off on days trips from London by car. Day trips from London don’t need to be expensive either with many discounts and vouchers available on the internet for cheaper fares.

Here are some of my favourite 15 day trips from London by car…

Day Trips From London by Train oxford

15 Day trips from London by Car

1. Day trip to Oxford from London

A day visit to Oxford is the most popular day trip to take from London. Oxford, a city in central southern England, revolves around its prestigious university, established in the 12th century.

The architecture of its 38 colleges in the city’s medieval centre led poet Matthew Arnold to nickname it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. University College and Magdalen College are off the High Street, which runs from Carfax Tower (with city views) to the Botanic Garden on the River Cherwell.

The iconic university town of Oxford, (54 miles Northwest of London), has been a hub of academia since 1167. Besides housing one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the town also has lots of old pubs, historic bookshops, medieval streets and beautiful stone architecture throughout a small and easily walkable town centre.

Check out my guide to 48 Hours in Oxford.

2. Day trip to Stonehenge from London

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds).

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

3. Day trip to St Albans from London

Take a trip on the Southern line from London Victoria station to Brighton takes just over an hour or from St Pancras is only 20 minutes, from £12 return. The beautiful little town located in the Hertfordshire countryside was the first major town on the old Roman road of Watling Street for travellers heading north. 

It is a historic market town and has wonderful markets throughout the year for tourists to visit. Grab a bite to eat at The Breakfast Club or grab lunch at Lussmann’s for a gorgeous view.

4. Day trip to Windsor from London

Windsor is a town on the River Thames in southeast England, just west of London. It’s home to Windsor Castle, a residence of the British Royal Family. Built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle was extensively remodelled by subsequent monarchs. Public tours take in the State Apartments, which contain opulent furnishings, and paintings from the royal art collection.

Windsor is home to the largest and oldest occupied castle on earth, Windsor Castle, which is a hallmark of British history and the weekend home of the Royal Family, and was the home to Harry and Meghan before they left for Canada. 

5. Day trip to Brighton from London

Brighton (52 miles south of London) is one of England’s most charismatic seaside cities, filled with eclectic shops and a vibe at once edgy and sophisticated. Should you decide to turn your day trip from London into a weekend, as Brighton has some of the best clubbing outside of London, as well as the biggest gay scene in the country.

Then we headed on down the beach, taking a stroll down the Brighton Pier. Arabella was in awe of all the slot machines, and we had a go on some of the slots before Theo attempted to win a minion toy on the pickup machines, like in Toy Story.

Brighton Pier is amazing, with lots of do, places to eat and such a wonderful British tradition. There were lots of tourists but you’ve got to expect that in mid-summer on a scorcher of a day.

Check out my blog post on spending 48 Hours in Brighton.

Day Trips From London by Train brighton

15 Day trips from London by Car

6. Day trip to Cambridge from London

Another of England’s most picturesque cities, Cambridge (55 miles north of London) is of the Roman occupation, which means it’s got heaps and heaps of history. The main draw is the university famous around the world for its academic legends. It has sweeping lawns, turrets, spires and famous sites, like the romantic Bridge of Sighs.

The university includes the renowned Cavendish Laboratory, King’s College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library.

The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church on Hills Rd, the chimney of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the far south of the city and St John’s College Chapel tower. 

Check out my guide to spending a weekend in Cambridge.

7. Day trip to Colchester from London

Colchester, England’s oldest city, is located 52 miles north-east of the capital and enjoys a history dating back to the fifth century BC. As the oldest recorded Roman town in Britain, Colchester is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain. 

Half-timbered houses, a sturdy Norman castle, old Roman walls and a network of walk-able narrow roads attract more than four million visitors each year. Colchester is home to Colchester Castle and Colchester United Football Club. 

8. Day trip to Bath from London

Located 115 miles west of London, Bath is a city of historical relevance. History and architecture buffs should put Bath at the top of their England must-see list. It is famous for its Roman Baths and Gregorian architecture in equal parts, and many consider it to be one of the most beautiful towns in the United Kingdom.

Bath became a World Heritage Site in 1987 and the city’s theatres, museums and other cultural and sporting venues have helped to make it a major centre for tourism with more than one million visitors each year. 

Check out my blog post on 12 things to do in Bath.

9. Day trip to The Cotswolds from London

The Cotswolds is a magical place. And only two hours from London, it’s hard to remember the hustle and bustle of the city, when you’ve entered the peaceful villages of The Cotswolds. The Cotswolds is one of my calm places.

Beautifully rural, with rolling hills, stone villages, winter walks and a beer by the roaring fire in a local pub, but with easy accessibility from London. It is also becoming a foodie capital of the country with amazing pubs, restaurants and cafes popping up all over the region. Whether you fancy a good walk, pub lunch, or a pamper at a spa, there is no better place than The Cotswolds.

Check out my guide to spending the weekend in The Cotswolds.

10. Day trip to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour from London

These days you haven’t been to London if you haven’t been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter London.

I have been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter London two times now, once to attend the opening of Privet Drive and the other to see the Hogwarts Express launch.

The last time I went to Wizarding World of Harry Potter London was for the press launch of Privet Drive at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. My friend Kara and I headed on down to the studios after work last night to attend the launch with members of the press and other avid fans.

Check out the blog post of my visit to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour.

Day Trips From London by Train straford on avon

15 Day trips from London by Car

11. Day trip to Stratford-on-Avon from London

Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare. He is often regarded as the world’s greatest playwright of all time, receiving about 4.9 million visitors a year from all over the world. 

Located in south Warwickshire, it lies on the River Avon, 22 miles south-east of Birmingham. It is the largest and most populous town in the area and the The Royal Shakespeare Company resides in Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre, one of Britain’s most important cultural venues.

Get there from London in two hours and for as little as £12 return. Have a bite at The Lazy Cow for a great vibe or for a veggie-friendly menu, try The Aubergine.

12. Day trip to Bristol from London

Some towns in Britain have always been seen as a hipster or ‘up and coming’ in recent years, but Bristol really is a cool city, with a very interesting and exciting future ahead of it. 

Bristol is a city straddling the River Avon in the southwest of England with a prosperous maritime history. Its former city-centre port is now a cultural hub, the Harbourside, where the M Shed museum explores local social and industrial heritage. The harbour’s 19th-century warehouses now contain restaurants, shops and cultural institutions such as the contemporary art gallery The Arnolfini.

There is so much to see including, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Floating Harbour, Cabot Tower and Bristol Cathedral.

13. Day trip to Box Hill from London

A day trip from London by car doesn’t need to be to another city, and instead, you could go hiking!

There are lots of different walks to try at Box Hill, but the most famous is the Box Hill Circular. Box Hill is located just outside London in Surrey and is a 10-mile walk, taking around five hours but could potentially kate up an entire day with stops for lunch and sights.

It’s a challenging hike with relatively long uphill climbs and includes two major climbs up Box Hill and Juniper Hill. Near the start of the route is the famous stepping stones that cross the river, before you start your first hill climb for views at the summit of Box Hill. From there, you’ll trek through forests and eventually begin to go downhill, however, don’t relax too much, as not long after you begin to climb Juniper Hill, which takes around 20 minutes.

About three hours into the hike, you will arrive at The Tree, where you can stop for a drink or a loo break, before heading back towards the station via the stepping stones. This is one of the best hikes in London!

14. Day trip to Durdle Door from London

Located on the Lulworth Estate in south Dorset, Durdle Door is an entirely natural limestone arch, formed simply by waves eroding a hole through the middle. As one of Dorset’s most photographed landmarks, Durdle Door is worth the car journey.

This spectacular coastline was designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. We visited in July and it was lovely weather but too busy. Also around the corner, only half-hour walk away will lead you over to similarly picturesque Lulworth Cove, which is perfect for a picnic.

Check out my blog post guide to a weekend in Dorset.

15. Day trip to Bournemouth from London

One of my favourite things to do as a kid was to go on a Bournemouth holiday. And now we’ve got our own family, I wanted to take her to see what all the fuss was about. Bournemouth is located on Britain’s South Coast and offers visitors long sandy beaches, adorable beach huts, the Pier, art exhibitions, dramatic seascapes, tropical gardens, nightlife and traditional fish & chips.

It’s the perfect place for a weekend break away with your partner, family or girlfriends. Whether you visit in the summer season or the Christmas period, Bournemouth has so much to do, all year round.

With staycations becoming more popular in recent years and a stay on the coast, one of the UK’s favourite types of holidays, Bournemouth is setting the standard for that great British weekend away.

Check out my blog post on spending a weekend in Bournemouth.

 

Where are your favourite day trips from London by car?

I am off to Bath and Brighton in the next few months so I am excited to see what both cities have to offer.

 

If you on a bigger trip exploring more of Europe check out my guides to France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

 

Photo credits from Pexels


My Travel Tips and Recommendations

Flights

To book flights, I always use flight search engine, Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals. 

Accommodation

For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!

Photography and Technology

Here is a list of the technology I always travel with:

Travel Insurance

Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. World Nomads is an affordable option that I personally recommend. BOOK HERE

 

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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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