Five Day Trips from London that can be Reached by Public Transport

By Emma

Visiting the UK should be on everyone’s bucket list. Despite its tiny size, it’s an incredibly diverse country. Visiting London is a great experience to have, but I recommend spending some time venturing outside the capital city. For those who are planning a trip to London but are looking for day trips other than the usual Stonehenge-Dover-Bath run, this list has places that can be reached by train or bus in under three hours. You won’t need to book yet another tour bus or rent a car (unless you feel more comfortable doing so), but book public transportation and be your own guide. 

Cities

Reading

Approx. travel time: 45 minutes

If you’ve heard of Reading, then it’s probably related in some way to the Reading Music Festival. One of the largest in the UK, it occurs every summer and draws visitors from all over the country. However, Reading is an excellent city to visit any time of the year. If you are interested in shopping, the city center is the perfect place to hit a pub after a day of blowing your budget (Nag’s Head is a good one to check out!). 

Things to do: Reading Museum, Museum of English Rural Life, shopping at the Oracle, Reading Music Festival. 

Brighton

Approx. travel time: 2 hours

If you’d like to get a good taste of what an English seaside town looks like, Brighton is your best bet. It’s cute shops and restaurants make it a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer. If festivals are your thing, Brighton is the place for you, including the second-largest fringe festival in the country (right behind Edinburgh), The Great Escape and Soundwaves music festivals, and Brighton Pride (first one in the country!). 

Things to do: walk the pier, the Royal Pavilion, British Airways i360 Viewing Tower, numerous festivals throughout the year. 

York

Approx. travel time: 2 hours

In my biased opinion, York really is the perfect day trip. It gives you a good taste of northern England or acts as a good half-way point between London and Edinburgh, if that’s on your itinerary. Another nice thing about York is that the train station is located close to all the major sites. Being an incredibly walkable city, including roman walls that can be walked along, it makes a good day trip without having to worry too much about navigating any other means of transportation other than the single train ride north. 

Things to do: the shambles, walk the city walls, tour the York Minster, JORVIK viking centre, National Railway Museum. 

Sites

Blenheim Palace

Approx. travel time: 2 hours

Blenheim Palace, one of the UK’s largest country houses, is an easy day trip from London. There are plenty of day trip tours that will take you there, but you can easily take a train or bus to Oxford and transfer on another one directly to Blenheim. If you have some additional time on your layover in Oxford, there are plenty of villages in the Cotswolds that are a quick bus ride away (check out the Discoverer One Day Pass for more info). 

Leeds Castle

Approx. travel time: 2 hours

No, not Leeds West Yorkshire. Leeds Castle is located in Kent, which makes for a little under two hour long trip by public transport. If you’re making the trip to the UK, likely you’ve made a point to see one or two castles already. However, Leeds Castle truly is something special. The castle itself is over 900 years old, and boasts a long and rich history. Definitely a must see for anyone interested in architecture, European history, fairy tale-like castles, or just seeking an easy day trip from London.

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