Ever since I decided to pack my bags and move to rainy England, I’ve been on a mission to discover as many wonderful little gems across the country as possible. For the past three years, I’ve used my weekends and, occasionally, my annual leave, to explore what the UK has to offer – and although I still have a fair bit of exploring to do, I did see some gorgeous places throughout the years.
For those of you who’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even just for a day, I collected some of my favourite day trip destinations below. All nine places are within reach of London and are easily accessible by train – my primary means of transport within the country.
I discovered Hever Castle back in 2014, and it’s been one of my favourite places ever since. Situated in Kent, Hever Castle dates back to the 13th century, and was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Unfortunately, photography isn’t allowed inside the castle so I can’t show you my personal highlights, but trust me when I say it’s worth seeing.
The castle grounds and gardens are also gorgeous (there’s a water maze, an Italian garden, a rose garden, and so much more – you can even rent a boat and take in the beauty and serenity of the lake, if you want to), so make sure to get a combined ticket (castle + gardens) if you’re planning on visiting. And if you’re visiting in summer, get a scoop of ice cream near the lake – it’s delicious!
Distance: 45 minutes
Nearest train station: Hever
Admission: £15.50 (adult) or £8.75 (child), if bought online.
The Seven Sisters
Situated on the South Downs in East Sussex, The Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs between Seaford and Eastbourne. It’s a beautiful place that offers a magnificent view of the entire coastline, and is perfect for a day hike. The closest train station is Seaford, and local buses run to the Seven Sisters Country Park from outside the station. We actually ended up walking, but in hindsight, it wasn’t such a great idea. There’s no pavement outside the city, so your only option is to walk alongside the main road – which, to be frank, isn’t such a rewarding journey.
Distance: 1.5 hours
Nearest train station: Seaford
Whether you live in the UK or in any other part of the world, Oxford needs no introduction. It’s a popular tourist destination with several million people visiting the city every year and, needless to say, there’s a lot to see here. Luckily, many of the main attractions are in the city centre so it’s easy to explore the area on foot. The university buildings are a definite must-see, as is the Covered Market, but I loved the Carfax Tower, Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera, and the Clarendon Building as well.
Distance: 1 hour
Nearest train station: Oxford
Admission: Varies but most places are ticketed
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
Although West Lulworth is probably the one furthest from London (roughly 2.5 hours from Waterloo), it’s by far the most breath-taking places I’ve seen in the south. If you like hiking or just generally being outdoors, you’re guaranteed to love it.
If you’re using public transport, take the train from London Waterloo to Wool, and look for a small bus outside the station, which will drop you off near the Durdle Door Holiday Park. From here, you can walk down to the coast and explore Durdle Door (a natural limestone arch) and the beach nearby. Once there, keep walking along the coast until you reach Lulworth Cove, a gorgeous cove near the village of West Lulworth.
Distance: 2.5 hours
Nearest train station: Wool
As far as medieval castles go, Warwick is definitely my favourite. The view is gorgeous from the tower, and the rooms are lovely – the wax figures really bring it to life (and they’re SO lifelike). It’s tons of fun, and perfect for a day out, with or without kids. There was also a bird of prey show outside, which was quite exciting! The admission is not cheap, but it’s definitely worth it – we could easily spend a day there, wandering around the castle grounds and exploring the place.
Distance: 1.5 hours
Nearest train station: Warwick
Admission: £18.50 per person if you book online at least five days in advance, £25.20 at the gate.
My first trip to Bath was at the beginning of last year, but I’m sure it won’t be the last one. I fell in love with this place the minute I stepped down from the train, and I can’t even explain why. Although I loved the Roman Baths, the famous Pump Room, the Jane Austen museum, and the Royal Crescent, it’s the atmosphere of the place that really got me. Every single street I walked down on, every building I saw was like something from a museum – frozen in time. I absolutely loved this place and I can’t wait to go back for another trip soon!
Distance: 1.5 hours
Nearest train station: Bath Spa
Just like Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a medieval market town in the West Midlands, and is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Even though I’m not particularly fond of Shakespeare’s work, I loved the town itself. We really enjoyed the museums (Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage especially) and taking a stroll by the river.
The only downside of this trip was that Stratford is not cheap. With so many tourists visiting the museums on a daily basis, we found most of them quite overpriced – however, I do think they’re worth visiting at least once.
Distance: 2 hours
Nearest train station: Stratford-Upon-Avon
Admission: Varies but most places (including the museums) are ticketed
What are your favourite places around the capital?