Every time a friend of mine from another country makes a trip to the UK I give them only one piece of advice; don’t spend all your time in London.
There are so many things to see in the big city that it’s easy to while away the days walking the streets and seeing the landmarks. You’ll likely have a great time doing so too. However, if you really want to get in touch with what the country has to offer, then getting out into the stunning English countryside is essential. Day trips from the capital are the perfect way to explore a little of what the UK is famous for.
Let’s take a quick run through of what I believe to be the most stunning day trips from London available.
Oxford or Cambridge
Despite what the local university population might tell you (there’s a hundred-year rivalry between these two!) Oxford and Cambridge are equally beautiful, historic rural cities. Whichever you chose, you’ll have a fantastic time, and an even better one if you manage to fit in both.
If you’re looking to explore history and heritage, look no further than Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam museum – one of the largest collections of artwork, manuscripts and historical artefacts in the world. If it’s a sneak peek into at a world-famous university that you’re after, Oxford’s Bodlean Library offers a fascinating look into contemporary and historical student life. And don’t forget, both cities offer the classic punting experience through their beautiful canals.
The beautiful royal residence at Windsor dominates the skyline of this quaint riverside town. If you’ve come to the UK searching for an old-world experience – the likes of which you’d read in a Jane Austin novel – then Windsor is most definitely the place.
Enjoy an English cream tea under the shelter of Windsor Castle, walk for miles through the stunning scenery of the Great Park, watch the Changing of the Guards, or simply laze by the river and try some real English ale. Your options for an idyllic day out here are limitless. And, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the Queen returning home!
Windsor is less than an hour by train or car and the perfect place to take in some countryside.
Stonehenge & Salisbury
Seeing Stonehenge for the first time is an almost indescribable experience. Being allowed so close to a landmark with over 3000 years of cultural and religious importance is humbling and awe-inspiring. However, this Pagan heritage site isn’t the only point of interest Wiltshire has to offer. Salisbury Cathedral is also a must, as it contains one of only four remaining copies of Magna Carta – perhaps the world’s single most significant written document.
The Jurassic Coast
If you’ve seen the 2015 adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd then you know just how beautiful Dorset’s Jurassic Coast can be. This incredible shoreline boasts some of the world’s most beautiful seaside landscapes, with windswept cliffs and rolling ocean waves that will take your breath away.
There are a plethora of essential sites to see on a day trip to Dorset, including Durdle Door, Corfe Castle, and Old Harry’s rocks, all only a two-hour train ride away from London. If it’s beautiful walks and nature that you’re hoping to find in the UK, this is the stop for you.
That’s my top four short day trips from London. Which will you pick? Let us know in the comments.