London definitely takes some time to explore. With all its quirky neighborhoods and phenomenal sites, it’s worth spending a week at least here to explore the best of everything the capital has to offer.

However, many visitors to London travel hundreds of miles to be here. For those that live far away, a London visit might be a rare chance to explore Europe and the UK. If you feel like a trip to the UK might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you, you’ll want to get the most out of it.

Fortunately, London has some of the best transport links in Europe. Whether you want to see some of the best cities in the UK or visit even further afield, London’s network of trains gives you some easy, exciting options to choose from.

Let’s take a look at our five favourite cities to travel to from London.

Oxford

city of oxford aerial view

For those looking to get a taste of quintessential English culture, Oxford is the city to visit. Pick up a train from Paddington station on the East side of the city and you can be there in under an hour. This beautiful city is the perfect destination for a day trip, offering visitors the chance to explore its stunning churches medieval architecture. You can even go punting on the canals.

York

york minster outside front view

Often overlooked by tourists, this lovely walled city has some of the best-kept secrets in the UK, including its majestic cathedral and cobbled streets. It’s also a great place to slow down a little and explore some of the UK’s quirky pubs and restaurants. Around Christmas time, York becomes a wonderland of snow and fairy lights – the perfect time to see the city at its best. Take a northbound train from King’s Cross and be there in a little over two hours.

Paris

outside louvre glass pyramid in paris

Thanks to the Channel Tunnel, Paris is as easy to visit from London as anywhere else in the UK. We probably don’t need to hype the city of love for you too much – it’s beauty and style are already world-famous. Just know that you can hop the Eurostar from St Pancras and be there in two and a half hours. If you’d like a cost-effective way to see the best of Paris, take a look at our wonderful Paris tours.

Birmingham

close-up of exterior of the selfridges building in birmingham uk

Visitors to Birmingham are often surprised at just how lovely the city is. Famous for its fantastic ethnic cuisine, it’s a bustling, modern city filled with trees and green space. It’s also incredibly cheap and easy to get to from the capital. Take the train from Euston for as little as five pounds!

Edinburgh

edinburgh city aerial view

At four and a half hours on the train, Edinburgh is a bit of a slog. However, the trip is more than worth it. The beauty of Edinburgh was the inspiration behind the design for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it’s clear why. It’s a city of elegant medieval and Georgian architecture set on multiple levels around its mighty central castle. If you don’t fancy the train journey, try checking out flights from Gatwick, Luton or Stansted. They can get you there in just over an hour.

To explore some great options for visiting cities outside of London, take a look at our Day Trips from London and Rail Tours from London pages. You’ll find exciting tours all around the UK and beyond, including Windsor, Bath, Cambridge, and Chester.