Basically, city life can sometimes get rather suffocating, which is why every traveller in London ought to get out of the city once in a while. Whether you’re looking for beach chill-outs to culturally-rich history experiences and everything in-between, the capital’s mainline train station (thankfully) connect to plenty of fascinating destinations.
Here’s a guide to making the most out of your precious out-of-city hours.
Home to the world-famous UK university, Cambridge needs no introduction. The richness of history and impressive architectural detail of the buildings can make even the non-history buffs fall in love with this place. Any trip to Cambridge is incomplete without a voyage on a river punt! Fret not if you’re not much of a punter yourself – there are also chauffeured punts that transport you down River Cam to see Cambridge’s historic buildings from the water.
How to get there: Take an easy 45 minutes direct train ride from London’s King’s Cross Station. Trains leave from King’s Cross every half hour.
Be amazed by the architecture of the exterior and interiors of Christ Church College! ?
The 7 million visitors who go to Oxford yearly are testament to the town’s intriguing history and charm. Oxford is more bustling with a shopping scene compared to its college town rival, Cambridge. The stunning architecture of the colleges and rich past mean that there’s a little surprise at every cobbled corner. If you go, don’t miss the chance to explore some of the intricate buildings of Christ Church College that have been featured in Alice in Wonderland, and the famous Harry Potter!
How to get there: Oxford is easy to reach from London by train from Paddington station which takes an hour. However, we would recommend taking a bus from Victoria Coach Station as you can see more things from the double-decker bus, and get to save on some pounds! Bus prices and schedules can be found here.
Take your time in the contemporary art gallery The Arnolfini
Credit: Vaidotas on Flickr
Rich with maritime history, Bristol attracts travellers with plenty of sights to see and activities to do. From the renowned SS Great Britain historic ship, to the contemporary art gallery The Arnolfini, there is no shortage of top-notch cultural places to visit. Stroll through Clifton Village – think classy Georgian terraces complete with cafés, chic boutiques and antique shops. And to roundyou’re your day trip perfectly, visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge at sunset!
How to get there: Slightly up north, trains leave London’s Paddington station and take just less than two hours to Bristol Temple Meads station in the city center. To head to the suspension bridge, take 8A bus from the city centre.
4. City of Bath
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Soak in the sights of such architectural beauty.
Credit: Ahmed Rabea on Flickr
Another historical English gem is the city of Bath, where the Roman Baths are found. They are so significant they’ve been deemed a World Heritage Site. Admire the 18th century Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent, and visit the original Roman Baths. The atmospheric Great Bath also gives you an idea of health and leisure – Roman-style. Visitors often stop en route to visit the nearby Stonehenge. The origins of this exceptional prehistoric site still remain a great mystery to scholars. Definitely worth a trip back in time!
How to get there: Take the train from London’s Paddington station, which is about 90 minutes to Bath. For preservation reasons, it is advisable to take a guided tour if you want to visit Stonehenge, either at the city of Bath itself or from London.
Rollercoaster by the coast, anyone?
One of the popular day-trip destinations from London, and easily my favourite spot to visit! From its beautiful pier, which is home to enticing rollercoasters, arcade games and park rides, to the exotic Royal Pavilion palace with a colourful history, this city never fails to amaze its visitors. The streets are packed with everything you need for retail therapy, and lined with indie shops, quirky cafés, beachfront drinks, and of course fish and chips. Ah such a quintessentially British day trip!
How to get there: A quick train ride from Victoria or St. Pancras stations, and you will reach the seaside just under an hour! Get your ticket from the self-help counters at the stations.
6. Mayfield Lavender Farm
Credit: Diamon Geezer on Flickr
Credit: Digital Express on Flickr
Sunshine, fresh air and a farm with flowers in full bloom, while you sip a cup of English tea with a side of jam-slathered scone. Sounds like the perfect day during summer, doesn’t it? J
The 25-acre fairy-tale dream is just 24 km from Central London, yet it feels like a different world. It makes a perfect day trip from London when you crave for a break from the concrete buildings and alleys of the city. Just make sure that your handphone battery is fully-charged to snap that picture perfect shot!
Address: Mayfield Lavender Farm, Croydon Lane, Banstead, Surrey SM7 3BE
Opening hours: The lavender flowers are best in July and August! However, the season can start as early as May (late spring) and finishes as late as September (autumn).
Admission fee: £1
How to get there: Catch a train from London Bridge station, to Banstead station. Then take a quick bus ride on 166 and alight at ‘Oaks Park’. The whole trip takes about an hour.
7. Seven Sisters Country Park
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Time to go for some hiking and enjoy the breeze!
Credit: Edward Dalmulder on Flickr
If you are an adventurous nature lover and seek for a path less travelled, the Seven Sisters Country Park is the day trip for you! The gorgeous gleaming white cliffs at the country park are a world-famous image of the English coast. And unfortunately, this is a disappearing wonder. Because the chalk cliffs are naturally unstable, visitors need to stay well away from the edge. For more information, head to the visitor centre, which is interestingly situated in an 18th century barn!
Address: Seven Sisters Country Park. Exceat, Seaford, BN25 4AD
Admission fee: Free!
How to get there: Take a train to Brighton from Victoria or St Pancras Station. Take a short stroll to the beautiful main Brighton pier. Just opposite the pier, there is a bus stop called Sea Life station. Take the local bus 12 or 13 and alight at the Country Park stop.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!