As the heatwave continues over the summer months and London grows muggier by the day, we don’t know about you, but we’re certainly looking for any and every excuse to escape the city for a well-deserved break. Conjuring up those dreamy day trips can be tricky, so we’ve done it for you with this list of 14 summer day trips from London that are just a stone’s throw from the city… happy exploring!
1. Whitstable, Kent
First up on our list of summer day trips from London is Whitstable. Head towards the north coast of Kent to find this gorgeous seaside town, located only an hour and 15 minutes via train from London Victoria. Known for its pebbly beach, delightful independent shops, and locally grown oysters, Whitstable in Kent is definitely worth visiting if you’re in the mood for some fresh sea air…and incredibly fresh seafood! Some of us went last weekend and had a dip in the sea followed by fish and chips on the beach with the sun setting – perfect!
You may or may not have heard of this lovely town, located in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, but if you’re going to be putting any of these on your list of summer day trips from London, this is a pretty stunning place to start. Just an hour and a half by train, this escape from London is filled with beautiful architecture and those iconic Cotswolds cottages. For any history buffs, this particular town dates back 1000 years to the Saxon era. Asides from taking in the gorgeous scenery and exploring all Moreton-in-Marsh has to offer, the Cotswolds Falconry and the Bourton House Gardens are close by. And if you happen to be in Moreton-in-Marsh on a Tuesday, you’re in luck! Their quaint market day is not to be missed.
3. Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Close to Moreton in Marsh is the stunning Blenheim Palace. Not a town exactly, but it is definitely worth adding this to your list of summer day trips from London to see the enchanting palace and grounds. Located in Woodstock in Oxfordshire, the world heritage site has about 300 years of history, so there’s plenty to see and do for an entire day at this stunning palace and gardens. Winston Churchill’s birthplace, this Baroque-styled palace has many tours and 2000 acres of greenery with a beautiful boating lake. We love the idea of taking a picnic and walking around their very own butterfly house too!
4. Turville, Buckinghamshire
This quintessentially English town is better known as a filming location for TV series such as Killing Eve, Midsummer Murders and The Vicar of Dibley, as well as movie classics such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But the location is not the only thing the town has to offer up. With 16th-century cottages dotted around and a stunning countryside walk up to their gorgeous windmill, this tiny town is firmly on our summer day trips from London list. Stop off at Henley-on-Thames for a quick swim while you’re on your way
5. Margate, Kent
There is nothing like a stunning seascape on a hot, sunny day. So if you’re after your fix of that salty sea air, look no further than Margate! In just an hour and a half from St. Pancreas or Victoria, Margate makes a great day out for the whole family to enjoy. With plenty to explore, including some gorgeous independent shops, its classic theme park Dreamland, and the shell grotto – a passageway made up of over 4 million shells – Margate is a must for your list of summer day trips from London.
6. Tunbridge Wells, East Sussex
A town that can be visited at any time of the year! Tunbridge Wells has many walking paths and routes if you’re seeking some fresh air. Dunorlan Park, Bewl Water and Ashdown Forest are just some of the more scenic routes, the latter being the setting for Winnie the Pooh’s hundred acre forest. With lots of opportunities to play Pooh Sticks, this makes a great trip for the whole family to enjoy. Fancy seeing something fancy? Head over to Scotney Castle for the incredible Elizabethan manor house.
7. Mayfield Lavender Farm, Surrey
If you fancy wandering through a sea of stunning lavender, this is one for you! Based on the Surrey Downs, this family organic lavender farm is simply picture perfect and makes a great day of walking through beautifully scented lavender that really does stretch as far as the eye can see! With picnic and Pimms nights, tractor rides and train tours, we think there’s no better way to spend a sunny day. Make sure you hurry though, the lavender is in bloom at the moment and the farm is open 7 days a week until the end of August.
8. Rye, East Sussex
Next up on our list of summer day trips from London is another stunning seaside town with plenty of history and charm. Rye is the perfect escape for a day trip out of London with friends, family or just by yourself. We love their sandy beach at camber sands – one of the UK’s finest beaches – or perhaps take a stroll down the main centre where you can find marvellous antique shops like the Confit Pot or Strand Quay. Up the ante and climb up Rye Castle for spectacular views a top of Ypies Tower and St. Mary’s Church.
9. Chichester, West Sussex
This stunning city in West Sussex is located just over an hour and half from London via train and is a lovely day trip escape. If you’re more of a history enthusiast, the city is bursting with Roman architecture and sites. The cathedral, amphitheatre and Roman baths are well worth a visit if you’re looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the city. Be sure to go to West Wittering beach that’s not too far away if the weather’s good and you’re craving a beach day. It’s one of our favourite beaches near London and there’s nothing like that fresh sea air!
10. The New Forest, Hampshire
A day trip to the The New Forest promises plenty of highland cattle and stunning countryside scenery. Just an hour and 30 minutes from London, this is the perfect day trip for you to take if you’re after a stretch of your legs on a long countryside walk. Bring your best walking boots and plenty of snacks for some beautiful scenic routes, or better yet, why not cycle to cover even more ground!?
11. Glastonbury, Somerset
We know what you’re thinking but hear us out…Glastonbury is not just for festival goers! Although it is known for its iconic annual music weekend, Glastonbury is also a beautiful town in Somerset. Filled with mystical magic and legends, there are several reasons why this place feels quite spiritual for many. Be sure to check out the famous Tor located in the heart of the Somerset levels – which has many legends of fairy folk. The town itself is host to ancient and medieval sites dating back to Arthurian legend.
12. Furzey Gardens, Hampshire
And whist you’re at the New Forest, pop over to the magical Furzey Gardens. With outdoor performances at their own theatre to finding all 40 of their fairy doors, it’s certainly not hard to make a day of your visit to this whimsical wonder. Created in 1922, this gorgeous garden is celebrating 100 years this year with extra special events running until the end of September. A tip: ask their meet and greeters about a fairy queen letter… your little ones are guaranteed to love this!
13. Salisbury, Wiltshire
A cathedral city filled with beautiful architecture with plenty to see and experience. We love the sound of their independent shops filled with locally crafted items. If you decide to visit Salisbury, be sure to stop off at their market square if going on a Saturday to experience all their market day has to offer. Salisbury is also close to the historic Stonehenge Park, around 12km away and can easily be visited via bus or a hike if you’re feeling brave! The iconic cathedral holds the famous Magna Carte and the world’s oldest working mechanical clock.
14. Mersea Island, Essex
And last but certainly not least on our list of summer day trips from London is Mersea Island! Just 2 hours from London, you can find the idyllic Mersea Island nestled Northeast of Essex. If you know Martha Brook, you’ll know we have a thing for pinks and pastels, so it’s no surprise this quaint little island made it on our summer trips from London list with their beautiful pastel beach huts. With its historic charm and stunning views, you can either take it all in by foot, or take the Lady Grace, a locally run boat trip to see everything Mersea has to offer.
We hope this has inspired you for the summer holidays to take one of these summer day trips from London. Let us know in the comments if you know of any other easy summer day trips from London that you would highly recommend!