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Seven Great Day Trips from London

Updated on July 5, 2012

While many tourists go to Britain and spend all of their time in London, just outside London are many wonderful day trips to enhance your British vacation. Here is a list of my favorite day trips from London that I highly recommend.

Windsor Castle

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1. Windsor

Just outside of London, a mere 21 miles, is one of the most famous castles in the world. Windsor Castle is everything a good castle should be, 1,000 years old, full of regal pomp and splendor, and of course an official residence of the Queen. “It is the oldest and longest occupied castle in the world” (The Official Website of the British Monarchy) and if you take the audio guide tour you will hear about the castle’s immense history. If forced to choose between a visit to Windsor Castle or to Buckingham Palace, hands down choose Windsor. After your visit to the castle, you can spend the rest of your day exploring the adorable little town of Windsor and wander over to Eton, home of the famous Eton College. Just make sure to check the open days for the castle before making the trip.

Canterbury

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2. Canterbury

A site of pilgrimage since the death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 and his subsequent sainthood, Canterbury offers an insight into the experience of a medieval pilgrim. From the magnificent cathedral which contains the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, to the lonely candle that is all that remains of the Saint Thomas Becket’s shrine, Canterbury Cathedral is a sight to behold. To get yourself in the mood, try reading a few of the stories from Canterbury Tables by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Oxford

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3. Oxford

Home to the distinguished University of Oxford, the quant city has all the feel an old university town should. Amongst the old cobblestone streets stand the University’s Collages behind old towering walls. A number of the collages are open for visitors such as All Souls College, Brasenose College, Christ Church, Corpus Christi College, and more. The Colleges are beautiful with little courtyards and chapels. If traveling with a Harry Potter fan (or are one yourself) Christ Church College is a must see as several of the film’s scenes were filmed there and Hogwart’s Hall is based on the college’s Grand Hall. Check out the opening days and times of the colleges before making you plans to visit on the University of Oxford’s visiting page.

The Roman Baths

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4. Bath

Bath is a beautiful spa town full of Georgian buildings and surrounded by lush rolling hills. It is the place that in former times wealthy British went to relax and recover from the hustle of London. Walking around Bath is itself a pure delight, but if you are looking for specific place to visit the Roman Baths are a must see. It is extensive with the remains of a number of bathing rooms and a temple. A trip through the Roman Baths end at the Grand Pump Room where you can sample some of the famous spring water (it does not taste very good). Other things to see in Bath include the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, and adorable shopping streets.

Brighton Pier

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5. Brighton

Brighton is London’s beach getaway. It is a place for Londoners to unwind will walking along the pebbly beach and enjoying the beach shops. Main sights include the extravagant Royal Pavilion and the cute Brighton Pier. I highly recommend grabbing some fish and chips from the pier and sitting on the beach. Word to the wise, Brighton is not much of a swimming beach - stick your toe in the water to find out why (its icy cold!).

The Backs

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6. Cambridge

Much like the other university town on the list, Cambridge is littered with cute colleges and cobbled alleyways. Kings College is a major attraction and well worth the visit. Just make sure that you check that the college you wish to visit is open the day you are traveling. Another must see in Cambridge is The Backs, an area with the ‘backs’ of several colleges face the River Cam. There you can see students punting or rowing boats along the river, while you admire the colleges.

York city wall

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7. York

York is an amazing little city in the north of England with great historical importance. A bit further away from London then some of the other suggestions on this list, it still merits a visit if you have the time. York has an amazing cathedral called York Minster which is one of the largest in northern Europe. The city also boasts extensive city walls, a Viking center, and cute tea rooms. Be sure to check out The Shambles, an adorable street complete with crooked medieval buildings and a shrine.

So next time you are in London, consider a break from the busy city and wander to one of these great sites. You will not regret it.

Planning a trip to London? Try six great locations to see royal London and a look at the best sites at the Tower of London.

Which of these places will you visit on your next trip to London?

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    • Heather Jacobs profile image
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      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Londontrip! Thank you very much. I have really enjoyed several of your hubs as well and I hope to read more of them soon.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Y Battle-Felton!

      I look forward to hearing from you!

      You have to love PhDs abroad! They allow you to get right to writing a thesis opposed to being bogged down in classes. :)

      I currently am waiting to hear back from one professor who said that she would look my proposal over. Fingers crossed.

      Thank you for your kind offer. I will definitely contact you if I can think of anything.

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks so much; I will contact you directly if I have questions: I appreciate your offer, smiles.

      Yes, my program is a 3 year one. It's a research program so I have only one class (one about researching effectively) and then I'm off to research and craft a novel.

      I hope you've found the program you like. Let me know if I can help in any way. Feel free to email me at: battlefelton(at)hotmail.com.

      Yvonne

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’m sure the Olympics will be crazy! I can only imagine what the London tube will be like. Thanks for reading!

    • livingabroad profile image

      livingabroad 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      This reminds me of why are country is Great! So much history and culture! These places will surely be packed in the coming Olympic games. Great hub and well written. I look forward to more! Up, Useful and Sharing.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Y Battle-Felton!

      I’m sorry about having to postpone your move, but I am sure it will all work out.

      How interesting! I’m sure there are lots to discover once you are there. Is your phd a 3 year program? Do you have to take many courses? There is such a wide range of what you have to do depending on the program…

      Absolutely! I’ve been looking up members of subject related institutes and all kinds of things. It is just a matter of keeping at it.

      You can always contact me directly too at heatherjacobstravels[at]yahoo.com if you do have any questions :)

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for sharing your Visa experience, smiles. Your answer clarifies a few things. It still looks like I will have to postpone my move until Jan. but it's really only to months later than I was hoping to move.

      Once I have started my research I will be a little more clear on how the stories will go. Right now I'm thinking they will be a combination of fictional stories and ones based on actual events, characters.

      I think you're right. What happened in your Phd search probably happened for the best. The university sounds like it had a lot of hoops and the professor sounds like ultimately he wasn't going to be a good fit. Perhaps he could recommend someone else? Depending on where your statistical analysis of post-diaster migration leads (smiles) finding an expert with the same interest may require a trip to the library--or an online database of academic journals.

      Thank you for your offer to answer more questions about moving to Britain. I'm sure I will have more.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Y Battle-Felton,

      If I recall correctly, for my student visa I had my father write me a letter of support and I included proof that he had enough money. Even though he did not pay for my education, it was enough that I had access to help if something came up.

      I also stayed in the UK on a post-study visa and worked. I think that even if you have a job there you had to have the maintenance money. However, I don’t think you have to have all the money in your checking account. I believe I had my money in stocks.

      I hope that helps!

      Your topic sounds very interesting! I imagine it would make a very compelling novel. Will your short stories be fictional or based on actual events? I have always been a huge fan of historical novels.

      My topic is the statistical analysis of post-disaster migration. I did have one professor agree to supervise my thesis. However, the university took over a year to decide. The university's different departments kept saying that my topic did not fall under their department. Once the university finally accepted me, the professor pulled out saying he had not realized having a phd student would be so much work. In the end, I think I am glad because I cannot imagine studying at such a university, they seemed to make everything more difficult then it ought to be.

      I think you are right. I need to find some universities that are interested in my field. I have only just started to look again so I’m sure I will find a professor soon.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions about moving to Britain. I love answering questions!

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks so much for the support! I do have one question about studying in the UK: did you have to have the amount the "general guidelines" require as a maintenance fee already in savings? I was thinking I could get around this by working since I will still be teaching.

      I'm going to Lancaster to pursue my PhD in Creative Writing. My project is on reuniting the African American family after the emancipation. It will be a novel crafted of short stories telling some of the journies of women searching for their children and cobbling families along the way.

      What is your topic? I'm sure you have done lots of reseach but just some advice: read the publications that discuss/explore your topic; find out where the people you admire either teach or studied--those are good places to apply. If it's that unusual a topic, consider what universities are interested in being industry leaders and approach them with your topic.

      Sometimes people don't know they are interested until you show them the

      possibilities.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Y Battle-Felton!

      Sorry to hear about having to wait until January. Immigration is always a pain, but I’m sure it will work out. At least it will give you more time to plan trips!

      I wish I could help with suggestions, sadly though almost everywhere I have been in the UK outside London I described it the article. I was a student at the time so all my money went to tuition and trips back to the US. I have heard that it is very pretty in northern England, especially the Lake District which I believe is near Lancaster. I also don’t think York is far away and it was a very cute city.

      If you have any questions at all about moving to the UK feel free to ask me. What are you planning to do at the university?

      I’m looking for a program to be a phd student. Unfortunately I have not had much luck finding a supervisor yet. I think I have chosen a topic that is too unusual. However, I really did not start looking that long ago and eventually I will find someone to supervise.

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Heather,

      I contact Lancaster University and my interpretation of the guidelines is a bit too creative, smiles. So, we will likely have to wait until Jan. to go.

      I haven't planned any thing other than the castle in Lancashire and to visit the National Parks; I appreciate any suggestions you have.

      Looking for a PhD position, do you mean looking for a program to be a student? Or, looking for a faculty position?

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Brett! I agree, there are lots to see outside of London. There are many small villages in England that are great to explore, just because they are so cute. It seems like everywhere you go there something historic happened. Thanks for reading!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Some great suggestions. London is great, but most of the UK is filled with history, scenery and interesting places to visit. At least these are easy to get to for travelers though....

      Shared, up and useful.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Y Battle-Felton. I’m glad I could help! Good luck with the calling – I’m sure they’ll be able to help. If I remember, there was a bit of a wait on the phone…

      How exciting, I’m sure there will be lots to see and do. Do you have anything planned? That is one of the best things about moving, there are all new things to explore.

      Hopefully I won’t be here too long. I’m looking for a PhD position, which is harder to find then I would have thought. But with any luck I will something soon.

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Smiles, Heather, thanks for the advice. You're right, calling would probably be better than my trying to determine just how general the general guidelines are. I was sitting here trying to decide if I was going to write them a letter, but then I would spend way too much time worrying about the answer.

      You're answer came right on time, smiles. So, I'm going to call them.

      I'm looking forward to cross country excursions and to local adventures as well, smiles. Florida though "at the moment" makes me think you won't be there long?

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Suzie – London is quite a large city which certainly does leave a different feel than a smaller one. I was lucky that I went to uni there and so had friends from that period, otherwise I could imagine it being tough. It does have amazing things to see though and I think that is one of the things I miss most.

      Y Battle-Felton – I’m sure everything with immigration will work out – if you are having trouble I would try (if you haven’t already of course) giving them a call, I found the people at the call center fairly helpful (or maybe I was just lucky). Everything is much closer than in the states, it’s true! I’m in Florida at the moment and it would take me 5 hours to get to Georgia from where I am – 5 hours of driving in UK and you would probably be across the country!

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Smiles, thank you Heather. I hear that everything in Britain will seem much closer than places do here in the states--maybe that's assuming I was bringing my car with me.

      The hardest thing about immigrations seems to be finding the answer to my particular question: there are many general guidelines though.

      It will work out one way or the other, smiles. Thanks so much for the information and for your well wishes.

      Looking forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Not crazy about living in London i have to say. As a city to visit for long weekend it's fab! When i lived there it was very different to Dublin.I found it a lonely city to work and live. So many nationalities and people just kept more to themselves, more private maybe.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi Suzie- Thank you very much! How did you like living in London? I see from your profile page that you have been all over – I’m quite jealous!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Congrats Heather on a good selection of spots from London!! I lived in London for over a year and you have highlighted some easy to see places so well done. Bath is particularly gorgeous and Brighton certainly has a buzzy nightlife!!

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Y Battle-Felton – Unfortunately no, I was mostly situated in London while I lived there and I didn’t travel around nearly as much as I wish I had. It’s funny, Britain is such a small country and yet it is somehow hard to see it all. I wish you the all the best, I know British immigration can be a real pain.

      Kaili –Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed them.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

      Lovely Hub and excellent photos...thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Smiles, thank you, Heather. My program starts in October but I may have to wait until December to move. I'm waiting to hear about the maintenance requirement and if they take in to consideration that I will be working (as opposed to requiring the amount in savings).

      Do you know much about Lancashire?

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh congratulations Y Battle-Felton! When is the move? I do hope you’ll like it. I use to live there, but had to move away a few years ago. I get back whenever I can. I hope to write more articles about London in the future.

    • profile image

      Y Battle-Felton 5 years ago

      Helpful Hub, Heather.

      I'm trying to brush up on interesting day trips to bring my children on when we move to the UK since I promised them interesting day trips as part of the: guess where we're moving to? conversation.

      Your hub gives me lots more to add to the list.

      Thanks.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi 2patricias! You are so lucky to live near Brighton – I am very jealous! Thank you for the info about Brighton nightlife and the tweet!

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi brenda12lynette - London is fantastic, I highly recommend it! Thank you for the vote!

      Hi JKenny – Now that you mention it, I think I was there when I went to Oxford. Is it full of taxidermy animals? Funny how the mind works, I had completely forgotten about that.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Great hub! We actually live near Brighton (which has a good night life).

      I'll Tweet this.

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
      Author

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Thanks for the share Angela! I hope you can visit them soon!

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great Hub Heather- I've been to Oxford, and may I recommend a trip to the Pitt Rivers museum. Pitt Rivers was a Victorian explorer who travelled all across the world. Believe me, the exhibits are not to be missed.

    • brenda12lynette profile image

      brenda12lynette 5 years ago from Utah

      I've never been to London, but I hope to make it some day! I will take your list with me. Voted up :)

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Drewl If I make it big on hubpages I want to go! Shared!

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
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      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Thanks WhydThatHappen! I was living in London at the time so I only visited these places for the day, sometimes in the middle of the week. However, I could see that both Oxford and Cambridge had some lively pubs (not surprising being university towns) and I was in Bath on a Friday and it seemed like it was starting to get busy at dusk.

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

      Great hub! What about night life though?

    • Heather Jacobs profile image
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      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      Hi mecheshier. Thank you - you know I didn't think of an all of these option.... maybe I will have to include one now! Thanks for visiting!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Great Hub! Fantastic pics and info. On your survey you need a All of these option. Voted up for awesome.