I know that in other posts it has been suggested to go to Brighton for the day. There is a train from Victoria Station and I believe it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to get there? (not real sure). In April we stopped in Brighton to change trainsl (after we had visited Seaford and Alfriston) and it looked like a very interesting place and it was too bad we didn't have time to check it out.
We live at the beach, not sure going to a Brighton would be what my family would chose to do as our only day trip. Other than a seaside resort, what else would Brighton offer? thanks again, T
Brighton is somewhere that you should definitely consider - there's plenty to see and do there.
Warwick Castle is a 90 minute journey from London and has events such as jousting and falconry on most days.
If you go to the Brighton Forum you'll see that there is a lot to see and do in and around Brighton. It looks like it would make a very interesting day trip from London. One of the suggestions is to stop in Lewes where there is a old castle, lots of little shops and great scenery. The same can be said for Alfriston and the Seven Sisters Chalk Cliffs. Or type Brighton in the search box and you will see previous posts regarding day trips. Hope this helps.
Here are some suggestions for day trips that are indeed doable in a day:
Oxford/Blenheim Palace, train to Oxford, bus to Blenheim
Warwick Castle, one of my favorite day trips, if I remember correctly it puts you near Stratford if you are thinking maybe about overnighting (check out Shakespeare Explorer, they had some kind of transport pass)
I did a day trip with Astral that went to Oxford, Stratford and the Cotswolds, in my opinion it was too much for a day and we didn't really see any in depth. But perhaps the Oxford Cotswold trip might be a little better
I just bought tickets to York to go for a 2nd time because I didn't see everything on the first visit, the earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket (typically). And I wish I just spent an overnight there on the 1st visit.
It would be possible to combine Leeds Castle with Canterbury in a day.
Brighton is so much more than just a seaside resort with a beach (of sorts!). With more stuff to do and see in a day than you'll cope with. And ideally suited for a day trip due to the regular train services (ie 4-5 per hour) from London, with journey times under 60mins with semi-express trains.
Focus your day on:
1. The Royal Pavillion
2. The Lanes
3. North Laine
4.The Pier (of course!)
Perhaps have a read up on Brighton before deciding.
I would recommend Canterbury. Brighton is great and infact just got back from a weekend there last weekend. It is good (especially if it is warm and sunny) for strolling by the beach, drinking outside, going to all the small independent shops and then the great nightlife. It is 'London by the sea!"
But I would recommend Canterbury for tourists, especially if coming from the US. Brighton offers attractions and culture that can be found at home for you guys but Canterbury is all about history, from Roman to medieval with the Cathedral and Abbey, castles, plenty of museums, guided walks - the area is a UNESCO world heritage site.