We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Day trips from London, preferably by train???

New Jersey
Level Contributor
49 posts
21 reviews
Save Topic
Day trips from London, preferably by train???

I will be in London for two weeks at the end of April and have a 3 day weekend. Since I have a place to stay in London, I would rather not have to book another place and hopefully not drive, although that is a possibility. I would love to see old country towns or maybe a coastal city. TIA for your ideas!

Likely To Sell Out
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath...
5,231 reviews
from US$142.60*
Likely To Sell Out
Making of Harry Potter Round-Trip...
436 reviews
from US$103.40*
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath...
2,066 reviews
from US$146.80*
Likely To Sell Out
Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros...
623 reviews
from US$99.20*
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
918 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

Here's what I've done about London day trips, for what it's worth.

First, I read up on several possible day trip destinations in a book, Frommer's Best Day Trips from London, which lists a total of 25. Not all are doable by train but as I recall many if not most of them were. Link at amazon.com/Frommers-Best-Day-Trips-London/… - they say a newer edition will be released in late March. Also, Rick Steves' London 2010 has a handful of day trips from London and I think all of them assume you'll take the train (including a day trip to Paris). Book info at amazon.com/Rick-Steves-London-2010/dp/159880…

Last September I was in London on a solo trip for ten days. I based my decisions on info from the Frommer's and Rick Steves (2009 edition) books, but didn't go on my own.

Instead, I took *three* different day trips with London Walks (www.walks.com - look for their "Explorer" day offerings). They were all by train, affordable, very active (I was tired by evening!), and totally worth it. My three London Walks day trips were to: (1) Cambridge, (2) Brighton and (3) Avebury and Lacock.

Happy Trails!

Level Contributor
681 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

A note about day trips to Paris from London. Very doable but do read up on alternative methods to get back in case. I was with a group and we had a half day on our own the night before we left for home. A few decided to ride the Eurostar to Paris for a day of shopping although it meant missing our day's activities. When they got ready to come back, there was some problem and it was not running, nor was anyone able to say when it would run again. By that time it was into the evening, and no one in the group spoke any French and no one had any idea how else to get back. Because there were so many people with tickets and no train, it took them some time to get information. They ended up taking the train to the coast and riding a ferry. Somehow they got confused in London, got off at the wrong station, then had to cab it back to our hotel just in time to shove everything in cases and race, via taxi, to the airport. Yikes!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,862 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

You might do a search of this forum for previous threads on day trips...lots of good ideas! To get you started, here are some of my favorite day trips. (All of these are easy to do by train.)

York: under two hours by fast train, a completely different part of England. An ancient city (Roman origins) where you can still walk on the old city walls. Absolutely stunning minster (cathedral). IMHO, York is a "don't miss".

Cambridge. (I personally prefer it to Oxford.)

Winchester---beautiful cathedral, lots of things to see and do.


FWIW, I also use the "25 Best Day Trips" book. Very helpful, and well worth the investment.

Have a great time!

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
2,925 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

<I would love to see old country towns or maybe a coastal city.>

I've taken a several that may fit your needs. Two that I am recommending are very easy to access by train and do on your own. First is a trip to Arundel. Just an hour by train will take you to this lovely little town which also contains Arundel Castle.It's also very easy to combine with a visit to the Fishbourne Roman Palace (roman ruins in Fishbourne). Fishbourne is just a few minutes further by train.



Another nice day out of London combines the town of Rye with the city of Brighton.




I also have to agree with the previous recommendations for Cambridge.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
31,345 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

UK rail travel www.seat61.com

Destination Expert
for Belgrade
Level Contributor
14,556 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

Arundel in the Sussex Downs.

Direct from Victoria, about 80 mins.

Do a google for Arundel.


London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
10,267 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

I certainly agree about Arundel and Cambridge.

Brighton, Rye, Saffron Walden (get off at Audley End on the London Liverpool Street to Cambridge line and take a bus or taxi) and Bath are also all very doable and take under 1 1/2 hrs each way. Cambridge, Brighton and Saffron Walden are under an hour.

Rye is the setting for the Mapp and Lucia book by E.F. Benson and is very pretty.

York is amazaing, but is a couple of hours away.

Brighton is on the sea and has the amazing Brighton Pavillion (which also serves a delicious afternoon tea).

The website to check for railway journeys in England is :


Look a a good guide book (I favour Lonely Planet) see where you would be interested in going and use the above link to see how easy or difficult the journey would be.

Bath UK
Destination Expert
for Bath
Level Contributor
2,563 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

Thank-you for taking the time to fill in your profile page.

I am guessing that you are reasonably independent and would be quite happy to travel solo on the trains but, in case not, there are companies like London Walks who do several guided tours from London by train.

April is USUALLY quite a nice month to travel and the countryside is pretty so it is a good time to travel. That said, do have an umbrella or mac to hand.

I grew up in Sussex, with a sojourn in London before putting down roots in Bath, so my recommendations are very south-focussed.

I am bound to mention Bath - a compact, easily walkable city surrounded by countryside (though it is a bit hilly). The train is 90 minutes from Paddington.

It is a popular tourist destination (so perhaps best to visit on the Friday or Monday) which means there are plenty of eateries (thank-you tourists). The train arrives right in the middle of the city.

Arundel is a great little market town, but the station is more of a trek (I am sure that you could get a bus or taxi if it was raining). The castle and (catholic) cathedral are perched up above the river; quintessentially English.

Brighton is a much larger, brasher option (but used to be my closest town). You can wonder why so many people love the pebbly beaches, walk along the pier, visit the outrageously over the top Royal Pavillion and meander around the Lanes. It might be interesting to compare this town with the beaches of Spain and France!

Rye, too, I like but I have never spent more than a couple of hours there.

The there are the university towns of Oxford & Cambridge or perhaps the cathedral towns of Winchester, Salisbury, Canterbury.

You could even get as far as Cardiff - visit Cardiff Bay and the castle.

The best piece of advice I can give is that, if you plan to travel any distance from London, you should research the fares asap (if you can commit to specific trains- "advance tickets"- you will be able to travel cheaply). Trains are costly in the Uk if you just turn up and "pay on the day" at peak times.

look at nationalexpresseastcoast or www.fgw.co.uk.

Another thing I would do is buy, beg or borrow a guidebook to England full of photos; "gut feel" is an underrated thing!

Level Contributor
384 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

Hi - Whilst it might seem like a long way for a day, Liverpool is one of the great waterfront cities of the world and only just over 2 hours by train from London so easily doable in a day. Direct trains go every hour (and every half hour with one change)

Destination Expert
for Belgrade
Level Contributor
14,556 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Day trips from London, preferably by train???

> Arundel a great little market town but the station more of a trek <

It's a 5 min walk, about 600 yds. Practically 'in town'.