London to… A guide to the best destinations near London



London is one of the best cities in the world, but did you know that there are ancient monuments, historical cities, and glorious countryside locales less than 2 hours away from the capital?

If you’re only in the UK for a short period of time, with a GB Flexi-Pass, you can see some of Britain’s most celebrated cities on a London daytrip or weekend getaway. We walk you through best destinations near London.

London to Oxford

Oxford

Wander through the gorgeous architecture of Oxford, and explore the home of one of the oldest universities in the world. At over 900 years old, the university buildings have seen some of the UK’s most famous historical figures pass through their doors, such as Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Bell and Sir Walter Raleigh.

Tour the university colleges, like Christ Church College founded by the doomed Cardinal Wolsey. Then stop by Oxford’s famed Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian Library, two of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Beyond the architectural treasures of Oxford is a city that is home to classic tea rooms, excellent restaurants and bars, and a beautiful High Street lined with shops you can spend an afternoon exploring.

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London to Stonehenge

Stonehenge

You cannot separate England from its most legendary prehistoric monument – Stonehenge. This Neolithic wonder has baffled anthropologists and historians alike for hundreds of years, and its mystery only serves to highlight the magical atmosphere of this iconic landmark.

The exhibition at Stonehenge walks you through what experts have managed to glean from this heritage site. Learn about the people they think may have built it, and see displays of other treasures unearthed nearby.

You can also walk into reconstructed Neolithic homes and marvel at how ancient Britons lived and worked before recorded history, and then witness the incredible stone circle that has fascinated people for generations.

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London to Bath

Bath

Bath is considered to be one of Britain’s most beautiful cities, not least because of its mixture of ancient, medieval and regency architecture. Set along the River Avon, and home to some 500 buildings of historical significance, this city was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987.


See the 2000 year old Roman Baths, the Gothic Bath Abbey, and the elegant Georgian splendor of Royal Crescent. Stroll along the River Avon to the picturesque Pulteney Bridge, one of the few bridges left in the world of its kind.

Lose yourself in the world that Jane Austen was familiar with by visiting the Assembly Rooms and the Fashion Museum housed within it. Then stop by the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about the lady herself.

Sandwiched between the Cotswolds and the Mendip Hills of Somerset will also afford you the opportunity to see some of the UK’s most stunning parks, such as Prior Park, designed by the famous Capability Brown.

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London to Bristol

Bristol

If you’re heading to Bath by train, you should go 10 minutes further to see the colourful town of Bristol. It is one of Britain’s oldest port towns, and is peppered with significant historical attractions, and benefits from a reputation as one of the trendiest cities in the UK – with a fantastic dining and bar scene.


Head to Bristol Harbour first, now known as the Floating Harbour, where you’ll find museums, galleries and restaurants as well as attractions like the interactive We The Curious science centre, and the Bristol Aquarium. From this point, you can also hop on a ferry ride down the Avon River and see the city from the water.

Stop off in the Bristol Old City where you can tour St. Stephen’s Church, the Christmas Steps and the age-old St. John on the Wall, the last of the medieval churches built into the Bristol city wall.

Outside of the city, is Cheddar Gorge, which is well worth the 18-mile side trip. Made up of Britain’s highest inland cliffs, the moss-studded limestone peaks of the gorge are a highlight of the nature reserve, and offer some spectacular lookouts to the surrounding area.

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London to Hogwarts

Hogwarts

The magical world of Harry Potter is waiting for you, all you need do is hop on a train to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour and you can be making your way through the halls of Hogwarts.

Step into the Great Hall, set for dinner and filled with original costumes. Or wander into the spooky set of the Forbidden Forest, where Ron and Harry stood before the great spider Aragog. You can even get sorted into your Hogwarts house!

See the care and detail that went into the Harry Potter movies, where JK Rowling’s wizarding world was brought to life. From the props that dressed teacher’s offices, like Snape’s potion room, to the costumes and creature effects, this Studio Tour is a comprehensive look at behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films.

Onsite there are several restaurants that will ensure you don’t go hungry. Only a quick journey from the city central, this London daytrip is a fantastic day out for kids of all ages.

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London to Cambridge

Cambridge

Oxford may be the oldest university in the UK, but Cambridge doesn’t fall far behind, and it is just as beautiful. In fact it’s one of the densest areas in England for historic buildings.

There are 31 colleges in Cambridge, and much of the town’s architectural beauty is down to these superb buildings. Visit Trinity College founded by the notorious Henry VIII and the site where many famous names matriculated, such as Isaac Newton, Edward Fitzgerald and King George the VI.

Other highlights include the lovely Queen’s College and its Mathematical Bridge, a feat of engineering as the wooden bridge was constructed without a single nail, and the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, laying claim to over 8000 plant species.

There are museums and galleries galore in Cambridge, such as the Museum of Technology, the Museum of Zoology, and the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences, which are definitely worth a visit. We also recommend you spend time strolling down the Cambridge High Street and ducking into the charming cafes, little historical shops, and pretty boutiques.

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London to Brighton

Brighton

Fancy a day by the sea? The sun-soaked shores of Brighten beckon, and they are only an hour train ride away. In this Victorian seaside town you can see the iconic Royal Pavilion, the famed Brighton Palace Pier, and of course, views out to the English Channel.

First you must start with the Mughal-inspired architecture of the Royal Pavilion and its gardens. Redesigned to match the extravagant tastes of King George IV, this Indian-style palace is filled with interesting exhibits. See the Music Room, the Banqueting Room and the Great Kitchen. Then stroll through the gorgeous Regency gardens.

Afterwards, discover Brighton’s arty side by stopping at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Theatre Royal, before wandering down the North Laine, home to over 400 unique-to-Brighton shops and restaurants.

Lastly, make your way to the seashore, where you can amble along Brighton’s long pebble-strewn beach, go on a ride at the Brighton Palace Pier, and pick up snacks and ice-creams along the UK’s most famous seafront.

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London to Dover

Dover

There are few sights that encapsulate the British landscape quite like the White Cliffs of Dover, which became the subject of Vera Lynn’s famous wartime song.

Visit Dover Castle, an ancient fort that sits atop the cliffs and offers a fantastic insight into how a medieval keep was run. See where the king slept, where knights knocked their arrows, and where court was held. You can then delve into history not so far removed from our own, by touring the World War 2 tunnels dug throughout the cliffs as fortifications against German invasion.

Then there are the cliffs themselves, their white chalk bodies rising from bright blue seas and topped with emerald green grass. It’s hard to do the sight justice in photos, but standing before them in person will leave an indelible impression of how the first sailors to the British Isles saw England for the first time.

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