This blog post was updated on July 22, 2021.
Guest Post Author: Megan Jerrard has been mapping personal evolution through adventure travel, with her husband Mike, since 2007. Together they have written nearly 100 destination guides from all around the world. You can follow Mapping Megan on Twitter & Facebook. The following post was originally published on mappingmegan.com:
London is one of the world’s most visited cities, and between its history, culture, art and architecture, it’s not difficult to figure out why.
A thriving cosmopolitan, the city is bursting with world-class attractions, edgy fashion, and a combination of modern day architecture and majestic buildings which date back nearly two millennia.
So many millions adore this exceptional city; however the majority do themselves a great disservice by not exploring her phenomenal surrounds.
Cathedrals, medieval castles, roman baths and prehistoric monuments – these are just some of the many sites which are within easy access of London within a day. And while coach companies will offer various group tours to many of these sights, finding a car rental in London is so easy (depending on where you stay) that it’s generally cheaper and more worthwhile to plan your own day trip yourself.
Here are some of the top day trips you should consider for your next trip to London.
The beautiful city of Bath is only an hour and a half drive from London, and this unique destination makes for the perfect city break.
A World Heritage Site, Bath is the only place in Britain where you can bathe in naturally hot spa water in original Roman style baths.
Those not in the mood for a spa can wander the city’s cobbled streets and explore the beautiful Georgian architecture on display.
This beautiful city is only a short one hour drive from London, and it is here where you can explore the world’s most famous college town.
Discover awe-inspiring buildings which featured as the set for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, stumble across tranquil courtyards down narrow cobbled lanes, and enjoy the up market restaurants and bars which are constantly buzzing thanks to the student population.
One of the most well known ancient attractions on earth – Stonehenge remains a mystery to this day.
The pre-historic monument is a stone circle made of massive standing stones, built somewhere between 3000 and 1600BC.
The drive from London takes roughly two hours, however it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience to witness the ancient stone circle for yourself.
Leeds is a magnificent castle with a history which dates back to Norman times. Located on a beautiful lake, this is easily one of the most picturesque castles in England.
A tour of the castle is a must however visitors can also spend the day enjoying tree-top adventure courses or hot air balloon rides as well as the beautiful flower gardens and café for afternoon tea.
The drive from London takes an hour and a half.
Kew Palace & Gardens
Home to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is easily accessible from the centre of London, and there is plenty to do which will fill a full day.
Expansive gardens which include treetop walks, breathtaking landscapes, iconic glasshouses, historic buildings, and a large range of rare wildlife and plants, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Kew, and this is a fantastic spot for families.
A medieval castle built within a former Roman fort, this is a unique day trip which is well worth the trip.
Travel here to see some of the best original Roman fortifications in Europe, as well as medieval architecture and even a Napoleonic prison.
Windsor Castle is unique as it is the oldest and largest currently occupied castle in the world.
While it remains a working royal palace, and is an official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, the castle is a fantastic day trip from London and visitors are permitted to tour the grounds and head inside, with indoor access including the beautiful State Rooms.
Home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, this is a magnificent eighteenth century palace, a World Heritage Site with stunning Baroque architecture prominently on display.
From London, the trip takes an hour and a half by car, and it’s very easy to spend a full day exploring both the palace and the 2000 acres of parkland and formal gardens.