It’s bank holiday weekend and temperatures are set to soar. Stylist’s Emma Booker-Milburn reveals the top 10 places to go on a day trip, and how to get there from London.
With the Bank Holiday approaching, and the weather forecast looking simply glorious, there’s no better time to escape the city and head out on a day trip.
In fact, a fifth of us will be making the most of the upcoming long weekend by going on holiday abroad or in the UK. Research from American Express reveals Brits will spend over £2.6 billion on trips this weekend - but where are the top spots for 2019?
Well, grab your rucksack, pack a picnic and pick up your friends, because Stylist has done the research for you. From quaint seaside towns, to bustling larger cities, scroll down for 10 of the best places to visit this weekend.
Escape the bustling city with a trip to Deal, a beautiful and unique seaside town. The quiet streets are lined with well-preserved Georgian townhouses and provide the perfect chance to spend hours wandering through the town, or along the pebble beach.
It also has a buzzing contemporary art scene, like the Linden Hall Studio, and a large choice of local restaurants and pubs. The vibrant Saturday market is something you don’t want to miss. Deal really is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored.
Take a high speed Southeastern train from London St Pancras International, which will get you there in a swift 1 hour 22 minutes, or by car it will take a 2 hour drive.
You quite simply could not have a list of the best day trips without including one of the most beautiful and exceptionally historical cities in the UK: Bath.
Home to historic Roman ruins, natural hot springs and 18th century Georgian architecture, Bath really is one of the most spectacular cities around. In fact, its Roman Baths have been one of the most visited places in the UK for more than 2,000 years.
Filled with museums and art galleries, the iconic Royal Crescent and Bath’s beautiful parks and gardens, there is no shortage of things to do.
Frequent trains run from London Paddington Station every 30 minutes, and get you there in about an hour and a half (which is at least 30 minutes quicker than any other form of transport!).
New Forest, Hampshire
With mile after mile of open countryside and moorland to explore, the New Forest is another fantastic place to visit if you are looking to get your countryside-fix.
It is also home to Britain’s closest version of a “safari”, with wild ponies, highland cattle and wild pigs, so, if you are looking to spruce up your day trip, hire an electric buggy to explore the nature around you.
The Exbury Gardens are a 200-acre informal woodland garden, with a steam railway being the star attraction. And be sure to visit Lavender Farm, too. After all, what could be more perfect than strolling around lavender fields and then tucking into lavender shortbread?
The New Forest is located just 89 minutes away from London Waterloo Station by train, which means that you really don’t have any excuses.
Rye, East Sussex
This postcard-perfect town is a labyrinth of winding, cobbled lanes, inns and cafes and quaint antique shops.
Nearby, you have the Rye Nature Reserve, an incredible patchwork of grassland, saltmarsh and woods that brings you closer to wildlife and immerses you into nature. If you are more of a sandy beach person, though, then Camber Sands will be right up your street. Boasting a bright, golden sand beach, you can effortlessly walk miles in either direction, particularly ideal after a splendid pub lunch.
There is only one thing you cannot miss in Rye, and that’s taking a stroll around the beautiful streets (Mermaid Street, in particular, has a storybook feel to it) – so this is definitely a worthwhile day trip to consider.
Rye is a hop, skip and a jump from London, with a relatively short journey time of 1 hour 10 minutes on the train from London St Pancras International, or a 2 hour 30 minutes car journey.
Canterbury is one of the oldest cities in the UK and where the famous Canterbury Tales were written. It boasts stunning architecture and world famous buildings, such as the Canterbury Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With plenty of green open spaces, quaint streets filled with typical high street shops and even the chance to go punting down beautiful narrow canals, Canterbury is perfectly equipped for a day trip.
Canterbury is by far one of the shortest travel distances, making it irresistible to many as it is so close to London. Frequent trains from London St Pancras International have a journey time of less than an hour.
Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton is the perfect location for this August Bank Holiday weekend. There are so many amazing places to visit, eat and explore.
This busy and bustling city boasts a pebble beach and narrow shopping lanes (literally called The Lanes) filled with trendy boutiques. While you’re there, visit Brighton’s various historical attractions; the Royal Pavilion is out of this world.
A short train journey of around 1 hour from either London Victoria, Blackfriars or London Bridge, or a 2 hour car journey.
Windsor, currently home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is the perfect destination for royal history buffs. A walk around Windsor Great Park is an absolute must, and is packed with friendly red deer – an added bonus.
Continuing the royal theme, a tour around Windsor Castle (aka the longest-occupied royal residence in Europe) is an absolute must. And be sure to stop by one of the many tea shops for cream scones and tea, afterwards.
You are spoiled for choice in terms of travel to Windsor. You can either take a train from London Paddington, with the journey taking between 30 and 50 minutes or, from London Waterloo, where the journey lasts around 55 minutes.
Whitstable is another picture-perfect town ideal for anyone in need of a little seaside R&R. With its beautiful pastel-coloured buildings and pretty beach, this town is a hotspot for day trippers.
There’s a variety of galleries – including the Harbour Gallery – to choose from, and a number of trendy, independent shops.
Don’t underestimate this little seaside town, as it is highly accessible, being just a 1 hour 20 minute train from London Victoria, a 1 hour 10 minute train from London St Pancras International, or a 1 hour 40 minute drive.
Oxford isn’t too far from London, but this pretty city feels far more laidback. While you’re there, be sure to take a punt on the river, and definitely make a point of visiting the Botanical Gardens, which houses over 6,000 different types of plants.
Harry Potter fans, meanwhile, can walk around the city and discover the buildings used in the films. Duke Humfrey’s Library, for example, was used for the scene where Harry enters the library under the invisibility cloak with a lamp to steal a book, subsequently breaking all library rules! You can visit the library only on a guided tour that lasts for 30 minutes.
Trains from London Paddington leave every 30 minutes and take approximately 1 hour.
A list of day trips from London would not be complete without Stonehenge. It really is a mind-boggling wonder, and visitors can walk around the stones and appreciate how incredible they are.
Trains from London Waterloo to Salisbury depart twice an hour, with the journey lasting approximately 90 minutes. From there, catch a bus which will take you directly to the monument.