Travel

Day trips: 14 of the most beautiful places to visit by train from London

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
14 of the most beautiful places to visit by train from London

It’s time to put your 26-30 railcard to good use: book train tickets to these beautiful places ASAP. 

If you’re anything like us, sometimes you feel like you just need to get away from it all. And now that travel restrictions within the UK have eased, you can. And what could possibly be better than a day trip on the weekend to somewhere new and easy to get to?

From Bath’s stunning architecture, to the cosiness the Cotswolds, there’s nothing quite like hopping on a train and leaving London behind for the day.

And according to Snaptrip, though, most people living in the UK have only seen around 30% of the country – with Scotland at the top of their must-see list. If you’re in the mood for a Highlands adventure, check out our ultimate guide to the land of dramatic landscapes, Highland cows and pure white sandy beaches. 

However, if you’d prefer to start your travels closer to home, don’t despair: with so many beauty spots sitting less than a two-hour journey from London, it’s easier than ever to hop on a train and pay a visit somewhere new. Whether you fancy going just for the day, to try out a country walk or a new pub, or you want to spend the night at a romantic (and budget-friendly) hotel, there’s lots of choice.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a list of the most beautiful places to visit by train from London below. 

Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Best day trips from London: Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Best day trips from London: Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a small town tucked on the western edge of Kent, with lots of cute, winding lanes and beautiful countryside to explore.

Best place to eat and drink: the Grade II ‘listed’ The Mount serves classic pub grub that will be perfect after a day of exploring the Area of Outstanding Beauty.

How to get there: From Charing Cross or Cannon Street, the train takes under an hour. 

Margate, Kent

Best day trips from London: Margate, Kent
Best day trips from London: Margate, Kent

For years now, Margate has been establishing itself as the cool little sister of Brighton, as more and more trendy cafes, vintage shops and cute interiors brands pop up here. As well as the beach, make sure you visit the pastel-hued mini-theme park Dreamland and explore the shops.

Best place to eat and drink: The Greedy Cow cafe boasts a seasonal menu of fresh, locally sourced food and good coffee - all palm oil free.

How to get there: Get the train from Victoria or St Pancras International, it’ll take about an hour and a half. 

Whitstable, Kent

Best day trips from London: Whitstable, Kent
Best day trips from London: Whitstable, Kent

From its interesting little galleries to amazingly fresh seafood, Whitstable is the ideal seaside spot to visit to get some fresh air and take in an ocean view, too.

Best place to eat and drink: it has to be Wheelers Oyster Bar, which was founded in 1856. 

How to get there: It’ll take around one hour and 30 minutes to get there from Victoria or St Pancras International. 

Folkestone, Kent

Best day trips from London: Folkstone, Kent
Best day trips from London: Folkstone, Kent

In recent years, Folkestone in Kent has transformed itself from a sleepy seaside town into a bustling hotspot for creative types. And with stunning views of the sea, it’s a calming place to be.

Best place to eat and drink: you might not think to try Turkish cuisine in a traditional British seaside town, but Aspendos is a great choice for refuelling. 

How to get there: Leaving from St Pancras International, the train will take you just over one hour to arrive. 

Brighton

Best day trips from London: Brighton
Best day trips from London: Brighton

It may be a classic choice, but the coastal city of Brighton has a lot to offer – from a great LGBTQ* scene to multiple galleries and museums – it’s definitely worth a day trip or two.

Best place to eat and drink: love sushi but wish fishing was a bit more sustainableMoshimo is the answer to your prayers. 

How to get there: Hop on the train from Victoria Station and you’ll be there within the hour. 

Bath, Somerset

Best day trips from London: Bath, Somerset
Best day trips from London: Bath, Somerset

If Bath’s Roman and Georgian architecture isn’t enough to entice you to go see the city for yourself, then its swish spas certainly will.

Best place to eat and drink: Experience contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures with English, Indian and Asian influences at Menu Gordon Jones.

How to get there: Leaving from Paddington Station, you’ll arrive in Bath in one hour and 30 minutes. 

Cambridge

Best day trips from London: Cambridge
Best day trips from London: Cambridge

If you’ve yet to try punting along the riverbend in Cambridge, then what are you waiting for? Not only is it an incredibly unique thing to do in the city, but it’s also enjoyable, too. And with plenty of great restaurants and museums to see, it’s certainly worth travelling to.

Best place to eat and drink: seeking a tasty bite after a nice stroll (or punt) along the river? Try Restaurant Twenty Two for inventive yet fulfilling food.

How to get there: Hop on the train from King’s Cross and you’ll arrive in Cambridge in 60 minutes. 

St Albans, Hertfordshire

Best day trips from London: St Albans, Hertfordshire
Best day trips from London: St Albans, Hertfordshire

From its elegant Georgian townhouses to historic Tudor buildings, the market town of St Albans is perfect for a peaceful day away from the hustle and bustle of London.

Best place to eat and drink: serving the native cuisine of Cyprus, Bar Meze is a great spot for both food and drink. 

How to get there: Leaving from St Pancras International, you’ll arrive in St Albans in under 20 minutes. 

Oxford

Best day trips from London: Oxford
Best day trips from London: Oxford

If you’re a bookworm then a trip to the university town of Oxford is in order. Not only has its breath-taking architecture inspired many a novelist – such a Phillip Pullman and Lewis Carroll – but it also has an array of cosy pubs to try, too.

Best place to eat and drink: Kazbar may be a student favourite, but that doesn’t mean you should give it a miss. For stunning Moroccan decor and incredible cocktails, it’s definitely worth a trip. 

How to get there: Hop on the train from Paddington Station and you’ll be in Oxford within an hour. 

Rye, East Sussex

Best day trips from London: Rye, East Sussex
Best day trips from London: Rye, East Sussex

Fancy catching a train to the coast? From its cobbled lanes to thatched roofs and hidden passageways, Rye is one of England’s quaintest towns – making it hard for any visitor to not instantly fall in love with it. 

Best place to eat and drink: 

How to get there: Leaving from St Pancras International, you’ll arrive in Rye within an hour. 

Bristol

Best day trips from London: Bristol
Best day trips from London: Bristol

Not only does Bristol have a vivid street art scene but the city is full of great restaurants serving up ethical and local cuisine, too.  One day in Bristol is never quite enough but it will give you a flavour of a city very different from London.

Best place to eat and drink: for something a bit different, try the Michelin starred Wilks Restaurant.

How to get there: Hop on the train from Paddington Station and you’ll arrive in Bristol in under two hours. 

The Cotswolds 

Best day trips from London: The Cotswolds
Best day trips from London: The Cotswolds

From its rolling fields of lavender to tiny thatched-roof cottages, the Cotswolds is as romantic as you’d expect. The area itself covers a huge 800 square miles and runs through five different counties, so there are plenty of sites to stop off on your tour. Oh, and it has some of the best cheese shops in the country, too.

Best place to eat and drink: The Wild Rabbit in Chipping Norton offers an idyllic slice of country living with an equally equisite menu, as does The Bird in Hand, near Witney. 

How to get there: Leaving from Paddington Station, it’ll take you less than an hour to reach Oxford, where you can find local trains to your chosen Cotswold destination.

Norwich, Norfolk

Best day trips from London: Norwich, Norfolk
Best day trips from London: Norwich, Norfolk

If quaint independent cafés, shops, museums and churches bursting with history are your interest, Norwich can offer you a lot. But the city isn’t only an important part of British history - the modern marketplaces are filled with restaurants serving both traditional and modern food, as well as dozens of authentic pubs. 

Best place to eat and drink: wine bar The Wallow is the perfect place to sit and sip after a day taking in the city by foot.

How to get there: you can make it to East Anglia in just under two hours, departing from Kings Cross.

Winchester, Hampshire

Best day trips from London: Winchester, Hampshire
Best day trips from London: Winchester, Hampshire

This historic city is one of the oldest in the UK and boasts picturesque cobbled streets, beautiful buildings and one of the most famous cathedrals in the country.

Best place to eat and drink: try the beautiful courtyard garden at The Bishop on The Bridge to whet your whistle by the waterside. 

How to get there: Leaving from Waterloo station, it will take about an hour to reach Winchester. 

Additional writing: Amy Beecham / Images: Getty / Unsplash 

Topics

Share this article

Author

Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

Recommended by Megan Murray

Travel

The alternative way to spend 72 hours in NYC

Bypass the city’s famous landmarks and go off the beaten track…

Posted by
Susan Devaney
Published
Travel

Why everyone needs to take a trip to Sri Lanka in 2019

Add it to your bucket list now.

Posted by
Susan Devaney
Published
Travel

The 5 best things to do in Devon

Don’t forget your wetsuit.

Posted by
Alessia Armenise
Published
Travel

Weekend in Istanbul: Our guide to the best things to do

Sun, food and pampering for a weekend to remember...

Posted by
Alessia Armenise
Published
Travel

5 reasons to make Zurich your next wellness destination

We are packing our trainers and swimsuits

Posted by
Alessia Armenise
Published