What are some train day trips from London that can be combined comfortably as a one day trip?
Here are some Day Trip destinations you can do from London. They are all accessible by train.
Cambridge , Oxford, Arundel, Bath, and Brighton. For lodging, here is a Bed and Breakfast you might consider staying in London since hotels are quite expensive there. Rick Steves also stayed there.
Can any of these be combined into a single day?
The places mentioned by the first poster are all full day trips from London and in opposite directions. Do you want to visit two smaller places in a day?
What are your interests?
Adding to the list, not in any order:
Windsor, Hampton Court (technically in London, but on the edge), Canterbury (possibly combined with Dover), Winchester, Lewes and Rye (these two can be combined in one day), Portsmouth, Salisbury and Stonehenge (can be done on the same day, train to Salisbury and bus from there to Stonehenge).
Yes , Cambridge and Oxford can be combined. They are 66 miles apart from each other. Cambridge and Oxford are historic towns with wonderful architecture.
London to Cambridge - There is a direct train departing from London Kings Cross station and arriving at Cambridge. Services depart every 15 minutes. The journey takes approximately 46 min.
London to Oxford by train is 1 hour. Trains leave from two locations, Paddington Station and Marylebone Station.
The OP isn't asking for day trips as such, but separate interesting places that can be combined in a single day. Or have I misunderstood?
Given the connections, I guess it is possible to go to Windsor Castle first thing, then go onto Oxford for the afternoon before returning to London in the evening. Whether that is attractive, I'm not sure. Or there is Oxford plus Blenheim Palace. That could be done in a day, though many would think you were short-changing Oxford. Or perhaps Coventry Cathedral(s) and a tiny bit of Birmingham?
I don't agree you can sensibly combine Cambridge and Oxford in a single day if starting from London. It would be hours of travel.
Yes , Cambridge and Oxford can be combined.
I would disagree with that. They are not in the same direction, and at least as far apart as they are from London. There is no rail line between them, the quickest route between the two by train is via London.
Perhaps the poster was thinking of somewhere else.
You could also have a combine day trip visiting Bath with Bradford on Avon or Salisbury. These towns are close to Bath. Bath is not far from London.
I have some concerns about trying this:
- You'll be paying high London lodging rates to visit places that are usually less expensive (though Bath is pricey).
- London is a huge city so it takes quite some time to get beyond its reaches to other places.
- The most interesting destinations (Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, etc.) are worth a full day, or more, themselves. You'd be taking time away from a place like that not only to sightsee somewhere else but also for the additional travel time. In the end you might only have 4 or 5 hours at a destination where you could easily spend 12-18 hours. Time out for lunch needs to figure in the picture, too, unless the timing works for you to have lunch on the train to your second stop.
I do a lot of day-trips (though most often to just one town per day), but I'm happier doing them from smaller, less expensive bases where I spend multiple days to allow for local sightseeing as well as day-trips. I have done this in Oxford (one-day tour to the Cotswolds), Norwich (Bury St. Edmunds; Lavenham also possible), Brighton (Lewes and Arundel), and Cambridge (Saffron Walden, Ely, Kings Lynn). The little places I visited around Norwich and Cambridge are fairly close to each other, so it's possible one could put together something that would work as a day-trip from London, especially by combining buses and trains. Please note that I consider each of those base cities to have plenty to keep a tourist busy for at least one full day, so I wouldn't want to travel from London to see one of them plus a satellite town.
There is a possibility that with an early start and no dawdling whatsoever one could see Bletchley Park and the cathedral in Coventry in one day. I visited BP while staying in Coventry so am not sure about the logistics from London, and I haven't checked the opening hours of the Coventry Cathedral. You'd certainly want to see it during daylight hours for the stained glass. I didn't get a super-early start, and I didn't go to the separate computing museum (not sure of official name); I was at BP till just about its closing time, but I am slow at places like that. I think the practicality of this combo would depend on the intensity of your interest in BP. One can certainly spend the whole day there.
There must be ways to combine a picturesque smaller town with a castle or manor house not too far away, especially if one is willing to taxi out to the castle/manor. I'm not into castles or stately homes, so that's not something I have done.
Another possibility is to do a day out in London: Hampstead plus Kew Gardens, for example.
Thanks for all the advice. One point of clarification is that we will be staying with my Cousin who lives in London. That will save us lots of money. We are wanting to go to Whitby and spend 1 or 2 nights in an airbnb. Also we are planning on Paris for the last 4 days or so and flying home from there. We are looking at the full trip being 3 weeks plus/minus a few days.
Whitby is a great place to spend a few days - the walk to Robin Hood’s Bay on the cliff tops is stunning. It takes a while to get there (over 5 hours) by train from London, so just staying one night wouldn’t give you much time there.
Oh, free lodging in London does make a great deal of difference! Just be careful about last-minute rail fares in England. They can be truly painful.