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Daytrips from London

I'm thinking of taking a day trip from London but only have time for one or two. The three places I'm thinking of are Canterbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle or Warwick Castle. I've been to Salisbury, Stonehenge, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Bath. If you could only do one or possibly two, which would you choose? It might be possible to stay overnight one night. We're also thinking of going up to the Lake District for a couple of nights. We'll be in London a total of 8 days but I've been there several times before. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
3821 posts

If you can do only one, do Windsor Castle. It's a short easy train trip out of London.
Windsor Castle is magnificent, and St George's Chapel is where many of the royals are buried (Henry VIII).
Windsor is a great town for walking around after you've finished with the castle.
Many good cafes, restaurants and tea rooms/lunch places.
Several good hotels and B&B's in Windsor in case you wish to spend the night there.

If you can do two places on your list, I would choose Canterbury Cathedral as a second.

Posted by
1503 posts

I've been to all 3 that you list. Warwick is very touristy. Windsor is a good day trip - I would choose it over Warwick. Canterbury Cathedral is quite nice, but if I were going to do it as a day trip / or overnighter I would include Dover Castle which IMHO is really fantastic. To confuse the issue even more - have you been to Hampton Court? It's my favorite day trip out of London!

Posted by
6670 posts

First choice Windsor Castle. Second choice Canterbury. Both towns are walkable and interesting. Warwick Castle is a long way to go on a day trip, you'll spend more time getting there and back. Hampton Court is also a good choice if you haven't been there.

Posted by
8879 posts

Windsor but also agree if you've not been to Hampton Court research and see if it's something of interest.

Posted by
80 posts

If you do Hampton Court, take the 3 hour ferry ride back. This was one of the highlights of my trip last summer. If you go to Windsor Castle, get there early in the day and see St. George's Chapel first. It closes early at 4pm.

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks for all the replies! Very helpful information. Would the ferry ride back from Hampton Court be something we could do now or would it be too cold? We're leaving for our trip next week. Thanks.

Posted by
3428 posts

I agree that Windsor (the town as well as the castle) makes a great day (or half-day) trip from London. Windsor Castle is my very favorite- but there are plenty of shops, too. And you can walk over to Eaton. We often go to Windsor on days we have theatre tickets. Trains run at least twice an hour all day, so get on open return and head back to London whenever you want.

My second choice would be York. It's about 1 1/2 to 2 hour train ride (take an early train and you're there for an early lunch). Very easy city to walk. The Shambles is a great place to do some souvenir shopping- and the center of town has some very nice jewelry shops for more expensive souvenirs. There's the Minster and you can walk along the wall. There is also a train museum near the train station if you are interested.

Posted by
1010 posts

Evan Evans does great day tours from London. We have used them many times.

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks for all the responses. They helped so much. We ended up doing 3 days trips - Windsor, Hampton Court, and Canterbury Cathedral. I think my favorite was Hampton, though it's hard to choose. We stumbled into the Harte and Garden Hotel & Restaurant for lunch in Windsor and I highly recommend it. Just across from the castle. The Queen and Prince Philip were at Windsor for an event so her flag was flying. I was very interested in Frogmore House and the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum and learned a lot. I'd love to visit the mausoleum sometime when it's opened - it's currently under construction.

Canterbury Cathedral is also under construction but we really enjoyed it, especially some hidden gardens we found. We ate at the Founders Brewery which we liked. Lots of great shopping in the town. The whole area around the Cathedral is so beautiful. Beautiful gardens and we saw a blooming tulip tree.

At Hampton Court we ate at the Riverside Restaurant near the bridge on the Hampton Ct. side and at a great Italian restaurant near the bridge on the other side. We didn't have time to go through the maze but saw all the apartments, rooms and gardens. Nice gift shop too where you can get a cool Hampton Court bookmark.

Posted by
3821 posts

Glad to hear you were able to do all three!
Thanks for the trip report.

Kinda of new at this-trying to figure out how to post a new questions-though it's on the same topic.
In the past, we've done a combination of tours on our own and guided tours. (Windsor was wonderful-as were Bath and Stonehenge!) Anyway, this time, we want to see Stratford-Upon-Avon, Leeds Castle, and C.S.Lewis' home in Oxford. I've seen advertised guided tours for the first two, (that I thought I had heard about from a Rick Steves site), but am unable to locate them again. (I know the Leeds Castle tour included more than Leed's Castle.)

Has anyone had any experience with guided tours of these locations?

Posted by
8879 posts

our-skyes2.thebeach DON'T hitchhike onto another question. That's how you'll get answers to yours. Post your own!