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London Day Trips By Train

Best day trips from London by train??

Posted by
5638 posts

There are many options ... What are your main interests? Religious buildings? Roman history? Historic universities? The seaside? Palaces?
It's not easy to define "best" without that info.

Options include Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury, Brighton, Windsor, Bath at a stretch (it's far)...

Posted by
3643 posts

check out Rick's guidebook and come back with specific questions

Posted by
5189 posts

To add to Balso’s list, Hampton Court and York. Bath is easy to do as a day trip.

Posted by
6113 posts

There is quite a lot to do in Bath and York, so they are a push for a day trip, as they involve about 5 and 6 hours respectively in the return train journey door to door from your accommodation.

Options - Oxford, Cambridge, Dover Castle, Canterbury, Brighton, Hampton Court, Greenwich, Kew Gardens, Chatham Dockyard, Knole in Sevenoaks, Rye, numerous castles such as Leeds, Lewes, Bodiam, Chiddingstone or Hever.

If you said what you were interested in seeing, we could give better advice.

Posted by
7557 posts

What are your interests?

Bletchley Park
Blenheim Palace
Chatham Dockyard in Kent where Call the Mid Wife is filmed
St Albans
Hampton Court

To name a few spots

Posted by
24043 posts

I'd add Bletchley Park, the WWII code-breaking center.

My philosophy concerning day-trips is that they are best done while staying in cities with hotel rates quite a bit lower than London's. For example, I spent multiple nights in Brighton and visited Lewes and Arundel while there. I visited Bletchley Park from Coventry. I've also taken day trips during multi-night stays in Oxford and Cambridge.

I'd agree that York is questionable as a day-trip because there's so much to see there. I'd have felt really uncomfortably pressed if I had just shown up for one day. Although I could probably have managed Bath as a day-trip from London (I visited from Bristol, which is much closer), others like Bath more than I do and would want more time there than a day trip from London would afford.

Posted by
24 posts

is Bletchley Park the same as the Churchill war rooms? if not, where is Bletchley Park located? thank you

Posted by
1621 posts

Bletchley Park is separate from the Churchill war rooms. It’s outside of London. I took a short train ride there. It’s a short walk from the train station.

For Greenwich on a nice day I would ride the boat in one direction. For me it offers nice views and there’s commentary offered to Greenwich.

Posted by
24043 posts

No, Bletchley Park is just outside the town of Milton Keynes, north of London. I think the train station is called "Bletchley". Bletchley Park is an estate that was turned into a code-breaking center during WWII. There have been several movies about activities there (fictionalized, of course). I believe the most recent was "The Imitation Game" with Benedict Cumberbatch.

What happened at Bletchley Park had a massive influence on the outcome of the war. It's interesting that those activities remained under wraps for many decades because of the Official Secrets Act. People who had a hand in shaping the outcome of the war (a lot of them women) returned home and let all those around believe they had been doing clerical work of no particular importance. It was only in the 1970s that information really became public. The museum was opened in 1993.

The audio guide provides a lot of historical information. It's a place where you can spend all day, especially if you go to the nearby (but not co-managed) National Computing Museum.

Posted by
570 posts

I would consider Blenheim Palace.
Windsor Castle is more of a half-day trip.
Bath is very doable, but IMO it deserves more than a day.

Posted by
300 posts

We combined Dover Castle with Canterbury in a rather enjoyable day trip shortly before COVID changed our world. Early train to Dover to tour the castle and grounds, train to Canterbury, then checked out the cathedral and a few pubs.

Posted by
3428 posts

We LOVED doing day trips by train from London (more than 40 trips in just over 20 years). Stratford-upon-Avon, Windsor, York, Bath,
Winchester, Canterbury, Dover (these could be combined), Brighton, and Cardiff Wales are among our favorites. Bath, York and Stratford-upon-Avon can be good as stops for a night or more but doing a day trip is a good way to get a taste. Bath has a large Christmas market, with lots of good crafters. In York, we love wandering the Shambles and doing the Jorvik museum (a bit of a Disney-esque 'ride' through the Viking history of the area, and one time we found a local microbrewery that was giving tours (with samples) as we walked part of the wall. Windsor is the easiest, and can be a full or part day trip- we would often do it on the day we had theatre tickets- heading back for an early supper prior to going to the theatre.

Posted by
3934 posts

Leeds Castle , sometimes known as " Chalfont " , the ancestral home of the aristocratic D'Ascoyne family . Do they still give the 6p tour?

Posted by
30292 posts

about Leeds Castle - it is and has changed.

The 6p tours. steven do you mean 6pm in the evening, or possibly 6 British pence? Or to take it to my era, back in the days of L/S/D, sixpence - half a shilling (but then that would be written 6d)? Back in the day you could do a lot with a sixpence.

By the way, and I don't think that this is an April Fools joke (or...), things are about to change again, seeing today's press release, quoting all below from the Leeds Castle website =-=

Nestled in the Kent countryside, Leeds Castle today goes on the market with an asking price of £125,000,000, as it prepares to take on a new owner in 2024, following the ending of its current 50 year lease.

Before last owner, Lady Olive Baillie, died in September 1974, she put plans in place to create a charitable foundation to which the Castle and grounds would be transferred.

Upon creating the Leeds Castle Charitable Foundation, Lady Baillie specified that the Foundation would have a 50 year lease, before passing the baton onto the next owner. Lady Baillie was a true arbiter of taste, and had a fascination for design and reinvention, which is why she stipulated a change after 50 years.

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive Officer at Leeds Castle, said: “Lady Baillie was very clear that she wanted all future owners to appreciate the ethos of Leeds Castle; from its design, extensive history celebrating female power, recreation, and of course sparkling parties and fun.

“Leeds Castle embodies the spirit of Lady Baillie and the six medieval queens who have owned the Castle. The estate is focused on natural beauty, and celebrates the many cherished moments made by our visitors every day. We hope the new buyer will continue the ethos of Lady Baillie, as they write Leeds Castle’s next chapter.”

Leeds Castle comprises 20 luxurious bedrooms, six spacious entertaining rooms, splendid original interiors designed by renowned 20th century designers; Stéphane Boudin and Armand-Albert Rateau, 990 acres of grounds and farmland, multiple lakes, rivers, streams and a moat, two thrilling playgrounds, an extensive maze with an underground grotto, multiple guest houses and wedding venues, a spectacular birds of prey centre, on-site train and ferry, historical nine-hole golf course, cricket club and three beautiful gardens.

To bring Leeds Castle to the market, the Foundation contacted established local agent, Knight Edmonds, following in Lady Baillie’s wishes to support local businesses.

Alex Knight, Director at Knight Edmonds, commented: “Leeds Castle is a true national treasure, and to share a moment in history facilitating the sale of such an outstanding piece of English heritage is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The responsibility for selling the castle however extends far beyond that of finding a buyer, it is about finding a new custodian, and ensuring the future and preservation of one the country’s most admired buildings. We want to reassure the public that we will ensure the next buyers will take all necessary steps to protect and care for the Castle.”

Posted by
3934 posts

Nigel, that was a bit of humor on my part . The 6p was six pence , the cost of the tour that Louis Mazzini paid as he mounted his plan to become Duke of Chalfont . For anyone reading this ( Nigel I'm sure this is not new to you ) Leeds Castle was the stand in for Chalfont Castle in " Kind Hearts and Coronets " . the 1949 black comedy in which the protagonist Louis Mazzini ( Dennis Price ) eliminates the eight members of the D'Ascoyne family ( all played by Alec Guiness ) in order to succeed to a Dukedom ( he murders six of them , fate takes care of the other two . } This delicious , subtle comedy is a masterpiece by Ealing Studios . I enjoyed reading your information on Leeds Castle , Thanks ! a quick clip -

Posted by
104 posts

We're planning to go to Chartwell by train in mid-May. It sounds lovely as well as about our speed:)