6 of the Best London Day Trips for a Change of Scenery

Buildings in Bath

In need of some escapism? You don’t have to travel far to experience a change of scenery from the London skyline, whether that be historical buildings or rolling countryside views. Embrace the principles of slow travel and explore somewhere new at your own pace with these London day trips.

1. Bath

The picturesque city of Bath became a World Heritage Site in 1987 due to its Roman ruins and hot springs. There is plenty to do in Bath, including visiting the famous Roman baths, taking a dip in the popular modern spa, shopping, eating and exploring the Royal Crescent.

Trains from London Paddington to Bath take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.


2. Whitstable, Kent

Wooden beach huts in Whitstable

For a change of pace, independent shopping and some fantastic fresh fish, Whitstable is a great choice for a day trip from London. Renowned for its oysters, this pretty seaside town has a big reputation. Tuck into some fish and chips and walk along the seafront to Tankerton Beach to admire the colourful beach huts.

Trains from London Victoria take around 1 hour 20 minutes and trains from St Pancras take around 1 hour 10 minutes.


3. Hitchin Lavender, Hertfordshire

Fields of Lavender, Hitchin

Reap the benefits of getting back to nature and leave with a bag of blooms at the highly Instagram-worthy Hitchin Lavender Farm. The swathes of sweetly-scented lavender and adjacent sunflower fields couldn’t be further from your normal city scenes. Filling your paper bag to the brim with stems takes quite a while making the whole experience both relaxing and mindful.

Trains from St Pancras to Hitchin take just 37 minutes. From there, it’s a less than 10 minute taxi or Uber ride away. If you’re driving, it’s not far from the A1M and there is ample parking.


4. Oxford

Perhaps needing little introduction, Oxford is known as The City of Dreaming Spires and continues to attract visitors from around the world for its architecture and university. From exploring the Bodleian Library (one of the oldest in Europe) and colleges, to trying your hand at punting on the river and visiting the Botanic Garden, there is a lot to see and do in Oxford.

Trains from Paddington and Marylebone take around 1 hour to reach Oxford. The Oxford Tube bus services runs 24/7 from the following stops: Hillingdon, Shepherd’s Bush, Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch and Victoria. From Victoria, this takes 1 hour 50 minutes- longer if there is traffic.


5. Henley-on-Thames

If Henley rings a bell, it’s probably because of the annual Royal Regatta that is hosted in this Oxfordshire town. While Henley comes to life in the summer for the boat races and a music festival, it’s an enjoyable day trip from London all year round. With a pretty market square, riverside walks and plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants to visit, it’s easy to while away an afternoon here. If you’re driving, popular National Trust property Greys Court is 10 minutes away.

Trains from Paddington take around 1 hour 10 minutes, changing at Twyford.


6. The Cotswolds

Indoor plants at The Burford Garden Company

As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), there are almost too many picturesque villages and towns to list in the Cotswolds. With the area’s trademark stone and stunning countryside, it makes for a perfect city escape. Here are a few places that are worth visiting:

  • Burford: a pretty little town which is home to The Burford Garden Company – much more than your usual garden centre with a fantastic cafe and carefully curated homewares section.
  • Bibury: a popular village with a row of quaint stone cottages
  • Cirencester: a market town in east Gloucestershire, the largest in the Cotswolds

Coach tours do run from London, but in order to experience the serenity of the area and get away from the crowds, it’s easier to travel by car and plan a road trip.

To explore somewhere new and escape the city, these are six of the best day trips from London. If you’re sightseeing on your trip, don’t forget to try the art of slow looking – a slow living inspired method to get more from cultural experiences.


This article is part of A Year of Living Slower – 12 monthly experiments in living better, not faster. May’s theme is Slow Travel.

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