13 Fun And Easy Day Trips From London To Try In 2024

As much as we all love city life, sometimes a breather from the hustle and bustle is very much needed. Better yet, some of the best day trips from London don't require much travel to find the peace and quiet you've been craving. Whether you want to wander around the filming ground of Downton Abbey or prefer a quaint seaside retreat (with a side order of delicious oysters), then take a look at our list of hotspots outside of the city. 

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Woodstock: 1 hr 40 min drive and 1hr 50 min train journey 

No, we're not talking about the legendary festival, but the edge of the Cotswolds. An area of natural beauty and home of Blenheim Palace, this great green space is well worth a visit. Check out The Orangery at Blenheim Palace, where an Italian-style garden welcomes you for alfresco suppers and spritzes in specially created marquee pods.

Woodstock Cotswolds | DesignMyNight

Cameras at the ready for this beaut. 

Dungeness: 1 hr 55 min drive and 1 hr 30 min train journey

Did you know there’s an actual desert in the UK? Well, prepare to have your mind blown. Located on the Kent coastline, Dungeness is one seriously stunning place to take a day trip out of London. As well as boasting an impressive natural landscape, the area’s architecture of fishing houses and various other dwellings have been used on album and book covers due to their mysterious charm, acting as a stark reminder of the location's historical and cultural value.

Dungeness | Quirky Day Trips From London | DesignMyNight

The UK's only desert can be found on Kent's coastline. 

Painshill Park: 53 min drive and 31 min train journey

There aren't many places that can offer you a gorgeous 18th-century garden, a Gothic tower and a crystal grotto all rolled up in one… in fact, we believe that’s exclusive to Painshill Park. Located a short drive away outside of London in Surrey, the estate features winding paths that’ll take you through impressive gardens, a ruined abbey and Gothic temple, plus a Turkish tent. To top it off? Spend some time in a natural hall of mirrors - aka the crystal grotto.

Painshill Park | DesignMyNight

A natural hall of mirrors meets a gorgeous garden at this quirky destination.

Chislehurst Caves: 52 min drive and 33 min train journey 

Taking life in London for granite? Ok, that was a stretch but we got your attention at least. Head on over to Chislehurst Caves and you can let out your inner explorer while getting well into the historical know-how of this rock formation. Complete with spooky mannequins, impressive artwork and all the geological facts you could possibly need, this is a one day trip you definitely will not regret leaving the comfort of city life for.

Chislehurst Caves | Quirky Day Trips From London | DesignMyNight

Escape city life by going down under(ground). 

Runnymede and Ankerwycke: 43 min drive and 1 hr 16 min train journey

Runnymede is home to some beautiful countryside ideal for taking a long walk outside of London. Within its grounds lie twelve bronze chairs known as The Jurors that stand tall on an ancient meadow. It symbolises the concept of law and key movements in the struggle for freedom and equal rights, namely the significance of the Magna Carta (the first document to ever be put into writing), which was signed on these grounds.

Runnymede | DesignMyNight

The Magna Carta was signed at this historical getaway just outside of London.

Scotney Castle: 1 hr 23 min drive and 1 hr train journey

If you want to know how the other half live(d), book a trip to Scotney Castle in Kent which features a scenic garden, a stunning mansion and castle ruins. Spread over an impressive 770 acres, the landscape is made up of parkland, woodland and hop gardens, perfect if you like your botany. As well as this, there’s the chance to catch a glimpse of the 14th century moated castle and the Victorian country house.

Scotney Castle | Quirky Day Trips From London | DesignMyNight

Explore the grounds of Scotney Castle at this quirky day trip from London. 

Drayton House: 2 hr drive and 2 hr 51 min train journey

If you're not familiar with the film Saltburn by now, then where have you been? This disturbing thriller is known for its demonic twists, witty one-liners and Barry Keoghan being incredible (as per usual). If you're wanting to visit the real stately home featured in the film, then Drayton House is just a two-hour drive outside of London. You should also pop into The Peacock Inn for a cheeky pint or a bite to eat while you're in the area. 

Drayton House Saltburn | DesignMyNight

Want to put yourself in Oliver's shoes? The Saltburn house is only a two-hour drive from London. 

Highclere Castle: 1 hr 30 min drive and 40 min train journey

Take a drive up to Berkshire and pay a visit to Highclere Castle, a country house built in the 17th century. It's the perfect spot for lovers of long walks, history buffs and fans of ITV's hit period drama Downton Abbey. The show was filmed on the grounds, so you'll be able to place your favourite scenes whilst taking a relaxing stroll. You can even go into the castle itself for a guided tour.

Highclere Castle Hampshire | DesignMyNight

Explore the grounds of one of the most popular TV shows of all time. 

Petworth: 1 hr 40 mins drive and 1 hr 15 min train journey 

Leave city life behind and go for an explore in Petworth, West Sussex. This beautiful little market town has picturesque cobbled streets, a deer park and Petworth House - also seen in the hit Netflix show Bridgerton. Plus, it's a brilliant place to go antique hunting (so take a big bag). The Welldiggers Arms is a great spot for a bev and a bite to eat, overlooking the calming countryside. And if you want to extend your stay, book into one of their hotel rooms for a weekend getaway. 

Petworth West Sussex | DesignMyNight

Take long strolls in this tranquil part of Sussex. 

Surrey Hills: 1 hr 15 mins drive and 52 min train journey

On the scout out for some free day trips from London? Well, get those hiking boots on a head down to Surry Hills to experience some seriously stunning countryside views. Three long-distance walks run through the area: the North Downs Way, Greensand Way and Pilgrims Way - you'll definitely get your steps in. And if you get thirsty after all that walking, stop off at The Whitehorse, an award-winning countryside pub, for a well-earned refreshment. 

Surrey Hills | DesignMyNight

There are plenty of walks to get rid of the city life fog. 

Whitstable: 2 hr drive and 1 hr 25 min train journey

Along the north coast of Kent, you'll find Whitstable. This idyllic little seaside town is the perfect escape from the city, showcasing everything from the best vintage shops, pastel beach huts (perfect for Insta) and an array of fresh seafood spots. It's the number one spot for oysters, with fishermen harvesting the popular shellfish here since the Roman times. 

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Whitstable is one of the best seaside towns near London. Trust us

Rye: 2 hr drive and 1 hr 5 min train journey

In the heart of East Sussex sits Rye, notably one of the prettiest UK towns. Take a trip down Mermaid Street (one of the most photographed areas in all of England), before popping into one of its many coffee shops and bistros. Travel over to Rye Nature Reserve if you want to see wildflowers and woodland, or head down to one of England's most sought-after beaches, Camber Sands. You might even spot a seal on your travels. 

Rye Mermaid Street | DesignMyNight

This coastal town will make you question whether the city life is for you. 

Margate: 2 hr drive and 1 hr 45 min train journey

Some say Margate is the new Brighton, and it's one to keep on your radar. It's a brilliant place to visit for those wanting something a little quirkier than your regular seaside break. There's a Crab Museum, Dreamland amusement park full of vintage rides, and a shell grotto that was discovered in 1835. It's also great for lounging around on the sandy beach with a cocktail in hand. 

Margate | DesignMyNight

Looking for one of the best day trips from London without a car? The train to Margate takes just over an hour.  

If you're looking for more things to do outside in London, check out this guide here. You can also stay in the loop by signing up to our newsletter