After what feels like 50 years of lockdown, we’re finally able to fly the nest and experience life more than a few feet away from our sofas. With this in mind, we figured you may want a break or to ‘socially distance’ from London all together. Whether you’re in the mood to hang out at the UK’s only desert, discover some seriously stunning caves or go rambling through a derelict castle, explore our picks of the best quirky day trips from London and spread your wings a little.
Woodstock: 1 hr 40 min drive approx
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.
Dungeness: 1 hr 55 min drive approx
Did you know there’s an actual desert in the UK? Me neither. 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.
Painshill Park: 53 min drive approx
There’s not many places that can offer you a gorgeous 18th century garden, 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, the ruined abbey, Gothic temple and Turkish tent. To top it off? Spend some time in a natural hall of mirrors aka the crystal grotto.
Chislehurst Caves: 52 min drive approx
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.
Runnymede and Ankerwycke: 43 min drive approx
Runnymede is home to some beautiful countryside that’s ideal for taking a long walk outside of London. Within its grounds lies a particularly interesting landmark, The Jurors, twelve intricate bronze chairs that stand tall on an ancient meadow. What does it mean? It symbolises the concept of law and key movements in the struggle for freedom and equal rights, namely the significance of the Magna Carta which was signed on these grounds.
Scotney Castle: 1 h 23 min drive approx
If you want to know how the other half live(d), check out Scotney Castle in Kent which boasts a picturesque 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.
Looking for more outdoor inspo? Check out our guide to unmissable things to do outside here.