The world is my oyster but my heart belongs to London… forever and ever.
I spent the best year of my life in London and it is one of my favorite cities in the world. It will likely steal your heart too. However, if you are there for more than 3-4 days then do take the opportunity to get out of London and see more of the UK (and further afield). Here are the 10 best day trips (my experience) from London to inspire your trip!
Home of Charles Darwin (Down House)
I chose ‘Philosophy of Biology’ as my breadth subject during my final semester of B.Sc. in Melbourne. It was one of my favorite subjects and I studied about Darwin’s theory of evolution in detail for an essay. I was so fascinated by his voyage and years of research and as a science student I was also very inspired by his resilience and patience. I decided to visit Down House where Charles Darwin lived for around 40 years and took a peak into his personal study, daily routine and his life story.
The ground-floor rooms are filled with his family portraits, furniture and personal possessions. The study contains his writing desk, chair and many objects related to his work.
Some of his experiments on plant and insect life are recreated in the garden and greenhouse.
I visited Greenwich 3 times in 1 year and loved it every single time. Greenwich Market is the best hang out place for a lazy afternoon where you can eat a variety of food from Indian to Turkish. There are several cute shops and boutiques and a few tarot readers in the middle of the tiny market.
Greenwich is a lovely little town and the Meridian Line is a showstopper. The walk up to the museum is very relaxing and has the best views of London City from far.
The Greenwich Meridian separates east from west in the same way that the Equator separates north from south. Inextricably linked with Greenwich Mean Time, it also sits at the centre of our system of time zones. Its path is determined by the location of an historic telescope, the Airy Transit Circle, which is housed at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
Bath is a cute little historic town with elegant Georgian architecture and Roman baths. I visited Bath 3 times in 1 year. The first time was with a tour so I only got to see Roman Baths but the other 2 visits were more relaxed and I explored more including Jane Austen’s house. Bath has charming narrow streets and some of the most famous spots are Bath Abbey and the Pulteney Bridge, which was inspired by Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, The main attraction being the Roman baths, one of Europe’s best-preserved Roman spa sites.
I took a bus from Victoria Coach Station to Oxford, known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, which is only 1.5 hours away. It was a magical day as I saw the Bodleian Library and the famous Christ Church College, which was featured in several Harry Potter movies.
I absolutely loved the Christ Church Meadow walk as that is what inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland. When I travel to historic places, I feel a lot closer to my favorite authors from different centuries, and that is indeed the beauty of traveling.
While Oxford was the first university town, Cambridge is equally if not more beautiful (the inter-college rivalry is well and truly alive!) Cambridge is, like Oxford, a 1.5 hour drive from London with many buses and trains departing frequently. Both the universities have a ‘Bridge of Sigh’, which was inspired by the bridge in venice. The original bridge in Venice was built for prisoners to go from prison to court and the bridges at these universities were built for students to go from college to exam hall. Don’t forget to go for a punting tour. The River Cam runs through the heart of Cambridge enabling you to enjoy fantastic views of the universities and the wonderful Mathematical Bridge.
Norwich & Cromer
Norwich is a city in East Anglia situated on the River Wensum. It takes around 2 hours from London to reach Norwich by train. Norwich is small university town with an impressive cathedral and a relaxed and laid-back city life.
A short distance by train brings you to Cromer which is a small sea-side English town.
York & Helmsley
York is a walled city founded by the ancient Romans. Its huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral is one of the main attractions. The City Walls form a walkway on both sides of the River Ouse.
A short bus trip away is Helmsley with a gorgeous castle and stunning views of English country-side. The bus ride from York to Helmsley is stunning and reminded me of the ‘moors’ from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
Helmsley Castle is a medieval castle situated in the market town of Helmsley
Apart from the fact that it is Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon has a unique charm with its medieval vibe, which captures your heart within a few minutes.
Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the English Language and my favorite writer of all times was born here. Royal Shakespeare Company performs his plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon. The most impressive to me was Anne Hathaway’s cottage.
Stonehenge & Windsor Castle
To discover these 2 gems of Southern England, I took a day tour to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. It was an 11-hour tour, which first took us to Windsor Castle (home to the British royal family) and then to the mysterious Stonehenge.
Windsor Castle is the longest-occupied palace in the world, and has been home to the British royal family for nearly 1,000 years.
We then headed to Stonehenge, admiring the rolling Wiltshire countryside along the way. Located on a plain near Salisbury, Stonehenge (5,000 years old formations of ancient stones), is a mystery that may never be solved.
Less than an hour by train from the UK capital, this funky city on the English Channel is one of the easiest day trips from London. I visited Brighton on the last day of 2015 while traveling around UK with a high-school friend. We took a train to Brighton and spent a couple of hours walking around. As it was winter time and the sea-side was extremely windy, we did not spent much time outdoors.