But, wait… why is this London tour company giving us advice on things to do OUTSIDE of London?
As much as we love our home city and the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, eating, drinking and carousing in lovely local pubs, we are also aware that there are incredible, unmissable things to do just outside the Big Smoke that you really shouldn’t miss on your London vacation.
We can arrange you a private tour to Windsor, to Canterbury or any of the below but if you fancy adventuring out yourselves, here’s everything you need to know about the four best day trips from London, according to US.
At the time of writing there is even more talk about the Royals than usual due to the Platinum Jubilee in early June, so it makes sense that we start with a day trip to Windsor where you’ll find one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite castles – she has a few to choose from!
With 1000 years of history at your fingertips, Windsor Castle is still very much a working state residence but unlike Buckingham Palace in London, is open to the public all year round. Thursday to Monday, check out sumptuous state rooms, Queen Mary’s gorgeous little doll house and yes, even a changing of the guard ceremony.
Windsor itself is a quaint and historic market town with plenty of posh hotels to take afternoon tea – even with a little glass of bubbles for those taking the train!
Speaking of which, Paddington to Windsor in 30 minutes, with one change at Slough. There is also a longer train from London Waterloo to a different station but that involves a very steep climb to the castle. Driving takes around 1 hour.
You have probably heard of the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous collection of stories, written in Middle English.
In this tale, a group of pilgrims make their way from London (the Tabard Inn, which used to stand near Borough market incidentally ) to Canterbury to worship at the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral.
Well, the cathedral is real (and stunning), the town in Kent is charming, historic and flanked by old city walls and they have an excellent little farmers market meets food hall by the train station called The Goods Shed where you can try the very best of English cheese, veggies, fruits and wines. Yes, we make wine and yes, it is VERY good.
Trains from London to Canterbury can take up to three hours but there are some high-speed options that will help you do the journey in just 50 minutes – Chaucer’s pilgrims would have loved that. To drive, it’s just 60 miles.
Bonus suggestions: If you fancy diving deeper into Kent with a trip to the coast, you can also check out Margate (very cool, very foodie, East London-On-Sea with incredible restaurants and a vintage amusement park), Whitstable (some say the best oysters in the whole country, very evocative little seaside town) and Deal (home to two, yes, TWO castles and the cutest backstreets you’ve ever seen). Fish and chips at any of these? Top notch.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question’.
Actually Willy, we think the question here is actually, have you been to Stratford-Upon-Avon? If not, we must rectify this. Quickly.
Quaint little market town and birthplace of Britain’s most famous playwright and inventor of over 1700 words from amazement and puppy dog, to obscen and gloomy. We are of course talking about Mr William Shakespeare.
Visiting sites linked to his life (and death), drink in atmospheric pubs and wander by the River Avon (that the town of Stratford is upon.)
You can get there in just two hours 15 minutes by train from London Marylebone; or if you’re with a car, around a two hour drive.
Just one hour 30 minutes by train from London Paddington, you’ll find the UNESCO town of Bath and a deep, DEEP history of Regency-era debauchery, Roman… baths, one of the last covered bridges left in Europe and the long-lost (but recently found) Anglo-Saxon abbey where the first King of England was crowned in 973 AD.
Not bad eh?
Bonus suggestions: Stonehenge. Off-the-beaten track? Definitely not. An essential part of the English experience? You bet. There’s a special bus that runs from Bath to Stonehenge or, hey, we can help you. Fancy a private tour to Stonehenge in your very own black cab? Join US.