Our Favourite Day Trips Outside of London
See more of Britain with these fantastic day trips outside of London below
With an amazing range of fantastic attractions both inside and outside the city, there's plenty to see when visiting London. Venture a little further outside central London and you'll find beautiful historic castles, royal residences and nature reserves. Discover some of the country's most popular landmarks with some of our favourite day trips outside of London.
Venture beyond the city limits and see one of England's most famous castles, Windsor Castle. With 39 monarchs inhabiting its grandiose halls for over a thousand years, it was originally built in the 11th century and is the largest occupied castle in the world. Since then, it has seen a number of face lifts and additions, which make the structure a blend of Gothic, Victorian amongst other architectural styles. Queen Elizabeth still organises regular weekend visits to the castle and frequently entertains visiting politicians there - an easy way to check if she's around is to keep an eye out for her standard fluttering above the castle, which is only raised when she's in residence. Highlights include St George's Chapel, a stunning building which houses numerous royal tombs and honours the Order of the Garter, the lavish State Apartments which are decorated with artistic masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto.
Formerly the home of King Henry VIII who was renowned for his love of pomp and grandeur, Hampton Court Palace's sprawling grounds and massive medieval structure is worth a visit. In fact, King Henry VIII's crown has since been reconstructed and is now on display in the castle at the Royal Pew. There's an entire day's worth of activities: spend hours exploring the massive Tudor Kitchens, imagine Shakespeare's theatre troupe performing for the court amidst the Great Hall and get lost in the emerald hedges of its world famous maze. In the spring and summer, the Hampton Court Gardens are nothing short of beautiful with over 20,000 bulbs blooming and transforming the grounds into an explosion of colour.
Take a train out to Bath, a beautiful city steeped with history and Georgian architecture. Full of popular tourist attractions like the Bath Abbey, Roman Baths and the Jane Austen Centre, it's a slower pace of life than London and a city made for leisurely strolls with something picturesque on every corner. Once you've finished in the city, make your way to Stonehenge: a gigantic stone prehistoric stone structure and one of England's greatest mysteries. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's well protected and remains a symbol of English history.
Image via Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Step into a world of movie magic at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which provides a sneak peek behind the scenes of the iconic film franchise. Bringing to life iconic locations like Diagon Alley, the Great Hall and Privet Drive, this massive trove of Potter treasures includes real costumes worn by the actors, fantastic props and even a cheeky Butterbeer stand for a taste of Hogsmeade's favourite brew. Be enthralled by their recent expansion dedicated to the Forbidden Forest! Home to fantastical creatures such as Hippogriffs and Acromantula, the Forbidden Forest will take you deep into Harry Potter's world. With several hours of magical entertainment, it's a reason to get away from the bustle of central London and the perfect way to keep the whole family entertained. Remember to bring a bit of extra pocket money for the gigantic merchandise store at the end of the tour, where you'll be able to buy your own Hogwarts robes and choose your favourite wand.
Image via Shakespeare.org.uk
Discover the charming hometown of William Shakespeare, one of Britain's greatest literary legends. Located further north in the Midlands, it's a quiet market town filled with old pubs, colourful boutiques and even the home where Shakespeare was born in. See the barges lined up on the River Avon and take in the old architecture before venturing to the RSC, home to the world-renowned theatre troupe Royal Shakespeare Company, and see one of Shakespeare's masterpieces come to life in its intimate theatre.
Travel a little ways outside of London and discover the hidden gems of Kent. With almost 900 years of history, Leeds Castle boasts a beautiful 500 acres of parkland that includes an intricate garden maze, grotto, adventure playgrounds and moat. Built in 1119, the castle was a royal residence for over 300 years before becoming a private country home. Used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, Leeds Castle is one of the most popular historic buildings in Britain.