Many of us choose far flung destinations for our holidays, but the beautiful locations on our own doorsteps are often overlooked. From the bustling cities of London and Paris, to the quaint villages of the Cotswolds and the many conservation areas, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From London, you are never more than a few hours away from some truly fantastic experiences. We’re spoilt for choice so we’ve put together our top ten favourite day trips to help make your choice a little easier.
1. Total London Experience
We’ll start with London where you can see a host of iconic landmarks including Westminster Abbey, the setting for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in April 2011.
Step inside St Paul’s Cathedral to marvel at Sir Christopher Wren’s stunning masterpiece. Watch the Changing of the Guard and have your photo taken outside Buckingham Palace. Cruise down the Thames on a Clipper and take a flight on the London Eye for spectacular views of London. Do you fancy meeting an official Yeoman Warder? You can at the Tower of London, and he’ll show you the Crown Jewels too.
Why not make your London experience even more special with a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea cruise along the River Thames?
2. London by Night
During the festive period, London really does sparkle after dark. You can see the majestic Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral all aglow and twinkling against the night sky. How beautiful.
3. Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge
Windsor is where you’ll find the historic home of Queen Elizabeth II. Visit Windsor Castle to enjoy the splendour of the State Apartments, see St George’s Chapel and gaze in wonder at the intricate Queen Mary’s Dolls House.
A short trip away is Stonehenge, home to 40 tonnes of stone structures, steeped in mythical theories. The Roman city of Bath was designated a World Heritage Site, and you can visit the archaeological site of the Great Roman Baths. As dusk falls, enjoy the sight of the torch lighting ceremony.
4. The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are breathtakingly beautiful with some fantastic countryside. You can take in the beauty of the Saxon village of Burford, home to England’s oldest pharmacy and visit Burton-on-the-Water, known as “Venice of the Cotswolds”. Here, marvel at the honey-coloured stone architecture and picturesque bridges while you enjoy a traditional British pub lunch. Why not head to one of the many tea rooms for a classic scone with clotted cream and jam?
5. Salisbury, Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath
On this spectacular day trip, you’ll visit the mystical stones at Stonehenge, the magnificent Windsor Castle, enjoy the historical Roman Baths as well as the beautiful city of Salisbury.
See the famous Salisbury Cathedral with its breathtakingly high Spire standing at 404ft, a fantastic example of early English architecture. You can enjoy the sculptured font designed by William Pye which is reminiscent of the style inside Highgrove – Prince Charles’ official residence. Finally, you’ll get to view the famous agreement between King John and his Barons at Runneymede – the Magna Carta, which you’ll find in the Chapter House. A day of historical delights.
6. Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds and Warwick Castle
We can’t have a top ten without mentioning Oxford. You’ll start with a walking tour, taking in the sights of the opulent Oxford University buildings. Visit the Bodleian Library and amble through the delightful courtyards.
Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss out on seeing Christ Church where many of the scenes were filmed. You’ll be imagining yourself to be in Hogwarts when you visit the Great Hall.
After a leisurely drive through the Cotswolds, you’ll be in Shakespeare heaven as you arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon. Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and gain some great insights into the genius Bard. Then it’s onto fabulously interactive Warwick Castle. Here you’ll be able to participate in a great medieval activity as you try on a battle helmet and feel the immense weight of a battle sword. A whole day of unbeatable experiences.
7. Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich River Cruise
Deep in the Kent countryside is Leeds Castle, the first port of call for this tour. An early arrival will provide the opportunity for an almost private tour of this glorious castle, described by Lord Conway as the loveliest castle in the world! We can’t really add anything to that accolade.
The tour then moves onto Canterbury where you’ll take in the magnificent Cathedral, a World Heritage Site. Next, it’s time to see the White Cliffs of Dover before moving onto Greenwich, where the Old Royal Naval College stands, to enjoy the fabulous architecture along the waterfront. Board a Thames River Cruise here and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of London.
8. Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace dates back 600 years and was transformed by the notorious King Henry VIII. Look around the stunning state apartments and stroll along the beautiful gardens, enjoying panoramic views of the grounds. You’ll also be a guest at a fascinating re-enactment of the wedding party for Henry VIII and his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. That’s certainly not an everyday experience!
9. Oxford and Cambridge
The day begins with a walking tour of Cambridge where you’ll see the beautiful Corpus Clock, the oldest college — Peterhouse, the Mathematical Bridge, Kings College Chapel and Cambridge University Library. Then it’s onto Oxford to see the renowned Christ Church College as well as the university buildings and iconic Bodleian Library.
10. Escorted Day Trip with Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise and Louvre Museum
Ooh la la! You could take a trip on the Eurostar and experience Paris in a day. On arrival you’ll be given a guided tour of the city before heading up the Eiffel Tower for the most spectacular views of Paris. When you’ve recovered, take a cruise on the River Seine and visit The Louvre, before whizzing back to London!
Where is your dream day trip destination?
Don’t forget to tag us in your adventures @goldentoursuk!