London Day Trips
Although London is a wonderful place to visit, you may tire of
its hustle and bustle. If you feel the need to get out of the city,
consider one of the day trips listed below.
Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace are very popular
destinations. They are extremely crowded during the summer, so
you might want to read our travel tips on touring strategies for
advice on how to avoid crowds and enjoy your touring.
Kew Gardens is a beautiful spot that will appeal to those who
have a "green thumb" and those who appreciate floral beauty, as
well as to those wanting to see Kew Palace.
Greenwich is a more limited attraction for most, but if you
are a sailor, geographer, astronomer, or someone interested in
the History of Science, it could be just the place for the
memory of a lifetime.
Windsor Castle is an architecturally distinguished, historic
attraction and not to be missed. It is one of the Queen’s official
residences and captures almost a millennium of British Royal
History. Windsor Castle is a large complex and requires several
hours to tour. From its magnificent St. George’s chapel to the
impressive State Apartments, Windsor Castle provides important
glimpses into Royal Britain.
The best way to travel to Windsor Castle is by train from London's
The train from Paddington is faster (about 30 minutes to Windsor)
but requires you to change for a train to Windsor after arriving at
Slough. The train from Waterloo takes about 50 minutes but does not
require a connection.
Bus connections to Windsor are available from London, but the
trip takes about 90 minutes. Alternatively, you might want to
consider a bus or van tour that includes both Windsor and Hampton
One of Henry VIII’s favorite palaces, Hampton Court, is a wonderful
place to spend a day. It is a luxurious residence that hugs the Thames
and takes advantage of the setting. The buildings contain many
historic artifacts, beautiful decorations and impressive art.
Touring the Palace requires several hours to do it justice.
Hampton Court Palace is regarded by many as the finest palace in the
United Kingdom. If you have time, visit its world
famous gardens and the equally famous Maze dating from the late 17th
For an interesting website discussing the puzzle-maze and how to
solve it, click
Read the official website for Historic Royal Palaces for detailed
information on visiting
Court Palace .
The easiest transport to Hampton Court Palace is by train (a 30 minute trip) from
Waterloo Station, located in the South Bank
area of London.
Kew Gardens Station ( On the District Line - take a Richmond train, not a
train going to
Ealing, Broadway or Wimbledon).
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew offers a 300-acre collection of plants and
gardens. A visit to Kew is a must if you have a "green thumb" or admire the
English penchant for gardening. Public transport is available. See the
Official Kew Website
for visitor details.
Kew Palace, King George III's family home on the grounds of the
Royal Botanic Gardens, reopened in 2006 after a 10-year restoration project.
Kew Palace is generally open between April and October, but the exact
dates vary. See the official website for
Kew Palace for more details.
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A popular day trip from London is to take a boat trip down the
Thames to visit Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Maritime Greenwich, a park, includes the Old Royal Observatory, the
Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House (one of Inigo Jones’s famous
buildings), and the former Royal Naval College.
The focus for many
travelers visiting Greenwich is the Old Royal Observatory, the
original home of Greenwich Mean Time and the location of the Prime
Meridian. Those with geographical focus will want to have their
picture snapped as they straddle "East and West".
The Observatory includes an interesting collection of
historically important clocks (remember the connection between
longitude, time and location) and other instruments related to
The main building was designed by Christopher Wren. It
housed the first Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed and, later,
Edmund Halley, known for many important discoveries but mainly
reputed for Halley’s Comet.
The Maritime Museum provides a fine display recollecting the
importance of sea vessels to the history of the UK.
The Queen’s house, besides being noted for its architecture, is
filled with portraits of Britain’s famous seafarers.
The buildings that were until recently the home of the Royal
Naval College, are noted for their baroque architecture (Wren again)
but it is the amazing ceiling paintings in the Great Hall that
attract the most attention. Read the official website of the
Royal Naval College for details on visiting.
You might enjoy taking a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich.
Boats stop at the Greenwich Pier and originate in London,
departing from the Westminster pier, Charing Cross Pier, and the
Tower Pier. The boats run twice an hour during the high tourist
season and approximately once an hour during winter. Check locally
for the official timetables, as the schedules can vary.
The Warner Brothers Studio outside London is offering a
tour of its Leavsden studio, the site that was used to produce the
Harry Potter movies over the last ten years. You will be able
to see the original sets, animatronics and other technological
wizardry used to create these incredibly entertaining films.
See the office website (and the only one authorized to sell tickets)
Warner Brother UK for more information. Tickets for
the tour cannot be purchased on site and must be ordered ahead of
time. The official website has these details, as well as
alternative transportation suggestions for reaching the attraction.
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