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Westminster and the Thames

These are the best day trips in London

When was the last time you visited the capital? There is plenty to explore and loads to see in London. You can easily distance yourself from others too and find your own little place to enjoy yourself. One of the ways to do this is with London day trips.

We’ve included loads of ideas that are perfect for adults who only have a day in London. There is so much to do and see in London and it’s worth trying to see everything.

Remember though that London is a big place and you’d be best finding some locations near one another to enjoy during your limited time in the city.

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Where to go for one day in London

Our capital city is full of amazing things to do but if you only have one day in London then these are the things you should be doing!

Buckingham Palace

If you only have one free day in London then you must visit Buckingham Palace. It’s not like your traditional castle but is home to the Queen and Prince Philip. The castle itself has been remodeled many times and is steeped in royal history. Make sure that you book a tour of the castle before you go. You can easily see the Palace through the gates but actually exploring this Palace while having an official tour is like nothing you’ve ever done before.

Enjoy The Gardens

If one thing London has plenty of is gardens. These go great with a trip from Buckingham Palace as they are within walking distance of each other. Start at The Mall and enjoy all the well-kept gardens that the royals look out onto every day.

You might not know this but the city of London is home to many amazing green spaces. Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Kensington Gardens. These are just a few and there are plenty of other outdoor spaces to enjoy. Battersea Park is right next to the River Thames so plenty of wonderful views to witness too. This is a great way to be able to avoid the crowds.

The train stations

You have passed through one or more of the most famous train stations in the UK but they are worth a quick visit in their own right too. St Pancras International is known for being the home of Eurostar. The building itself is lovely and gives off a real buzz of excitement.

London Waterloo is the hub of London. You can go pretty much anywhere from Waterloo. It was first built in 1838 but has gone through so many changes since then. It’s now home to many restaurants cafes as well as a busy cross route train station.

Other great train stations to visit are London Victoria and London Paddington.

Trafalgar Square

Right in the center of London, Trafalgar Square has everything you need for a perfect day trip to London. It is surrounded by galleries, museums, and amazing restaurants. Make sure you walk around Nelson’s Column which is now a Grade 1 listed building. The fountains are a great place to relax in the summer months. When you get hungry, take a walk to Leicester Square which is full of amazing restaurants of all cuisine. This is also where the M&M and Lego Store are!

St Paul’s Cathedral

This amazing cathedral is more than one thousand years old and is right in the middle of central London. They offer tours around this amazing church which takes you through all the ins and outs of its history. With it being right in the middle of London, you can pair this with one of the many parks above or with a shopping trip.

The Tower of London

Right by the Thames, the Tower of London is THE place to visit if you love the Tudors and the history of London. You can freely walk around the tower and get a real feel for how scary this place really was! The crown jewels are still housed here and are really a sight to see. You can pair this with a walk along the Thames and a stop at one of the many restaurants you’ll pass. We recommend one of the boat tours as they are a great way to see London if you are short of time.

Westminster Abbey

Pair Westminster Abbey and an open-top bus tour together for the best day trip out in London. Westminster Abbey is a historic building that still hosts royal weddings today. Make sure you get a tour as they take you around all the nooks and crannies of this amazing building.

Then jump on a bus tour and really see the city of London! This gives you a fly-by tour of all the famous landmarks from Hamleys to Parliament and the Thames. We like to do the hop off and hop on option which means that you can get on and off whenever you want.

Do some shopping

Whilst we mentioned that most of the ideas for London Day trips will be based outside, lots of us want to do a bit of shopping, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Shops are open and there are bargains to be had. There’s perhaps no more well-known shopping zone than Oxford Street. You can also find plenty of quirky shops and independent retailers on the likes of Brick Lane. Take a look at this Visit London page for lots of London indies.

London at Christmas

If you’re a big fan of Love Actually, being in London for Christmas might be right up your street. The lights, the singing, the festivities. Whilst some of these might be a little different this year there will still be the excitement. Even if you’re not intending to buy much for Christmas, wrapping up in your big coat, grabbing a hot chocolate, and walking through the London lights is a great idea. It could even be a Christmas present between you and a friend.

London day trips just outside the city

If you’d prefer a day trip just outside the busy city then have a look at our options below. They offer you a day out near London without the hassle of loads of people.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

This really is the home of Harry Potter. Walk around the studio and truly experience the magic that it took to make this amazing franchise. You do need to book in advance as everyone is given a slot but then you are free to roam as you please. They have everything from the Great Hall, The Forbidden Forest, and all the authentic costumes and props.

Windsor Castle

As one of the oldest and largest occupied castles in the world, Windsor Castle is steeped in royal history. The grounds alone are stunning but the actual castle has been home to over monarchs. This is about 30 minutes from London and is so worth the day trip!

Kew Gardens

Still within the city limits, Kew Gardens is a botanic garden that covers over 300 acres. It has everything you need for an amazing day out from the arboretum to the glass conservatories that you can fully explore. Take a picnic to truly enjoy this space that is home to more than 60,000 plants.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more UK destination ideas then have a look at our section here for our full guide to staycations. You could also pop over to our Pinterest boards for lots more travel ideas on where to go travelling throughout the UK, what to pack and beginner travel guides.

These are the best London day trips for adults. Come and explore one of the most historic cities in the world by Laura at Tweet Your Trip.

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