Best Day Trips from London

Best Day Trips from London

My recent article, London Best Bets, highlighted what to do, see, and eat in this amazing town on the Thames. If you have a few extra days in your itinerary, consider a day trip outside the city. There’s plenty to explore within a few hours radius with transportation by private tour, rail, bus, or group tour:

Bath, England, United Kingdom

The Roman Baths, constructed in 70AD as a grand socializing and bathing complex

Stonehenge & Bath:
Built over 5000 years ago, the story behind this famous Mesolithic-period monument is still up for debate. The unique stone circle is aligned with the movements of the sun and was created by a sophisticated pre-historic people. Leave extra time to visit the newly renovated Visitor Center chock full of archaeological treasures. Afterwards, head to Bath a lovely countryside town well known for its stately 18th-century Georgian architecture (like the sweeping Royal Crescent) and Roman Spa and springs that still flow with natural hot water. Combined, a visit to Stonehenge and Bath will be a full-day excursion.


A county on England’s southern coast, about an hour from London, Hampshire is well known for picturesque villages, manor house hotels, golfing, biking, equestrian, and outdoor sports steeped in history like fly-fishing and clay shooting. It’s your country home away from home. Even if you’re not a “Downton Abbey” fan, Highclere Castle, the massive, real life home of the 8th Earl & Countess of Carnavon is worth a visit. Satisfy your inner “Indian Jones” with a visit to the castle’s lower level – the Egyptian Exhibit displays King Tut’s artifacts discovered 100 years ago by the 5th Earl of Carnavon and archaeologist Howard Carter.

Hampton Court Palace, England

Hampshire’s lovely countryside, tailor made for biking



Highclere Castle, England

Highclere Castle, the real life Downton Abbey

Hampton Court Palace:
It’s easy to spend hours exploring the rooms of this historic royal Tudor/Baroque palace on the Thames plus the added attraction of 60 acres of formal gardens with lush topiary, privy gardens, and hedge maze. Go in the spring to witness one million flowering bulbs.

Hampton Court Palace, England

Hampton Court Palace’s gorgeous gardens

This medieval market town in the West Midlands, is most noted as the 16th century birthplace of The Bard, William Shakespeare. Take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare or Swan Theatre; visit Anne Hathaway’s house (his wife, not the American actress); climb to the top of the Theatre Tower; or have a pint in one of the many pubs.

Located northwest of London, this quaint city revolves around the prestigious 12th century university composed of 38 colleges. If the weather is good, take a biking or walking tour. Want to pair your educational excursion with a bit of retail therapy? Check out nearby Bicester Village Outlet Shopping home to 130 fashion and lifestyle boutiques.

Not far from Oxford, explore this region of quintessential English villages and lively market towns. It’s brimming with natural beauty any time of year. Rent the Kate Winslet/Jude Law rom-com The Holiday for the best travelogue.  If you are not short on time, visit Blenheim Palace, and get lost in this proverbial country manor home which just happens to be the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The grounds have been featured in numerous Hollywood flicks including Mission Impossible, Spectre, and Harry Potter.

Located north of London, this college town is home to the legendary university founded in 1209. Take a walking tour and soak up some of that knowledge and be inspired by the many museums, galleries, and majestic college buildings. Science, math, and history buffs know there is no shortage of Hollywood biopics filmed here honoring the lives of famous Cambridge alums: The Theory of Everything (Steven Hawking), The Man who knew Infinity (Srinvasa Ramnujan), and The King’s Speech (King George VI).

Windsor Castle’s Long Walk

One of three official residences of the Queen, it’s the largest inhabited castle in the world. Time your visit to see the changing the guard; view the State Apartments; and gaze at St. George’s Chapel which recently hosted the wedding seen ‘round the world: the marriage of Prince Harry and Princess Meghan Markle.

Warwick Castle:
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, this Renaissance castle pairs well with a visit to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon.  The castle offers medieval-age appropriate crowd pleasers like jousting tournaments and plenty of child friendly activities including Falconer Displays, Adventure Maze, and the Hall of Armor.

Making of Harry Potter:
No London day trip list is complete without the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, a permanent exhibit which displays an authentic behind the scenes look into all things Harry Potter. The studio tour explores two sound-stages and a back-lot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and plenty of special effects. Interactive activities will put you into the action, with opportunities to purchase a frothy cup of Butterbeer, of course!Hampton Court Palace, England

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Hampshire: An Edu-vacation in England’s countryside

Hampshire: An Edu-vacation in England’s countryside

I’m pleased to announce my guest blogging stint for Four Seasons hotels,Have Family will Travel,” which details our recent trip to Hampshire, England. After spending a long weekend in London, we ventured out of the city to experience the English countryside, making stops in Stonehenge and Bath before arriving to the Four Seasons Hampshire – a lovely Georgian estate in Dogmersfeld, 48 miles southwest of London.

Four Seasons Hampshire, England

Four Seasons Hampshire

Relaxation time on a family vacation is key, but we also relish enriching and educational experiences for our boys, 12 and 15. Travel can broaden their minds, sharpen their skills, and encourage them to embrace new environments. From outdoor sports steeped in history to excursions back in time, the experience sparked their curiosity as they pursued their passions in this country home away from home.Four Seasons Hampshire, England

Riding: Although I am a novice, I was eager to visit the Equestrian center. Advised to wear thick trousers, I was professionally outfitted with riding boots, gloves, and helmut.  The instructor gave me a quick tutorial, and then led me on an informal half-hour hack through the fields. Riding up high offered a lovely new perspective on the estate grounds, and we even had a chance to circle near Belvedere Pond and say “hello” to my boys as they fished.  I’d like to think they are quite impressed with their mom’s horsemanship!  Children will love the “Own a Pony” experience: two hour sessions for kids seven to 16 on how to care for their own horse, ride included.

Image 1Four Seasons, Hampshire, EnglandFishing: After pulling on complimentary Wellingtons in the lobby, the guys ambled down to Belvedere Pond for a morning of fishing with John, our expert guide. He came well equipped with fly rods, reels, flies and nets, and loads of advice on the fine art of fly-fishing. Shouting “Fish on!”, the boys were in their glory, catching and releasing colorful rainbow trout. They returned the next day for a round of rod-and-reel fishing.

Hampshire, England, Four Seasons

The boys couldn’t wait to drop a line in Belvedere Pond

Four Seasons Hampshire, EnglandFour Seasons, HampshireIMG_0852Clay pigeon shooting: After a quick walk to the estate’s South Field, we were warmly greeted by Brian, the nattily dressed shooting instructor. He spent several minutes outlining the safety instructions and describing the five-platform shooting circuit, dispensing equipment and ear protection. Brian provided plenty of assistance to my younger son, a beginner, and gave expert tips to my older son and husband, both experienced riflemen.

Four Seasons Hampshire, EnglandCycling: We picked up a pocket map from the concierge and headed out for an off-road adventure, exploring the miles of trails that traverse the property. The Spa provided us with bikes of all sizes, helmets and water bottles. On our ride, we stopped at Tundry Pond and biked near the farms to greet the lively pigs in their pens and the shaggy, longhaired Highland Cows dining on pasture land.

The Four Seasons Hampshire all season pool

The Four Seasons Hampshire all season pool

Canal walk: One afternoon, we walked along the scenic towpath of Basingstoke Canal, which winds its way throughout the estate.Four Seasons Hampshire, England

Hampshire, England, UK


Stonehenge & Bath: Iconic Stonehenge is the ancient stone circle aligned with the movements of the sun, raised 4,500 years ago by a sophisticated prehistoric people. Bath is the site of the famous Roman Spa, which still flows with natural hot water—the UK’s only hot springs. Together, they make a perfect historical day trip.

Stonehenge, England, UK


Bath, England, United Kingdom


Highclere Castle, England, UKHighclere Castle: Even if you’re not a “Downton Abbey” fan, a visit to the massive, real-life home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnavon is worth it. An added bonus was the Egyptian Exhibit displaying King Tut’s artifacts famously discovered 100 years ago by the 5th Earl of Carnavon and archeologist Howard Carter.

Hampton Court Palace: We could’ve spent hours exploring the rooms of this historic royal Tudor/Baroque palace on the Thames. The kids also loved the lush Privy Gardens, the Hedge Maze, the 240-year-old Great Vine and the Chocolate Kitchen.

Hampton Court Palace, England, UK

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

Hampton Court Palace, England, UK

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

For tips on sightseeing, shopping and eating in London, please read my recent posts:

London: 22 Top Shops
London Top Ten
London: 18 Favorite Places to Eat

Looking for an expert tour guide in England? Check out Mirandus Tours for top notch walking and driving tours of London and the countryside.

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