Days out away from London

Day trips out of London by train

In this article, you'll learn the following:

While London is a truly spectacular place, there’s a whole world outside the city worth exploring. You don’t have to travel too far from London to enjoy a change of scenery, whether that’s the rolling hills of Surrey or the ancient remains of Stonehenge.
Searching for inspiration for your next trip out of the city? We’ve picked seven great days out from London – all easily accessible by train and worth a day to explore.

Box Hill

Views from the top of Box Hill
View from the peak of Box Hill

Great for: cyclists

Hop on your bike and challenge yourself to a solid mile-and-a-half climb through Surrey’s equivalent of a Tour de France alpine stage. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views from the peak of Box Hill.
Afterwards, grab some cake from the National Trust café, or head to The Tree for homemade pies and crumbles.
How to get there: Take our South Western Railway service from London Waterloo to Box Hill & Westhumble station. Before your journey, find out all you need to know about bringing your bike on board, including where to store it and any restrictions your train may have.


Things to do near Box Hill & Westhumble station

With lots to do in the area, choose from these top activities before heading back to the train station.

Bocketts Farm Park – A working family farm which provides a fun-filled day out for kids.

Stepping Stones Country Pub– This cosy village pub is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a delicious bite to eat before catching your train home.

Denbies Wine Estate – As one of England’s largest and best-established vineyards, it’s the perfect contender for a South West wine crawl.

Surrey Hills Brewery – An hour-long tour with the chance to sample some of the brewery’s most delicious beers.

The New Forest

Ponies in the New Forest
Ponies grazing in the New Forest

Great for: explorers

The New Forest is one of the best places to visit by train from London, located around 1.5 hours away. It’s a tranquil haven that feels very different to the UK’s capital. Here, pigs and highland cattle roam alongside wild ponies, and wildflowers bloom in forests thick with trees.
Getting around is easy too. Head to Brockenhurst for all-day cycle hire, or for something a little more novelty, hire a two-seater electric Twizy and zip about to your heart’s content. Just remember that the animals have right of way!
Check out our recommendations for days out in the New Forest.
How to get there: From London Waterloo, hop on a direct train to Weymouth and get off at Brockenhurst.

Things to do near Brockenhurst station

There are plenty of activities to do near Brockenhurst station, many of which are just a short bus journey away:
Beaulieu National Motor Museum – A top day out for the family, showcasing the finest collection of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia.
Buckler’s Hard – A stunning beauty spot not far from Brockenhurst, combining picturesque scenery with local history in the Maritime Museum and St Mary’s Chapel.
Beaulieu Palace House – A grand Victorian country house and museum dating back to the 13th century.
New Forest Tour Bus – This hop-on-hop-off bus service takes you through the ever-changing, scenic landscapes of the New Forest.


Pond and bench in Guildford
University of Surrey

Great for: beer aficionados

If you love a good pint, Guildford is the place for you! The Hogs Back Brewery offers a fascinating tour and tasting session housed in its 18th-century farm buildings. To continue the merriment, check out more of the best independent breweries in our network.
Sunny days mean a dip at Guildford Lido, or keep your feet dry and lounge at Dapdune Wharf, a former industrial wharf and boat yard. Horror movie buffs should head straight to the impressive Guildford Cathedral, which featured in hit film, The Omen. You can discover more filming locations in our railway movie trail blog.

How to get there:
Hop on a half-hour train from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour and get off at Guildford.

Things to do near Guildford station

If you’re planning a weekend away in Guildford, here are some attractions to add to your itinerary: 
Watts Gallery – A hidden gem in the Surrey Hills comprised of galleries, a chapel, a gift shop, a tea shop, a play area and gardens
Greyfriars Vineyard – Another top-rated British vineyard offering tours and tastings
Guildford Castle – Built by William the Conqueror a short time after the 1066 Norman invasion of England, this castle is one of the oldest in the UK
RHS Wisley – A large and impressive garden packed with hundreds of blooms and three climatic zones


Great for: history buffs

Home to royal residence Windsor Castle, Windsor is one of the best places to visit near London by train. Beyond the castle is a charming riverside town with wildlife-filled parks, world-class horse racing and a blissful stretch of the Thames where you can test your kayak skills. It’s the perfect spot for a family weekend away.
How to get there: From London Waterloo, it takes around an hour to reach Windsor & Eton Riverside via direct train.

Things to do near Windsor station

With plenty of activities just a stone’s throw from Windsor station, there’s something for everyone.
Theatre Royal Windsor – Offering a range of shows throughout the year with the stunning Windsor Castle as its backdrop
St. George’s Chapel– A beautiful royal chapel used for royal weddings and burials, and as a place of worship
Windsor Duck Tours – A fun land and river tour on a unique amphibious vehicle


Stonehenge at sunrise

 Great for: amateur archaeologists
Best known for being the gateway to the iconic Stonehenge monument, Salisbury is an excellent place for a budget historical staycation. Begin your trip with a bus tour out onto Salisbury Plain, where you’ll visit Stonehenge and the Stonehenge Exhibition Centre. Afterwards, your bus will take you to the equally fascinating Old Sarum – ancient ruins of a town dating back to around 500BC.
How to get there: Salisbury station is around 1.5 hours from London Waterloo by train.

Things to do near Salisbury station

If you’re staying in Salisbury for the weekend or searching for more things to do before you head home, take a look at our top picks within walking reach of the station:
Salisbury Cathedral – almost 800 years old with the tallest church spire in England, this Gothic cathedral is worth a visit for the photos alone.
Salisbury Museum – the place to go to brush up on your history, with collections ranging from ceramics to archaeology.
Salisbury City Guides Walking Tour – the best way to find your feet in a new city is with a tour guide, and the Salisbury City Guides walking tour covers a range of different locations and themes.
Salisbury Punting – explore the city from the water in a unique and traditional hand-crafted punt.

Isle of Wight

An image of a ferry in the Isle of White

Great for: dinosaur hunters

Dinosaur lovers and future palaeontologists will know of the Isle of Wight (AKA Dinosaur Isle) and its association with all things dinosaurs. As one of the best fossil hunting spots in the South West, the beaches here are awash with fascinating fossils, so you’re guaranteed to leave with a souvenir or two.
And there’s plenty more to see besides! Walkers will enjoy a ramble across the Ventnor Downs, featured on our quirky bucket list. Or visit the medieval lighthouse, otherwise known as the Pepperpot. And if the sun is shining, why not head to the ample beaches at Sandown and Shanklin to relax and unwind?
How to get there: Getting to the Isle of Wight couldn’t be easier; simply hop on a ferry from Portsmouth, Southampton or Lymington. Combine your train and ferry tickets for a cheaper journey.

More things to do on the Isle of Wight

Planning on spending 48 hours or more on the Isle of Wight? Here are some attractions to keep you busy:
Isle of Wight Classic Boat Museum – learn about the maritime history of Cowes at this fascinating museum, with over 100 boats on display
Tapnell Farm Park – a former dairy farm turned family attraction with go-karts, a playground and animals galore
Isle of Wight Steam Railway – an award-winning heritage railway and museum set in the glorious countryside
The Needles – a spectacular jagged rock formation that rises out of the water from the west side of the island

Hampton Court

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace | Image credit: traveljunction

Great for: fans of Tudor history

If you’re searching for a quick day trip from London by train, Hampton Court Palace won’t disappoint. Home of Henry VIII (and all six of his wives at some point or another), the palace is less than 45 minutes from central London and just a short walk from Hampton Court station. It also boasts the oldest surviving hedge maze in the world, which is well worth visiting.
Outside the palace, you’re within reach of Hampton and Bushy Park and plenty of museums – and it’s easy to get home in time for dinner.
How to get there: Hampton Court station is a mere 45 minutes from London Waterloo by train.

Things to do near Hampton Court station

Staying in Hampton Court a little longer? Check out these top attractions:
Bushy Park – the second largest of London’s royal parks, with over 1,000 acres of lush greenery.
Temple to Shakespeare – this temple celebrates the genius of William Shakespeare and features a number of fascinating exhibitions.
Hampton Court Park – another royal park occupying over 750 acres of land, which is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The Magic Garden– entry to Hampton Court Palace will also get you into the Magic Garden, a delightful children’s playground with battlements, towers and more.

Explore the network with South Western Railway

Ready to leave London behind and get exploring? Travel with South Western Railway and enjoy frequent trains in and out of London. Discover cheap train tickets to your chosen destination by going off-peak, or purchase a Railcard to save even more. If you’re travelling in a group, you may benefit from GroupSave or a Family and Friends Railcard.

Budget historical staycation: Salisbury vs. Canterbury

Ready to unleash your inner history buff? Discover which is the best historical destination on a budget with our staycation guide

Find out more

Budget market town staycation: Windsor vs. Warwick

Explore ancient castles and museums, and discover everything that the historic market towns of Windsor and Warwick have to offer

Find out more

Budget seaside staycation: Portsmouth vs. Brighton

Portsmouth and Brighton are perfect for seaside staycations, with plenty to see and do – but which is best for budgets?

Find out more