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12-Day Trips from London You Probably Haven’t Done Yet

Have you visited any of those places?

By Anna Purpurpurpur

Every tourist probably knows about Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, and other famous British cities. But if you live outside of the UK, there is a high chance you still need to consider those I will talk about for a visit!

And that’s a huge mistake: scroll below and pinpoint some for your next trip. Consider those locations as a day trip destinations from London, and I’ll show you why Norwich, Salisbury, Canterbury, Ely, St Albans, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Rochester, Folkestone, Whitstable, Winchester, Dover, and Warwick & Coventry are on my list!

1. Norwich

Norwich is a perfect weekend getaway with an impressive medieval past. It’s a city with gorgeous landmarks such as Romanesque Norwich Cathedral, the 12th-century Norwich Castle, Tudor Great Hall, and St Ethelbert’s Gate.

It’s also famous for its breweries, and the food there – especially the seafood – was delicious.

2. Salisbury (and Stonehenge)

Salisbury is known for its historical attractions (not only for its recent Novichok events), notably the Salisbury Cathedral, which is one of the finest in the country. The cathedral houses the world’s oldest mechanical clock and the best-preserved Magna Carta of 1215, and its spire is the tallest in the country.

Other notable sites include Poultry Cross, Clock Tower, Salisbury Guildhall, Gates of Salisbury, and Mister Street. It was also beloved by artists such as John Constable.

Additionally, Stonehenge is located a short drive from Salisbury, making it convenient to visit both attractions together.

3. Canterbury

Canterbury is one of my favourite cities in England: I’ve visited it a few times and will for sure be back!

The Canterbury Cathedral, dating back to the 6th century, is an essential place for the Anglican Communion and is also associated with the brutal murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170.

Other landmarks include the ruins of the 6th-century St Augustine’s Abbey and St. Martin’s Church, England’s oldest parish church, which is still open for worship. Besides that, pop into the Roman museum, observe the Canterbury Castle remains, and pay homage to the works of Christopher Marlowe, the famous precedent of Shakespeare who was born in Canterbury.

Unfortunately, the interactive tour dedicated to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is now permanently closed.

4. Ely

Ely is a great day trip from London, even if you’re not there for the Eel Day carnival – yes, it’s dedicated to eels and includes an eel-throwing competition!

Ely Cathedral is a must-visit, with origins dating back to the 7th century and construction beginning in the 11th century. The Stained Glass Museum, the only one of that kind in the whole UK, and Oliver Cromwell’s House, dedicated to the English Civil War and the family home of Oliver Cromwell himself, a military and political figure who is partly responsible for the execution of Charles I, and later Lord Protector. 

5. St Albans

St Albans is a short ride from London and has a rich Roman history as it was once called Verulamium, the second largest city after Londinium.

Visitors can explore the Roman history of the town and visit the St Albans Cathedral, which houses the shrine of the first English saint and boasts the longest nave in England. A stroll around Verulamium Park is also recommended.

6. Royal Tunbridge Wells

You have probably heard of Bath and Harrogate as the main spa cities of England. If you like this sort of attraction, please head to the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells! Royal Tunbridge Wells also has a history of providing visitors with thermal waters from a spring discovered in the early 17th century.

It is known for the Pantiles, a colonnaded walkway where British royalty and celebrities of the past, such as Richard ‘Beau’ Nash, spent their time. If you enjoy spa cities, this town is worth a visit.

We even stayed there overnight in Hotel Du Vin, a gorgeous Georgian mansion where Victoria stayed frequently before her accession to the throne.

7. Rochester 

Rochester is a destination for you if you love quiet British cities with lively High streets, many shops and delicious food! However, Rochester is more than that. It has the most exciting historical landmarks to visit, such as Rochester castle, whose construction started in the 11th century by Gundulf, the architect who began the erection of the Tower of London.

Rochester Cathedral is founded in 604, which make it the second oldest cathedral in England. It’s pretty well preserved, and you can explore the remnants in detail.

Besides that, there is a Guildhall Museum with a collection of artefacts and paintings – and did you know that Charles Dickens loved Rochester dearly and spent lots of time here?

8. Folkestone

Looking for a nice getaway by the sea? Try Folkestone, a seaside resort loved by Royals, and you’ll fall in love with it too! It has the most excellent seaside promenade, the Leas (if you’re lucky, you can even spot sea lions there!), a pier with the best views over the coastline, Martello Tower – and many colourful houses in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter!

In addition, there are great cafes and restaurants with fresh seafood! What can even be better?

Folkestone Day trips from London

You can also visit the Battle of Britain Memorial dedicated to the events of WWII easily from here.

9. Whitstable

Are you an oyster lover? Then, head to Whitstable without any delay. This charming seaside spot is one of the best places to try those delicacies – and for a very reasonable price.

We tested all varieties of oysters and all ways of cooking them, including fried and baked! Other seafood there, such as mussels, crabs, and fish, is also as fresh as you could possibly imagine.

You can also take a walk alongside the Whitstable’s beach (check the tides in advance!), spot the Old Neptune beer house dating to 1853; and visit Whitstable Castle (with a flea market), a former residence of the Pearson family built in the 1790s.

Besides that, Whitstable is famous four its colourful cheerful appearance which would remind you of Brighton! So, if you’re keen on taking some photos with the vivid happy background, consider coming here as well.

10. Winchester 

Winchester is a place for you if you want to stay away from the crazy city speed for a while. Once known as Venta Belgarum, after the Roman times, it was the capital of England, with Anglo-Saxon kings buried there!

Walk into the Winchester cathedral, the place of the last rest of Jane Austen and home to the well-preserved 12th-century Winchester Bible. Find the imitation of the legendary King Arthur’s round table in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle and explore the ruins of the Pilgrim’s Hall.

Stroll along the old High Street and walk along the River Itchen all the way to the old Hospital of St Cross, founded in 1136 by Henry of Blois. Take a climb up the hill to admire the surrounding nature and the views opening up from the viewing point. And make sure to eat something delicious and visit museums too, such as Westgate Museum and six Military Museums (we opted for the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum)!  

11. Dover

Dover is another coastal city you can visit just for a day. This city is famous for being an industrial point as it faces the English Channel and continental Europe and has a large port. The unmissable landmark is undoubtedly the White Cliffs of Dover and the Dover castle standing high upon a rock. Its construction started in 1168.

Even Shakespeare wrote about the castle: “There is a cliff, whose high and bending head looks fearfully in the confined deep: Bring me to the very brim of it, and I’ll repair the misery thou dost bear... “Gloucester, Act 4, Scene 1 of King Lear.

It’s also a great point to start your journey to other parts of white cliffs: set off to Seven sisters (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been!) or Eastbourne. You can also explore the Roman Painted House, which dates to 200 AD, the fortifications of Western Heights of the 18th century, and the Tunnels, which date to the WWII period and opened to the public in 2015.

12. Warwick (and Coventry)

The main attraction of Warwick is undoubtedly its castle, with the mound dating to 1068 when it was built by the order of William the Conqueror. Not only is the castle magnificently preserved where you can walk on different floors, explore the historical exhibits, and, of course, visit the magnificent Great Hall and State Rooms.

Also also the territory around it is worth exploring: there are mazes, gardens, walk-through experiences, the old Mill and the Engine house and more.

In a short walk from the castle, you can observe the tower of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, which is said to have inspired JRR Tolkien to describe his famous two buildings in the Lord of the Rings, the West Gate. 

If you’re travelling by train, consider also popping into Coventry, once the large and prosperous mediaeval city whose street rode The Lady Godiva. Unfortunately, the city was particularly wiped out by bombing in November 1940 during WWII (one of the oldest surviving buildings is St Mary’s Guildhall); however, you can still see the ruins of the famous St Michael Coventry cathedral, left in ruins on purpose as a monument to those tragic events. 

More blogs about England:

Hope you liked my blog!
Anna xxx

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