Day trips to London

Experience the best of the capital in just one day with these action-packed day trips to London.
A lady, wearing a beanie hat and a coat, takes a photograph with her phone, with the London Eye in the background.
See London icons such as the London Eye on a day trip to London © Shutterstock / Maridav

Find top tips for days out from other UK cities by train. London’s iconic attractions, shopping hotspots, world-class restaurants and hidden gems await!

Make sure to book attraction tickets in advance to maximise your sightseeing time and guarantee entry – pre-booking is required at many attractions.

York to London

For a magical day out from York, book a tour of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Explore the studios where the Harry Potter films were made and see props used in the films.

Alternatively, make use of a whole day on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, allowing you to see the likes of the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in one go. Or, for an extra treat, combine two classic London experiences with an afternoon tea bus tour.

The above options include return train tickets to London from York – the journey from York to London King's Cross takes around two hours.

Manchester to London

Just over two hours separate Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston, so it’s easy to plan a day trip to London from Manchester.

Once at Euston, you’re within walking distance of some of London’s more unusual museums. Spot extinct animals at the Grant Museum of Zoology, take the Mail Rail at the Postal Museum or see world-class artworks at Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Wander to nearby Covent Garden to stock up on the latest beauty and fashion must-haves before enjoying a meal near its beautiful Piazza and market. Depending on the day, you should even have time to watch an opera or ballet at the Royal Opera House.

Birmingham to London

Birmingham to London train routes terminate at London Euston and London Marylebone – taking between 90 minutes and just over two hours, depending on the service.

From Euston, you can easily make your way to the British Museum, a treasure trove of artefacts from across the world, including the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.

If you’re travelling to Marylebone, learn about the famous super sleuth at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and spot famous faces at Madame Tussauds London  – one of five attractions available with the Merlin London Attractions Pass.

Trains to Birmingham run until late, so you can make the most of the West End’s nightlife. See a musical or check out cool bars and restaurants in Carnaby and Soho.

Bristol to London

Take the train from Bristol to London Paddington in a little more than 90 minutes. And with trains returning until late, you’ll have the whole day to explore London.

With time on your hands, why not head out of the city centre? Like Bristol, Greenwich has a seafaring history. Travel there by boat with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers and explore Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum.

Pick up fashion for less at Icon Outlet at The O2 or enjoy a return trip on the IFS Cloud Cable Car, before a meal at one of Greenwich Peninsula’s varied restaurants.

North Greenwich is just 35 minutes by Tube from Paddington, giving you plenty of time to make the train home.

Newcastle to London

Board an early Newcastle to London train that arrives at London King’s Cross station within three hours.

If you’re a sports fan, take a short Tube ride north to tour Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, or see a bird’s-eye-view of Tottenham’s stadium on its adrenaline-inducing Dare Skywalk.

History buffs may prefer to head a few stops eastbound to the City of London. This area is full of London icons such as St Paul’s Cathedral and relics of Roman times, including the Roman Amphitheatre.

End your day on a high with an early dinner. The Sky Garden’s Darwin Brasserie or 110 Bishopsgate’s Sushisamba come complete with side helpings of special views.

Liverpool to London

The fastest trains from Liverpool to London arrive at London Euston in a little over two hours, making it easy to cram a lot in on a London day trip.

A few stops from Euston, Camden is a great place to spend a day – browse famous Camden Market that’s full of alternative threads and lunch at quirky spots such as the Cheese Wheel or Shaka Zulu.

It’s then a short walk to London Zoo, in Regent’s Park, where you can meet everything from lions to lemurs. If you’re visiting in summer, time your day trip for a matinee show at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Finish in Fitzrovia, which is within 20 minutes’ walk of Euston station. This buzzing neighbourhood is full of trendy restaurants and bars, such as Clipstone and Lima.

Norwich to London

Within two hours of Norwich by train, London Liverpool Street is a great base to explore the City of London and beyond.

Wander to the Tower of London for torturous tales, cross the glass walkway at Tower Bridge and rise high above London at The View from The Shard. Nearby Borough Market is a great stop-off for lunch with its street food traders and small restaurants.

Unwind during the evening in Shoreditch, one of London’s most exciting nightlife spots. Sneak into speakeasies, find cutting-edge cuisine or have a go at Junkyard Golf’s fun crazy golf courses – all a short walk from Liverpool Street for your return home.

Southampton to London

In less than 90 minutes, you can go from the south coast to central London using train services from Southampton to London Waterloo.

From here, it’s a short stroll to the South Bank, home to the London Eye and family-friendly attractions SEA LIFE London Aquarium, The London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure! London – access all of these with the Merlin London Attractions Pass.

Trains run until late, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy a concert at the Southbank Centre or a riverside meal at Skylon, OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie or Sea Containers Restaurant.

Cardiff to London

Board an early train at Cardiff and you can be at London Paddington in around two and a half hours – much quicker than the marmalade-loving bear’s journey from Darkest Peru. Spot the Paddington statue in the station before pawing your way around London on a special Paddington Bear day out.

Alternatively, wander through leafy Hyde Park en route to Oxford Street. This iconic shopping street is full of flagship stores and high-street names such as Primark and Zara, plus department stores Selfridges and John Lewis.

Stop off for an early dinner in St Christopher’s Place, enjoy an afternoon tea at Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms, or splash out on high-end dining in Mayfair before your return to Wales.

Edinburgh to London

With the quickest services taking around four hours and 20 minutes each way, a day trip from Edinburgh to London is great for a quick shopping spree or a special meal. Catch an early train and you’ll arrive at London King’s Cross in time for lunch.

There are plenty of restaurants in King's Cross. But if you really want to treat yourself, order a glass of bubbly or afternoon tea at Searcys St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar.

Stretch your legs with a walk along Regent’s Canal, before shopping at one of London’s newest shopping gems, Coal Drops Yard. Full of big brands and independents, it’s a great place to refresh your wardrobe with unique finds.

Find more ideas for days out in London or check out the capital’s must-see attractions