Feature by Julie Smith | Blogger at DriveOnTheLeft.com
Let’s face it. London is expensive. If you’re planning a trip there, you’ve probably already seen the high costs of hotels and entertainment. And if you’re in town for more than a few days, the idea of spending a day or two exploring the areas beyond the city might seem out of reach financially.
Fortunately, the UK is a small country and there are many amazing places that can be reached in an hour or two on the train. Read on for my suggestions for budget-friendly day trips from London.
Cambridge is one of the world’s quintessential college towns. It’s also just an hour away by train from London’s Kings Cross station. For about £21, you can spend the day visiting Cambridge University’s colleges, shopping in the small tucked away streets, and relaxing at a pub over a leisurely lunch that is free from London’s steep prices.
One of the go-to day trips for Londoners is a quick visit down to the coastal city of Brighton. A brisk one hour train ride from London will drop you off nearly on the beach. Don’t forget to visit the famous Royal Pavilion, which was originally built as a seaside palace for George IV. In the summer, the Brighton Pier is brimming with activity – carnival games, rides and loads of junk food await eager kids or kids-at-heart. A great value at only £17 for a train ticket.
For £31 and 90 minutes of your time, you can take the train a little further afield to the town of Eastbourne. While just east of Brighton on a map, this region is known for the amazing chalk cliffs that separate land from the sea. They are simply spectacular and you can walk along the cliff edge for miles, getting your fill of salty fresh air.
Nearby is the town of Hastings (namesake of the Battle of Hastings) and, confusingly, the town called Battle, which is where the Battle of Hastings actually took place.
The entire region west of London called Oxfordshire is known for its picture-perfect rolling hills and ancient villages. Henley-on-Thames is one of the tiny adorable villages that dot the landscape. Located just an hour from London (and £15), it is a great place to spend an afternoon. Henley is known as the home of one of the world’s most famous rowing regattas in late June/early July. But every other weekend of the year, it’s a great place to have a relaxing lunch on the river Thames, wander the cobblestone streets, and gawk at the renovated beautiful estates that line the river.
On your next visit to London, don’t limit yourself to sites and attractions within the city limits. The regions around London are vibrant, beautiful, and dripping with historical significance. Plus, after a day out of town, you’ll be well-rested and ready to take on the crowds on Oxford Street once again!