5 fantastic destinations for a summer day trip

Category: News

August is here and while many of us will be heading off on extended staycations, you may be looking for a shorter trip to make the most of your new freedom, and the British weather.

Look no further than your guide to five fantastic day trip destinations, all easily accessible from in and around London.

1. Hitchin

A closeup of lavender fields

Less than an hour and a half outside of London, Hitchin in Hertfordshire was named 9th in the Times’ 2013 poll of the best towns in the UK. It is also a regular feature in Rightmove’s top 10 list of best places to live, last reaching 3rd place in 2019.

The town itself has a long history, first documented in the 7th century. It is now a bustling market town whose high street was a finalist in the 2019 Great British High Street Awards.

Out of town, you might visit the rolling fields of Hitchin Lavender. Cadwell Farm has been in the Hunter family for over 120 years and the charming site welcomes thousands of visitors from across the world every year.

Equally, consider spending the day at Stotfold Water Mill and Nature Reserve. The working watermill has three floors of history to explore, while the nature reserve covers 8 acres of coppice, hedgerow, and wildflower meadow.

There are riverside walks and pond dipping platforms as well as beautiful places to stop, rest, and enjoy a picnic.

2. Box Hill

A flat rural landscape viewed from the summit of Box Hill

Box Hill is a summit of the North Downs in Surrey and is currently managed by the National Trust.

Around 19 miles southwest of London, Box Hill is always popular with city day-trippers looking to enjoy the scenic walks and stunning views on offer.

Perfect for ramblers and wildlife lovers, on reaching the summit you’ll find an indoor café, gift shop, and parking.

The site featured in the opening scenes of the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and also hosted part of the London Olympics’ cycling race in 2012.

3. Brighton

Shoppers walking along a narrow street lined with shops and overhung with bunting

This coastal resort on the south coast of England is situated within East Sussex, a mere 47 miles south of London.

Among its must-see attractions are the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Beach, and the Palace Pier. Once you’ve ticked these off, be sure to explore elsewhere too.

Take a walk to the Lanes, a labyrinth of narrow streets lined with quirky shops within the city’s original settlement of Brighthelmstone. From here, follow Meeting House Lane north and you’ll enter a residential district called “North Laine”.

Once seen as a downtrodden part of the city, it is now Brighton’s bohemian and cultural quarter.

You’ll find a mixture of residential property and trendy bars and restaurants, as well as vintage shops and fashion outlets. You’ll find an establishment to accommodate every shopping need, whether you’re after the latest vinyl at The Wax Factor record store or cowboy boots at Bik Chief.

4. Broadway

A row of buildings built from honey-coloured Cotswold stone

Broadway in Worcestershire lies beneath Fish Hill and is around two and half hours from London. Depending on your starting point you might need to set an early alarm to ensure you get the most from your day.

Often referred to as the “Jewel of the Cotswolds”, the known history of this ancient settlement stretches back over 5,000 years. Today, visitors are drawn to its honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings and its collection of traditional country pubs and tea rooms.

Be sure to visit Broadway Tower, a folly in the Broadway Tower Country Park designed by the famous landscape architect Capability Brown.

Also consider the Ashmolean Museum, with its exhibits chronicling the history of the village. You might also take a stroll along a section of the Cotswold Way, the 102-mile National Trail that passes through Broadway on its way to Chipping Campden in the north, having begun in the historic city of Bath.

5. Winchester

The round table of King Arthur hung on a stone wall

Sat at the western end of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire, the city of Winchester is less than a two-hour drive from London.

Most famous for its gothic cathedral, Winchester was the capital of England until the Norman conquest of the 11th century.

With so much to see, you might find it difficult to prioritise your list of stop-offs. From its impressive cathedral, consider a trip to the castle for your chance to see King Arthur’s Round Table, a historical artefact dating back to the 13th century.

Nearby, you’ll also find the Winchester City Mill, a working mill currently owned and run by the National Trust.

Finally, a short hop out of town is the Mountbatten’s Broadlands Estate. Former home to Prince Philip’s uncle, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II spent the first three days of their honeymoon here.

The Broadlands Estate is also one of the most famous names in UK fishing, attracting day-trippers from London throughout the year with its array of trout and salmon.