This post has been updated on February 15th, 2021
From London, you can reach every corner of the United Kingdom and North Europe. In two hours of flight, you can reach Spain, France and even Italy.
That makes London one of the best places to stay, due to the multiple options for your escape. We have focused on the best winter day trips from London, nothing that will get you on a plane, just what you can reach easily by car, train or bus.
The best way to understand the proper British countryside is to go away from the Capital, take a one day trip to Bath, or Windsor and discover the best in the UK.
Through our Post about London, we will help you with your holiday plan, and give you some more chances about your next Uk winter breaks. As you can see you can easily have nice information about winter day trips from London, London weekend breaks and general London breaks. We will also you to plan about where to stay in London for a weekend
London Weekend Breaks in Winter
There are a lot of places to visit in the UK, winter day trip from London it will be your travel guide for your next trip to the United Kingdom. As an expat couple, we love to explore the world, and before discovering Europe we started in the UK. Based in London and going around Great Britain.
Which is the best period for a day trip from London?
Well if you love the Christmas markets, around November, December it is the best. But even this, October in the last few years has given nice and warm days out.
If you are lucky and is still nice you can plan an outdoor visit in October, or postpone it to early spring. March or April, or wait for nice weather and better conditions in May, June.
If you love the seaside, Portsmouth, Brighton, or Southend-on-Sea, you need to wait until Summertime or September for enjoying the best locations.
The best winter day trips in Uk are across the Xmas Period, it’s when all the cities are blinking lights.
I must say this year the winter came very late. So we can’t complain. But most of the people are asking how cold is England during the winter and usually around those months the weather is really cold in all UK. Be ready to put the jumpers, scarves, gloves, and hats in your luggage.
Winter day trips from London
As we love the sea, we have been in Brighton a couple of times already, during summer and even during winter.
The easiest way to reach Brighton is by train. The price is not expensive if you know where to find them. For example, during the weekends all the prices are going up as usual, but Brighton remains one of the best winter day trips from London. By train, it is only 1h and 15 minutes away.
From London, there are a lot of departing places such as London Bridge, London Victoria, and London Blackfriars. The departures of the trains are every 10 minutes.
In Brighton, you can spend just 24h and you will be able to see the most important attractions, like one of our favorites, is Brighton Pier, you can book a ticket in the early morning and come back in the evening or you can find cheap accommodation for only £50.
For more London inspiration, check our ultimate London bucket list where you will find all the experiences you have to do while in the city!
Oxford is one of the best winter day
The city centre is small but it is really nice. The city is cosy especially during Christmas time. it is even more adorable as you will visit all the Xmas Markets.
We really like our journey to Oxford, I must say it was one of the best London breaks, as it is very close and in only one day we could spend some time outside our routine.
From London, you can buy the tickets online with Megabus, and you can take the bus from London Victoria and Marble Arch. With just £9 you can have your return tickets from London to Oxford.
If you are planning your day trip to Oxford bear in mind that all the shops are closing early.
When we have been we booked our return tickets at 8 pm and we realise that at 5.30pm – 6 pm all the shops were closing and we didn’t know what to do.
Cambridge is like Oxford, a small city but I must say we fell like it was really porch as there is one of the most important universities in UK.
There are a lot of buses going from London to Cambridge. With National Express you can go from Victoria Coach Station to Cambridge Parkside. This stop in Cambridge is close to the city centre. The tickets are not expensive, but you always need to check in advance as most of the time the prices are going up when Christmas is coming.
You can plan your winter trips from London in just one day, going in the morning and coming back in the evening, but not a late evening as, Cambridge, like Oxford, all the shops are closing very early.
We were very surprised when around 5 pm the shops were starting to close. We are used to staying in London in the weekend, where the shops are closing late.
It is really impossible, to be honest on which is a better day trip from London Oxford or Cambridge. But for sure if you are looking for a relaxing day out, meaning just to chill, you are looking where are the best places to visit for a day trip near London.
Despite common sense, it will say Summer is the best time to explore and go outdoor, we will suggest you explore places near you even in winter. There is a lot of reason behind this suggestion.
First of all, a day trip in winter will be less expensive. Also, do you really know what is it like to travel to London during the winter months of December January?
#4 Cardiff | London weekend breaks
Cardiff, it is a good winter day trips from London, it is one of the city which is a bit far away, by bus it will take around 3 hours. There are tickets available on the Megabus website. The best option is to take a bus which will stop halfway so you will have the opportunity to scratch your legs.
Cardiff is a really nice city, where you will be able to take some nice pictures as well.
During the day there are not too many people, but once the night is approaching everyone is going out, even if it is cold, raining, or snowing. We felt we were in London again.
There is a lot of nightlife even if it is a small city, but at least you know that you can enjoy your day out of London.
Going to Cardiff by bus from London, you will pass by Bristol. This is one of the most famous cities in England. If you are trying to reach Wales by bus, car, or Train you will pass by the Cotswolds.
This track could be clearly assumed as one of the best train trips from London in winter. Call this Costwolds day trip from London as “Castle day trips from London”, and let us know if you have loved it.
READ ALSO | How to spend one day in Cardiff
Winter day trips from London
Manchester needs to be on your top list when you will decide to explore the UK. You can easily reach Manchester by train from London Euston. If you are planning your day trip to Manchester be ready to stay overnight as the journey is already long as by train it will take 4 hours. There are different trains which are going to Manchester.
There are Virgin trains, which they depart every 20 minutes and the journey will take around 2h and the price is starting from £27 but it will always depend on which dates are you going and the period.
You can take the train direct to Manchester from many stations in London. The trains are departing from Euston, London Bridge, London Blackfriars.
Things to do around Manchester | Peak District National Park
Close to Manchester, there is Liverpool, it is a nice escape from London, you can reach the northern city by train from Liverpool Street Station or even by bus.
The same line going to Manchester will reach before Liverpool. If you are planning a day trip from London, discovering this norther British city, you will understand that there are a lot of things to visit in Liverpool.
As you can see it is easy to reach those two northern England cities, the meeting point for the link networks is in central London, or even you can find some connections from Victoria Station and take your train ride.
Liverpool or Manchester are the classic one day trip from London by train or a 2 days trips from London. All Londoners have done it once.
#6 Birmingham | Winter day trips from London
Does someone say city break? Birmingham is not too far from London is only 1 h and 30 minutes. It is perfect for a small Winter day trip from London.
As Birmingham is very close to London you can think about an early train in the morning. After the visit to the city, you can come back to London in the evening. As always we suggest is to plan your journey in advance. Sometimes at the last minute, the price can be more high than usual. A book two weeks in advance will save you a lot of money.
The most known by travellers is the Cadbury World, a chocolate factory, that has made the history of the UK.
Here you can visit the factory and watch the process. There are also great interactive exhibitions.
It is easy to reach Birmingham even by bus, thanks to multiple links to one of the biggest cities in the United Kingdom.
We can clearly assume it could be half-day trips from London. This place has a high concentration of Shopping Centres. Also, all the sightseeing is on the riverside. The city is the perfect location for winter day trips from London by train and bus.
#7 Portsmouth | London weekend breaks
This is the perfect place if you love the beach and the sea. It is the right city where to stay for one night and enjoying this cute and small city close to London.
There are direct trains from London Waterloo direct to Portsmouth Harbour or Portsmouth Southsea.
The first time we have been to Portsmouth, we were a bit lost. We started just to follow our aim. Check your ticket before purchase it. It is very important to know your final destination. Step out at Portsmouth Harbour if you are going to stay for just one day in Portsmouth. For staying for more than one day, check where is your accommodation because the stop at Southsea is in the city centre.
If you love the sea at any time of the year Portsmouth it is a really cute city.
I must say during Summertime it is the best solution, but we do love going to the beach even during Wintertime as we adore to listen to the sound of the sea waves.
Portsmouth is a quiet city. You can still have a lot of people around and so many amenities, without the craziness and stress of London. We have been here during Christmas Time. It was so nice, and the best of it was the shopping centre close to the harbour.
For the perfect accommodation, we suggest the Holiday Inn Express. This hotel is located in the heart of the city centre. It is close to all the shops and is not really expensive. If you don’t want to be in the central area, but want to stay in a quiet place there is the Holiday Inn. It is just 20 minutes walking in a quiet part of Portsmouth.
#8 Windsor | Winter day trips from London
The perfect and easiest journey as Windsor is located only 45 minutes away from London by train.
Windsor is the closest winter day trips from London we can propose to you. The ticket is bookable online with Trainline. If you depart from London Paddington, there are many trains going to Windsor. Not all the trains are direct, there is the chance that you have to change the train. Usually, the changing station is at Slough Station. There are a lot of stations available from London for your day trip.
Planning in advance this journey from London not only saves you a lot of money but also time.
Top Tips: There are two stations in Windsor. Windsor & Eton Central and Windsor & Eton Riverside.
Which is the difference and which one is close to Windsor Castle?
The closest one to the beautiful Castle is Windsor & Eton Central. The station is located close to all the shops and restaurants. Take a break before making your journey back to London. Have your coffee before starting exploring Windsor. The Castle is the main attraction in Windsor. You must visit it, especially after the Royal Wedding.
The tickets are available online and if you plan your winter day trips from London you can book them in advance so you can jump the queue.
The price per adult is £21.20 and for any other future information, you can visit the official website of the castle.
As soon as we do have the opportunity we prepare our backpack. Ready to explore new cities and places near London.
The great capital of the Uk is a big city and offers you a lot. One of the greatest things we earn living in London is that we can travel for cheap.
#9 Bath – London breaks
If you are planning your winter day trips from London, Bath can be on your list. The easiest way is from Victoria coach station, as there are a lot of National Express buses going to Bath. London to Bath bus will take around 3 hours, it depends if the time that you are traveling; it can take up to 3 hours depends if you are traveling during the pick time or not.
Plan your trip to Bath in advance and you can save money as well!
We spent one day in Bath and we just pay £10 each to go and come back. I know is unbelievable but if you check on the National Express website sometime you can find even £3 one way.
Bath itinerary one day will be one of the best solutions to break up your routine from London as it is a small city but really nice.
#10 York | A charming day trip from London
Consider to visit York for a winter retreat close to London, will be the best deal. The city of York has been considered by many as the center of the exchange routes between South England and the North of the Island.
York is just 2 hours away by train from London, and from here you can reach Manchester in 1 Hour and 20 minutes, Edinburgh in 2 hours and a half and even Cardiff that will take a bit longer in a train ride.
York is the ideal for a UK Microgap, an ancient environment with ancient walls dating back to the Romans roots and Viking past. Today York is a charming city in the middle of England, pulling with independent boutiques and amazing coffee shops. York is half-way between London and Edinburgh and in 2019 has been named as one of the best places to live in the UK by the Sunday Times.