I love going on weekend trips but when I'm poor or don't have a ton of time, I opt for day trips instead, which can be equally as exciting. I originally moved to the UK for London and never had much interest in any other city but after living here for almost two years, I've learned that a little breaks from the big city are much needed.
I've managed to explore a lot of England actually - mainly the south because I love the coastline. So, here's my list of best day trips to take from London based on where I've been.
Just an hour train ride south of London, there's no excuse not to go. I've even heard of some people living in Brighton and commuting to London for work. It's a cute city along the coast with rocky beaches, a huge pier and amusement park. Your bum will hurt if you sit on the beach for too long so make sure to enjoy the rest of the city including the cool cafes and shops.
WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER.
This was my most recent day trip and I didn't have high expectations because every Brit told me there was no point in going - it's just a ferry port from the UK to France. It takes two hours on the train but the views were so worth it. The White Cliffs of Dover is an hour long walk along white, chalky cliffs (similar to Seven Sisters which I mention below). At the very end, you reach a lighthouse where you can also get tea and biscuits. Loved every second of this trip!
Bristol was an interesting city - very alternative I would say. Big student city. My friend convinced me into trying my very first couchsurfing experience, which was...interesting. We did get free accommodation and instant friends through this though. Bristol has got a lot of life and a massive art scene - we went Banksy spotting! Oh and also good food at half the London prices.
I googled coastal towns in the UK and found Botany Bay, saw amazing pictures and thought why not? I went here in January so it was COLD - really don't know why I was craving the seaside in winter. All things aside, it was still beautiful. A bit difficult to get to - you have to take a train to Broadstairs then a bus to get to Botany Bay. I can only imagine how nice the beach is when it's actually sunny out.
SEVEN SISTERS WALK.
This is, by far, my favourite place in the UK. I'll have to go again before I leave but there is nothing like this walk (ok, maybe White Cliffs of Dover is close but it's even more stunning). It's not that easy to get to - you have to train to Eastbourne, which can sometimes involve 1 or 2 changes, then take a bus from there. The whole trek is gorgeous with miles of white cliffs overlooking the beautiful sea. I think the entire walk is around 22km but you can decide which parts you want to walk and just take the bus.
Hastings is another coastal town about an hour and a half south of London. It's got a lot of history and you can climb the hill to get great views of the city or take the cliff railway up. It's a very small and compact town so you can explore everything within a couple of hours.
Bath is only about a 15 minute train journey from Bristol so I did these cities together. Bath has got beautiful architecture and of course, the Roman Baths. My friend and I walked the entire city in a day - all the way up the hill to the University of Bath. It's a nice and calm city that you can easily do in just one day.
Everyone knows Cambridge for the university. It's a small town that's largely based around the university - there's not a ton to do there but it's got nice architecture. It's also cool to see the campus of such a famous university. The main river is my favourite part of Cambridge where you can see the bunting action happening.
The best thing you can do to explore the UK is buy a Rail Card. This will give you massive savings when buying train tickets to anywhere in the UK and is only £30 a year, which you'll end up getting back in savings after about four trips. If you live in London and need a nature fix, you can definitely get it by venturing out into the countryside - it just depends on what you like!