Living in London offers many perks, from world-class museums and restaurants to vibrant nightlife. But the hustle and bustle can get tiring after a while. When you need a break from the city, go for some weekend trips from London by Train. Some of England’s top destinations are just a few hours away by rail!
Train travel allows you to sit back and soak in the scenery. How so? You get to head over to charming towns, historic cities, and the beautiful English countryside. You don’t have to deal with traffic or airport hassles. Just walk to the station, hop aboard, and enjoy a stress-free mini vacation. You will get to experience some amazing weekend trips from London by train.
In this blog, we’ll cover the best weekend trips from London by train. Whether you love nature, history, or seaside villages, you’ll find great ideas for your next quick UK getaway!
13 Amazing Weekend Trips from London By Train
Quaint Villages and Market Towns Accessible by Train from London
Quaint villages and small towns with cottages, gardens, and cobbled streets offer a nice change of pace from London’s urban energy. It’s easy to get your countryside fix thanks to fast and frequent train connections. Here are some top weekend trips from London by train:
This medieval settlement in East Sussex has one of England’s best preserved historic centres. Wander narrow alleys, browse antique shops, and climb the church tower for panoramic views. The train ride takes just over an hour.
Royal Tunbridge Wells
With its regal name, collonaded Pantiles district, and chalybeate spring, this Kent town has drawn visitors for centuries. Explore stately homes and gardens then relax at a café. It’s only a 45-minute train journey.
On the River Thames just 8 miles from London, Richmond has a delightful small-town feel. Stroll through quaint lanes, have tea and scones, or rent a boat for a river cruise. Trains depart frequently from Waterloo station.
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Coastal Towns to Visit from London By Train
Trade the urban jungle for ocean breezes and beaches with these coastal getaways accessible by train:
With its pleasure pier, vibrant nightlife, and broad shingle beach, Brighton is one of England’s most popular seaside destinations. The train trip takes just over an hour. Enjoy fish and chips on the beach!
Known for its acclaimed oysters and fishing heritage, Whitstable offers a relaxed seaside escape in Kent. Wander the harbour, browse boutiques and feast on seafood. Trains take around 1.5 hours from London.
Nestled beneath the iconic white cliffs of Beachy Head, Eastbourne has a lovely seafront promenade. Hike up to Beachy Head for dramatic clifftop views. Direct trains take just over an hour.
Historic Cities for Weekend Exploration from London
Immerse yourself in England’s long and storied past with a trip to these history-rich cities accessible by direct train. Some of the top weekend trips from London by train:
Circled by medieval walls and steeped in Roman heritage, York rewards exploration. Must-see sights include York Minster, medieval streets, and museums. Regular direct trains take just over 2 hours.
Famed for its elegant Georgian architecture and Roman baths, Bath is one of England’s loveliest cities. Take a walking tour, visit the Roman Baths museum, or relax in the thermal waters. Direct trains take about 1.5 hours.
With the storied colleges of the University of Cambridge, this world-famous university town has awe-inspiring architecture and history. Punt along the River Cam and tour King’s College Chapel. Fast direct trains take under an hour.
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Scenic Train Journeys from London – Memorable Holidays!
For maximum scenery without the effort of driving, take the train. Some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside vistas unfold along these routes:
The Cotswolds Line
Journey through the quintessential English countryside of gently rolling green hills, stone cottages, and castle ruins. Stops include Moreton-in-Marsh and other Cotswold villages.
Settle to Carlisle Railway
This railway through the Yorkshire Dales National Park offers stunning views of hills, valleys, and the Ribblehead Viaduct. Hike around Settle before returning to London!
Cornish Riviera Express
Travel in vintage Pullman style on this special direct train to Cornwall. Pass castles and the beautiful Devon coast as you relax with a cream tea onboard.
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Adventure and Outdoor Activities Near London By Train
Trade city living for fresh air and activity with these getaways for hiking, biking, water sports and more. Here are some popular weekend trips from London by train:
The New Forest
Crisscrossed by trails, this national park in Hampshire is perfect for walking, cycling, and horseback riding. Spot wild ponies! Brockenhurst has direct train access.
The Peak District
Britain’s first national park offers outstanding hikes, from challenging trails to gentle strolls. Take the train to Edale to hike the Pennine Way or explore caves.
The Norfolk Broads
Hire a boat, canoe, or kayak to explore this wetlands park’s tranquil waterways and nature reserves. Trains go directly to Wroxham in under 2 hours!
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Train Routes for Wine Tasting and Culinary Experiences from London
Indulge your inner foodie with these tantalizing train trips to prime culinary regions:
Kent Wineries by Train
Take a Southeastern train to Canterbury, then visit acclaimed wineries like Chapel Down and Biddenden Vineyards. After exploring these amazing places, you can head back to London.
Cambridge and Ely for Afternoon Tea
Sample artisanal treats and afternoon tea in Cambridge and the cathedral city of Ely. Trains connect these historic neighbours in under an hour.
Day Trip to St. Albans Market
Browse stalls of farm fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, and more at England’s oldest outdoor market. Fast trains reach St. Albans in under 30 minutes.
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Budget-Friendly Weekend Getaways from London By Train
Save your pounds with these wallet-friendly destinations easily reached by train. Here are the top weekend trips from London by train:
With its sandy beaches, seaside amusements, and Turner Contemporary art gallery, Margate offers a fun seaside trip for less. Trains average 90 minutes.
Rent a bike and cycle around this vast reservoir with beaches, nature trails, and watersports. Trains to Oakham take under 2 hours.
St. Ives, Cornwall
Beautiful beaches, great surfing, cosy cafes, and the Barbara Hepworth Museum fill days in artsy St. Ives. Direct trains take around 5 hours!
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Romantic Train Trips from London – Perfect for Couples
Reconnect as a couple on these weekend getaways with a romantic appeal:
Paris via Eurostar
Ride Eurostar through Channel Tunnel to Paris for strolls along Seine, kisses atop the Eiffel Tower, and cozy cafés. The trip takes just 2.5 hours!
See where Shakespeare lived and died in this charming Tudor town. Take in a Royal Shakespeare Company production for a memorable evening. Trains take 2-3 hours.
Stroll hand-in-hand along the scenic waterfront, enjoy intimate meals with water views, and relax in this coastal retreat. Trains and buses get you there in 4-5 hours.
Family-Friendly Train Destinations for Weekend Escapes from London
Keep the kids entertained on these family-friendly trips accessible by direct train:
Harry Potter Studio Tour from Watford Junction
The magical studio where the films were produced is a must-see for Potterheads young and old. Direct trains take under 30 minutes!
Marvel at the grandeur of the world’s largest occupied castle, which famously houses the Queen when she’s in residence. Trains reach Windsor in about an hour.
West Midlands Safari Park from Kidderminster
Spot lions, giraffes, rhinos and more from your car or the ‘safari trail’ train at this large family-oriented park. Direct trains take 2 hours.
Cultural and Artistic Destinations from London By Train
Recharge on a dose of world-class theatre, art, and history in these culturally rich train destinations:
- Take in a production by the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company
- Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s cottage by train in just over 2 hours.
Street art, cutting-edge performance and Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Bristol serves up culture with an edgy twist. Trains from London take about 1.5 hours.
Top Day Trips from London by Train – Quick Getaways
For quick UK escapes that don’t require an overnight, consider these exceptional train day trips from London:
Marvel at the magnificent chapels, libraries, and architecture of King’s College and other renowned colleges. Trains take under an hour.
Bring your swimsuit and stroll the Brighton Palace Pier. Don’t forget to take a boat ride, or relax on the beach during this seaside day out. Trains take just over an hour.
Get a taste of student life as you explore the stunning historic colleges. Don’t miss the Ashmolean Museum. Direct trains take around 1 hour.
Bath – One of the Top Short Breaks from London by Train
Just a 1.5-hour train ride west of London, the small city of Bath makes for a perfect weekend escape.
Wander the cobblestone streets and admire the honey-coloured Georgian buildings that make up much of Bath’s architecture. Pay a visit to the Roman Baths to see the ancient thermal springs this town is named for. Don’t miss the Royal Crescent, a sweeping semicircle of Georgian townhomes overlooking the city.
Bath has no shortage of great restaurants, tea rooms, pubs, and cafes to stop at. Be sure to sample the speciality Bath buns – a sweet roll topped with sugar crystals. With stunning architecture, quaint city streets, and immersive history, Bath transports you to another time.
Cotswolds – Popular Countryside Retreats Accessible by Train from London
For a taste of the quintessential English countryside, head to the Cotswolds region. It’s just 2 hours from London by train. Dotted with impossibly quaint villages, the Cotswolds are what dreams of pastoral England are made of.
Base yourself in Stow-on-the-Wold for its central location and charming market square. Nearby Lower Slaughter is a must-visit, with its duck pond and honey-coloured stone cottages. Chipping Campden boasts a remarkable high street lined with picturesque thatched-roof houses and independent shops.
Be sure to allow time for aimless strolls through the rolling green hills and stop at a local pub for a pint. Visit the numerous working farms, many of which produce the Cotswolds famous cheeses. For a unique overnight, book a stay at one of the traditional English country manor hotels and live royally.
With fresh air, winding country roads, and fairy-tale villages, the Cotswolds are an idyllic escape.
How to Plan Your Weekend Trips from London By Train?
With a little advance planning, your weekend escape will go smoothly:
- Book train tickets early – Advance purchase can mean big discounts on UK rail tickets. Prices increase closer to travel.
- Allow extra time – Delayed trains aren’t uncommon. Leave a time buffer so you don’t miss connections.
- Pack light – To make walking between platforms easier, pack just an overnight bag.
- Download offline maps – Navigation apps like Google Maps allow offline access when wandering a new place without cell service.
- Charge devices – Bring an external battery pack or charger to keep gadgets juiced up for photos and navigation on the go.
- Grab essential snacks – Bring water, healthy snacks, and anything you might need if delayed to make travel more comfortable.
- Check train times – Confirm departure times before heading to the station and allow leeway for connections.
With abundant destinations reachable in just a few hours, weekend trips from London by train offer the perfect opportunity to relax and explore the history, culture, and astounding natural beauty just beyond the city. Pack your bags, hop on board, and let the adventure begin!
Aim to book about 12 weeks in advance for the lowest fares. Tickets tend to increase in price closer to the travel date.
The Eurostar high speed train travels direct from St Pancras International station to Paris Gare du Nord station in just 2 hours 15 minutes via the Channel Tunnel.
Many popular routes from London offer direct connections without needing to change trains, including services to Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds, and Brighton.
You can find websites that allow you to easily compare fares across multiple providers. Booking in advance, travelling off-peak, and looking for railcard discounts can help you save.
Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before your train departure time to allow for security screening, walking to the platform, and boarding. Arrive earlier if possible on busy travel days.
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