10 Top Day Rail Trips from London
If you're travelling on a budget, staying in one of the excellent hostels in London doesn't mean you can only explore the inner city. These top destinations will only take you anywhere between 20 minutes and a couple of hours by London’s famously reliable rail system. 1. St. Albans (20 minutes by rail) – Over 2,000 years of history have moulded this city, and everyone from the Celts to the Romans to the Benedictine Order has left their marks. Lovers of history will definitely want to pay a visit to St. Albans, and it's certainly within easy access of any of the central hostels in London. 2. Windsor (30 minutes by rail) – Fancy learning a thing or two about the royal family? Windsor is the place you’ll want to go, especially since it is home to the famous royal residence, Windsor Castle. There’s also the Windsor Legoland theme park, which can be quite fun to explore for the young or young at heart.
- Epping Forest (40 minutes by rail) – Nothing quite beats strolling through a tranquil forest, especially if you need to decompress from the typically crowded areas around the hostels in London. Just make sure to check before you travel though, as Epping Forest is closed to the public on certain days.
- Brighton (1 hour by rail) – It only takes an hour by rail to reach Brighton and you'll have a wonderful time exploring the nooks and crannies of this gloriously eclectic and creative city. The Royal Pavilion and the beach with its fun fair on the pier are world famous, and there's pretty much something to entertain any kind of visitor, old or young.
- Cambridge (1 hour by rail) – Here you can visit one of the world’s most acclaimed universities and go punting on the river – or get someone else to row for you! This picturesque city is every bit as lovely as you've heard.
- Oxford (1.5 hours by rail) – Another acclaimed university has its home here in Oxford, while plenty of museums will keep you occupied. Oxford’s Blenheim Palace is also worth a visit, with movies like the Harry Potter series and A Little Chaos filming scenes there.
- Bath (1.5 hours by rail) – The aptly named city is home to the only natural hot springs in Britain. The Roman baths and spas may be a welcome treat for those hankering for a nice, long soak to relax those travelling muscles and tired feet.
- Canterbury (1.5 hours by rail) – Lovers of religious history and architecture simply must take the time to visit Canterbury’s famous cathedral. St Martin’s Church and St Augustine’s Abbey are two notable landmarks worth visiting as well.
- Salisbury (2 hours by rail) – Salisbury boasts beautiful religious architecture as well as a lush countryside ideal for walks, cycles and sightseeing tours. It’s also home to the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta, of which only four intact copies remain.
- Stonehenge (2 hours by rail) – Stonehenge is a marvel of Neolithic construction and is well worth spending the time to visit. It’s only eight miles north of Salisbury. Keep all these destinations in mind when you’re based in one of the many excellent hostels in London and you’ll realize just how much you can see by rail.
Looking for a dream travel experience? Jason H. Cunningham works for Hostelling International, a company with more than 4,000 hostels worldwide in fantastic locations. For the best hostels in London, or anywhere else, join our global community and say hi to the world. From quality, affordable accommodation and backpacker tips, to meaningful volunteer opportunities and enriching our eco footprint, we are the world’s local hostelling hub.
Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.