If you are looking for a few suggestions for day or weekend trips from London, then look no further. I have compiled a list of my favourite trips from London that are easily accessible with a car, and that do not require a drive over 3 hours.
My list of best trips from London
Dorset – Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove
Now I know you have probably seen this part of the world recommended in every best trips from London travel blog post you have ever read, but there is a good reason for that – it’s a bloody beautiful place and makes up part of the famous Jurrasic Coast.
When driving from London I would recommend heading to Lulworth Cove first. You can park up your car, grab some AMAZING fish and chips from Finleys Fish & Chips and head to the cove for a little picnic.
Once you’ve had some time to relax, it’s time to turn those fish and chips into hiking fuel. You can head up the South West Coast Path (found at the opposite end of the car park) to Durdle Door.
The walk to Durdle Door will take around 35 mins and whilst it does have an initial steep uphill climb it’s a fairly leisurely walk to complete. I even managed to complete this walk with a horrendous hangover, so you’ll be fine.
Once at Durdle Door you have the option of staying up on the cliff edge or climbing down the steps to the beach for another spot of relaxation before you head back to your car.
Dorset -Golden Cap
The Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast of Britain and is located about a 45-minute from Durdle Door between Charmouth and Bridport.
This walk gives you yet another opportunity to witness more of the stunning Jurrasic Coast. The Golden Cap walk was also featured on Julia Bradbury’s “Britains Best Walks” programme (she is the queen of hiking, so you don’t have to take just my word for it).
There are a few starting points for the walk to the Golden Cap. The easiest place to begin your hike would be from either Charmouth or Seatown beaches.
I would rate this walk a 3/5 of the difficulty scale with a mix of uphill and downhill, and this score will increase by one if you have to battle the elements like I did, prepare to get muddy and potentially fall on your butt!
Frinton-on-Sea is a small beach side town along the coast of Essex. With a large expanse of beach, there is plenty of room to walk and admire the cute victorian style beach huts ,swim (if you’re brave enough) and sunbathe on the sand.
Although, if the thought of getting all sandy makes you wince, then you can still admire the beach and the views from the grassy clifftop -lined with benches and trees it makes for the perfect picnic spot.
Talking of food, I would highly recommend grabbing some Fish and Chips from Youngs Other Plaice and some soft serve ice-cream from The Olde Sweet Shop.
Seven Sisters Cliffs – Seaford to Beachy Head Costal Walk
Along with Durdle Door, this walk has to be one of the prettiest UK spots that I have visited in the UK so far, so of course it makes it on the list of best trips from London.
I recommend starting off the walk at Seaford Beach, there is plenty of free parking spaces here, both in designated car parks and along the esplanade, so it makes for a great place to leave the car for the day.
The coastal trail begins from Seaford Beach (next to the esplanade car park) where you will ascend up to the Seaford Head Nature reserve, passing a very pristine golf course on your left and the cliff edge to your right. Make sure that you stop and turn here to admire a birds-eye view of the beach.
As you adventure further into the Nature Reserve you will be able to make out the Seven Sisters Cliff formation – and believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
After just over an hour of walking, you will reach the next scenic spot at Cuckmere Haven Beach. This is where the River Cuckmere meets the sea and splits the beach in two.
As a result, you will have two choices to make; attempting to wade in the water to get to the other side or taking the river trail until you get to a bridge crossing. This decision will be influenced by the tide and you must also bear in mind taking this trail will add another 40 minutes on to your walking time.
If like me you get to Cuckmere during high tide and you are short on time then you can head back to Seaford and drive 20 minutes to Birling Gap. You can continue on your walk from there.
Once at Birling Gap you can climb down to the beach and catch yet another gorgeous glimpse of the Seven Sisters Cliffs. Or, alternatively, you can get straight onto the Coastal path towards the Beachy Head Lighthouse. This walk will take you roughly 45-60 minutes.
If you are game for a long journey you can continue past Beachy Head and hike down to Eastbourne. This will take you an extra hour or so from Beachy Head- and of course not forgetting that you will have to do the return walk all the way back to Seaford.
With over 100,000 acres of land and over 60 places to discover, there is almost certainly something to tickle your fancy.
One of the most popular places to start your walk (and the one that we visited) is Box Hill. This doesn’t come as a surprise with the instant panoramic view of the North Downs you a greeted with, just a minute’s walk from the Box hill car park.
Depending on how much time you have there are several different walking routes to choose from. The longest route is known as the ‘Box hill circular’ which is a 10-mile walk that will take you up to and over 5 hours to complete.
If, like me, you are short on time then you can do a series of shorter walks such as the ‘Stepping Stones Walk’ or the ‘Hill Top Hike’.
Ledbury – Herefordshire
Located near to the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire, Ledbury is a traditional British Market town with cobbled streets, black and white timber-framed houses and ancient churches.
Surrounded by acres of countryside, Ledbury is a wonderful place for a glamping trip. There is lots to do here such as taking a trip to Eastnor Castle or hiking the Herefordshire Beacon and Midsummer Hill.
I would also highly recommend heading down to the wye river and renting out a canoe or kayak for the day. The views along the river/ the Wye Valley are second to none.
Broadstairs – Kent
Often referred to as Kent’s answer to Australia, Broadstairs beach makes for a great day trip from London. Park up at Viking bay and complete the hour long walk to Botany Bay.
Along the walk make sure to stop off at Stone Bay, Joss Bay and Kingsgate Bay. Each bay offers its own unique view.
Whether that’s the rock pool at Viking Bay, the cute victorian beach huts at Stone bay, watching the surfers at Joss Bay or admiring the views at Kingsgate bay from Captain Digby’s Pub. There is something to please all the family.
West Mersea Island – Essex
West Mersea Island is located on the Essex coast and is perfect for a relaxing day out with the family, or with the girls. Come here to stroll along the beach and admire the cute pastel-coloured beach huts and dip your toes in the sand.
If you are looking to do something a little more adventurous, then you can come here to Windsurf, Paddle-board or go on a boat trip. Alternatively if you want to take things a little slower then you can visit the West Mersea Museum or explore the Cudmore Grove Country Park.
This is one of the beaches I’ve been to in England and it’s only 2 hours from London!
If you would like to come here my advice would be to park at the Broomhill car park as this is free.
The part of the beach you get to when parking at Broomhill is absolutely beautiful, but if you want to see the famous sand dunes all you need to do is turn right down the beach. This will take you about 15/20 minute to walk.
There is also a large onsite beach bar were near the Sandunes where you can grab food, drink and ice cream!
If you want to you also have the option to do watersports such a wind and kitesurfing.
Make sure to check the tide times before heading out as you won’t be able to experience much of the beach during high tide.
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