From London, Day Trips Within and Beyond Britain

Senior Writer at findingDulcinea

There’s nothing like a day trip to reinvigorate a study abroad experience. Students in London have several options, including charming and historic locations within Britain, and destinations in other European countries accessible via train. Below, learn about the fascinating day trip opportunities in Oxford, Brighton, Colchester and Edinburgh, which present a range of natural features, famed architecture and renowned educational institutions—with a pub or two for good measure.


This university center is located about 60 miles northwest of London, making it easily accessible whether you prefer to travel by train or bus. Trains depart from London’s Paddington station for Oxford several times each hour; look for a train that makes few or no stops and you’ll arrive in under one hour. Buses depart regularly from London Victoria Coach Station.

Oxford's architecture is both whimsical and stately.

Oxford's architecture is both whimsical and stately.

Oxford’s main draw is its wealth of intellectual action. The city boasts 38 colleges affiliated with Oxford University, the oldest English-speaking university in the world. Often referred to as the “city of dreaming spires,” Oxford is characterized by university architecture that is harmoniously intertwined, lending a touch of romance to this most academic of locales. Most visitors take guided or self-guided walking tours (bring comfortable shoes!) around the colleges to get a real taste of the city. Try a two-hour guided tour with Oxford Guild of Guides, departing twice daily from the Tourist Information Center. Movie buffs might notice a few familiar scenes from the Harry Potter films shot here, while beer drinkers and conversation makers will enjoy Oxford’s unrivaled assortment of pubs, some of which were built in the 1200s.

For detailed information on train and bus companies, head to Visiting UK .

The Beach at Brighton

A funky carousel lends flair to the serene Brighton shoreline.

A funky carousel lends flair to the serene Brighton shoreline.

This is not the typical shoreline scene; Brighton is a fun-loving conglomerate with eclectic shopping opportunities, unusual street-side cafes, a kitschy pier and enough arts, architecture and nightlife to draw study abroad students and local revelers. Brighton also has its own population of students and a significant community of free-spirited hippie types, all set against the lush English countryside. If the sky is clear, head to the pier for a glimpse of France across the English Channel. Catch the train from London; roundtrip fare for the approximately hour-long trip is about 20 euros.

The Brighton and Hove Tourist Information Web site provides additional information for visitors, including eateries and events.

Colchester and the Firstsite Galley

Roses, strawberries and wine are a few of the items that thrive in England’s oldest recorded town of Colchester. In addition to the quaint scenery—17th Century cottages along the River Colne, Colchester Castle and a lovely Dutch quarter feature prominently—this little getaway also boasts a Roman past, remnants of which include the 2000-year-old Balkerne Gate. The train ride from Liverpool Street Station in London is about one hour. Use this street plan from the BeenThere-DoneThat travel blog once you arrive

Colchester is also the temporary home of the Firstsite Gallery until its new building is completed. The gallery houses a collection of cotemporary visual artworks, and puts on a summer program featuring talks, workshops and various events led by artists in locations around Essex. Visit the Firstsite Gallery Web site for further details.


Making a weekend of Edinburgh may be ideal, but for those students who either can’t afford the time or costs of a longer stay, it is entirely possible to plan a day trip from London to the Scottish city. To make the most of your time, get an overnight train from London Euston station to Edinburgh Waverly, and then change to Edinburgh Park train; the trip is about four and a half hours long, so arriving early is key. Plan your day with help from Edinburgh’s official Tourism Web site, and get train schedules and tickets at the Trainline Web site.

2 Responses to “From London, Day Trips Within and Beyond Britain”

  1. 1 AndrewBoldman June 4, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting.

  2. 2 KattyBlackyard June 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    The article is very good. Please write more

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