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The 5 Best Day Trips From London

Sometimes you need to escape the hectic hum of the city and seek greener pastures. Thanks to the network of railway lines and roads splintering out from central London, you can easily whisk yourself away to the English countryside or a rural town for a much-needed break. You can use this time to discover the multitude of delights that the surrounding areas have to offer. Treat your palate on food tours, explore cities on two wheels, and see the site where the fiction-famous school of witchcraft and wizardry was brought to life.

Cycling Tour of Brighton
Feel the seaside wind whip at your clothes and see the city from two wheels on this extensive cycling tour. The route balances tourist-worthy landmarks with plant-filled parks and historic sites to ensure you get an all-encompassing tour of the city. You’ll get your cultural fix at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, before setting off on a trail that includes the twisting cobblestone alleyways of The Lanes – a historic shopping hub – and an aquatic pit stop at the world’s oldest aquarium, Sea Life Brighton.

Jurassic Coast: Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Half-Day Trip
Not to be confused with the film-famous dinosaur park, South England’s Jurassic Coast is a sprawling World Heritage Site stretching almost 100 miles (161 kilometres) from Devon to Dorset. Travelling by coach via Poole Harbour and picturesque Sandbanks, you will arrive at Durdle Door, an enchanting, weather-beaten limestone arch that rises out of the water like a portal into Atlantis. A 30-minute walk away is Lulworth Cove and its fascinating array of warped sedimentary rocks, twisted and sheared over a 150 million years and strewn with fossils. Once you’ve had your fill of exploration, you can recharge in one of the pubs or tearooms that lie along its banks.

Punting and Graduate-Guided Cambridge University and City Tour
One for the family, this tour fuses a quintessential Cambridge activity with an enlightening exploration of its renowned university. See where the likes of Stephen Hawking, Prince Charles and Sir Isaac Newton once studied, and marvel at the striking Gothic chapel of King’s College and the cascading facade of the Art Deco Senate House. Your guide will regale you with some intriguing anecdotes and famous history along the way. Afterwards, hop in a traditional punt to glide through the city’s waterways, which are lined by verdant river banks, parks and stately colleges.

Guilty Pleasures Food and Drink Tour of Bath
Bath has a thriving artisanal food scene, and this tour will treat you to bites from the best, along with refreshing (non-alcoholic) drinks and tales that illuminate the city’s history. Come with an appetite: as part of a small group, you’ll sample eight different nibbles, with the option to purchase more for gifts as you go. The stops on this tour are kept as a surprise, so signing up is the best way to get an insider’s guide to Bath’s culinary hotspots.

Harry Potter Filming Locations Tour of New College in Oxford
Cloak yourself in the wizarding world of Harry Potter on this location tour. Taking you around some significant filming spots, the route follows in the footsteps of stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as they walked the halls of Hogwarts, recuperated under the vaulted ceilings of the infirmary (aka Bodleian Library) and were taunted by Malfoy from the gnarled oak tree nestled in New College Cloisters. You will also learn of the other literary heavyweights that called the city home, as the guide shares tales of alternate world-weaving authors such as J.R.R Tolkien and Lewis Carroll.

Travel London: The Living Past and the Ever-Present

London Bridge may have fallen, but this tenacious society has a knack for bouncing back from just about anything. Although much of the city's visible history has been wiped out by centuries of fires, rebuilding and modernization, London is inescapably a prevailing icon of the global past, present and future. Museums, monuments and the presence of the Royal Family all maintain an air of London's ancient and imperial history about the city.

The London Reality: From Lackluster to Illustrious
During the Industrial Revolution, London was by far the most polluted city in the world. The infamous London Fog killed thousands of people while Parliament had to move away from the River Thames due to the unbearable stench. London cleaned up its act since then but the streets are still a composite of poverty and wealth, doldrums and brilliance. The proximity of these realities is what makes London so fascinating and unique to the city's visitors.

The Tate Modern Museum is a leading example of how London likes to reinvent itself. The exclusively contemporary museum is housed in the old Bankside Power Station, contributing an industrial, factory-like feel with sharp lines and a smokestack exterior. From the Tate, the sleek Millennium Footbridge stretches across the Thames with the elegant St. Paul's Cathedral jutting paradoxically into the sky beyond. Just down the bank, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre also stands in a dilemma of time periods. The shiny plated sphere shatters the mental image of Old English literature and seems to be a modern nod to a coveted and precious part of London's cultural identity. In the center of London's progressive bustle, Buckingham Palace sits as regally as it ever has while visitors press up against the iron gates daily to view the ceremonious changing of the guard.

London stands apart from other major cities due to its unusually expansive range of parklands. Hyde Park once served as Henry VIII's hunting ground and covers 350 acres of land, divided by Serpentine Lake. The Park is used for many public events and is contiguous with the prestigious Kensington Gardens. An interesting twist to greenery can be found in the Highgate Cemetery, known for its eerie Victorian-Gothic tombs and overgrown catacombs.

Eat, Drink, Shop, and be Merry
Busy Londoners love to consume and indulge. Even in this rather fast-paced commercial capital, the nightlife is even more tireless. Pubs are packed in the early evenings and some of the world's most famous nightclubs rage until dawn. The world's top restaurants are booked until midnight and offer some of the finest dining experiences anywhere, with a focus on international cuisine. During your stay in London you will indulge, buy, see and schmooze, but any attempt to schedule sleep into your itinerary may be foiled.