Great English Towns and Cities for Summer Day Trips

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Dare we say it, but we think British summer might have arrived! Sunny days have us itching to explore and leave our homes far behind. We’ve rounded up some of England’s greatest day trip spots, so that you don’t have to waste your precious summer researching.


Distance from major city: 61 miles from London
How to get here: Greater Anglia operates trains out of London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. These trains take just over an hour.
Why you should visit: Cambridge is home to one of the world’s oldest universities. The University of Cambridge dates all the way back to 1209! You can explore many of the university’s chapels, and museums, giving you the chance to sample a slice of this iconic institution’s history. It’s not all about the university though — the River Cam is a firm favourite with visitors looking to enjoy a little romance. Hire a punt and impress your loved one as you meander along the river.


Distance from major city: 45 miles from Manchester, and 28 miles from Liverpool
How to get here: Merseyrail operate a direct train from Liverpool Lime Street to Chester, and several trainline operate trains from Manchester Piccadilly here. It’s quickest to drive from Liverpool to Chester.
Why you should visit: From the Roman city walls, to the imposing Cathedral and lovely shopping opportunities, there’s plenty of reason to visit this city. Families will want to head to Chester Zoo where they’ll find walk through bat caves, lions, apes and more. Chester Race Course offers up the opportunity to don a fancy hat for the horse racing.


Distance from major city: 78 miles from London
How to get here: Southern Rail operates a high-speed train service from St Pancras to Margate, with a stop at Stratford International too.
Why you should visit: London in peak summer climes can feel a long, long way from that fresh sea breeze. However, Margate offers golden sands, and is just an hour-long train journey away. When you’re not living your best beach life, the Turner Contemporary art gallery offers up impressive artwork in a seafront location, while the Dreamland amusement park is set to be a hit with the whole family.


Distance from major city: 33 miles from central London
How to get here: Great Western run trains from London Paddington to Maidenhead. You can connect on from Maidenhead to Marlow.
Why you should visit: Marlow is a pretty town on the banks of the river Thames, but not the Thames as us Londoners know it. Here in the Thames Valley, it’s all lush meadows and meandering waters, giving it a peaceful countryside feel. Walk along the river banks, before stopping off at Tom Kerridge’s Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers pub. What a blissful way to spend a Sunday!

Leamington Spa

Distance from major city: 30 miles from Birmingham
How to get here: There are direct trains from Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa
Why you should visit: Leamington Spa is well known for its grandiose regency architecture, and compact but well-equipped shopping area. There’s also an art gallery to explore, and verdant manicured gardens to stroll through. After a day of shopping and culture, the town has a great array of restaurants to choose from.


Distance from major city: 13 miles from Liverpool
How to get here: The easiest way to travel to Formby from Liverpool is by car. It’s significantly quicker than the public transport options.
Why you should visit: The sleepy town of Formby doesn’t immediately scream day trip. The town centre is all grand houses, however there are two important factors that make it a must-visit. The town is home to a sprawling red squirrel sanctuary, making it one of the only places in the UK where you can see these cute critters. The sanctuary sits within plush woodland too, making it a lovely walking location. The second reason why you have to add it to your day trip list is its beach. Here, you’ll find rolling sand dunes and flour-soft sands.


Distance from major city: 47 miles from York
How to get here: You can catch the train from York to Scarborough, before hopping aboard a connecting train to Whitby.
Why you should visit: Whitby is one of Yorkshire’s most well-loved beach resorts, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a beach hut-lined stretch of golden sands, famous fish and chips to be enjoyed doused in salt and vinegar, and the Gothic Whitby Abbey, which was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It really offers something for everyone.