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There are so many places to visit near London! There are many day trips from London by train that you can do, but if you really want to get out of the big smoke, into nature and somewhere new, a road trip from London is the answer!
Below are ideas from myself and my blogging friends on short trips from London to the best places to visit in the UK. These include road trips from London that you can do as day trips from London and 2-5 day trips from London.
These road trip from London ideas are based on visiting the coast, countryside and small villages outside of London as I believe they will provide a more exciting road trip adventure, and they are a safer option as you can self distance better in these places!
Whether you live in London, or you are visiting London as a tourist, here are UK road trip ideas from London and the best road trips from London to help you start planning your London getaway!
Road Trips from London
Campervan Hire for UK Road Trips
Before we get into all of the best UK road trip ideas from London. If you want to go on a memorable road trip with the freedom and flexibility to stop and camp where you want, why not hire a Camper??
Let me introduce to you Indie Campers! They provide Campervan hire in the UK and Europe and their London depot is close to Heathrow Airport which is the perfect place to start and end your London road trip!
Indie Campers own a range of high-quality Campervans and provide a high level of assistance before your booking and during your booking. Best of all, you can change the dates of your booking FOR FREE up to 48 hours in advance in case your plans change, or the weather looks like it could be bad and you can reschedule for a sunnier trip!
When planning a road trip around the UK, visiting less-visited places like the suggestions below, and staying self-contained is going to be the future of travel for a while, but that’s not a bad thing as it provides a new adventure! So be sure to look into Indie Campers for a unique Road Trip from London!
The Channel Island of Jersey is a great island escape form London and the UK, without leaving the UK. Drive down to Poole and catch the 4 Hour 40 Minute scenic car ferry onto Jersey Channel Island. Jersey works perfectly as a 3 day road trip from London!
Jersey is a small island which makes road tripping around Jersey a lot of fun because you can see so much! However although small, Jersey is packed with natural attractions, historic attractions and amazingly good food, perfect for a weekend road trip from London!
On your Jersey Channel Island itinerary, I recommend trying a surf lesson on the West Coast of the Island. Going hiking along the North Coast of the Island and going out on a RIB Boat Trip Adventure on the East Coast in search for seals! I also really recommend having dinner at The Boat House in the pretty village of St Aubin. You’ll be sure to return back to London refreshed and relaxed from all that island air!
Diving Distance from London: 7 Hours by Road & Ferry
Suggested By: The Wandering Quinn
2. Cotswolds Villages
If you’d like to escape London for some peace and relaxation, there’s no better place to go than the beautiful English countryside! Not too far away from London is the Cotswolds “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, a collection of charming little villages surrounded by rolling green hills and stunning scenery.
Whether you’re looking to take a day trip from London or searching for the perfect weekend getaway, visiting a few of the Cotswolds villages makes an excellent choice when it comes to planning a road trip from London, no matter the length you choose.
Some of the most picturesque villages to visit in the Cotswolds region are Bibury, Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Castle Combe (but there are so many more!). The beauty of the Cotswolds villages is that they are all located close to one another and they are easy to reach from London in just a few hours making it a great road trip in England from London.
The best things to do when visiting any of the villages are exploring the pretty cobbled streets admiring the beautiful historic buildings, popping into a cosy historic pub for a bite to eat, and taking a scenic walk around the countryside to soak up the peaceful atmosphere!
Diving Distance from London: 87 Miles. 2 Hours.
Suggested By: The Road is Life
3. Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is a 95-mile stretch of jagged coastline in southern England. Famed for its beautiful beaches, iconic country landscapes and captivating coastal hiking paths, it’s the ideal setting for a weekend from London where being in nature is your top priority.
The defining icon of the Jurassic Coast is Old Harry Rocks; a collection of dazzling white limestone stacks arranged along the coast like a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be assembled. It’s the perfect place to unwind and watch the sun go down in front of iconic scenery.
Lulworth Cove is a circular cove surrounded by a sweeping arc of pebbles, backed by steep cliffs. It’s a beautiful part of England and the best way to see it is on a stroll along the coast to Durdle Door. This walk, with towering cliffs on one side and bucolic countryside on the other, is one of the best short walks on the Jurassic Coast.
Corfe Castle, an 11th century ruin, is an engrossing and atmospheric spot to catch the sunrise. From the short but steep climb up nearby West Hill, the view as the sun lights up the decaying stone is a mesmerising way to experience the Jurassic Coast, a fantastic UK road trip from London!
Diving Distance from London: 125 Miles. 2 Hours 45 Minutes.
Suggested By: Anywhere We Roam
4. Suffolk Coast
At about 2.5 hours from London, the Suffolk coast is a great choice for a day trip from London, but it’s such a beautiful part of the world and so quiet that you’ll want to stay for a weekend. Suffolk is one of the most unspoiled parts of the UK and with over 50 miles of heritage coastline, there’s plenty of space to go and stretch your legs on its many beautiful and uncrowded beaches.
The most popular beaches are Aldeburgh, Southwold and Thorpeness, but if you’re looking to completely get away from it all, then Dunwich, situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a great choice. It’s home to the National Trust owned Dunwich Heath, which is a beautiful spot for walks.
If you’re looking to do an overnight road trip from London by car, the Cliff House Holiday Park is a lovely campsite right on the cliffs where you can pitch a tent, caravan or hire a lodge
Diving Distance from London: 100 Miles. 2 Hours 30 Minutes.
Suggested By: UK Family Travel
5. Barry Island, Wales
Visiting South Wales is a great idea for a road trip from London as both places are either end of the M4 and takes around 3.5 hours by car. One of the best places to visit on a road trip from London in South Wales is Barry Island especially if you’re looking for a trip to the seaside for some tasty fish and chips and easy hikes around the coast.
When going on a road trip to Barry Island from London, there’s cheap and all-day parking in close walking distance to the attractions and two accessible roads because it’s not an actual island (anymore). The best things to do on Barry Island include riding the fairground, indulging on candy floss and stick-a-rocks, making sandcastles, renting a colourful beach hut and playing crazy golf on the promenade. If you’re brave enough, you could dip in the freezing ocean for a swim or attempt to win prizes in the arcade grabbers.
The unmissable thing to do on Barry Island, however, is enjoy everything Gavin and Stacey which was set and filmed around the area. On your visit, be sure to read this guide to Gavin and Stacey filming locations and take a selfie with the cast billboard at Marco’s cafe for a memorable weekend road trip from London!
Diving Distance from London: 160 Miles. 3 hours 15 minutes.
Suggested By: The Happy Days Travels
6. Isle of Wight
One of the most unique places you can visit on a road trip from London is the Isle of Wight. Located just a stone throw away from the southern coast of England is a great place to spend a weekend away with friends and family.
From a few amazing beaches like Ryde beach to unusual experiences like visiting the Garlic Farm – there are so many things to do on the Isle of Wright. Don’t forget to drive the famous Military Road, full of with stunning cliffs views and to visit the Needles – one of the main landmarks on the Isle of Wight.
It’s better not to visit the isle of Wight during Bank Holidays in May but apart of that little island is a less touristy place – perfect for everyone willing to have great walks without crowds.
Diving Distance from London: 90 Miles. 3 Hours 10 Minutes.
Suggested By: Darek and Gosia
7. Ashdown Forest, Sussex
Ashdown Forest is a great place to stop on a road trip from London. For those who don’t know, Ashdown Forest is the real-life inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood where Winnie the Pooh lives. A. A. Milne stated that he believed Ashdown Forest was enchanted, and spent many hours wandering through it.
Today, visitors can also walk through various parts of the forest and even try to find different characters from the books. The most popular activity is playing Poohsticks by the river. Nearby is, of course, Pooh Corner the sweetshop where A. A. Milne would take Christopher Robin.
In addition to getting out and enjoying nature, it is worth stopping by many of the surrounding towns. In East Grinstead you can learn about the town’s fascinating connection to WWII or stand on the Meridian Line. Or head South to Fletching and take an alpaca for a walk. The beautiful Tudor Hever Castle is just a 20 minute drive away!
Diving Distance from London: 36 Miles. 1 hour 20 minutes.
Suggested By: Cultura Obscura
8. Camber Sands, East Sussex
Camber Sands in East Sussex is a wonderful day out or weekend away from London. The beach is over two miles long so there’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
In summer time Camber Sands is a wonderful spot for a swim or a paddle. Children love to visit for sandcastle building or flying a kite. In wintertime, the beach is popular with horse riders and dog walkers and the sunsets are magnificent making this an all year round road trip from London!
Camber Sands is located just outside the medieval town of Rye near the border with Kent. There are plenty of interesting walks in the area as well as some good places to buy a take away lunch. If you don’t want to stray too far from the beach, there are several restaurants next to the beach although most of Camber Sands is backed by sand dunes, making it very picturesque.
Ensure you arrive early at Camber Sands, on warm days the car parks can get very busy so plan your London road trip accordingly.
Diving Distance from London: 80 Miles. 2 Hours 10 Minutes.
Suggested By: Smudged Postcard
9. Lyme Regis, Dorset
When looking for a trip out of London, there is no greater escape from the crowds than the beach. A few hours drive from London and you can find yourself in the tranquil county of Dorset. Famed for the beaches, cliffs and fossils, the charming seaside town of Lyme Regis is a great place to base yourself. Due to the longer drive, I would recommend spending at least a night, or perhaps even a weekend, in Lyme Regis on this road trip from Lonon.
The beach here is naturally pebbled, and you will often see people searching under the cliffs for fossils. There is also a man-made sand beach, great for when the sun comes out. The main street of Lyme Regis is dotted with independent shops, and there is also an old working mill. In the summer, there is also the opportunity to take a boat trip from the harbour, wither for sightseeing or fishing.
In addition to this, there are some wonderful walks in the area. Many offer amazing views of the southern coastline.
Diving Distance from London: 154 Miles. 3 Hours.
Suggested By: Around The World With Her
10. Kent Villages
Kent isn’t known as “The Garden of England” for nothing. Kent is home to many quaint villages, amazing landscapes, historic castles, award-wining seaside resorts and breathtaking coastline views.
There are indeed many beautiful villages in Kent to visit within 1-2 hours drive of London. You can reach Aylesford village in an hour which is on the River Medway, 4 miles to the north-west of Maidstone. There are free car parks for visitors where you can find a walking path which leads you to the village and the countryside around it making Kent one of the great London road trip ideas for scenic drives near London.
Or, you can go to Godmersham, where you can find the Godmersham Park. Keep in mind this park is not like any other parks, it is featured on 10 pounds notes.
Fordwich, the smallest town in the UK With a population of 381 is also located in Kent on the River Stour. You can rent a boat and go on the river or just have a walk around.
For the coastal walk, you can drive to Broadstairs, a pretty town on the Isle of Thanet, where you can visit Charles Dickens’ favourite holiday spot.
Diving Distance from London: 36 Miles. 1 Hour.
Suggested By: Travel With Mansoureh
11. Peak District
Nestled between the big cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Derby, The Peak District National Park is the oldest National Park in the UK. It’s only a 3-hour drive from London, and standing on the craggy edge of one of the Peak District’s escarpments, overlooking the expansive landscape of green rolling hills and quaint villages below, you will feel a million miles away from life in the Capital.
Grab your Ordnance Survey map and hiking boots and head for a hike in the hills. Whilst Mam Tor in the North, or Dovedale Stepping Stones in the South, are popular hiking destinations, perhaps head to Curbar Edge or the rolling hills around Monyash, which will be much quieter.
Alternatively, bring your bike in your car and cycle along the miles upon miles of disused railway tracks that criss-cross the National Park. These have been transformed into gravel paths that are entirely traffic-free.
Whilst it is very doable to do a day trip from London with an early start and late finish, a visit to the Peak District is all about connecting with nature and slowing the pace. So really, you want to book in at least a full weekend to reap the benefits of this road trip from London.
Diving Distance from London: 150 Miles. 2 Hours 50 Minutes.
Suggested By: Peak District Kids
12. New Forest
The New Forest is a great place for a day trip from London or weekend road trip from London. There are several campsites in the area, where you can truly unwind and enjoy being close to nature. You can take bikes with you or rent some, as the area has some great cycling trails. It is also a good destination for people, who want to go hiking near London.
You will most likely spot some wild horses on your outing. They are a common sight in the New Forest National Park. You can also book horse riding lessons and tours at most stables. In the summer wild swimming is quite popular. There are several rope swings hung up by locals along the Lymington River.
Brockenhurst has a nice little area by the river, which is suitable for small children to paddle in the water. Families often come for a picnic at the river bank so this is a great option if you’re wanting to take a family road trip from London.
Diving Distance from London: 88 Miles. 1 Hour 40 Minutes.
Suggested By: Travel Hacker Girl
A Cornwall road trip is best enjoyed on a long weekend road trip from London.
National Trust members can park for free in the specified car parks scattered around Cornwall, and the coastal paths are the best way to see the rugged Cornish coastline.
One of the most scenic routes on the Cornish coastal path is the route from Sennen Cove to Lands End, which gives walkers views over the beautiful Sennen beach and harbour area. It’s the perfect spot to see Cornish wildlife, including red-billed choughs, peregrines, kestrels and grey seals. Further along the Mayon Cliffs coastal path, you can also walk to Maen Castle and see the lighthouses/shipwrecks lining the path.
As well as the coastal path walks, Cornwall has a plethora of beaches and coves to visit where you will find secluded spots to enjoy minus the other tourists. Even tourist favourite, Kynance Cove has a variety of coves and rock pools to enjoy away from other tourists. The coastal path from Kynance Cove to Lizard Point takes 47 minutes to walk or 15 minutes to drive.
Timing is often everything when it comes to visiting places like Cornwall, and getting up early to explore or visiting the beaches in the late afternoon/early evening are a great way to get around and see the sights without hordes of other tourists. Cornwall has various National Trust and English Heritage sites to visit, including the legendary Tintagel, as well as waterfalls and green areas to visit.
There’s no doubt that Cornwall is a tourist hotspot, it is the place to visit if you want to get a taste of The Med without leaving England, but there are plenty of places to visit minus the crowds so looking into a London to Cornwall road trip!
Diving Distance from London: 260 Miles. 5 Hours.
Suggested By: The Life of a Social Butterfly
Norwich is the perfect road trip destination from London as it is not as far as you think, just over 2 hours from Central London. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the country, and has a thriving independent food and shopping scene.
Home to one of the largest open-air markets in the UK, a 12th-century castle, two cathedrals and a maze of cobbled stone streets. It is a city that offers everything! After a day of exploring there are plenty of pubs, cocktail bars and restaurants serving local produce for you to enjoy.
Norwich also provides a great starting point to discover some of Norfolk’s most stunning countryside. The beautiful North Norfolk coastline stretches for over 100 miles and things to do in Norfolk include discovering gorgeous beaches, adorable coastal villages and some amazing wildlife – the seals live here all year round!
Closer to the city you can find the Norfolk broads. A man-made warren of waterways which provide beautiful views and a great day trip out! A perfect weekend getaway with a mix of country and city.
Diving Distance from London: 118 Miles. 2 Hours 25 Minutes.
Suggested By: Where Charlie Wanders
A Stonehenge day trip from London is both easy and fun because you can easily drive from London to Stonehenge and I recommend stopping in Salisbury, a town with a wonderful cathedral, along the way.
Once you get there, you may be surprised by the fact you can’t actually enter the stone circle, but only see it from a distance. The only time of the year when you can enter is Summer Solstice when you can access Stonehenge for free on a first come first served basis to see the sunrise aligning perfectly with the rocks.
All other times of the year, you can learn about Stonehenge at the visitor centre, where you’ll discover theories about how and why it was built, plus see a 360° audiovisual view, allowing you to stand virtually in the centre of the stone circle and see how it changes in different seasons.
Visiting Stonehenge, touring the visitor centre and admiring the stone circle from different angles takes about 3/4 hours, making this destination ideal for a day trip from London by car. For a weekend away, you could add Salisbury and nearby Avebury so you have enough to do to fill two days on your road trip from London.
Diving Distance from London: 88 Miles. 1 Hour 40 Minutes.
Suggested By: The Crowded Planet
Most people think of the festival when they hear the name ‘Glastonbury’; few know that the town is well worth visiting in its own right. If you like nature, history and unique shops, you’re in the right place!
Quirky Glastonbury is a fantastic day trip from London or weekend road trip from London – it’s manageable in a day, but if you have time, it’s best to camp out nearby, or stay in one of the lovely guesthouses in town to make it a weekend trip.
The drive from London to Glastonbury enjoys lush green scenery as you cross the beautiful rural counties of Wiltshire and Somerset. Glastonbury is surrounded by nature, and plenty of hiking opportunities can be had close to the town, including the famous Glastonbury Tor, a hill which is awash with Pagan and Christian legend and has spring water that is said to be healing running out from underneath.
In the town, there are the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, and lots of shops, where amongst the usual clothes and books, you can also buy tarot cards and crystal balls! Its culture and history have given it the title of ‘England’s most magical town’; and any tourists there will definitely feel a mystical air as they walk around!
Diving Distance from London: 88 Miles. 1 Hour 40 Minutes.
Suggested By: Go South West
Take a day trip from London and visit the largest stone circle in the world at Avebury in Wiltshire. Avebury Stone Circle has been there for since between 2850 and 2200 BC.
Avebury is set on a mound with a ditch running around it. The area has been used for farming for nearly 6,000 years and sheep still roam round the stones. Unlike Stonehenge, you can get up close and even touch the stones.
If you want a break from walking, you can stop for a bite to eat in the café at the barn or the Red Lion Pub, or have a look around the shops in the village. The Alex Keiller Museum in the Museum Barn gives you an insight into the history of Avebury and the archaeological finds that have been made. Walking tours around the stones can be booked at the museum too. The stones are free to walk round, though there is a charge for entering the Museum.
There is a large carpark which costs £4 per day for non-National Trust members and is free for members. The ticket machine only takes coins, so make sure you have change with you. There is parking for the disabled in the Old Farmyard.
18. London To Scotland
Finally, for something a bit different, if you have the time, and especially if you are flying into the UK for this UK Road Trip, why not look into a London to Scotland Road Trip or a Scotland to London Road Trip.
Indie Campers who I mentioned at the start of this post have a depot near London Heathrow Airport and Edinburgh Airport which means you could start in Edinburgh and do a road trip to London visiting lots of places in Scotland and England in between, or a London to Edinburgh Road Trip.
It would be best to do this as a 3-7 day road trip in the UK!
Diving Distance from London: 400 Miles. 7 Hours.
Suggested By: The Wandering Quinn
Now you’re set with plenty of ideas for an epic road trip from London!
More of my trips from London posts:
This post is in collaboration with Indie Campers.