Staying in any of the convenient Hostels in London is a top choice for the visitor on a budget. Here are some excellent day trips out from London.
If you’re travelling on a budget, staying in one of the excellent hostels in London doesn’t mean you can only explore the inner city. These top destinations will only take you anywhere between 20 minutes and a couple of hours by London’s famously reliable rail system.
1. St. Albans (20 minutes by rail) – Over 2,000 years of history have moulded this city, and everyone from the Celts to the Romans to the Benedictine Order has left their marks. Lovers of history will definitely want to pay a visit to St. Albans, and it’s certainly within easy access of any of the central hostels in London.
There was an Iron Age settlement known as Verulamium, Verlamion, or Verlamio, near the site of the present city, the centre of Tasciovanus’ power and a major center of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BC until shortly after the Roman invasion of AD 43. The name “Verulamium” is Celtic, meaning “settlement over or by the marsh”.
2. Windsor (30 minutes by rail) – Fancy learning a thing or two about the royal family? Windsor is the place you’ll want to go, especially since it is home to the famous royal residence, Windsor Castle. There’s also the Windsor Legoland theme park, which can be quite fun to explore for the young or young at heart.
Catch the traditional military parade and Changing of the Guards up the high street and into the castle to the Lower Ward. The ceremony lasts 30 minutes and starts at 11:00 (but you can catch the march up the hill at 10:50) and weather permitting they’re accompanied by a band. The Guard March takes place all year round on alternate days from August to March and daily during April, May, June and July (apart from Sundays).
The early history of the site is unknown, although it was almost certainly settled some years before 1070 when William the Conqueror had a timber motte and bailey castle constructed. The focus of royal interest at that time was not the castle, however, but a small riverside settlement about 3 miles (5 km) downstream, possibly established from the 7th century.
3. Epping Forest (40 minutes by rail) – Nothing quite beats strolling through a tranquil forest, especially if you need to decompress from the typically crowded areas around the hostels in London. Just make sure to check before you travel though, as Epping Forest is closed to the public on certain days.
The area which became known as Waltham, and then Epping Forest has been continuously forested since Neolithic times. Embankments of two Iron Age earthworks – Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks – can be found in the woodland, but pollen profiles show that Iron Age occupation had no significant effect on the forest ecology. The formerlime/linden Tilia-dominated woodland was permanently altered during Saxon times by selective cutting of trees. Today's beech-birch and oak-hornbeam-dominated forest was the result of partial forest clearance in Saxon times
4. Brighton (1 hour by rail) – It only takes an hour by rail to reach Brighton and you'll have a wonderful time exploring the nooks and crannies of this gloriously eclectic and creative city. The Royal Pavilion and the beach with its fun fair on the pier are world famous, and there's pretty much something to entertain any kind of visitor, old or young.
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The ancient settlement of "Brighthelmstone" was documented in the Domesday Book (1086). The town's importance grew during the Middle Ages as the Old Town developed, but it languished in the early modern period, affected by foreign attacks, storms, a suffering economy and a declining population. During the modern period, Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and becoming a boarding point for boats travelling to France. The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.
In the quaint Lanes shopping area of Brighton, Café Rouge serves a fantastic range of French dishes. The cosy interior adds to the ...
Café Rouge – Brighton Marina Standing out on the marina with its red façade, Café Rouge Brighton serves a tasty array of French ...
5. Oxford (1.5 hours by rail) – Another acclaimed university has its home here in Oxford, while plenty of museums will keep you occupied. Oxford’s Blenheim Palace is also worth a visit, with movies like the Harry Potter series and A Little Chaos filming scenes there.
The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold.
Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen" (according to theEnglish Place-Name Society, who base their result on a passing reference in Florence of Worcester's work "Chronicon ex chronicis"); fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia andWessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.
Offering a chic restaurant and bar, The Tree Hotel in the leafy village of Iffley in Oxford serves continental, Thai and Indian delicacies, ...
Situated in the heart of Chinnor, The Wheatsheaf pub is one of Oxfordshire’s cosiest and dare we say it, most interesting pubs! South ...
6. Cambridge (1 hour by rail) – Here you can visit one of the world’s most acclaimed universities and go punting on the river – or get someone else to row for you! This picturesque city is every bit as lovely as you've heard.
There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.
Cambridge is the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower.
Decorated in the definitive Café Rouge style, this Cambridge branch serves French cuisine on Bridge Street, midway between the punts and the city ...
Oozing ultra-sleek Scandinavian chic, Sticks’n’Sushi brings an exciting fusion concept to Cambridge. With the original Sticks’n’Sushi site in Copenhagen, this cutting-edge concept combines ...
7. Bath (1.5 hours by rail) – The aptly named city is home to the only natural hot springs in Britain. The Roman baths and spas may be a welcome treat for those hankering for a nice, long soak to relax those travelling muscles and tired feet.
The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") c. AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era.
During the English Civil War, the city was garrisoned for Charles I. Seven thousand pounds was spent on fortifications, but on the appearance of parliamentary forces the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered.
The beautifully revived Crystal Palace is housed in a Grade II listed building and brings delicious British cuisine to the heart of Bath. ...
8. Canterbury (1.5 hours by rail) – Lovers of religious history and architecture simply must take the time to visit Canterbury’s famous cathedral. St Martin’s Church and St Augustine’s Abbey are two notable landmarks worth visiting as well.
Canterbury is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, the city's economy is heavily reliant upon tourism. The city has been occupied since Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic Cantiaciand Jute Kingdom of Kent. Many historical structures fill the area, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King's School. Modern additions include the Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home of the Kent County Cricket Club. There is also a substantial student population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts, and the Girne American University Canterbury campus. Canterbury remains, however, a relatively small city in terms of geographical size, when compared with other British cities.
Café Rouge – Canterbury In the centre of the city and a 2-minute walk from Canterbury Cathedral, Café Rouge serves traditional French cuisine. ...
9. Stonehenge (2 hours by rail) – Stonehenge is a marvel of Neolithic construction and is well worth spending the time to visit. It’s only eight miles north of Salisbury.
Keep all these destinations in mind when you’re based in one of the many excellent hostels in London and you’ll realize just how much you can see by rail.
Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.
10. Salisbury (2 hours by rail) – Salisbury boasts beautiful religious architecture as well as a lush countryside ideal for walks, cycles and sightseeing tours. It’s also home to the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta, of which only four intact copies remain.
The hilltop at Old Sarum lies near the Neolithic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and shows some signs of early settlement. It commanded a salient between the River Bourne and the Hampshire Avon near a crossroads of several early trade routes