Scenic Weekend Getaways from London by Train and Bus

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Best day trips from London

Has it been a while since you have been out of London, or maybe you need a break from the fast-paced city life?

If that is the case, I have got your back. There is a plethora of options when it comes to weekend trips from London by train and bus. Whatever you are looking for in your weekend getaway, there is a good chance you will find a spot that fits your needs in this guide.

Read on to learn more about the 19 best vacation destinations to spend the weekend near London. I also explain how you can get to them by train or bus.

Key takeaways

  • For history and cultural experiences go to Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, or York.
  • Fro the nature and beautiful scenery visit Brighton, The Cotswolds, St Ives.
  • Bristol for those who love Banksy.
  • Manchester, and Liverpool are the safe bets.

Table of Contents

What people say on Reddit

Lincoln is lovely. Take the train from Kings Cross to Newark Northgate and then change to Lincoln. Leave the station and walk up the High Street towards Steep Hill, once at the top you’ll find a beautiful cathedral and a mediaeval castle with victorian prisons. There’s also the Bishop’s Palace, The Lawn, Usher Gallary, and The Collection nearby, not to mention the Roman walks and ruins, quaint shops, and if you time it right many different themed festivals.


Dublin is super easy to get to and from in London. I just did a day trip the other day — left Stansted at 7 and returned just before midnight! Would make for fun, affordable trip!

I also recommend Germany (Berlin especially but also Cologne), as RyanAir typically has affordable weekend flights. Helsinki is beautiful in the summer and would be a blast. Would also recommend Brussels for a few days too!

Enjoy London! I’m moving back to the US after living here for three years and I’m heartbroken. Love this city.


Canterbury is 3 stops on the high speed from St Pancras. You have the cathedral there, you also have access to places like whitstable on the bus which is nice seaside town with a harbour and all the seafood you could desire. I’m pretty sure you can get to Dover from canterbury by train as well so the castle would certainly be worth a visit.


Whitstable, Broadstairs, St Albans, Bournemouth, Brighton, Brockenhurst (New Forest), Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham are all a couple of hours or so – some a lot less – on the train.

Frankly, if you’re including a long weekend, the whole of the country is your list, with a description of ‘historic or seaside’ – anywhere except new towns.


1. Cambridge

Cambridge is a city known worldwide for being home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities. A visit to this city is bound to be a rich cultural experience.

A tour of the university’s eminent campus, including its constituent establishments such as King’s College, will leave you in awe of the place’s grandeur and incredible architecture.

However, this is not all the city of Cambridge has to offer its visitors. You can also venture into the Botanical Gardens and explore over 8,000 plant species. You can also see some of the world’s most iconic antiquities and art pieces at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

How to get to Cambridge by train

You can get to Cambridge from London in under an hour by train from Kings Cross Station.

How to get to Cambridge by bus 

Take a bus from Victoria Coach Station in London to Cambridge Parkside Station. Remember that the trip is a bit longer, taking between 3 and 4 hours.

Read also: Best spots for taking pictures in London.

2. Edinburgh

Another fantastic idea for a weekend trip from London is none other than the Scottish capital.

If you are a fan of natural scenery, a trip to Edinburgh will be right up your alley. The train ride from London to Edinburgh is a massive part of the trip. That is because it allows you to feast your eyes on the breathtaking landscapes even before you get there. 

Once you are in Edinburgh, there are many things to do. From the Camera Obscura to the Scotch Whiskey Experience, there is something for people of all ages.

Of course, no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without paying a visit to the world-famous Edinburgh Castle. This hilltop architectural marvel will have you in awe.

How to get to Edinburgh by train

There are trains outbound from Kings Cross Station to Edinburgh. The trip takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes on average.

How to get to Edinburgh by bus 

You can take a bus to Edinburgh from Victoria Coach Station. On the other hand, this trip can take up to 18 hours. That said, there are express options available that can get you there in under 10 hours.

Useful Video

3. Bath

Bath is arguably one of the top picks in this traveling guide for a weekend trip from London. 

This is a result of its close proximity to the nation’s capital and its uniqueness as a city. The exact identity enamored the iconic novelist Jane Austen so much that she made the city her home.

Bath’s astonishing Georgian architecture is bound to have you snapping pictures left and right. The city’s historical attractions do not stop there, as it is also home to the preserved remains of Ancient Roman Baths.

Unfortunately, the water in these baths is not safe to take a dive in. However, you can do so in the rooftop pool of Bath’s famous Thermae Spa. This sublime experience allows you to relax in some steamy water as you take in the city’s beautiful landscape.

How to get to Bath by train

You can take a train from London Paddington Station and be in Bath in only 90 minutes.

How to get to Bath by bus

You can catch a bus to Bath from London Victoria Coach Station. A bus trip to Bath takes roughly 3 hours.

4. York

The York Minster, England, UK
The York Minster, England, UK

Not many walled cities are left in the world, and York might be one of the most fascinating. The city is packed with sightseeing materials. In fact, the only downside of going to York for a weekend trip is that a two-day itinerary is simply not enough to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Your visit to york will undoubtedly include a trip to York Minster – the city’s monumental Cathedral about 600 years old. 

You will also want to visit the Yorkshire Museum if you are a history buff. This establishment contains various exhibits and artifacts highlighting the city’s rich history.

Another fascinating museum you can visit is the York Castle Museum, which gives you the chance to go back in time and take a stroll in a fabulously restored Victorian street lined with shops.

If you get hungry from walking around, your next stop should be the Chocolate Story. You will get a chance to indulge in some delicious York chocolate as you learn about the city’s extensive history in chocolate-making. 

How to get to York by train

You can take a train to York from King’s Cross Station and get there in under 2 hours.

How to get to York by bus

London Victoria Coach Station has buses that go to York. A non-stop coach to the walled city will get you there in about 5 hours or so.

For your information New York City was not named after York. It was previously called New Amsterdam, then it was changed to New York in honor of the Duke of York.

5. Salcombe (in the Summer)

Salcombe is an excellent destination for some summer weekend adventure. This coastal city is a great choice to escape the bustling life of London for a couple of days.

Tip Make sure to pack your swimming gear.

If you want to kick back and relax, you can chill at North Sands Beach and listen to the sound of crashing waves. If you are in a more adventurous mood, you can explore one of the many coves on the city’s coastline instead.

Salcombe is perfect for peaceful walks as well. Whether you are taking a stroll on the beach or across the city’s spectacular countryside, your senses will be grateful for your decision.

After a day of swimming and long walks, you are certainly bound to get hungry. Salcombe has no shortage of great restaurants, especially when it comes to fresh, delicious seafood.

How to get to Salcombe by train

You can take a train to Totnes Rail Station from London Waterloo Station, which takes about 5 hours. When you get to Totnes, you’ll need to take a 30-minute taxi ride to Salcombe.

How to get to Salcombe by bus

You can get to Salcombe by bus from London Paddington Station. The trip is about 8 and a half hours.

6. Brighton (the Summer sunsets)

Brighton is yet another fantastic option for a coastal weekend escape. It is a city with retro vibes as well as modern flair.

A visit to Brighton is a cannot-miss opportunity to lay eyes on the Royal Pavilion. This magnificent piece of architecture is topped with minarets. And a giant dome is genuinely fascinating – both on the outside and inside. 

Do not stay there too long, though, because you will want to catch some sunlight while chilling on Brighton Beach. Its atmosphere will make you wait until you have witnessed the beautiful sunset overlooking the flickering ships.

Another excellent spot to watch a beautiful Brighton sunset is the Brighton Palace Pier. This place has a perfect view and a bunch of fun activities to do, such as arcade games and roller coaster rides.

There are plenty of small, cozy bars on the pier too.

How to get to Brighton by train

You can get to Brighton by train in just over an hour if you depart from London Victoria Station or London Blackfriars Station.

How to get to Brighton by bus

You can get from London to Brighton via a 3-hour bus ride from London Victoria Coach Station.

7. Bristol

Bristol should be on the top of your weekend getaways list if you are a fan of the arts. The city is known for its street art scene.

As a result, you are bound to see something special when taking a street art walk in Bristol. Additionally, the city’s cobblestone streets significantly add to the aesthetic. 

Not only that, but Bristol is also where the iconic Banksy hails from, meaning you will have a good chance of spotting a Banksy during your stay.

Another tremendous cultural hub to visit in Bristol is the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. This free-to-enter museum has various attractions revolving around art, nature, and history.

If you want to see the colorful Bristol landscape from a birds-eye view, the best way to do so is to climb up the winding staircase of Cabot tower. It may be a long climb, but it is worth every step.

Finally, do not miss a chance to catch a concert at the Bristol Beacon or a play at the Bristol Old Vic!

How to get to Bristol by train

You can catch a train from London Paddington to Bristol Parkway. The journey is about 90 minutes long.

How to get to Bristol by bus

A bus ride from London to Bristol is about 3 hours long. Buses to Bristol take off from London Victoria Coach Station and arrive at the Bristol Bus and Coach Station.

8. St Ives

Like Salcombe, St Ives is a refreshing environment to put yourself in if you want an escape from the fast-paced life of the nation’s capital.

This little pocket of heaven located in Cornwall has pristine beaches that are the perfect place for you to clear your mind.

The difference between St Ives and Salcombe is that the former is more than just a seaside getaway. St Ives is a great city for art enthusiasts as well.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a must-see too. 

Barbara Hepworth is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. The museum comprises over 30 incredible sculptures. 

How to get to St Ives by train

You can take a train from London Paddington Station to St Ives. The journey takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes.

How to get to St Ives by bus

You can get from London Victoria Coach Station to St Ives in around 9 hours.

9. Liverpool

Right off the bat, the vibe of Liverpool alone is enough to make it worth visiting. The city’s locals are as friendly and warm as they come, creating an amazing environment of positive energy.

As you immerse yourself in these good vibes, there are many things to see and do.

The Royal Albert Dock is a treasure trove of sights and activities. For music lovers, the Beatles statue is a prime destination. There are also a lot of museums to venture into in the vicinity, not to mention the wide range of cuisines available in the dock’s many restaurants and cafes.

As with many cities in England, Liverpool is a household name on a global scale due to its football team. They’re known to have some of the best fans in the world. 

So, if you are lucky enough to be in the city when there is a home game on the schedule, you should book tickets to Anfield Stadium. You do not have to be a football fan to have the time of your life in the rowdy, passionate environment that the team’s supporters create.

How to get to Liverpool by train

You can catch a train to Liverpool from London Euston Station. The trip takes 3 hours on average.

How to get to Liverpool by bus

Buses to Liverpool depart from London Victoria Coach Station. The 6-hour bus ride takes you to Liverpool One Bus Station.

10. Oxford

Like Cambridge, Oxford is most well-known worldwide for its education, science, arts, and cultural history.

Touring the buildings of Oxford University should definitely be at the top of your to-do list if you decide to visit the city. This tour takes you through the same hallways and buildings that prominent historical figures such as Albert Einstein, J. R. R. Tolkien, and many others walked through while pursuing their education. You can also tour the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest on the continent.

Oxford has plenty of museums that you can visit as well. These include the Ashmolean Museum, which houses a diverse range of incredible art and artifacts from cultures all over the world. 

Moreover, there is the Museum of History of Science, home to scientific instruments used by some of history’s most influential minds and cultures.

How to get to Oxford by train

You can take a train to Oxford from London Paddington Station, and the commute lasts an average hour.

How to get to Oxford by bus

A bus ride from London Victoria Coach Station to Oxford Bus Station is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes long.

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11. The Cotswolds

When you think of nature, some people picture the beach, while others picture the vast greenness of the countryside. If you belong to the latter group, the Cotswolds is definitely the place for you.

The Cotswolds is composed of almost 1000 square miles that span six counties. It’s a literal breath of fresh air if you are someone who has not been out of London for an extended period.

The slow-paced, laid-back environment of the Cotswolds will give you a chance to unwind. It’s the perfect opportunity to lose yourself in nature and tune in with the sound of birds singing and the sight of grazing cattle.

This place is as close to fairy tales as it can get.

How to get to Cotswolds by train

Moreton-in-Marsh is only a 90-minute train ride from London Paddington. Once you get there, you’ll need to take a 20-minute taxi trip to get to the Cotswolds.

How to get to Cotswolds by bus

You can get to the Cotswolds in about 3 hours by bus from London Victoria Coach Station.

12. Manchester

Manchester, England

Manchester is one of the most multi-dimensional cities in the country. It has a rich history in various fields, including music, science, industry, and sports.

Many iconic bands, including the Bee Gees, got their start in the city of Manchester. On your visit, you can tour the studios they used to record at and the places they used to perform.

You can also visit several museums in Manchester, the main two being the Museum of Science and Industry and the National Football Museum.

The latter is dedicated to Manchester’s rich football heritage and that of England as a whole too. The museum’s must-see attraction is England’s World Cup trophy (1966).

The Museum of Science and Industry, on the other hand, is a tribute to the industry growth in the city and the role of technology in that expansion. The museum’s highlight is the railway exhibit, an interactive exhibit of the world’s oldest passenger railway station.

Other sights to see in Manchester include the Alan Turing statue at Sackville Park, the over 300-year-old Chetham’s Library, and the City of Manchester Distillery for the ultimate gin experience.

How to get to Manchester by train

You can catch a train from London Euston Station and arrive at Manchester Piccadilly Station in 3 hours.

How to get to Manchester by bus

You can take a bus from London Victoria Coach Station to Manchester Coach Station. The bus trip takes about 5 hours.

13. Canterbury

If you are in the mood for a medieval-themed weekend adventure, look no further than Canterbury.

First off, see the Canterbury Cathedral. This monumental construction is a sight to behold because of its sheer size alone. It is an absolutely incredible piece of architecture. Make sure to also tour the interior, which is equally, if not more, impressive than the exterior.

The medieval theme of Canterbury does not stop there, though. The city’s streets, shops, and houses will make you feel like you are in the 1600s.

Canterbury’s medieval vibe is topped off by its walls, which are straight out of a Game of Thrones episode.

How to get to Canterbury by train

You can take a train from London St Pancras International Station and arrive at Canterbury West Station in about an hour.

How to get to Canterbury by bus

Buses to Canterbury depart from London Stratford. The journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

14. Stratford-Upon-Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon is the ultimate weekend trip option for fans of classic theater. William Shakespeare, the father of theater himself, hails from this city.

During your trip, you’ll get the chance to tour the houses that Shakespeare and his loved ones called home. There are many theaters, which are headlined by the Royal Shakespeare Theater. This place helped deliver performances of The Bard’s iconic plays.

Other things you can do in Stratford-Upon-Avon include going for a scenic row down the River Avon. Make sure that you take a stroll down Henley Street and enjoy all the shops and restaurants it offers.

How to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon by train

You can catch a train to Stratford-Upon-Avon from London Marylebone Station. The trip takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

How to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon by bus

Buses to Stratford-Upon-Avon depart from London Victoria Coach Station. The commute is roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes long.

15. Stonehenge

What better way to spend your weekend away from London than visiting one of the world’s seven wonders?

Stonehenge has baffled many for quite some time. It consists of a stone ring in line with the sun, and this stone structure has been standing for five millennia. 

The unknown reasons behind its construction and how it survived for so long make it quite a mystery. During your visit, you will be accompanied by a guide a d will learn all the theories and speculations surrounding its origins.

How to get to Stonehenge by train

There is no direct train route to Stonehenge. However, you can take a train from London Waterloo Station to Salisbury Station and get there in about 90 minutes. You would then need to take a 30-40-minute bus ride from Salisbury to Stonehenge.

How to get to Stonehenge by bus

You will still need to take a bus to Salisbury first and then take another bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge. Buses to Salisbury are available from London Victoria Coach Station and take about 4 hours to reach their destination.

16. Peak District

Widely known as the first national park to be established in the UK, Peak District is a hiker’s paradise.

Of all the Peak District hiking trails, Winnats Pass and Mam Tor are the ones you simply cannot miss while you are there. Their peaceful, breathtaking scenery is a truly emotional experience. In addition to this, you can explore the numerous caves in the Castleton area.

Peak District has a lot to offer when it comes to historical landmarks as well. These include the Chatsworth House, which has been the estate of the distinguished Cavendish family for hundreds of years. 

You can feast your eyes on the exterior’s exquisite architecture, venture inside the building and tour the opulent interior and the extensive art collection it houses.

Remember to also visit Buxton, as it is packed with cozy local shops, bookstores, and breweries.

How to get to Peak District by train

No train goes directly from London to the Peak District. You’ll have to take a train from London St Pancras International Station to Sheffield, and then a train from Sheffield to Edale. Finally, you will need to take a short taxi ride from Edale to Peak District. The total journey time will be about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

How to get to Peak District by bus

With many bus changes, a bus trip to Peak District would take almost 9 hours. Therefore you are better off driving to the Peak District, which will take around 3 hours and 30 minutes.

17. Durham

Another great idea for a weekend trip destination is Durham. The city has plenty to see, including the almost 1000-year-old Durham castle. This magnificent residence used to house the Bishops of Durham. Still, nowadays, it is part of the city’s world-famous university.

Consider taking a tour of Durham Cathedral, which is incredibly rich in history and almost a millennium old. The Cathedral is presently well-known as the “real-life Hogwarts” since many scenes from the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed there.

How to get to Durham by train

You can catch a train to Durham from King’s Cross Station. The journey takes just under 8 hours.

How to get to Durham by bus

There are buses outbound to Durham from London Victoria Coach Station. The bus ride is 6 hours and 30 minutes long.

18. Cardiff

The Welsh capital should definitely be one of the options you consider for a weekend trip.

Cardiff combines history and modernity in a way that few cities do. You can tour the 2000-year-old Cardiff Castle in the morning and then experience some of the best bars and clubs in the world on the same night.

Make sure to also immerse yourself in the city’s thriving live music scene and indulge in its endlessly diverse cuisines.

How to get to Cardiff by train

You can take a train to Cardiff from London Waterloo Station. The train ride is 2 hours and 30 minutes on average. 

How to get to Cardiff by bus

The bus journey from London Victoria Coach Station to Cardiff Coach Station is 3 hours and 30 minutes long.

19. Ramsgate

The final weekend trip idea on my list is Ramsgate. This is another one of those peaceful getaway destinations that will help you take a break from the bustling London city life.

With its relaxing beaches and beautiful landscape, Ramsgate is a haven for those who enjoy immersing themselves in nature.

Make a note to visit the tunnels dating back to the Second World War.

How to get to Ramsgate by train

You can get from London St Pancras International Station to Ramsgate by train in just 2 hours.

How to get to Ramsgate by bus

You can take a bus from London Victoria Coach Station to Ramsgate. The bus ride takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main train station in London?

The main train station in London is Waterloo, followed by King’s Cross and Paddington.

What is the main bus station in London?

The main bus station in London is Victoria Coach Station.

Final Thoughts

If you plan on taking a weekend trip away from London, you can choose a wide variety of options freely. Many destinations for weekend trips from London are available thanks to extensive train and bus routes, even across borders.

Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, a music fan, or someone who wants to take a relaxing beach or countryside trip, there is something in this guide for you. 

For example, if you want a trip filled with history and cultural experiences, your best bets are Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh, or York.

If you are more inclined toward a relaxing trip filled with nature and beautiful scenery, then Salcombe, Brighton, The Cotswolds, St Ives, Ramsgate, and Peak District are the choices for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick one of these 19 amazing destinations and start planning your trip for next weekend!

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