Day Trips from London in Late June
May 16, 2018 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I'll be vacationing in London for a week in late June, staying near Goldsmiths College in the southeast. I'd like to get out of the city for a day to see some of the surrounding area. I'm especially interested in medieval and Tudor period history, modern art, and nature walks. Happy to take the train or rent a car for the day, and looking to spend no more than about 2 hours of travel time each way.
posted by 4rtemis to Travel & Transportation around London, England (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
ETA: I haven't been to England since a family trip about 25 years ago so this is my first visit as an adult, and everything there is effectively brand new to me.
posted by 4rtemis at 8:05 PM on May 16, 2018

Ham House was built in 1610 and is a nice day trip from London. As a bonus, you can visit St. Peter's Church on the way there and see the grave of Captain George Vancouver and Sir Thomas Jenner, among others.
posted by mogget at 8:54 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Canterbury is pretty perfect for a medievalist
posted by Jellybean_Slybun at 9:27 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Knole Park has a wonderful house and large deer park. It's about an hour from London.
posted by KateViolet at 10:22 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hampton Court is low-hanging fruit in terms of travel, but if you're interested in Tudor history, it's a no-brainer.
posted by praemunire at 11:50 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Eltham Palace is a great mix of ancient and modern, plus it's also in the South-East - not exactly 'out of the city', more into the suburbs.
posted by srednivashtar at 12:03 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Seconding Hampton court! The grounds should be lovely that time of year. I don’t know if they still do it but the tour that focused on food and food preparation was really fun too.
posted by like_neon at 12:18 AM on May 17, 2018

Herstmonceux, Hever and Leeds castles are all interesting days out (Hever is slightly more interesting, but Leeds is very pretty). There are country walks around all of them.

Or you could look at doing some of the South Downs Way, which goes through interesting places like Winchester, Arundel, Lewes and Brighton.
posted by tinkletown at 12:30 AM on May 17, 2018

Greenwich, which is just up the road, is the site of *the* Tudor Royal Palace. Now long gone, but there is a good exhibition about it in the Discovery Centre. Plus the other museums there are fabulous.

See if you can get a place on a Scaffolding Tour of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. It's a once in a lifetime chance to see it up close.

Seconding Knole and Eltham.

For the medieval, Canterbury is a bit further up the road, and Kent has many fine castles.
posted by Helga-woo at 12:32 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Penshurst Place is another historic house with some nice walking around it.

The Mary Rose museum is a great museum with a Tudor subject. It used to be included in a general ticket for the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which made it a better value day out, but it’s a fine museum in its own right. And the PHD is also well worth a visit but it's mainly focussed on more recent history.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:32 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Canterbury is great - if you can wangle it or rest a car you could also take in whistable for Oysters, Sandwich, Broadstairs, the White cliffs of Dover then end up in Rye for dinner.
posted by Middlemarch at 5:15 AM on May 17, 2018

Yes adding on to recommend Hampton Court, easy to get to, expansive grounds, buildings, really two palaces in one. There are even people dressed up acting out history, though that wasn't my favorite. The food is even good (as is the food in all the touristy places we went in extreme contrast to US where the more touristy the worse the food since you are trapped). The workers standing in all the rooms are very knowledgable and happy to answer questions. I think it was cheaper to buy the tickets online.
posted by RoadScholar at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2018

Dover Castle (Henry II), which is playfully furnished and has occasional reenactment events, + stroll on the White Cliffs, walkable from Dover Priory station. The town's not that charming, and the port is unsurprisingly kind of ugly, but those two are worth it.

In Canterbury, highlights include St Augustine's Abbey and the Cathedral, which we entered without charge to get our (secular) pilgrim passports for stamps along our walk and attend Evensong.

We didn't think Leeds Castle is the loveliest in the world as they claim (gotta say the châteaux of Loire Valley are more beautiful) but if you want to splurge a bit, you can do a birds of prey experience and fly owls and hawks. The falconry team can pick you up from and drop you off at Bearsted station; otherwise, you can take a shuttle.

Hever Castle (Anne Boleyn) itself is small, but the grounds are very pretty and will be in full bloom at that time. There are plenty of vividly colored flower gardens and a lake, where you can walk the nature trail or hire a boat. You can also book an afternoon tea if the treat appeals. Buy tickets online at least a day in advance for a slight discount. You can walk one mile on a rural path from Hever station.

I'm pretty sure you can take a Southeastern regional train from Victoria to all of these Kent locations. If you rent a car and plan carefully, you could even try to cram multiple into one day, depending on your preferences. Cheers -- pack a picnic and enjoy!
posted by eyeball at 7:40 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

« Older My Waiting On List is ridiculous   |   Help me spread my gigabit internet all over my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.