Spending time in London, it would be quite easy to just stay in the city and not venture out to other parts of England. But by not exploring, you would be missing the opportunity to see some of the history and natural beauty that England has to offer.
Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor Castle
The historical and cultural significance of all three of these locations are self-evident. In one trip, you will witness three different historical periods in the development of England.
Combining these three locations into one trip makes a lot of sense from a geographical standpoint. You start with Windsor Castle, on your way west out of London, about 90 minutes from the center of London. From there, continue another hour and 20 minutes to Stonehenge, and then another hour to Bath. You should plan for a 12 hour day for this trip.
Canterbury and The Cliffs of Dover
The striking colors of “The White Cliffs of Dover” have always been a trademark of England. Located on the southeastern corner of Great Britain and only 30 miles from the French city of Calais across the Strait of Dover, you can look out over the North Sea and the English Channel from one point.
Canterbury has been a religious pilgrimage point for over 900 years, with the construction of the Canterbury Cathedral, the place where Thomas Beckett was martyred and where Chaucer wrote “The Canterbury Tales”.
This trip should be an 8 – 10 hour day, with Dover only about 80 miles from the center of London and Canterbury enroute.
Cambridge and Oxford
Although in different directions from London (Oxford is northwest, Cambridge is northeast), there are options to see both of these towns in the same day. They are the two oldest universities in England, and they offer striking architecture and a feel for life in a small English city. In Cambridge, don’t miss the river boat rides. Oxford offers museums and religious sites, and nearby is Blenheim Castle.
Located near the border with Wales, the Cotswold region is about 110 miles from the center of London. This area is prime English countryside and small villages. There are not many better ways to enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of rural England.
Multiple options are available to see these areas outside of London. There are several day-trip guided tours available, ranging from private guided tours to group tours. Many of these can also be visited by train or by car. Many escorted tours also offer these locations in their itineraries.