An overview of the most popular day trips in the United Kingdom
6. Da Vinci Code and Scottish Borders Day Trip
For those fascinated by Scottish history, religious history and important architecture, this day tour will be a blast. It will be of particular significance to those who enjoyed the Da Vinci Code, either the book or the film. On this six-hour tour from Edinburgh, you’ll get a personalized, small group trip through destinations like Rosslyn Chapel and Melrose Abbey.
You’ll depart from the center of Edinburgh in the morning, with the first stop being the magnificent Scott’s View. Named for Sir Walter Scott, this vantage point looks over the Eildon Hills, Tweed Valley and ancient Roman ruins. Then it’s just a short drive further to Melrose, a settlement with an ancient history right on the banks of the Tweed River. While there are several landmarks in Melrose, none is more significant than Melrose Abbey. Built in the 12th century by monks, the abbey has ties to the Knights Templar. Enjoy lunch in Melrose, and take some time to explore the architecture on your own.
From Melrose, sit back for a 45-minute drive to Rosslyn Chapel. Constructed in the 15th century, the chapel is a Catholic structure that remained standing during the Scottish Reformation. It, too, has alleged ties to the Knights Templar as well as the Holy Grail and the Freemasons. As you tour Rosslyn Chapel, noting the symbolism in the construction and the elaborate stonework, you may notice some things from the film The Da Vinci Code. The chapel played a major role in the film’s plot, and with so much historic and cultural significance, it is easy to see why. Soak up the views of the Scottish landscapes as you return to Edinburgh for the conclusion of this exciting tour.
5. Day Trip from London to Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury
Explore the very best of Southern England on a day trip that includes stops like Leeds Castle, the iconic Cliffs of Dover and the city of Canterbury. You’ll have access to some of England’s most important historic destinations, and you’ll also be in the midst of the country’s most beautiful scenery.
The day begins in London, where you’ll board a private coach to Leeds Castle. The journey passes through some amazing spots, so you’ll get headphones to hear a commentary along the way. Look out the window for views of Greenwich, the 18th century Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian, the line that distinguishes longitude around the world. As you approach Kent, Leeds Castle will appear in the distance. You’ll be able to tour the 12th century castle, so take time to see the moat surrounding the structure, the amazing textiles and furnishings in the private rooms and the beautifully manicured gardens.
Next, it’s time to continue the journey to Canterbury, a hub of religion for well over 1,000 years. The highlight of the trip will be the chance to see the Canterbury Cathedral, which was first erected in the sixth century. You’ll even get to enjoy a private guided tour of the cathedral, a privilege and an experience you won’t soon forget.
Next is a short drive along the coast, arriving at the Cliffs of Dover. Overlooking the Strait of Dover and France, these cliffs represent both history and beauty. Visit the Battle of Britain Memorial, snap some pictures of the White Cliffs of Dover and admire the Castle of Dover in the distance. The return journey to London is just under two hours, and it winds through some of the most scenic spots in Kent.
4. Scottish Castles Day Trip from Edinburgh
Whether you’re a film buff, a scenery lover, a budding photographer or just someone fascinated by the parts of Scotland that exists off the beaten track, then this tour is for you. Departing from Edinburgh, the tour brings you to dramatic landscapes, spotting lochs and villages alike, as well as to some of the most iconic castles in Scotland.
From Edinburgh, get comfortable in a private coach and set off for a journey through the Scottish Lowlands. The first stop of the day is Stirling Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was born. Take some photos of this grand castle where William Wallace once stormed at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Then it’s onward to yet another iconic structure: Doune Castle. Even if you’re not a Scottish history buff, you might recognize Doune Castle from scenes in Monty Python and The Holy Grail or the Outlanders television series. Take some time to stroll the grounds on your own, or participate in the optional guided tour.
As the private coach makes its way to the next stop, you’ll be treated to some spectacular scenery. You’ll also get a fascinating history lesson along the way, not to mention a few tall tales about Scottish legends and myths. Admire the beauty of the tranquil Loch Awe, and then soak in the impressive architecture of Kilchurn Castle.
On the shores of Lake Fyne, you’ll approach Inveraray Castle. Here, you can opt to participate in the seasonal tour of the castle, or take some time for yourself to explore independently. The final hours of the tour include some of Scotland’s best scenic vantage points, giving you the opportunity to see the Arrochar Alps and Loch Lomond. From the village of Luss, take in views of Loch Lomond, which is the largest lake in all of Scotland. After the return journey, the tour concludes back in the heart of Edinburgh.
3. Day Trip to Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands
Edinburgh is an exciting city, but the wonders of Scotland are often found in the Scottish Highlands. Take a day trip tour that includes stops in Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands in order to see some of the most incredible and significant destinations in the country.
This guided tour begins in Edinburgh, where passengers can board a comfortable Mercedes minivan and depart for the highlands. En route to Glencoe, peer out the windows for the chance to see such landmarks as Stirling Castle, Wallace Monument and Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born. In Glencoe, the scenery is the main attraction, and the area is known as one of the most beautiful in all of Scotland. Glencoe is known for its incredible hiking trails and for being featured in film franchises like Harry Potter and James Bond, but its historic significance revolves primarily around the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692.
Continue the journey to Fort William, a charming town situated at the base of Ben Nevis, which is the highest mountain in all of Britain. Next, it is onward to Loch Ness. If you’re on the tour between Easter and October, you can opt for a boat tour on the loch, where you can listen on the sonar system for the famed Loch Ness Monster, better known as Nessie.
Via Spean Bridge Village, the drive continues to Cairngorms National Park, where you can soak in views of Craig Meagaidh and Loch Laggan. You’ll then pass through the Drummochter Summit to Pitlochry, a charming Victorian town and the final stop on this incredible day exploring the Scottish Highlands.
2. Day Trip from London to Oxford, Cotswolds and Warwick Castle
If you’re eager to explore beyond the city of London, set off on a trip to see where some of the best and brightest in English history have worked, lived and studied. A day trip to Oxford University, Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon and the stunning Warwick Castle can give you a glimpse of the incredible history just miles outside of the hustle and bustle of London.
The historic tour starts with a scenic drive from London to Oxford, also known as the City of Dreaming Spires. While the city is home to countless historic attractions, perhaps none is so important, nor so well known, as the campus of Oxford University. As part of the tour, you’ll get a headset so that you can hear a commentary as you stroll through the impressive collection at Bodleian Library or the halls of Christ Church College, which you may recognize from the filming of several Harry Potter movies.
Continue the adventure by driving through the stunning landscape of the Cotswolds, eventually arriving at Stratford-upon-Avon. Walk among thatched-roof homes that date back centuries, and see where William Shakespeare himself lived in a Tudor-style home. You can have some time here to explore independently, choosing whether to stroll through the breathtaking homes snapping pictures or relaxing in a charming thatched-roof cafe with a traditional lunch.
Last, but certainly not least, is a stop at Warwick Castle. Situated on the banks of the River Avon, the castle was originally made of wood, but it was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. Warwick Castle is entirely open to the public, letting you have free reign over the property. Climb into the towers and turrets, scanning the landscape below, or trek down into the dungeons. This is an amazing chance to see medieval architecture up close and see what life was like for residents in centuries past.
1. Day Trip from London to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath
To see some of the most historic landmarks in England in a single day can be tricky, but this day trip covers all the bases. A whirlwind excursion through Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath brings to life everything from ancient Roman heritage to the British monarchy to medieval architecture.
The day trip begins in London, where passengers board a private coach for the one-hour-drive to Windsor Castle. This incredible castle has served as the home to the British royals for over 1,000 years, and you’ll have the chance to tour the interior. Notable highlights within Windsor Castle include the magnificent St. George’s Chapel and the opulent State Apartments.
It’s back in the coach and through the scenic landscape of Wiltshire until the next stop on the itinerary: Stonehenge. The incredible prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery, with some of the large stones being transported for miles before construction. The site has long been connected with historic, religious and cultural meanings, but much about Stonehenge remains a mystery. As an iconic part of British heritage, Stonehenge is a bucket list item for many travelers.
The final stop on this comprehensive day trip is Bath. As the name suggests, Bath is a famous spa destination, and one that has both Roman and Georgian roots. Bath is mentioned in literature by Dickens and Austen, among many others, and plays a significant role in British cultural history. On your visit, you’ll have the chance to see the impressive Bath Abbey, the scenic Pulteney Bridge and even some of the famed Roman baths, many of which are still in use for those in the mood for a relaxing day at the spa.