by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:28th July 2020

Royalty, vineyards, a desert and Dickens

Grab your comfy shoes and let’s venture on a day out from London and see what incredible places there are to visit on your doorstep.

Whether you’re in search of palaces, castles, quaint villages or bracing seaside air, you can head to them all. As they are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the streets of London.

This varied blend of locations is a continuation of part 1 and part 2 of our day trips from London. Within a short space of time, you’ll be winding your way through the luscious English countryside without a care in the world.

Many of these tempting locations you’ll be able to reach by public transport, others due to practicality of time and accessibility you will need to jump in a car.

The Pin image for our post - '8 Perfect day trips out from London – part 3'
Why not Pin it for later?
The view of the church & graveyard at Snowshill in the Cotswolds on a bright sunny day
Across the churchyard at Snowshill in the Cotswolds
So, here you have it a few more locations that Gary and I love to visit.

Our 8 perfect getaways

We'll be discovering the following;
You can click on the link to jump to the section, and to return, just click on the title.
Rochester, which is located on the banks of the River Medway, is overflowing with history. The magnificent Norman castle alone has almost 900 years of tales to tell. Surrounded by ancient stone walls, the castle grounds are now a leisurely place to relax and enjoy with friends and family.
Looking up at Rochester Castle from the bottom of Boley Hill from behind a flower display
Rochester Castle from the bottom of Boley Hill

Just an arrow throws away, and you’ll arrive at Rochester Cathedral. In 2004 this delightful Cathedral celebrated its 1,400th anniversary. The Norman/Gothic façade which can be seen today was built by a French Benedictine monk in 1080.

Take a stroll around the Cathedral and visit the fascinating museum in the crypt.

The ancient sprawling catalpa tree in front of rochester cathedral in kent
The front of Rochester Cathedral

In more recent history Rochester and Medway were home Charles Dickens for 20 years. A few of Mr Dicken’s novels referenced Rochester, notably the Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations.

Rochester is a charming town to stroll around, look out for the Huguenot museum and also Kings School, the second oldest school in the world.

The red brick, tudor fronted, Eastgate House on Rochester High Street
Eastgate House on Rochester High Street
While visiting Rochester head north across the River Medway to Upnor Castle. This fortress, along with Rochester Castle, is run by English Heritage.
Looking up at the stone river-facing facade of Upnor Castle on the River Medway in Kent
The river-facing front of Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle was built by order of Queen Elizabeth I, between 1559 – 1567 as an artillery fort to protect the Royal Naval fleet at Chatham Dockyard. The castle is reasonably small, but it has some fascinating history, especially if you are Dutch.

English Heritage

Access to the Rochester Castle and Upnor Castle is free for English Heritage Members. Click on the link to see the savings you’ll gain by becoming a member.
Another reason I love visiting here is that Upnor village is so picturesque. Charming cobbled lanes and lead you down through the quaint High Street to the river’s edge.
The Kings Arms pub at the top of the quaint High Street in Upnor, Kent
The Kings Arms at the top of Upnor High Street
Visiting Rochester and Upnor is a full day out and also extremely interesting if you love history.

Stay informed

Why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter for some travel inspiration, some tips and find out what we've been up to?
Or alternatively, why not follow us on your favourite social media channel?
Sandringham Estate in the Norfolk countryside is an enchanting place to visit. The elegant house is open to the public for just a few months of the year as Her Majesty the Queen still uses it as a home. It has been used a Royal retreat for four generations of the British Monarchy since 1862.
The rear of Sandringham House, as seen from the neatly manicured lawns of the Royal Residence.
Sandringham House from the lawns

The immaculately kept abode is nestled within 8,000 hectares of lush landscape. However, Sandringham House itself is set within 24 hectares of attractively kept gardens.

Along with visiting the house and gardens, there is also the Sandringham Transport Museum. Which is full of the Monarchy’s cars and even some miniature modes of transport used by princes and princesses.

The duck pond at Sandringham House from the beautifully manicured lawns, under a deep blue sky.
The duck pond at Sandringham House

One place you will recognise if you are an avid follower of the Royal Family, and that is St Mary Magdalene Church.

Every Christmas Day the Royals are seen attending this quaint little church. It is regularly used as a place of worship by the Royal Family and Estate staff.

Ticket Options

You can purchase a ticket to just access the gardens, although visiting Sandringham House was the highlight. Therefore, in my opinion, I would go or the House and Gardens ticket.
If it’s a quintessentially English location, you’re after then look no further than the Cotswolds. The enchanting chocolate-box cottages sprinkled across five counties are captivating.
An idyllic Cotswold scene of the watermill in Lower Slaughter under a deep blue sky
The old mill at Lower Slaughter

The region that the Cotswolds are in is known as AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and covers around 800 square miles. The counties where these beautiful hamlets, villages and towns can be found in are Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

If you’re visiting by public transport, you’ll need to narrow down your options. However, if you’re on a road trip, then these golden villages are your oyster.

A classic Morgan sports car driving through the Cotswolds village of Castle Combe
Touring through the Cotswolds

Timing can be a key factor in visiting the more popular places. However, we’ve visited some of the lesser-known locations, and they weren’t busy at all.

Some of my favourite Cotswolds towns that I’ve visited so far are Lower Slaughter, Castle Combe, Snowshill and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Tempted to?

Discover more of the Great British Isles, why not jump in a car and tour the country at your own pace. You can do it all on a road trip, Rental Cars cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.
Dungeness is located on a desolate shingled headland in southern Kent. With abandoned fishing baskets, old tar ropes and deserted crumbling fishing boats. I may not be painting the prettiest of pictures, but Dungeness is fascinating and few places like this remain.
A small decaying wooden fishing boat next to a fisherman's hut on the shingle beach of Dungeness
Past times on Dungeness beach
This private nature reserve in Romney Marsh is free for anyone to visit, although respect for your surroundings is uppermost, in what has been tagged 'Britain's only desert'.
The old lighthouse of Dungeness behind a wooden picket fence.
The old lighthouse at Dungeness

Dungeness is one of those places that has an ever-changing feel and stay for a couple of hours, and the mood has evolved.

Where else would you find a quaint miniature railway, a working nuclear power station, old lighthouses and a secluded weatherboard cottage once owned by film director, Derek Jarman?

We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England.  It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.

The charming town of Tenterden in Kent is like stepping back in time. Along the High Street are white weather-boarded stores, half-timbered homes and characterful pubs.
The white painted Town Hall and the Woolpack hotel on the High Street with the tower of Saint Mildred's church in the background.
18th century Town Hall in Tenterden

Once you’ve finished rummaging around the antique, curios shops and boutiques take a stroll down to the old railway station.

Tenterden is home to the heritage Kent & East Sussex Railway. The nostalgic steam locomotive runs across the Kent countryside for 11 ½ miles and at which point you arrive at Bodiam Castle.

Small black steam locomotive named the “Norwegian”. Black smoke coming from its chimney as it prepares to set off on its journey.
The ‘Norwegian’ locomotive at Tenterden Town railway

If steam trains aren’t your thing; however, vineyards are, then I highly recommend a visit to Chapel Down. There are self-guided walks around the vineyards although if you can book yourself onto a guided tour and tasting then all the better.

Be warned if you’re on a road trip, you’ll need a designated driver.

A table and stools on the decking outside the Wine Sanctuary overlooking the Bacchus vines.
A view from the Wine Sanctuary at Chapel Down Vineyard
Why not include Tenterden in a Kent road trip around the lush rolling countryside, there are so many quaint villages to visit? You’ll even get to see a Kent oast house.

Escape for a few days

Are you in search of a tranquil hideaway to relax and unwind in, while you discover the beautiful British countryside?

Browse through the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

When you stroll around the beautiful enchanting grounds at RHS Garden Wisley, you won’t believe that London is only a short distance away.

The tranquil gardens, winding woodland paths and meandering streams transport you to another place and time.

Looking along the Jellicoe canal lily pond, past its fountain, to the Tudor building, now known as The Laboratory.
Jellicoe Canal and the Laboratory at RHS Wisley gardens

You can enjoy one of RHS Wisley’s 3 self-guided ‘plants trails’ or like us just wander amongst foliage and relish where your senses lead you to. So much love and care are undertaken by the staff at RHS Wisley all the way through its 97 hectares (240 acres).
There are so many nooks and crannies to discover here. However, you won’t want to miss the Glasshouse, Rock Garden, the Exotic Garden, the Jellicoe Canal and my favourite the Cottage Garden.

A modern art statue called 'Sunset' by Jonathan Hately on a plinth in the grounds of RHS Wisley with the Glasshouse in the background
RHS Wisley gardens, a beautiful place to visit in Surrey

Find a little pew and sit and watch the butterflies and bees drift by and let the aromatic scents overwhelm you.

Don’t worry if you are unable to see it all at your first visit, if you become RHS member you’ll gain unlimited access to RHS’s four gardens.

The ancient city of Norwich is the delightful county town of Norfolk. The wealth of historic architecture can be seen throughout Norwich, and it has around 80 listed buildings. I’ve never seen so many churches in one place.
Looking up at the spire of Norwich Cathedral as beams of light appear from the partially cloudy sky
Norwich Cathedral

The eye-catcher here though is most definitely the 900-year-old Cathedral. It is beautiful inside and out, and the cloisters are so tranquil and serene. As you stroll through either Erpingham or Ethelbert gates, you’re led into the Cathedral grounds and its enchanting 44-acre Close surrounded by flint cottages.
Just across from the Cathedral is a labyrinth of cobbled lanes and leaning medieval Tudor buildings in the district of Elm Hill & Tombland.
Not to be too outshone by the Cathedral, but Norwich also has a Norman Castle which was built for William the Conqueror as a Royal Palace. The castle is now home to a museum.

Elm Hill, a cobbled street in the Tombland district of Norwich
Looking down Elm Hill in Norwich
The beautiful art deco glass window and surrounding stonework above the entrance to the Royal Arcade, Norwich
The Royal Arcade in Norwich

Head into the centre of town and take a wander through the beautiful Art Nouveau Royal Arcade, designed by George Skipper.

I would also urge you to take a stroll along the River Wensum by Pulls Ferry, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely view back to Norwich Cathedral.

If you're intrigued by Norfolk, a UK county with an interesting past, then why not check out  "The Little Book of Norfolk".  Full of facts and obscure information. It's a fun read on the region.

You can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old hardcover. (Depending on region)

Yes, I’m heading to the seaside, and this time it’s the sandy beaches and the bustling harbour of Ramsgate.

We visited Ramsgate on a crisp winters’ day so, although it was a bright and sunny it wasn’t quite bucket and spade weather. Ramsgate definitely wasn’t lacking in nostalgia either.

The marina in Ramsgate's Royal Harbour, alongside the red brick Royal Parade.
Ramsgate Marina in the Royal Harbour
Ramsgate has an incredibly interesting past from the days of Napoleon to then being given the honour of a Royal Harbour in 1821 by George IV. Through to Operation Dynamo in World War II, when a flotilla of ‘Little Ships’ set off to Dunkirk to collect as many allied troops as humanly possible.
The view along Saint Augustine's Rd, Ramsgate towards the Kent coast
Heading to the Kent coast at Ramsgate
Looking up at a Georgian brick-built home in Ramsgate, Kent
The historic Ramsgate in Kent

Ramsgate is currently in the throes of going through a bit of a rejuvenation, so there are parts not so quaint as others. That doesn’t distract from some of the lovely Regency, Victorian and Georgian architecture. Take a stroll around Spencer Square, Addington Street and Guildford Lawn.

Then to top off your day stroll the clifftop promenade passing Wellington Crescent and the bandstand.

If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".

You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.