Summer is around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to explore UK. We’re sure you’ve read about Oxford, Cambridge, Stonehenge, and Windsor in every article talking about day trips from London. If you’re hankering after something a bit more offbeat and exciting, check out our top 5 free day trips from London. You are bound to find something new here, irrespective of whether you’re a resident or a visitor:
#1 Micheldever Woods
An hour’s drive away from London, this is a hidden treasure. A perfect contrast to London’s urbanity, the forest makes for a great day out. There are numerous walking trails, biking tracks, and picnic spots- just park your car and pick one. A word of caution – take your wellies, because the forest can get pretty mucky.
The area is pretty all year round, but it is truly spectacular in spring. This is due to a stunning carpet of bluebells deep in the woods. The beech trees prevent sunlight from reaching the forest floor. As a result, the flowers do not wilt, and sunbeams filtering through the trees lend a magical aura to the entire forest. If you’re a photographer, this is the place for you.
Here is a picture Vid clicked last spring (just look at those bluebells in the background)- we will definitely be going back for more this year. If you love open spaces, you should definitely check out Mayfield Lavender Farms near London.
#2 Pick-Your-Own Farms
There is no dearth of exciting things to do in London, but come summer, London can get very crowded. If you want to steer clear of overcrowded museums and galleries this summer, this might be the trip for you. A number of farms around the country allow customers to access their orchards and pick their own fruit during summer months. What’s more, entry is usually free and you pay only for the fruit you pick. So far we’ve driven to a number of farms in Cambridgeshire and Kent, and picked strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, pears, plums, and apples. Nom nom!
Of course pick-your-own farms are not limited to London. You can find a comprehensive guide of pick-your-own farms in England, Wales, and Scotland here. We suggest calling the farm(s) in advance to confirm the availability of ripe fruit.
Come spring, and flowers and fruits can be seen blossoming through the hard earth all over Kent. It is not called the Garden of England for nothing – the countryside, covered with fields of flowers and colourful flower-beds, is a riot of colour. If you really want to enjoy the British spring, go for an aimless drive in Kent- it will be exhilarating and rewarding in equal measures. Daffodils, bluebells, tulips, azaleas, and rhododendrons are just some of the flowers you will encounter.
Roll down your windows- you will be able to smell the spring in the air. Park your car at any car park, go for a walk in the by-lanes of the atmospheric towns dotting Kent, and let your senses fully experience the setting. Pack a picnic or have lunch in a cozy country-inn along the way.
Who needs a destination when the drive looks like this?
#4 The White Cliffs of Dover
The White Cliffs of Dover are a series of majestic chalk cliffs facing the English Channel. An hour’s drive from London, they ensure an invigorating day trip. If you enjoy walking, you must take one of the cliff-top walks. Our favourite is the 4 mile circular walk that takes you to the South Foreland Lighthouse and back. As you walk along the edge of cliffs, you can see stunning views of the coast and even spot France across the English Channel on a clear day.
It is usually too windy to picnic at the White Cliffs, but there is an on-site cafe, which does amazing English cream tea. You can find more information here.
#5 Mudchute Park and Farm
This is not a day-trip outside London, in the strictest sense of the word, but it sure feels like one. Mudchute Park and Farm is close to London’s banking district but once you’re there, you will feel like you’re deep within the English countryside. One of London’s largest city farms, it is built on 32 acres of grassland. There are over 200 animals at Mudchute including pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, horses, even Llamas (Savi’s favourites). We have to admit it is a bit surreal to be nuzzling against furry and feathered creatures with the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in the background. That’s why this place is such fun- it is definitely one of London’s best kept secrets 🙂
Entry is free and you can carry your own picnic. They also have a homely cafe with the freshly-baked scones and cakes. You can find more information here.
While in London, the best way to explore the city is The London Pass (use code JULY6 for 6% discount on passes)
Hope you got inspired by our list of offbeat day-trips from London. Send us your photos if you do visit any of these places.
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this post and want more information on unusual things to do in and around London