Day trips from London
If you’re visiting London for several days you may want to consider a couple of day trips from London. The two-day trips we are going to talk about today are a visit to the iconic seaside in Brighton and to step back in time to Rye. Rye is a little known preserved medieval smugglers town near London. A visit to Brighton is always fun and millions do it every year.
How to get there?
The best way for visitors in London to visit Brighton or Rye is by train. If you are planning on doing several train trips from London then we suggest you purchase a Railway Network Card for £30. Only one card is needed for up to 4 people travelling together. It will save you money, but can only be used anytime on weekends and during the week in off peak. To illustrate the savings, a ticket for two people departing after 10am will cost £31.70 each without a Network Card. If you purchase it with a Railway Network card it will cost £20.95 each. If you are travelling with four people to Rye the cost of your Network Card is covered with one trip and you also save an additional £10. The Network Card is valid for a year. The card does not cover the whole of the UK so do check to see the places you can use it for which include Oxford, Canterbury, Cambridge and Portsmouth.
If you want to go for the day, the best option to get to Brighton is to buy a return day ticket from Victoria train station. A fast train will get you to the seaside in just over an hour or if you are on a slower train add another half hour. A good option to consider and save time is to purchase a train ticket with a Plusbus ticket, which gives you cheap bus travel all around Brighton. To find out more you can visit www.plusbus.info for details.
For one day a normal return train ticket will do, but you can get bus passes which last for longer than a day. The single tickets are very expensive, so you are best to get something that covers more, if you are going to use the bus more than once in the day.
If you are only doing a day trip to Brighton we would suggest the following three things to do. If you have a bit more time click here about more things to do, see and eat around Brighton.
1. After arriving by train walk down the hill towards the sea until you see on your left the infamous Brighton Pier and on the right the derelict West Pier. The 1899 Brighton Pier is a must visit. The shops, food and amusement park at the end are all part of the fun in a day trip to the seaside for the English.
Be careful how you eat your food while wandering around the pier. Brighton seagulls are notorious for swooping from the sky to steal your ice cream or chips. Brighton Pier also has a colorful history with rumours of how the now derelict West pier was torched to reduce the competition. Who doesn’t love a conspiracy theory. The pier has a small amusement park at the end complete with roller coaster and a few other rides. To wander around the pier is free.
2. The Royal Brighton Pavillion was finished in 1823 by the famous Nash. To me it is just simply hedonism gone mad. George IV had a vision and either love it or hate it, the building is unique. It is a lesson of why Royals should never be allowed to advise on the design of buildings, take heed Prince Charles! It is great to wander around inside and see the opulent surroundings and learn about the history of the building. It is also nice to relax and sit on the lawn to have a snack or drink while admiring the craziness of the building that combines Indian, Chinese and English architecture styles into one glorious mess. It is owned and run by the council now after Queen Victoria declined to use it preferring the Isle of Wight.
3.The North Laines and the (South) Lanes are great to just wander down and get lost. Think the Shambles of York without the class. You will find over priced shops everywhere and occasionally a bargain at some of the flea markets. If you are hungry there are lots of restaurants in the lanes. One of my favourites for some great Japanese food and for those on a budget is Pompoko, opposite the Brighton Dome theatre.
The town of Rye is only a 45 minute train ride from St Pancras train station in London. However, you do have to change trains to get there which is very simple. The high-speed trains from St Pancras station to Ashford International take just 37 minutes. You then need to change at Ashford International for a train to Rye which takes around 20 minutes. The other train options all require changes and take two hours to get to Rye. Click to the link here for more information about train times and fares. Once you reach Rye, everything is in walking distance, so don’t need any public transport to get round it.
Rye is a wonderfully preserved medieval town. It was a well-known haunt for smugglers.The town is lovely to wander around and visit the 900 year old Norman Church of St Marys. The 1420 built Mermaids Inn is a smugglers local drinking spot where you can stay or enjoy a meal. The remnants of the wall and Ypres tower, a place that was used as a prison, mortuary and private residence are worth a look. It is now a museum where you can climb to the top and see what was once a harbour but now is grasslands.
The town is lovely to stroll around on the cobbled streets with lots of shops and places to visit.
The Rye museum is interesting and earlier Rye was the home of many famous writers and artists. One of the best known is Henry James Georgian, Lambs House, a National Trust property, where James lived for many years. The house was built in 1722 and was fit for a king as in 1832 the King slept there.
Rye is a lovely town and do check to see what events they may have on before you go.
For more information on things to do in and around Rye then click here.
Where are your favourite short trips from London?
Great Post! I’m a Brit, (not from London) and I think it’s sad that many visitors to the UK never get further out than London. Brighton is a really cool city. You can also get to Oxford and Cambridge pretty easily by train, they are also well worth a trip thanks to having the oldest universities in the UK, lots of beautiful architecture, and don’t forget the punting!
I agree Gemma Oxford and Cambridge are wonderful cities to visit and not to far from London. Another one of my favourites is Canterbury with its Cathedral.
Hi Gemma, thanks for the positive feed back. Would you mind if we added you to our testimonials page, we are just collecting them for our new site? It’s been quite some time since I’ve been in the cities you mentioned, so well worth another visit!