Nice towns to visit Near London

April 28, 2016
2. St Albans

Day trips from London.

These are places which are within easy travelling distance of London by train, or train and bus, for a day out.

This is not just a list of available destinations but places which we have visited ourselves and can recommend. Just remember that what we like may not be what you like but if you like England's ancient heritage, the countryside or picturesque locations then you can't go wrong.

The places have been chosen on the basis that there is enough to keep you occupied for the day, depending on your interests of course, without having to resort to more travelling, unless you choose to do so, apart from walking locally. Trips are arranged in ascending order of journey times.

You could see:

  • One of Europe's oldest forests and one of England's largest.
  • A Roman wall and gateway nearly 2000 years old.
  • Dedham Vale where Constable produced his paintings.
  • One of Englands cathedral cities.
  • One of Englands university cities.
Details on these locations are given below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The London Terminus and journey times were correct when each individual trip was set up but railway companies do sometimes change the starting terminus and/or the starting and journey times so do check, using the provided link (Train timetables and fares), before you plan your day.

If you do see something that seems to be incorrect then please do let me know.

Hatfield, Hertfordshire Train - (Journey time: 20 minutes)

You should travel from London King's Cross to Hatfield Station.

The walk from the station into Old Hatfield (Street map) is less than a quarter mile bringing you near Hatfield House and Fore Street with the Eight Bells pub. Walking up Fore Street will take you straight into Hatfield House.

There isn't a lot to see here apart from Hatfield House although you could easily spend most of the day looking at the house, gardens and parkland. It is worth looking round Old Hatfield although that would probably take no more than an hour.

St. Albans, Hertfordshire

You should travel from London St. Pancras Station to St. Albans City Station. You could also travel to St. Albans Abbey Station but the journey time then doubles to 40 minutes without any real advantage.

The walk from the station into the city centre (Street map) is about a half mile bringing you near the Medieval Clock Tower and George Street with the Tudor Tavern although you could, of course, get a bus or taxi instead of walking. The Cathedral is a little further on and next to it is Verulamium Park with its Roman relics.

Epping Forest, Essex Train - (Journey time: 30 - 40 minutes)

You can travel from London Liverpool Street Station to Chingford. This, in my opinion is the best route. Chingford Station is the station nearest (a half mile) to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge which was originally built for King Henry VIII in 1543 but was taken over, after his death, by his daughter Queen Elizabeth I. It is open to the public on certain days only and at restricted times - check before you travel. This (PDF format) map of Epping Forest shows the position of Chingford Station and the horse rides through the forest, which you can also walk along, together with other details such as, and this is an important one, the positions of the pubs.

A little further on (about another half mile) from Queen Elizabeth's Hunting lodge, across Chingford Plain, is Connaught Water. Another 1½ miles through the forest would get you to High Beach with views across the Lea Valley to London.

This gives full details of a circular walk from Chingford Station to High Beach and back.

You can also travel on the Underground Central line going east to either Loughton, Theydon Bois or Epping. Stations are denoted by red filled circles on the maps. Make sure that you get on the right train as not all Central line trains go to these stations. These destinations are less than a mile from the forest. The map mentioned in the first paragraph also shows the positions of the Underground stations. London Underground Maps or Journey Planner.

Rochester, Kent Train - (Journey time: 40 - 45 minutes)
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