Europe is a continent rich in history, captivating stories, and stunning architecture. It’s home to a plethora of palaces that transport visitors to a world of magic and wonder. Each palace has its own unique charm, whether it’s nestled amid the snow-capped mountains of Portugal or within the bustling streets of Istanbul. The good news is that many of these palaces now offer the convenience of online ticket purchases, ensuring a smooth journey. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the ten most remarkable palaces in the world, each offering a fairytale-like experience. From the opulence of the Palace of Versailles to the historical wonders of Topkapi Palace, these palaces are bound to enchant and captivate.

Palace of Versailles, France

Our fairytale journey begins with the illustrious Palace of Versailles, situated just outside of Paris, France. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts of its stunning Hall of Mirrors, magnificent gardens, and a rich history that once housed Louis XIV, the Sun King. A visit here is a step into the extravagance of 17th-century France. To make the most of your visit, consider booking your Palace of Versailles tickets online and avoid long queues.

Topkapi Palace, Turkey

Exploring Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace is like stepping into a bygone era of Ottoman grandeur. This historical gem, once the illustrious abode of Ottoman sultans, boasts a sprawling complex adorned with opulent courtyards, extravagant chambers, and an awe-inspiring array of priceless artifacts. When planning your visit, keep in mind that Topkapi Palace ticket prices vary, with options ranging from US$15 to US$30, allowing you to tailor your experience to suit your preferences, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this iconic palace.

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, is a gateway to imperial Austria. With its stunning Baroque architecture, meticulously maintained gardens, and panoramic views from the Gloriette, it offers an unforgettable experience. Ticket prices for Schönbrunn Palace range from US$14 to US$20.

Château de Chambord, France

Nestled in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, Château de Chambord is a fairytale castle that showcases French Renaissance architecture at its finest. Its iconic double-helix staircase is a marvel to behold. Explore the vast grounds and bask in the majestic beauty of this architectural wonder. The ticket price for Château de Chambord ranges from US$14 to US$20.

Alhambra, Spain

The Alhambra, perched atop a hill in Granada, Spain, is a breathtaking Moorish palace that effortlessly transports visitors to a world of exquisite Islamic designs, tranquil courtyards, and enchanting gardens. This historical gem is a testament to the rich history and architectural brilliance of the region. To ensure a seamless and unforgettable visit to this immensely popular attraction, it is highly advisable to plan ahead and secure your Alhambra tickets online, as the demand to explore its intricate beauty is consistently high. By doing so, you’ll not only skip the potential long queues but also guarantee your entry to this mesmerizing palace, where the past comes to life in every intricate detail.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, often hailed as the inspiration for Disney’s enchanting Sleeping Beauty Castle, is a true emblem of fairytale dreams. Perched amidst the breathtaking Bavarian Alps, this picturesque castle has an almost otherworldly allure that immediately captures the hearts of all who behold it. Yet, its true magic lies not only in its exterior grandeur but also in the equally magnificent interior. As you step inside, you’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era of opulence and romanticism, with lavishly decorated rooms, intricate furnishings, and awe-inspiring architectural details that complete the enchanting fairytale experience.

Catherine Palace, Russia

Located near St. Petersburg, Catherine Palace is an opulent Russian baroque-style palace that once served as the summer residence of Russian tsars. Its highlight is the legendary Amber Room, meticulously reconstructed to its former glory. Stroll through the majestic halls and gardens to experience the grandeur of imperial Russia.

Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain

The Palacio Real, nestled in the heart of Madrid, stands as a testament to Spanish royalty and grandeur. Serving as the official residence of the Spanish royal family, this magnificent palace invites visitors to explore its lavish interiors, home to an exquisite collection of art, intricate tapestries, and opulent furnishings. The Royal Armory, housing a vast array of historical armor and weaponry, offers a captivating glimpse into Spain’s martial history. Beyond its regal chambers, the expansive Plaza de Oriente, adorned with statues of Spanish monarchs, provides a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls. To ensure a seamless and hassle-free entry to this grand palace, purchasing Palacio Real tickets online is highly recommended, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the rich heritage and elegance of Spanish royalty.

Hampton Court Palace, London, England

Hampton Court Palace, nestled near London, is a historical gem that offers a captivating journey through England’s royal history with its splendid blend of Tudor and Baroque architecture. As you explore its grand halls, meander through the vast gardens, stand in awe of the Great Hall, and perhaps even dare to venture into the eerie depths of the haunted gallery, you’ll be transported back in time to the days of kings and queens. To ensure you don’t miss out on this extraordinary experience, booking your tickets online is a wise choice, allowing you to secure your visit to this iconic palace and delve into the rich tapestry of its intriguing history.

Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

Also known as the “Russian Versailles,” Peterhof Palace is a grand ensemble of palaces and gardens overlooking the Gulf of Finland. The opulent Grand Cascade, with its impressive fountains, and the intricate design of the Grand Palace will leave you spellbound. Plan your visit wisely and obtain Peterhof Palace tickets online to avoid any disappointment.

The Best Palaces in the World – Final Thoughts

A journey through these ten magnificent palaces in the world offers an immersive experience into the opulent lives of monarchs and historical figures. Whether you’re captivated by the opulence of the Palace of Versailles or the enchanting gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, each visit promises to transport you to a fairytale realm. Online ticketing makes these trips even more convenient, allowing you to skip the lines and fully immerse yourself in the enchanting world of these palaces. So, pack your bags, grab your tickets, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable fairytale adventure through the world’s most captivating palaces.

Ever find yourself aching for a change of scenery from Manchester’s seemingly never-ending concrete? Well, I’ve got you covered. These day trips from Manchester are just a short distance away from the city, but you’ll feel half a world away! 

Manchester’s surroundings are a gold mine of rugged countryside, historic towns, world-class cities, and even the seaside!

And it’s no problem if you don’t have a car. The majority of the day trips from Manchester on this list are accessible by train or bus, so you don’t even need to stress about getting behind the wheel.

Let’s get started.


The Many Sights of Liverpool

The Many Sights of Liverpool

At just a 45-minute train ride away from Manchester, Liverpool is the obvious choice for a day trip from Manchester. 

There’s so much to see and do here that you won’t know where to start! Obviously, Liverpool is the home of the Beatles, so exploring Liverpool’s Beatles sights on a Beatles tour is an unmissable experience. 

For first-timers and casual fans, hop aboard the bright yellow and blue Magical Mystery Tour bus for an unforgettable 2-hour Beatles crash course! You’ll get to check out all of the top sights like Penny Lane, John Lennon’s House and Strawberry Fields.

Another great thing to do in Liverpool is to wander around the Albert Dock, where the old warehouses now burst with a tonne of fascinating museums, bars and restaurants. It’s one of the most photogenic spots in the city.

Wandering further along the water, you’ll come across the Museum of Liverpool, which documents the city’s past from its origins to the present day (including all the music and football trivia you could ask for). What’s more, it’s free! 

Round off your day trip to Liverpool with a night out on Mathew Street. It’s the liveliest part of the city, where you can dance the night away to live music every night of the week.


London Skyline

London Skyline

Yes, you read that right. London is a day trip from Manchester. Who would’ve thought, right? With just a two-hour train journey, you can be in the beating heart of the capital. It’s true that things in London cost more than in Manchester, but if you’re only in the city for a day it won’t be a huge problem.

Standing regally at the city’s core is Buckingham Palace, the royal residence of the monarch. If you time it right, you can even catch the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony. A short walk away, you’ll find the sprawling expanse of the Royal Parks – including St. James’s and Hyde Park. They’re some of the most stunning places in the city!

No visit to London is complete without capturing that postcard-perfect shot of Tower Bridge. With its iconic blue and white facade, this iconic landmark is a must-see whilst you’re in London, and you won’t be able to resist popping into the nearby Tower of London to get a taste of the oldest building in the city.

For foodies, Borough Market is pure heaven. You’ll find everything here – from fresh produce to home-baked goods, mouth-watering street food, and some of the best coffee ever!

Art enthusiasts can take a detour to the Tate Modern. This former power station, now a world-class art museum, houses masterpieces by artists like Picasso, Hockney, and Warhol. And the best part? Entry to the permanent collections is free!


The Mediaeval town of Chester, England

The Mediaeval town of Chester, England

Just an hour away by train from Manchester, the ancient city of Chester will transport you back in time. Its beautifully preserved Roman walls circle the city, and the best way to kick off your day trip is by walking along it, checking out the sheer beauty of the city and making you feel as though you’re retracing the steps of Roman centurions.

An iconic feature of Chester, The Rows, are a must-visit. These unique mediaeval two-tiered galleries are not just architectural wonders, but they also house quirky boutiques and cafes. This is the most fun and unique place to shop in the city.

On the hunt for designer deals? One of the top reasons people visit Chester on day trips from Manchester is for Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. It’s easy to get to from the city centre, too – just a short, direct bus. This shopping centre boasts a whole host of luxury brands at discounted prices. It’s every bargain hunter’s dream.

If it’s a sunny day, there’s no lovelier way to pass an afternoon in Chester than on a sightseeing boat tour of the River Dee. You’ll drift past some of the city’s most historic landmarks, as well as its most beautiful spots.


Blackpool Tower and the coast

Blackpool Tower and the coast

Just a stone’s throw away from Manchester, Blackpool is jam-packed full of quintessential British seaside charm. It’s fun, it’s tacky, it’s cheap, and it’s by the sea. What more could you want? In a mere 75-minute train ride, you’ll be at the seaside – a far cry from Manchester!

The majestic Blackpool Tower is an icon on the Lancashire skyline and an absolutely beloved symbol of Blackpool’s history. You’re able to visit the top and stand on a glass platform (if you’re brave!) for a panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see. It’s a must-do whilst you’re in Blackpool.

For adrenaline junkies, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of the best theme parks near Manchester and promises a day of heart-pounding excitement. The star attraction, the Big One rollercoaster, towers 235 feet over the park and offers a thrill ride that’ll have you gripping the edges of your seat.

Stroll down to Blackpool’s iconic piers for a solid dose of history and entertainment. These structures harmoniously blend old-world charm with modern-day attractions. From vintage carousels to modern rides, and plenty of old and new arcade games, there’s fun to be had by everyone here.

But what’s a visit to the seaside without ice cream? Head over to Notarianni’s for some of the best ice cream in Blackpool. This traditional ice cream shop has been passed down through the family, so you’re guaranteed fabulous ice cream made with the family recipe.


York Minster from the Lendal Bridge

York Minster from the Lendal Bridge

York, a city that feels like time forgot, is just a two-hour direct train ride from Manchester, making it perfect for a day trip. Stepping off the train, you’ll instantly be transported to a place where the mediaeval and the modern coexist harmoniously.

The imposing York Minster, with its intricate Gothic architecture, dominates the city’s skyline. You’ll want to step inside to witness the sunlight as it streams through the stunning stained-glass windows.

For a deep dive into the city’s Viking past, the Jorvik Viking Centre is a treasure trove – and well worth the fairly hefty price tag. Interactive displays and immersive experiences transport you to a time when Norse settlers walked these very streets.

Speaking of streets, no visit to York is complete without wandering through The Shambles. With its overhanging timber-framed buildings and cobbled pathways, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped onto the set of a Harry Potter film. It’s even rumoured that this street was the influence behind Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.

Wind down your historical day out with a leisurely stroll along the River Ouse, watching rowers race one another along the water. It’s one of the most peaceful places in York, and on a sunny day, there’s no better place to be.


Leeds Market

Leeds Market

A swift hour-long train journey from Manchester will bring you to Leeds, a city not too dissimilar from Manchester but that still offers a whole lot of fun.

Leeds Kirkgate Market is one of the top places to devour epic food in the city and stands as a testament to the city’s history. Pushing your way through its busy aisles, the chatter of traders and the aroma of fresh produce will take you back in time. This is far more exciting than modern-day grocery shops! 

The city’s Victorian grandeur is evident in every brick and beam, but it’s arguably most apparent at its many shopping arcades. Just look up and let the intricate facades and ornate detailing and you’ll feel like a very sophisticated shopper indeed.

For art aficionados, Leeds has plenty of galleries, but the best is Leeds Art Gallery, where you’ll find all sorts of art, from huge paintings completed hundreds of years ago to modern sculptures completed just a few months ago.

If you’re a student, or fancy heading to Leeds on a day trip to party, you really can’t miss the Otley Run. This epic pub crawl is a rite of passage for students in Leeds, and a whole load of fun to participate in, or just to spectate. Costumes are pretty common, so it’s entertaining to just sit back and watch the craziness unfold.

Hebden Bridge

Just a 45-minute train hop from Manchester, Hebden Bridge is the perfect escape from the city if you’re looking for countryside and hiking. This quaint town, nestled within the Calder Valley, is a bohemian wonderland where everybody is welcome to be themselves and express their creativity.

Begin your day out in Hebden Bridge by exploring its many independent shops, each brimming with arty finds, from handcrafted jewellery to one-of-a-kind antiques.

For those with a penchant for nature, the town is crisscrossed with scenic trails. An easy walk is to simply follow the path of the Rochdale Canal, watching narrowboats drift lazily by. For a more invigorating hike, trek up to Heptonstall. This picturesque village, perched above Hebden Bridge, is where famous author Sylvia Plath is buried, and it’s really old-fashioned.

For a more traditional hike, the walk to Hardcastle Crags is another must-do. It’s one of the best walks near Manchester! Visiting Hebden Bridge on a day trip from Manchester is the perfect escape from city living.


Edale Church

Edale Church

Just an hour away from Manchester by train lies Edale, a gem in the heart of the Peak District. This is another one of the many brilliant day trips from Manchester by train for hikers. As the gateway to the famed Pennine Way, this tranquil village serves as the perfect starting point for all sorts of adventures on foot.

Hikers flock to Edale for its unparalleled trails that weave through valleys and ascend rugged peaks. And when every step you take is accompanied by the soundtrack of chirping birds and the gentle rustle of leaves, you’ll understand why so many hikers head here on days out from Manchester.

If you’re up for a challenge, the Kinder Scout trail is perfect for you. As you make your way up this iconic peak, the terrain will vary, keeping even the most seasoned hikers on their toes. The climb is worth every bead of sweat, though. Standing at the top of Kinder Scout, the world stretches out beneath you in a panorama of rolling green and endless sky. This is worth leaving the city for!

But Edale is not just for the ambitious and energetic among us. Gentle walks alongside babbling brooks or through flower-laden meadows are also on offer, and you won’t have to look far to find them.

Lake District

The Lake District

The Lake District

Venture a little beyond Manchester’s borders, and you’ll be greeted by the wonderful Lake District. With a journey to Oxenholme taking just over an hour, followed by a quick hop to Windermere on a local service, the Lakes are surprisingly accessible by train.

This huge national park boasts shimmering lakes, rugged fells, and picturesque towns, each with its own charm. And while public transport will get you far enough for a day trip, to truly uncover the beauty of the Lakes, it really is best if you have a car.

Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, is the obvious starting point for your Lake District adventure. Hiring a rowboat here is the best way to fall in love with the lake and get away from the crowds during summer.

If you’re a book lover, you’re going to love the town of Grasmere. Here, you’ll get to wander in the footsteps of Wordsworth, checking out the same landscapes that inspired his verses.

Got your hiking boots ready? Then tackle the Helvellyn via Striding Edge Ridge hike, an 8-mile circular route offering some of the best views the Lakes has to offer.


Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

If you’re willing to venture slightly further afield, heading to Conwy in Wales is well worth the effort. Plus, with the direct train from Manchester taking just 2 hours, it’s really not all that much hassle.

Dominating the town’s skyline is Conwy Castle. With its imposing towers and battlements, this UNESCO World Heritage Site shows off centuries of Welsh history and is absolutely brilliant to visit. 

Adding to Conwy’s mediaeval charm is its well-preserved town wall. A stroll along these ancient fortifications is the best way to get a birds-eye view of the city and soak it all in.

Fancy checking out some quirky sights? Conwy won’t disappoint. The smallest house in Britain is a fun and kitschy find, with its bright red facade making it the perfect photo opportunity.

Rolling countryside at your fingertips, cliffs ascending and then descending into the crashing Atlantic Ocean and craggy moorland sprawling over the country’s interior make British nature well worth visiting – and it can all be explored with the best hikes in England

While England isn’t world-famous for being a hiking destination, it deserves a lot more than it’s given credit for. Rolling countryside and moorland punctuate the country’s interior, and the coastline is linked up by a variety of easy and challenging routes. 

If you’re keen to explore England on two feet, there are plenty of walking trails in the country. These are typically well-marked and organised, with suggested stops en route (with accommodation for multi-day hikes!). 

To ensure you have a great hiking experience in England, be sure to get the AllTrails app before you go. The app has an extensive list of the best trails for hiking in England, with reviews from other hikers to keep you up to date on the latest trail conditions. You can filter by trail difficulty, length, and suitability and download trail maps to help keep you on track even when you’re offline.

I’m an England local, and I’ve put together a list of the best England hikes below – be sure to save it for future travel inspiration!

Hiking in England: these are the best walking trails

The best walking trails in England include the South West Coast Path in the West Country, Hadrian’s Wall which is close to the border of Scotland, Offa’s Dyke which follows the England/ Wales border and Devon Coast to Coast which traverses Devon’s two spectacular national parks. Read on for information about them all! 

The South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path between Land's End and Sennen Cove

South West Coast Path between Land’s End and Sennen Cove

England’s longest hiking trail, the South West Coast Path extends 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset, around the tip of Cornwall, and down to Studland Bay in Dorset. 

The entire path takes most hikers at least six weeks to complete (although myself and my partner only completed half of it when we hiked it during a summer at a very leisurely pace!), but it’s completely possible to just do a short section!

If you’re interested in hiking in Cornwall and seeing its dramatic craggy coastline, I’d recommend the hike between St Ives and Penzance. This multi-day route will take you around 3-4 days and all stops are connected by the Land’s End Coaster. 

Devon Coast to Coast

Near Ilfracombe along the Devon Coast to Coast Trail

Near Ilfracombe along the Devon Coast to Coast Trail

If you’re interested in hiking in South West England but want to see some of its countryside, check out the Devon Coast to Coast Trail!

It’s not as well-known as the South West Coast Path (and other trails on this list!), but it’s a beautiful English hiking trail that leaves the northern coastline by the Bristol Channel, travels through the moorland and ventures through Devon’s idyllic countryside. 

The path then traverses past Dartmoor, England’s largest national park. With epic tors and dramatic moorland, dotted by temperature rainforest and bright blue reservoirs, this part of Devon is a spectacle – and the fact that the path weaves its way through means that you’ll have a chance to see some of the lesser-touristy spots! 

You can complete the Devon Coast-to-Coast trail by hiking to Wembury, one of the best beaches in Devon.

Hadrian’s Wall

One of the most famous hikes in the UK, Hadrian’s Wall spans 84 miles (135 km) from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway, from east to west. 

It follows Hadrian’s Wall, which is a Roman structure that marked the northern end of the province of Britannia in the Roman Empire. 

Contrary to popular thought, it isn’t (and never was) the border between England and Scotland, although it is located close by; in fact, Bowness-on-Solway is right next to Scotland! 

The terrain encompasses charming English countryside, with preserved sections of walls and various historical sites. 

Generally, it takes walkers at least a week to hike the entire path, but like all of these long-distance hiking trails, you can just walk sections!

Offa’s Dyke

Goodrich Castle along Offa's Dyke

Goodrich Castle along Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke follows the (actual) border between England and Wales. 

Starting at the South Wales village of Sedbury and terminating on the north coast, in Prestatyn (a popular holiday town for Liverpudlians!), Offa’s Dyke follows the border between England and Wales. 

It dates back to the 8th century when the king of the Saxon province of Mercia wanted to mark the border between the two countries and decided to build the fortification. 

Nowadays, it’s been remade to form a hiking trail, which spans 177 miles (285 kilometres). 

One of the best hikes in England is from Chepstow to Tintern Abbey, and it’s one of the easiest to reach! Chepstow is a short drive from Bristol and Tintern Abbey is a glorious historical site – it dates back to 1131 AD and the ruins have stood since the dissolution of the monasteries.  

Yorkshire Three Peaks

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales National Park

If you’re heading to the north of England, don’t miss the Yorkshire Dales National Park!

Situated close to the city of Leeds, the Yorkshire Dales incorporate three tall peaks: Whernside, Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough. 

The “Yorkshire Three Peaks” challenge involves climbing all of these mountains on the same day! 

The entire hike is 24 miles in total, and involves climbing over 2000 metres/ 6000 feet! 

Of course, you don’t have to complete all three peaks – many hikers opt to climb just one instead. Pen y Ghent is the most popular – although some consider it to have the most challenging terrain! It takes most hikers around three to three and a half hours to complete. 

Monarch’s Way

Monarch’s Way is one of the longest hiking trails in England – and it’s rare that somebody will hike the whole distance, as it spans from Worcester in the Midlands to Shoreham on the south coast. 

However, its length means that it spans quite a few British towns and cities, plus it offers a range of different terrains. 

The hiking trail follows the route of King Charles II after his defeat in the Battle of Worcester in 1651. He left Worcester and made his way south, to the coastline of East Sussex where he retreated to France. 

Its historical significance makes Monarch’s Way unique and appealing to a range of hikers, whether they be long-distance trekkers or day trippers! Notably, it leads through part of the city of Bristol and offers a connection from the city to its surrounding nature. 

South Downs Way

Seven Sisters in Eastbourne along the South Downs Way

Seven Sisters in Eastbourne along the South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is a 100-mile-long hiking trail that connects Winchester in Hampshire with Eastbourne in East Sussex. 

It’s one of the best hiking trails near London, and it’s suitable for people of most fitness levels; it even offers off-road cycling and horseriding opportunities as well! 

Many hikers prefer to stick to the southeastern section of the trail, around Eastbourne and Beachy Head, and Seven Sisters (close to the eastern end) is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful places in England. 

Pennine Way

We don’t have all that many mountains in England, but the Pennine Way is regarded as “the backbone of England” and provides challenging hiking to anyone who’s up for a challenge!

The entire route is 268 miles long and leads from the Peak District to the Scottish Borders. 

The whole trail would take at least 16 days of non-stop hiking, but there are plenty of points of interest on the way, including a beautiful valley called High Cup Nick, Wensleydale Creamery (home of Wensleydale cheese!) and the beautiful Kinder Scout plateau in the Peak District. 

The Mendip Way

Fancy heading out on a quiet, lesser-known hike close to Bristol? 

The Mendip Way is just that. It sprawls from Weston-super-Mare on the Somerset coastline and journeys 80 kilometres/ 50 miles before it terminates in Frome. 

The rolling hills are the ideal backdrop to rural English hiking, and along the way, you’ll find a few charming towns and villages to stop off in, including Shipham and Priddy. 

The highlight of the hike is certainly the part around Cheddar Gorge, the largest of its kind in England. If you’d like, you can detour to do the Cheddar Gorge Rim Walk or spend some time enjoying Cheddar’s main attractions. 

The route also takes you through historic Wells, England’s smallest city, before terminating on the eastern side of the hills. 

The route takes most hikers three days, but single-day hikes are possible. 

Cotswold Way

The City of Bath at the end of Cotswold Way

The City of Bath at the end of Cotswold Way

The Cotswolds are usually most famous for their charming villages which are made for road-tripping around – but did you know that they’re home to a stunning hiking trail as well? 

The Cotswold Way begins in the town of Chipping Camden, and leads through the beautiful English countryside, past villages like Winchcombe (home to Sudely Castle, an ancient property where one of Henry VIII’s wives lived), the spa town of Cheltenham and picturesque Broadway. 

At 102 miles in total, this hiking trail has a mix of easy and more challenging terrain. Experienced hikers could complete the whole lot, but others may opt for a flatter section. 

It terminates in Bath, where you can rest your muscles with a well-deserved soak in the thermal waters! 

Are you ready to go hiking in England?

While England’s a slightly underrated hiking destination, that doesn’t mean that its natural allures should be ignored! 

The island nation encompasses beautiful coastal trails, dramatic peaks (they’re not the Alps, but you can still take in some incredible views from the top!) and rolling countryside dotted with quaint villages. 

The hiking trails in England are generally very well-marked and maintained, typically running through villages and towns that offer places to stay each night. Or, if you’d rather do day hikes, you can break most of them up into shorter sections. 

Hiking in England is one of the best activities to do when backpacking in the UK – so grab your boots and get ready to explore the great outdoors! 

Bristol is a thriving city, full of culture and history. It’s also extremely well-placed in southwest England for some excellent day trips. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most beautiful places you can visit in the region and some super fun activities you can try out. So grab your bags and get ready to explore as we look at the best day trips from Bristol.


Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Bath was famously the home of Jane Austen, but even if you’re not a fan of literature, you’ll still get something out of a trip to this charming town.

One of the biggest landmarks in Bath is the roman baths where you can find the ruins of a public bathing and socialising complex used by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. There’s an onsite museum to give you more information about the archaeological site and you can also take an audio tour.

If you want to try out some bathing for yourself, head to the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, England’s only thermal spa where the natural hot waters can work wonders for your health.

You can get to Bath by train several times throughout the day, including direct trains that will get you there in no time. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop at one of the many chic coffee shops or visit the Jane Austen Center.


Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

It takes less than an hour to get from Bristol to Cardiff, making it a perfect day trip from Bristol. As the capital of Wales, it’s full of great activities to fill your day.

First on your agenda should be the National Museum Cardiff, a free museum and art gallery all about Wales, including botany, zoology, and geology.

You should also visit Cardiff Castle, a medieval castle that sits at the heart of the city. Inside, you can explore the castle towers, visit the inner keep, and explore the courtyards.

Before heading back to Bristol, finish the day off with a little trip down to Cardiff Bay where you’ll find a huge range of bars and restaurants overlooking the marina as well as the millennium centre where you can catch an evening show.

Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is located about 30 kilometres from Bristol and makes an excellent day trip, it was voted the second greatest natural wonder in Britain (source).

If you love history, wildlife, or nature – or you simply have a sense of adventure – you should plan to spend a few hours here the next time you’re in the area.

It is a natural landmark where you can view gorgeous caves and cliffs, but it also includes exhibits to help you learn about long-ago ancestors.

Even better, you can go rock climbing or explore the caves on your own if you’d like to spend a little more time there.


If you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Bristol using public transport, you can take the train from Temple Meads to Weston-super-Mare in about 30 minutes.

This lovely seaside town is one you won’t forget, in part because it offers something for everyone. Included in the perks of visiting the town are quiet walks over Sand Bay, lively Punch and Judy shows, and a nostalgic pier.

You can also visit their impressive helicopter museum for lovers of flight, and don’t miss the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival if you’re there during the summertime.

Weston-super-Mare is home to a playhouse, theatre, several museums, and beautiful gardens. It also offers attractions such as arcades, fudge factories, eateries, and a go-kart track, making this a very fun place to visit.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Located just over the border from Bristol in Wales, you can get to Tintern Abbey in around 30 minutes if you drive, or in roughly 2.5 hours by bus or train. Visiting the Abbey as well as the Wye Valley is one of the most beautiful day trips from Bristol.

The abbey was founded in the early 1100s and since then, it has changed a bit. Even from afar, the structure is nothing short of extraordinary, and as long as you wish to see something interesting, you can walk on the grounds and experience something new. The natural beauty it offers never fades, and it’s especially fun for people who love history.

The odd thing is that Tintern Abbey wasn’t really regularly tended to until the early 1900s, but since then it has been well taken care of and therefore, you can enjoy its magnificence today whenever you visit. Just the sheer size of the structure will surprise you.


Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

In just over an hour by direct train, you can take a day trip from Bristol to the nearby city of Salisbury.

The city is home to Salisbury Cathedral which is famous for holding the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

And make sure you spend some time wandering the old city centre where you’ll find quaint little buildings and a mixture of architecture dating as far back as the middle ages.

Longleat Safari Park

Longleat is a drive-through safari park located just an hour away from Bristol so it makes for a perfect family day trip.

It opened in 1966 when it was the first park of its kind outside of Africa. Here, you’ll have the chance to see tons of safari animals, including giraffes, tortoises, lemurs, sheep, ostriches, zebras, and so many others. You can enjoy a boat cruise around Half Mile Lake or visit the monkey temple, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

Even better, you can stop and have a snack, buy souvenirs, or even schedule a wedding or other special event on the grounds. In other words, you won’t just be driving around looking at animals up close if you visit this attraction. There is a lot more to do.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds are only 50 miles from Bristol and can be reached in around an hour on a good day. It is an area located in Central South-West England known for its stone-built towns and villages made with iconic Cotswolds stone.

Some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds are Chipping Campden, Broadway, and Cirencester.

Of course, you can get out and enjoy the rolling countryside too where you’ll find wildlife walks and manor houses dotted among beautiful landscapes.

Day Trips from Bristol – Final Thoughts

Whether you live in Bristol or are just visiting, it’s well worth exploring off the beaten path with one of these many day trips from Bristol. From countryside towns to natural wonders, there is plenty to discover!

We can all agree that some of the best things in life are free. However, visiting London is far from cheap and is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Apart from booking your accommodation and organising your train to London Kings Cross station, there’s so much to do in London without forking out a single penny – it’s just knowing where to go and what to do.

Whether you’re completely skint or just fancy stretching out your budget a little longer, here’s our list of the best things to do on your trip to London that are completely free.

The Tate Modern

Atrium in the Tate Modern, one of the best free things to do in London

Atrium in the Tate Modern

One of the most beloved attractions in London, the Tate Modern is home to a wide collection of permanent artwork including that of Picasso, Warhol and Matisse. The gallery lies in what was previously the Bankside Power Station on the south bank of the Thames.

Whilst some of the larger temporary exhibitions may require a fee, the permanent collection here is free to visit. If you’re a fan of galleries and museums, you should definitely organise a visit here during your stay.

Houses of Parliament

The iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are one of the best things to do in London for free

The iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are one of the best things to do in London for free

Built during the 19th century, the Houses of Parliament are a quintessentially British landmark, home to arguably the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben. If you’re a UK resident you can book a free ‘Inside UK Parliament’ guided tour up to six months in advance. All you need to do is contact a member of the House of Lords or your Member of Parliament (MP).

For everyone else, there are still guided tours of the Palace of Westminster but these require a paid ticket. You can also take an online guided tour, which is also free should you still want to take a look inside the neo-Gothic wonder.

Kensington Gardens

The sprawling Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

The sprawling Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Perfect for an afternoon stroll or picnic, Kensington Gardens is a stunning collection of trimmed lawns and beautiful fountains among the Royal Parks of London. There is a trove of attractions here just waiting to be explored, including the Serpentine Gallery and the Albert Memorial.

For the children, there is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, which is home to a wooden pirate ship, a sensory trail and numerous play sculptures. Better still, all of the sights here are free, as are all of the other Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Regent’s Park. You can easily spend hours out in the open without breaking the bank.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard at the Victoria Memorial

Changing of the Guard at the Victoria Memorial

The most iconic ceremony that takes place in London is, of course, the changing of the guard. Typically, the event takes place outside Buckingham Palace at 11 am every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, but it’s always best to check the schedule before you arrive.

Dressed in their traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, the King’s Guard will march around in unison to music in a display of remarkable pageantry. During this, they will switch responsibilities with each other and return to their duties. Whilst it’s one of the best things to do in London for free, it is also very popular, so make sure to get there early if you want the best spot.

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in London

The Natural History Museum in London

One of the largest collections of nature in the whole world, boasting over 80 million items, the National History museum takes you back through time as far back as the Prehistoric Period.

Learn how the dinosaurs roamed the Earth from an animatronic T-rex or go see the humongous blue whale suspended from the ceiling. There is so much to do and see here that you can easily spend the whole day walking around the exhibits.

Whilst donations are welcome, the museum is free to enter, except for the special exhibits. It is always best to visit on weekdays after 2 pm or at opening time on a weekend if you don’t want to be stuck in long queues. You will also need to book your tickets prior to arrival and select your designated time.

Sky Garden

Hang out in the Sky Garden with a view of London below

Hang out in the Sky Garden with a view of London below

Providing some of the best views of Central London, the large glass dome is dedicated to three storeys of beautiful public gardens, including an open terrace and several observation decks. It’s the ideal place to hang out and pass a few hours and you can also grab a few drinks should you choose to do so. Visiting the Sky Garden is one of the best things to do in London for free.

You are free to explore the Sky Garden on weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and weekends from 11 am to 9 pm. You can get your tickets online up to three weeks in advance and these can sell out quickly. Walk-ins are sometimes available so it may be worth visiting early in the day if you were unable to get yourself a ticket.