Day Trips from London

London is an absolute metropolitan city! It has 4 airports, so a day trip could also mean flying out of the country and coming back! But I'm skipping that sort of places! I'm sticking to the less-popular places in Southern England that you shouldn't miss!!!

1. Stonehenge: This was the first place I wanted to visit in London, even before the popular sites within London. Its located about 2 hrs by train or 3 hrs by bus from London. While Stone Henge itself is the prime place to see, don't miss Old Sarum, very close to it. 
2. Bath: Bath is located 1:30 hrs from London by train and 1 hr from Stone Henge (Salisbury). This is one of the old Roman cities frozen in time & preserved as it was, with its own Roman Baths!
3. Land's End: As the name suggests, the very last point of UK before the vast expanse of Atlantic Ocean and then, USA! Cornwall is more than a day trip, its atleast a weekend trip with quite a few things to see & do, atleast visit Land's End Signpost, St.Michael’s Mount and watch a play at Minnack's Theatre.
4. Canterbury: This is the city where Christianity entered into England and currently this is the city that has the oldest church in England. Its still functioning as well! The oldest abbey of England is now in ruins and there is the Canterbury Cathedral to see. Apart from these 3 UNESCO Sites, the city of Canterbury has quite a few historic monuments to see!
5. Dover: I saw Dover when I took the ferry across English Channel to Calais, France. The pristine white landscape was just breathtaking and I had to explore this place. A day trip and I saw the Dover Castle and walked along the White Cliffs of Dover
6. Dorset: Dorset, like Cornwall, needs atleast a weekend and private transport. A drive along the Jurassic Coast, seeing the wonders of nature till you reach the arch (or is it an art) of nature at Durdle Door. Don't miss Corfe Castle on the way.
7. Hastings: Unfortunately I didn't go here when I was in England. This is the city where the Battle of Hastings between Normans & Saxons happened. The ruins of the 11th C castle here cannot be missed, as well as the underground tunnels used by the smugglers ages ago!
8. Isle of Wight: Unfortunately I didn't go here too. This is a little island that can be reached by ferry from Southampton. With white cliffs like dover, beaches and greenery all around, I'd say spend atleast a weekend here.  
9. Tilbury: I may not have visited here unless it was included in the English Heritage membership card. The interesting star shaped fort is located just beyond the city limits of London and is just 1 hr by train. 

Places to see within London:
While most people definitely visit the Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, see the Change of Guards at Buckingham Palace etc, many other fascinating things in London are left forgotten! Here are some that you should consider.

Let me begin with the unusual aspects of a few popular sites.
1. Big Ben - Did you know climbing the Big Ben was possible? Ofcourse, currently its under renovation, but when its open, it can be climbed and its absolutely free of charge, but requires permission from the MP!
2. Inside Buckingham Palace - While watching the Change of Guards from outside the gates is interesting, did you know you can actually visit inside Buckingham Palace? Certain rooms are open to public for a 10 weeks every year in summer. 
3. Greenwich - While Greenwich is a must-visit for most people for the prime meridian line, there are quite a few more things to do in Greenwich. Walk inside the historic merchant ship of Cutty Sark, the historic hospital which is now the Greenwich Painted Hall, beside it is the Greenwich Chapel
4. London Bridge - While everyone takes a photo with the London Bridge, a short walk from there are the Monument to the Great Fire of London and ruins of St.Dunstan in the East.

Over to the other actually unusual places in London:
1. Londonium: Do you know why London is called London? Well, it was originally Londonium, when the Roman's built the fort, theatre and more. Now parts of the fortification wall and theatre can still be seen.
2. Ambedkar House - If you're an Indian, this humble building where Ambedkar lived as a student when he studied law in England is a must visit. Its a simple museum about life and work of Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar, currently managed by Maharashtra Government!
3. Museums!!!! - While ofcourse there's the British Museum, V&A Museum, National Gallery that are famous, there are quite a few unique, quirky museums in London incl. Sewing Machine Museum, Fan Museum, Anesthesia Museum, Hunterian Museum (of Royal College of Surgery - where you can see foetuses in different stages of development, unique skeletons like 2 tailed lizard etc)!!!! 
4. Buddhapadipa Temple - Honestly it doesn't show from outside. Buddhapadipa Temple is so green, so serene and feels straight out of Thailand, but we were in the middle of London!
5. Chateau Houses & Gardens - Whole of England is littered with palatial farm houses and chateaus that belonged to the various royal families, incl., Kew Palace & Gardens, Eltham Palace & Gardens, Marble Hill House, Banqueting House (with its incredible paintings by Rubens), Chiswick House & Gardens, Ham House & Garden etc
6. Barbican Conservatory - Barbican Estate is a huge structure that is filled with residences, offices, museums, libraries & more. It looks like a concrete jungle, till you get into the Barbican Conservatory. Its an actual jungle with trees, waterbodies & more in 3rd & 4th floor.
7. The unbelievable greenery within the city - Not just gardens like St.James Park or Holland Park, there are quite a few country parks that spread over several acres giving the city enough oxygen - Fryent Country Park, Richmond upon Thames 
8. Views of London - While London Eye & Shard are very famous to get the best views of London, there are also so unique other places - Primrose Hill, Up at the O2, Emirates Cable car, Greenwich Park!
9. World War Sites - Ofcourse England played a major role in both world wars and some of the associated sites are within the sites - HMS Belfast, Churchill War Rooms, Memorials to war heroes etc. Apart from these, there's also a very unusual sculpture of Roosevelt and Churchill chatting!
10. Chislehurst CavesIt was dug centuries ago and extended over time. No, its not a natural cave; its completely manmade; but absolutely doesn't feel so! Chislehurst Caves is a maze of tunnels, 30ft below the ground, that can be explored with a guided tour. 
11. Bridges - Yes, the London Bridge is famous. But then there are 2 bridges on Paddington Basin - one that opens up as a fan and another that curls up as a circle!

Transport in London & England:

Oyster is indeed known to all to transport within London. Its not only for metro & bus, but also for Thames River Bus and Emirates cable car. 
Dynamic pricing for transport tickets in applicable not only for flights, but also buses & trains in England. Is London costly? If you don't have all bookings in place, yes, it is! Not so much, if all train/bus tickets are booked 2-3 months earlier. 

Money saving tips in London & England:
Everything is cheaper if done earlier. Online pre-booking of tickets for attractions is cheaper. Consider London Pass and English Heritage Overseas visitor Pass
Thames cruise is costly but Thames River Bus is a public transport and included in Oyster card! London Eye & Up at the O2 are costly but Emirates Cable car is public transport, cheap and included in Oyster card as well!

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