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Europe day trips from London

shows the Eiffel Tower at night

If you’re feeling extra adventurous and are looking for Europe day trips from London, we have plenty of inspiration below. Sure, day trips to UK destinations such as Brighton, Cambridge and the Cotswolds are great, but nothing is more exciting than jetting off to a different country and then returning to sleep in your own bed. With the fast Eurostar train and cheap, frequent flights; Europe day trips from London are very achievable! In fact, it might be one of the best cities for the seemingly unachievable feat of visiting another country just for the day!

You’ll probably have an early morning start and late return back into London, but it’s well worth it for the exhilarating day trip you’ll have. Continue reading for the best Europe day trips from London.

Europe day trips from London by Eurostar train

One of the best methods of transport for any Europe day trip from London is the super-fast Eurostar train from London Kings Cross or Ebbsfleet International. Clear a short security departure area and board the train onwards to France, Belgium and Netherlands. It’s a comfortable way to travel and you’ll be in the centre of your destination on arrival. As you’re travelling from city centre to city centre, you skip the travel time to and from the airport.

Paris

Europe day trips from London - Shows Paris from above

Whisk your partner off to the city of love or gather a group of friends for a Parisian day trip you won’t forget. Paris is one of the easiest Europe day trips from London and it only takes 2hrs 16mins to get there by train. You’ll arrive into Gare du Nord station in Paris city centre and all of the main attractions are just a short walk away.

Climb to the top of the Eiffel tower, people watch with a freshly baked pastry at a corner café or go shopping on the Champs Elysée. Paris is a sophisticated and cultural day trip idea and you’ll be spoilt for choice at the range of attractions on offer. Plan your day carefully and enjoy the full French experience before jumping on the train back to London. An alternative to Paris city is to visit Disneyland Theme Park. The Eurostar stops right outside the theme park entrance and you can explore the magic of Disney in a day!

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Climb to the top of the Eiffel tower or capture an iconic picture on the gardens of Champ de Mars.
  • Visit a museum. The Louvre, Musee de l’Orangerie and Musée Rodin are all world-famous galleries.
  • Walk the streets of the Champs Elysée, enjoying designer shopping and quaint cafes.

Journey time from London: 2hrs 16mins

Browse London to Paris trains on Eurostar.com

Brussels

Eurostar from London - Shows Brussels city skyline at sunset

A little further away than Paris on the Eurostar is the Belgian capital of Brussels. This trendy city is a mix of art, architecture and cool bars and restaurants. It has an old medieval castle surrounded by renovated and modernised buildings and is a multicultural mix of business workers and tourists.

Visit Brussels on a day trip to experience the top sights in the city and check out some trendy bars and restaurants. There are some great places to eat here! You’ll definitely want to sample the Belgian chocolates, beers and waffles. And have you ever tried Belgian fries? The best way of getting around is by renting a pick-up-drop-off bike and leisurely weaving in and out of the city streets.

What to see and do in a single day:

  • See the main city centre sights on foot. The Grand Palace is a must and you have plenty of museums and galleries to peruse.
  • Explore the parks of Brussels by bike and find a cosy spot for a picnic.
  • Visit the Marolles district for a trendy collection of cafes, restaurants and stalls with traditional foodie treats.

Journey time from London: 1hr 48mins by Eurostar train

Browse London to Brussels trains on Eurostar.com

Lille

Europe day trips from London on the Eurostar - Shows the streets of Lille

Lille is a charming French town that sits in the north of the country, right next to the Belgian border. It’s one of the first places you’ll reach on the Eurostar from London and takes only 1hr 22mins to get there from King’s Cross, making it perfect for a day trip. Being the World Design Capital and a popular commercial and arts hub, Lille is a thriving city with a traditional heart.

You have an enchanting old town that’s decorated with Flemish architecture, all surrounded by modern businesses and shopping complexes. With a huge student population, it also has its fair share of hip shops, restaurants and bars. Spend your day trip in Lille touring the city streets, checking out an art gallery or treating your taste buds to some delicious French cuisine.

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Soak in the atmosphere of Place Charles de Gaulle. This central hub to the city is alive with entertainment, market stalls and quaint cafes.
  • Visit Lille Zoo for a day out in nature.
  • Go gallery hopping. Lille is home to some excellent art exhibitions and niche museums.

Journey time from London: 1hr 22mins by Eurostar train

Browse London to Lille trains on Eurostar.com

Bruges

Eurostar day trips from London - Shows a river running through Bruges

Noted as being one of the most Romantic European cities, Bruges is a quaint collection of village houses on serene river. Its cobblestone streets and early twentieth-century bridges pave the setting for some beautifully romantic photos. It’s one of the best Europe day trips from London for couples. You can get to Bruges by catching the Eurostar via Brussels in 3hrs 25mins or catch a flight directly from London City Airport. You’ll get there in under an hour by plane.

Walk hand-in-hand down the old town streets and marvel at the churches, bridges and buildings. The scenery itself is the main thing to do here and you’ll want to be outside enjoying nature. For a small town with lots of tourists, it has very green surroundings and we highly recommend packing a picnic to enjoy on a park bench. Be sure to buy some traditional Belgian chocolates and cheese for the train ride home!

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Go on a Belgian beer tasting tour at a local brewery and sample some of the best beers in the world (we’re completely serious!).
  • Take a long walk by the river and cover every corner of the city centre on foot.
  • Shop til’ you drop in small Belgian bakeries, chocolatiers, patisseries and gift shops.

Journey time from London: 3hr 25mins by Eurostar train

Browse London to Bruges trains on Eurostar.com

Europe day trips from London by plane

Taking the train for your Europe day trip from London is easy, however you’re limited with destinations. If you don’t mind travelling to the airport early and catching a short flight, the following destinations are all excellent for a day-trip. The flight time for each day-trip we’ve selected is around an hour, but you’ll also need to account for the journey to and from the airport and check-in time.

Amsterdam

Europe day trips from London - Amsterdam boats on a canal

For an energetic European day trip from London that’s great for all interests, jet across the North Sea to Amsterdam. The flight takes only 45-minutes and you can catch an onward train straight from the airport to the city centre. For the more scenic route, jump on the Eurostar from Kings Cross and arrive into Amsterdam Central Station in 4 hour and 30 minutes. As you’re only visiting for the day, a flight is recommended, however check both options for the best times and prices.

Once you arrive in this lively and picturesque city, you’ll be greeted by endless rows of canals. Take a gondola around the labyrinth of waterways or tour the historic centre on foot. The tall buildings and colourful architecture of Amsterdam make it a unique place to visit and you’ll love simply walking around the streets. Other things to do include museums, parks and plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Rent a bike and tour the canals, parks and city streets. You’ll see a lot more of the Amsterdam than you would by foot and the whole city centre caters to cyclists.
  • Go on a foodie tour of the cafes and street stalls to find the best waffles that Amsterdam has to offer.
  • Visit a museum or gallery. The Anne Frank museum is a touching story of this iconic author, whilst the Rijksmuseum has world-famous artwork. Visit the Heineken Brewery for a more laid-back tour.

Journey time from London: 1hr 15mins by plane or 4hrs 30mins by Eurostar train

Browse London to Amsterdam flights on Skyscanner

Dublin

Picture of Temple Bar in Dublin

Visit our Irish neighbours for a Europe city break from London and you won’t be disappointed. Your only regret will be not staying longer! Dublin is a global city that never fails to welcome its visitors. It’s a capital on a small scale where you can walk most of the top sights, attractions and pubs on foot and the Irish people always have great hospitality. With cheap flights available all-day-long from all London airports, it’s one of the easiest day trip ideas on our list.

On arrival in Dublin, head straight to the city centre and explore the area around Temple Bar and Grattan Bridge.

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Get a little tipsy and learn how to make whisky at the Jameson Distillery.
  • Visit a museum. There are lots to choose from, however our personal favourite is the Kilmainham Gaol Museum, located inside an old prison.
  • Tour the city centre and take in the jovial Irish atmosphere. Cobbled streets, cosy pubs with live music and unique architecture all set the scene for a great day out.

Journey time from London: 1hr 20mins by plane

Browse London to Dublin flights on Skyscanner

Luxembourg

Europe day trips from London - Shows a castle in Luxembourg

Why not visit one of the smallest countries in the world for your European day trip from London? The mountain-top setting of Luxembourg and Luxembourg city provides captivating scenery, fairytale castles and lush green valleys. Walk down the quaint streets or rent a car for a road trip through the forest and valleys, checking out cool castles and viewpoints along the way.

Luxembourg is one of the wealthiest countries per capita in the world and you’ll no doubt capture some luxury experiences too. Dine at world-class Michelin star restaurants or indulge in designer shopping and foodie treats. A trip to this glorious country has a natural beauty unlike any of the other suggestions on our list and you can tick off a whole new country in a single day.

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Take a walking tour through the historic area of Le Chemin de la Corniche. It has some of the best views in the country.
  • Cycle across Pont Adolphe for more spectacular views of the valley below.
  • Explore the street of Grund on foot, the top tourist attraction in Luxembourg. Quaint waterways, white-walled houses and village shops make up this cool quadrant of the city.

Journey time from London: 1hr 15mins by plane

Browse London to Luxembourg flights on Skyscanner

Nantes

What to do in Nantes - Les Machines des l'ile

Just across the channel in the Brittany region of France, Nantes is a hidden gem of a European city. It’s French through and through and is alive with cool museums, picturesque river views and some cool attractions to check out. The flight from London takes only 45 minutes and you can often find budget flights from Luton and Gatwick. Start your day in Nantes with a walking tour of all of the main sights, including a grandeur shopping arcade called Passage Pommeraye.

Stop for lunch at an exquisite French brunch spot and then cross the river to the south, where the city’s most famous attraction of all lies, Machines of the Isle of Nantes. See giant mechanical animals, ride an enormous electronic elephant and generally be amazed at this unique animatronics museum. Just across from Machines of the Isle of Nantes you have the old naval ship, Maillé-Brézé, and some pretty views of the riverside. Nantes is way less touristic than other French cities and we’re a big fan!

What to see and do in a single day:

  • Check out the giant mechanical animals of Machines of the Isle of Nantes.
  • Sample fine French wines, market stall food and the many surrounding cafes. Nantes does traditional French cuisine very well.
  • See the top attractions on foot. A fairytale-style castle, amazing architecture and impressive monuments are all within walking distance of each other.

Journey time from London: 1hr 25mins by plane

Browse London to Nantes flights on Skyscanner

Our top tips for booking a Europe day trip from London

Europe day trips from London - Shows Eurostar train
  • Timing is critical for making your day trip to Europe from London feasible. Aim to depart early morning and arrive back in the evening.
  • Compare all airport options around London, but keep in mind where you live and how long it takes to get to the airport. Choosing a nearby airport will save you valuable time.
  • Leave enough time to check-in for your flights and trains, but time it right so you’re not wasting time that could have been spent exploring your destination.
  • Compare lots of different dates for the best prices. For the Eurostar, it’s often cheaper to travel on a weekday.
  • Plan your day in your destination carefully and write down the key things you want to see. Don’t pack too much into your itinerary, but try to see a few of your must-see attractions.
  • Have a quick lunch-on-the-go and enjoy a breakfast in the airport or on the train to save time.
  • Consider taking the train for one part of your journey and a plane for the other. Mixing transport methods can save you money and work better time-wise.

All of our above Europe day trips from London ideas are completely achievable in one day due to flight and train availability, but it’s super important to travel early morning and arrive back later in the evening. You want to spend as much time as possible in your destination after all! Browse train and flight options carefully to find low-cost options and times that are feasible for a day-trip. A day-trip to Europe from London is fun, exhilarating and your friends might think you’re mad! Nevertheless, it’s a travel story that you’ll remember…

If one-day is looking unachievable on your chosen dates, simply book an overnight stay and enjoy the city a little longer.

Ricky

BY RICKY

Author bio:

An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.

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