There’s plenty to see and do in London for everyone, but if you fancy hopping into a hire car from Hertz Car Rental and exploring a little further afield, there’s lots to see in the English countryside too. The beauty is that there’s so much just a short drive away from London, so you can go out for a great day trip and be back in London in plenty of time to grab a table at a restaurant or catch an evening show. Here’s a quick selection of some great day trips that’ll keep the whole family happy.

The Cotswolds

If you want to see the real ‘Olde Englande’, with honey-coloured houses, sleepy village greens, and leafy lanes then the Cotswolds is the place to head. This stunning part of the country covers several counties. It’s home to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and the backdrop for much of the series Downton Abbey. A day’s driving will take you through tiny villages lined with thatched cottages and country pubs for a superb pub lunch. Tour the region with the satnav turned off and see what you discover.

Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon

Head just over 90 miles northwest of the capital and you’ll come to one of the most important literary locations in the world, Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. This medieval market town is in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside, and is home to the refurbished RSC Theatre, Anne Hathaway’s house, and a host of festivals and events all year round. Be warned – parking is next to impossible in the centre of the town, especially during the summer, so the best thing to do is to use the Park and Ride service.

Theme parks near London

Just a short 20-mile drive from London is Chessington World of Adventures, one of the best theme parks in the south-east and perfect for a family day out. With everything from a Gruffalo Grove for the tots to a host of well-cared-for animals from around the world, Chessington is a great family attraction. Chessington has excellent parking facilities, including plenty of disabled parking.

A quick jaunt down the A316 and the M3 to Chertsey brings you to Thorpe Park, another family-friendly theme park filled with rides, roller coasters, and attractions for all ages. Like other theme parks, the parking facilities are excellent and plentiful. It’s just 25 miles from London, but expect heavy traffic on the M3 or the A4 and A316, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

Brighton and the South Coast

Brighton is just 50 miles from London, and shouldn’t take you more than about an hour and a half to reach. This is the destination for a perfect family day out on Brighton Beach, with a walk along the promenade or the Palace Pier, entertainment venues galore, and some great boutique shopping in the famous Brighton Lanes. Parking is very good, with lots of reasonably priced car parks across the town. The further you park from the seafront, the cheaper it is, although do watch out for some pretty steep hills if you park to the north of the town and decide to walk in. It’s easy going down, but a little more strenuous heading back up!

Head west to Bath

Just 114 miles from London and with easy access straight down the M4, the Roman city of Bath is charming, historically fascinating and great for antiquing. The Roman baths are some of the best preserved in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The retail is amazing, with markets, boutiques and high-street shops dotting the streets. You’ll also find plenty of traditional English tea rooms where you can stop and grab a cream tea. History lovers are in heaven here, with the Jane Austen Centre, Bath Abbey, the Fashion Museum, and some of the finest architecture in the UK all on show. Parking is good, with all-day Park and Ride schemes available. Bear in mind that spots in the very centre of Bath are in high demand, so get there early to grab a good spot.

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