Peterborough local? Join the club. I’ve only lived in the city for a year or so but it’s safe to say that I try to escape as much as possible at the weekend. I’m especially a sucker for the countryside and hills, so I’ve made it my job to hunt out some of the best spots nearby. And let me tell you, I was so surprised by how many amazing day trips from Peterborough there are, especially if you’re willing to drive a couple of hours and make it a long day out!
If you’re not a fan of a long day trip like myself (I could happily spend hours behind the wheel!), then you can turn these day trips from Peterborough into short weekend breaks instead. So whether you’re heart is in the hills, you’re a water baby or you just love the city life, here are 17 great day trips from Peterborough you need to go on.
Day trips from Peterborough within 50 miles
1. Rutland Water (27.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? 40 minutes by car
Looking for the perfect place to go for a long walk that isn’t too far away from Peterborough? Rutland Water‘s the place to go. One of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, Rutland Water is a reservoir located near Oakham, home to some amazing walking trails, nature and wildlife, watersports, and fishing.
It may be relatively flat but you’ll be surprised by how much your legs will ache after visiting Rutland Water. The full circuit of 24 miles provides some serious cardio, but even if you avoid Hambleton and cover 16 miles instead, you’ll still be knackered by the end. But don’t worry, if you haven’t got much time on your hands or simply don’t fancy a long walk, there are plenty of other shorter walks to choose from. Nestled within 4200 acres of stunning countryside, there’s plenty to explore!
And the best part is that you can get your body moving while eyeing up some great views too. It’s pretty much impossible to visit Rutland Water without getting a little snap happy by Normanton Church. One of the UK’s most unique churches, it looks damn great in a photograph and its classic architectural elegance has attracted many a couple looking to say their vows.
2. Sandringham Estate (42.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? 55 minutes by car
The Royals love it so why won’t you? If it’s fit for the queen it’s fit for us. Famously the private home of Elizabeth II, whose father, George VI, and grandfather, George V, both died there, Sandringham is a real historical landmark. For £20 (or free for children under 17), you can explore this grand stately home. Yep, you can actually wander around the queen’s digs. What a treat!
But even if you don’t step foot into the country house, you’ll still absolutely love your visit. Park up early on the side of the road before the main car park to avoid parking charges, then roam wild in Sandringham’s 20,000-acre estate. Set in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the estate provides exactly what it says on the tin: outstanding natural beauty. Whether you take to the park by foot or on wheels, expect a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees and a whole lot of amazing wildlife.
All that exercise and you’re bound to work up an appetite, right? As far as amenities are concerned, you’ll find a cafe, gift shop and toilets at the Visitors Centre when you arrive. Top tip: Keep an eye out on their website for events they host throughout the year. Whether you fancy taking a bushcraft course, going on a Land Rover safari, or even catching a show at an outdoor theatre (that’s personally high up on my bucket list!), Sandringham is sure to entertain you somehow.
3. Cambridge (43.1 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? 50 minutes by car, or 55 minutes by train
Cambridge is the nearest city to Peterborough and one you absolutely cannot miss. Made famous by its university, you could easily just spend the whole day there exploring the various colleges and historical landmarks. You definitely can’t miss King’s College and Queens’ College. But if that’s not your thing, don’t you worry! Cambridge has something for everyone.
Firstly, you can’t visit Cambridge without climbing aboard one of the punts and sailing down the river. It’s a great way to see the city from a different angle and sometimes if you can’t beat the tourists, you’ve just got to join them, right? Another great way to see Cambridge is to hire bikes. The city is home to miles of cycle paths along the shores of the River Cam and through its quaint streets. So why not make the most of them?
Must-see places to pass along your way include the Mathematical Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Botanic Garden. And for a gorgeous view of Cambridge from above, climb Great St Mary’s Church stone tower.
Day trips from Peterborough within 50-80 miles
4. Lincoln (51.3 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 15 minutes by car, or an hour by train
A city best-known for its medieval cathedral, Lincoln is one of Britain’s best cultural hotspots! It’s rich in history and home to a plethora of independent boutique shops, great arts and culture.
Start by climbing Lincoln Cathedral tower to get your bearings and enjoy amazing views across the city and beyond. Next, I’d recommend heading to Lincoln Castle to revel in the history of this mighty medieval stronghold. Once you’ve soaked up the history, visit the Arboretum, a park of Grade II historical importance, boasting beautiful gardens, lakes and fountains. A great place to relax in on a summer’s day, you could easily spend hours lounging here.
Before you leave, make sure you check out Steep Hill. The recipe for the perfect Instagram photo, the picturesque cobbled streets are lined with quaint independent shops, and you may even spot the wonky lamp post and crooked house. It’s 100% worth the steep climb!
5. Thetford Forest (54.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 20 minutes by car
So you know how I said my heart belongs in the hills and countryside? Well, my heart also lies in the forest too. And the nearest one to Peterborough is the beautiful Thetford Forest in Norfolk. Within just an hour or so’s drive of Peterborough, you feel like you’re in another world entirely.
Although touristy, a great place to start is at the High Lodge. From here, not only will you have several walking, cycle and mountain biking trails at your feet, but also all the facilities you could dream of. There are parks for the little’uns and even Go Ape for the slightly larger little’uns or the young at heart. Or you could make your day out a little more unique by taking to the trails by segway. Once you’ve explored all that the forest has to offer, settle down for a picnic with your loved ones to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace with a sandwich or two in hand.
A quieter, slightly less tourist-y spot in Thetford Forest is Lynford Arboretum which is home to some great walking trails and more importantly, some really cute highland cows. Need any more reason to visit? I think not.
6. Bury St Edmunds (56.3 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 15 minutes by car, or an hour and 10 minutes by train
Looking to visit a small market town packed with a ton of character? Then Bury St Edmunds should be at the top of your list. I actually visited Bury long before I moved to Peterborough when I stayed in nothing other than a hobbit hole! Although it was the Lord of the Rings nerd in me that really attracted me to the town, Bury is a great place to visit regardless.
Ideal for a day trip when you just want to enjoy life at a slower pace, Bury is a great place to slowly wander about and soak up the sights. It’s so quaint! Be sure to check out the Abbey and Abbey Gardens before you leave, and if you fancy heading back to yesteryear, why not visit the first English village at Anglo Saxon Village and Lakes while you’re in the area?
7. Wells-next-the-Sea (63.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 25 minutes by car
Beach babies, this one’s for you, and boy is it a good’un! Wells-next-the-Sea is home to Holkham Beach, regularly voted one of the UK’s best beaches. I mean when it’s part of the largest coastal nature reserve in England and Wales, it’s no surprise that it’s so beautiful. And how lucky are us Peterborough folk that it’s less than an hour and a half away from us?
Known for its expansive white sands backed by sand dunes and pine woods, Holkham is popular with walkers and bathers alike. And despite the fact that it’s so well-loved, it never really feels too busy or crowded.
Be sure to also check out Holkham Hall, an 18th-Century Palladian house, before you leave too. If country houses aren’t your thing, the rolling parkland filled with fallow deer and red deer is enough to warrant a visit.
8. Sherwood Forest (68.9 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 30 minutes by car
So we’ve seen Thetford, now it’s time to check out Sherwood. Made famous by Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, you’ll see why they were so bloody merry when you visit Sherwood.
Aside from its historic associations with the legend of Robin Hood, the forest is home to so many beautiful walks and trails. The Wildwood Trail is ideal for adventurers, taking you through different landscapes, such as heathland and wood pasture. The Giants Trail is shorter and more gentle and will take you through Europe’s largest collection of ancient oak trees. But there are all sorts of walks in between to cover all fitness levels and interests!
And of course, any trip to Sherwood Forest is incomplete without visiting the Major Oak, the most famous resident of Sherwood Forest, who’s been standing for anywhere between 800-1100 years. Legend even has it that Robin and his Merry Men used the tree for shelter!
9. Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick Castle (71 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 30 minutes by car
Since these two places are just an eight-minute drive from each other, I thought I’d combine them both! A spa town with style, Royal Leamington Spa is one of the more upmarket day trips from Peterborough. As one of the only two Royal spa towns in the UK, the town boasts some stunning elegant Georgian Regency architecture, plus a whole host of independent shops and restaurants.
One of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, the nearby Warwick Castle is home to a thousand years of jaw-dropping history. From the castle and gardens to the hedge maze and castle dungeon, there is plenty to see and do for both adults and children alike.
If you plan on visiting Warwick Castle, book tickets in advance online as they can be pretty pricey. It’s also worth extending this day trip to a weekend trip so you can dedicate a whole day to visiting the castle to make the most of your money!
10. Warner Bros Studio Tour (75.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 30 minutes by car, or
Harry Potter fans, this one’s for you! If you haven’t already visited Warner Bros Studio Tour then what are you doing?! I think it goes without saying that Potterheads will have a field day here so book your tickets and scooch your bum over there. It’s basically the nearest thing to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that you’re going to get in England.
Based in Leavesden, the studio tour takes you through the Making of Harry Potter covering everything from your favourite sets like the Great Hall and Diagon Alley to props, costumes and special effects used in the films. You’ll even get to try a taste of the world-famous Butterbeer! I personally wasn’t a fan but if you love cream soda, you’ll love Butterbeer.
11. Norwich (77.2 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 40 minutes by car, or an hour and 30 minutes by train
We’re covering some serious ground in Norfolk but when the county’s nearby and packs a whole variety of day trips, from beaches to forests to cities, I can’t help but visit loads! Next up on the list is Norwich, Norfolk’s county town.
Steeped in history and a great place to visit for a change of scene, Norwich is home to over 1500 historic buildings, all within the city walls. History lovers will be in their element here as you’ll also find 33 medieval churches in Norwich, which is more than any city in northern Europe! Visitors also can’t miss Elm Hill, an oh-so-picturesque historical cobbled street with stunning examples of Tudor buildings and wealthy merchants’ houses.
If history’s not your thing, you’ll also find loads of amazing places to eat in Norwich. I’ve heard great things about Al Dente Norwich and Brick Pizza. Vegans and veggies will also love The Tipsy Vegan!
Day trips from Peterborough over 80 miles
12. Birmingham (85 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 35 minutes by car, or 2 hours by train
Okay, so Birmingham may not jump out at you as one of the best day trips from Peterborough. Why visit Birmingham when I could visit so many amazing other places? Well, hear me out. There are actually so many fun things to do in Birmingham! From crazy golf and go-karting to Bear Grylls Adventure and checking out the botanical gardens, there are loads of fun activities that you wouldn’t find in little old Peterborough.
Plus, if shopping’s your thing, you can’t get much better than the Bullring. Home to Brum’s landmark Selfridges building, pictured above, the Bullring has every shop you could ever want to visit. Great for a rainy day, you could get lost in this place for hours. Follow up a long day’s shopping with dinner in Digbeth, Brindleyplace or the world-famous Balti Triangle, the centre of Asian cuisine in the city.
If you head to Digbeth for dinner, make sure you don’t miss crazy golf at the quirky Ghetto Golf. I’d also recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the funky Digbeth Dining Club. Offering street food from some of the UK’s best independent traders, it’s a great way to try some tasty, local cuisine. If you fancy eating dinner at Brindleyplace instead, make sure you take the opportunity to take a stroll along Birmingham’s canals. Birmingham does have more miles of canals than Venice, after all.
13. Stratford-upon-Avon (85.4 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 45 minutes by car
So I’ve treated the Potterheads to a lil’ summin-summin. Now it’s time for the Shakespeare nerds. If you didn’t already know, Stratford-upon-Avon is the 16th-Century birthplace of Shakespeare himself. There is a network of houses where Shakespeare and his family spent large parts of their lives, all of which are open for visits from the general public. Must-see sights include Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft (the home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna) and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (that’s Shakespeare’s wife).
But the main thing you can’t miss when visiting Stratford is a trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company. The RSC is comprised of three theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre, which both share a building on Waterside, and The Other Place which is a short walk away, on Southern Lane.
As big fan of the best playwright in history, I’ve seen a whole handful of plays at the RSC and each is as good as the last. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth to Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, they’ve each been a real feast for my eyes and ears. Tickets are quite reasonably priced, ranging from just £10 to £60, though I’ve never once spent more than £25 on tickets.
While Shakespeare is the main draw for tourists, the town is also packed full of history, quaint side streets, wonderful markets, great restaurants, open parklands, and walks along the River Avon. So even if the bard isn’t up your street, you’ll still enjoy a day trip here.
14. London (85.5 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? Two hours by car or one hour by train
Now, this city needs no introduction. But a list of the best day trips from Peterborough would be seriously incomplete without name-dropping the capital. Whether you spend your day getting snap happy at the best London Instagram spots or eating and drinking yourself silly at the best quirky places to eat in London, you’re always guaranteed a good time in the capital.
Despite having been born in London, and having visited the city on countless occasions, I still haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of it. This means I can visit it as many times as I like from Peterborough and each time there’s still something new to see!
15. Oxford (86.8 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? An hour and 45 minutes by car
So you’ve now visited Cambridge. Why not take a trip to Oxford too? You can pack a lot into just one day in Oxford, so even though it’s almost a two-hour drive, you’ll still get to see most of the sights.
With limited time, I’d recommend visiting some of the university’s colleges, the Bridge of Sighs and Radcliffe Camera, going punting on the river and climbing the University Church of St Mary for some amazing views across the city! However, if you’re a bookworm like me, you could easily just spend all your time in Oxford getting lost in the city’s many bookshops. That’s basically what I spent the majority of my time there doing.
16. Peak District (107 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? Two hours by car
The Peak District is easily my favourite day trip from Peterborough. For someone whose heart is in the hills, I sure have chosen the flattest place on earth to live in. But the redeeming part of living in Peterborough is that it is only two hours door to door to the Peak District. And the Peaks are synonymous with amazing hills, great hikes and even better views.
If you don’t know where to start, some of my favourite places to visit in the Peak District (not only for their amazing views but also for their proximity to Peterborough) is anywhere near Castleton and the Hope Valley. Check out Bamford Edge, Curbar Edge, Alport Castles, Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge Walk.
All these walks are easily doable in a day, and you’ll feel a million miles away from the streets of Peterborough. And once you’ve completed your walk, you can reward yourself by filling yourself up with pub grub at one of the Peak’s many amazing eateries. Any excuse, right?
17. York (125.7 miles away)
How long does it take to get there? Two hours and twenty minutes by car, or an hour and twenty minutes by train
While this might be quite a long drive, you can easily visit York from Peterborough by hopping on the train! Less than an hour and a half door to door, you’ll be in this quaint, little city before you know it.
This city is great explored alone or with friends and family, but it’s definitely best visited with a partner since there are so many romantic things to do in York for couples. We’re talking pottery painting, wine tasting, and even snuggling up on a velvet sofa in a cinema together!
Must-see sights in York include York Minster, the River Ouse (you can take to it either by boat or by walking along the river), Clifford’s Tower, the Museum Gardens, and the City Walls. Oh and make sure you don’t leave without taking a stroll down The Shambles and snapping a quick photo while you’re at it. It’s an old street with overhanging timber-framed buildings that is basically the UK’s answer to Diagon Alley.
So have you ever been on these day trips from Peterborough? What did you think of them? If there are any great day trips from Peterborough that I’ve left off this list, please let me know in the comments below!
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