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Day Trips From London By Air

Updated 4th February 2024

Sometimes, a day trip by road can be more hassle than it's worth. Long travel times created by traffic jams and limited parking facilities in and around the area can make it difficult to justify. But what if you pick up your passport instead and head to one of the city's airports? With multiple airports surrounding London, a day trip to another country can be just as easy as a trip within the UK.

These destinations can all be reached within two hours from London's airports. Selected with recommendations of activities and dining suggestions but, more importantly, ease of travel from the arrival airport to the city centre.


Canal du Midi, Toulouse

The red-pink bricks of this city are its stand-out feature, leading to the moniker La Ville Rose or Pink City.


The sunsets of Toulouse are an experience in themselves - a plethora of pinks and reds. With flights departing as late as 22:40, join the Toulousains at Quai de la Daurade and watch the sunset on the banks of the Garonne River. It is a must-do activity.


Ever wondered how an A380 is assembled or intrigued by the cosmos? Satisfy those curiosities with a visit to Airbus' headquarters and witness not one but up to five Airbuses being assembled. Or step into their zero-gravity simulator for a moonwalking experience.


Toulouse is a walkable city. Thirty minutes by shuttle bus will have you arriving in Central Toulouse and nearby Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage site that provides a leisurely stroll, bike ride or canal cruise.

Dining recommendation: Go for dinner. There'll also be time for a quick sunset dinner on the Ma Biche Sur Le Toit terrace, with views over the rooftops of Toulouse. This is highly recommended.


Average Flight Time: 1h 50

Getting There: Direct flights from London Stansted. Arrive in Toulouse by 11:00. Scheduled departure from Toulouse at 22:40.

Best Days to Fly Day Return: 

JERSEY, Channel Islands

Lighthouse in Jersey, Channel Islands

With one of the shortest flight times on the list (one hour), you may well be touching down in St Helier before the in-flight Wi-Fi connects.  


The journey from the airport to the capital's Liberation Station is convenient, taking around 15 minutes. As convenient as no currency changes for your Bank of England notes.


Head to La Mare Wine Estates, offering wine tasting and exploring the estate, which has operated since 1972. 


Jersey is, after all, an island. Take in the views of the island from a different vantage point. Step onboard a catamaran for a three-hour cruise around the south coast with Go Sail Jersey. 


Recommended Dining: Try waterside dining at The Terrace at L'Horizon Beach Hotel, which has views of St Brelades Bay.

Average Flight Time: 1h

Getting There: Flights are direct and depart from and return to both London Gatwick and London Heathrow to Jersey. Arrive in Jersey as early as 08:00. Depart Jersey as late as 20:00.

Best Days to Fly Day Return: 

London Gatwick: Fridays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

London Heathrow: Fridays, Saturdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays



Luxembourg City

The multicultural and multilingual Luxembourg is landlocked between Germany, France and Belgium. The only Grand Duchy in the world and the first country to make public transport free.


So, what do you do in Luxembourg City? Head to Place d'Armes, with its many restaurants and cafes, and enjoy watching Luxembourgers go about their day. 


From Place d'Armes, take a self-guided walking tour of the Old Town - a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city straddles hills and gorges, so this is no walk in the park but the views from both atop and below are picturesque. 


Recommended dining: Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday, try lunch at 

La Maison Le Fevre. Located in Alzette, it provides upscale and international cuisine and forms part of the Old Town walking tour.


Average Flight Time: 1h 20

Getting There: Direct flights depart from and return to the same airports from both Heathrow and Gatwick. Arrive in Luxembourg as early as 09:45. Scheduled departures from Luxembourg as late as 21:25.

Best Days to Fly Day Return:

London Heathrow: Monday through Friday

London City Airport: Monday through Friday

BASEL, Switzerland

The River Rhine in Basel

With visual treats of lakes and snow-capped mountains, a day trip to Basel starts when flying over Switzerland. 

Once on the ground, Basel like the rest of Switzerland, has a well connected public transport system. Ten minutes by train or twenty minutes by bus will see you in the centre of town.

From there, take an eco-friendly trip on the Basel Ferry across the Rhine. With five hours in Basel, there are multiple art museums to visit. And over thirty museums to choose from.


Peruse the selection of fine art pieces at the Kuntsmuseum, then relax with a late afternoon lunch at one of the world's top fine dining restaurants - Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl overlooking the River Rhine. 

Recommended dining: Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl


Average Flight Time: 1h 40

Getting There: Flights are direct and depart in and out of the same airports from London Heathrow and Gatwick to Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. Arrive into Basel as early as 11:00. Departure from Basel as late as 21:30.

Best Days for Day Returns:

London Gatwick: Tuesday to Friday

London Heathrow: Sunday to Tuesday, Thursday and Friday


Amsterdam Canal

No 'Dutch Courage' is required here. 


Regularly favoured by Brits for a quick escape, Amsterdam is a top European destination. And with as many as thirty direct trains into the city, you can hop off at Amsterdam Central in under thirty minutes.


While Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum are must-visit attractions, the queues can be very long. Try something a little more quirky. Take in the Houseboat Museum or the statelier Museum Van Loon (open daily from 10 - 5) and indulge in 19th-century Amsterdam.


Bike rides and the waterways are unique ways to explore this city. Be as the VIPs and exclusively reserve the Belle or the Tourist - Hotel Pulitzer's elegant vessels and watch Amsterdam go by on your private canal tour. 

Recommended dining: Take a long lunch at one of Amsterdam's hot spots, Hèt Terras, and look over the canal as Amsterdam carries on by on water.


Average Flight Time: 1h 15

Getting There: Return the same day via most London airports. Arrive in Amsterdam as early as 08:20. Depart Amsterdam as late as 21:35.

Best Days for Day Returns: 

London Luton: Tuesday to Sunday 

London Stansted: Sundays 

London Gatwick: Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

London Heathrow: Saturdays and Sundays 

And here is a 'Wild Card' of a day trip by Air

Fancy a ticket just that bit more glamorous? Charter a private jet from London Biggin Hill to Cannes Mandelieu Airport. It is 10 minutes from the airport to the centre of Cannes. What you do with the rest of the day on the Cote d'Azure well that is up to you!

Remember 'A mile of highway will take you a mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere' Author Unknown

Where would you jet to now for a day out?

All flight information noted is correct per flights via Skyscanner as of 4 February 2024. Please note there is no affiliation between the Girlwelltravelled Blog and any links attached.

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