12 Fantastic Day Trips From London: July 2024

Last Updated 03 July 2024

12 Fantastic Day Trips From London: July 2024
Catch live music at the Margate Summer Series

Exciting things to do near London in July, all accessible from the capital on a day trip. See our Beyond London section for further ideas.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: The Kent town of Maidstone has had a baa-rmy invasion, in the form of 50 Shaun the Sheep sculptures. As is the way with these free sculpture trails, they've all been individually designed by different artists, and they're located around the town centre as well as in parks and along river walks, waiting to be found. One to bookmark for the school holidays, perhaps? FREE, 29 June-15 September (Kent)

BRIGHTON COMEDY GARDEN: Big names in comedy including Josh Widdicombe, Maisie Adam, Sarah Keyworth, Harry Hill, Sara Pascoe and Sindhu Vee descend on Preston Park for Brighton Comedy Garden. In addition to the performances, the venue has a bar and street food stalls. Read our guide to things to do in Brighton to help you make a day (or weekend) of it. 3-7 July (East Sussex)

TONBRIDGE MUSIC WEEKEND: Just 40 minutes on a direct train from London, the town of Tonbridge hosts a Music Weekend, with two evenings of performances by tribute acts. Whitney Queen of the Night takes to the stage on Friday night singing the songs of Whitney Houston, followed by Coldplay tribute band Coldplace along with Walk Like A Man (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) on Saturday. 5-6 July (Kent)

WINCHESTER HAT FAIR: For three days, performers from all over the world take to the streets for Winchester Hat Fair. But no, it's not a festival all about hats. The name comes from the way buskers traditionally collected tips — these days most performers do receive a fee for their shows, but anything extra is appreciated, so make sure you've got plenty of coins on you. There's dancing, mime artists, circus shows  and kids' events on this packed programme — we've been previously for one day, and could easily have stretched it into a second (and still not seen everything). 5-7 July (Hampshire)

See the Mr Men and Little Miss characters reimagined, in Brighton

HERTFORD FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL: A beer tent and several food stalls in the castle grounds, and special offers in restaurants around town are all part of the Hertford Food and Drink Festival. Even better, you can pop inside the castle and have a look around, for free. 6-7 July (Hertfordshire)

WARE FESTIVAL: Meanwhile, in Hertford's neighbouring town, the Ware Festival gets underway. On the programme: carnival day, running and raft races, concerts, author talks, open gardens and the Ware Boat Festival. 6-28 July (Hertfordshire)

VOLKS WEALD: If you're all about that VW life, head to Penshurst Place in Kent for Volks Weald. The public and members of VW fan clubs are invited to park up in the grounds in celebration of the much-loved vehicles. Camping tickets have sold out, but day tickets are available on the gate. 12-14 July (Kent)

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TENDRING SHOW: One of the largest agricultural shows in Essex, Tendring Show attracts crowds of 20,000 each year. Expect sheep, cattle, goats and poultry on show (guinea pigs and rabbits too) along with sheep-dogs herding ducks (!), a food pavilion, vintage cars, and plenty of other entertainment. 13 July (Essex)

MILITARY VEHICLES: Bletchley Park — known for codebreaking in the second world war — hosts a military vehicle display. Vehicles from all over the world are parked on the lawn outside the house. Details for this year are TBC at time of writing, but previous displays have included 1940s jeeps, a Morris 8 wireless car and a Bedford Green Goddess fire engine. 13 July (Bedfordshire)

SWAN UPPING: Every year, the King's Swan Warden (excellent job title), collects data to assess the health of young cygnets on the Thames. The process is known as the Royal Swan Upping, and is full of pageantry — The Royal Swan Uppers wear a scarlet uniform and travel on rowing boats. There are plenty of opportunities to watch along the five-day route from Sunbury to Abingdon — check the website for the schedule. 15-19 July (Surrey-Berkshire-Oxfordshire)

MR MEN: Helm Gallery in Brighton currently has an exhibition about beloved children's characters Mr Men and Little Miss. The group show features work by artists and designers reimagining the series through the lens of contemporary art. Paintings, pencil drawings, hand-gilded glass and AI compositions all feature. Until 21 July (East Sussex)

MARGATE SUMMER SERIES: Throughout the summer, the legendary Dreamland amusement park on the seafront in Margate hosts a series of open-air gigs, with some fairly big names taking part. In July, they include Nile Rodgers and Chic, Jess Glynne, JLS and the Manic Street Preachers. Until September (Kent)