14 Fantastic Day Trips From London: July 2019

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 26 months ago

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14 Fantastic Day Trips From London: July 2019
Image: Volks Weald

Exciting things to do close to the capital in July, all easily accessible in a day trip.

CHOCOLATE AFTERNOON TEA: Master chocolatier William Curley — whose products are sold in Harrods' Food Hall — has turned his attention to afternoon tea, creating a menu for The Orangery at Blenheim Palace. Tuck into treats such as pistachio and raspberry financiers, and chocolate torte, in the light and airy conservatory, with views over the garden. Available indefinitely (Oxfordshire)

Image: Hat Fair

WINCHESTER HAT FAIR: For three days, performers from all over the world take the streets at Winchester Hat Fair. The name comes from the hats traditionally used by buskers to collect tips from audience members — 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. Expect to see anything from dancing to mime artists to circus shows to kids' events on the packed programme — we went for a day last year, and could easily have stretched it into a second day and still not seen everything. Think GDIF, but packed into three days instead of two weeks. 5-7 July (Hampshire)

KITE FESTIVAL: Embrace your inner Mary Poppins down on the south coast at Brighton Kite Festival. It takes place at Stanmer Park, outside of the city centre (nearest station is Falmer), and features kite flyers from all over the world. Watch the experts do their thing, or buy your own kite from one of the stalls and join in. 5-7 July (East Sussex)

VINTAGE WEEKEND: Bletchley Park — known for housing some of the codebreakers in the second world war — hosts a 1940s themed vintage weekend. Don your best '40s finery and dance your day away to live music, take part in vintage lawn games, watch vintage vehicle displays and reenactments, or shop at the vintage stalls. 6-7 July (Bedfordshire)

Image: Bletchley Park

PADDLE ROUND THE PIER: Try surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding at Paddle Round The Pier, the largest free charity beach festival in Europe. Events take place in the sea, in a demo pool, and on land on the beach. If you don't fancy taking to the water yourself, there's dozens of stalls, three stages for live music and talks, a dive tank, dance lessons, martial arts and more. 6-7 July (East Sussex)

SUMMER FEST: Waddesdon Manor's Summer Fest is a mammoth two-day event in the grounds of the country house. Focus is on street theatre and performing arts, with tightrope shows and stilt walkers among the eclectic programme. The area near the aviary becomes a shopping village, selling arts and craft products, homewares and plants, and 50 stalls serving up food and drink. 6-7 July (Buckinghamshire)

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 for a camping weekend in celebration of the much-loved vehicles. 12-14 July (Kent)

Image: Volks Weald

TENDRING SHOW: One of the largest agricultural shows in Essex, Tendring Show attracts crowds of 20,000 people each year. Expect the usual sheep, cattle, goats and poultry on show, along with guinea pigs, and rabbits. The 2019 theme is 'delights of dairy', with events and displays looking at how milk production has evolved, alongside motorbike stunts, sheep dogs herding ducks, stalls, a food pavilion, vintage cars, and plenty of other entertainment. 13 July (Essex)

FLYING LEGENDS: The Imperial War Museum's Duxford outpost hosts Flying Legends, a celebration of classic aviation. Vintage aircraft including the Spitfire and Hawker Sea Fury take part in airborne displays — and there's a chance to sit in some of them back on solid ground. Food, drink, live music and entertainment themed on the 1940s also feature. 13-14 July (Cambridgeshire)

Swan Upping in Henley on Thames. Image: Shutterstock

SWAN UPPING: Every year, the Queen'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)

GREAT MAZE: Essex's Great Maze celebrates its 20th anniversary this year when it opens for the season on 20 July. The 10 acre maize field has a different route cut through it each year, with designs that look seriously impressive from the air. Take the challenge unaided, or take a map into the maze with you — you get your deposit back if you return it unopened. 20 July-8 September (Essex)

WAR AND PEACE REVIVAL: The Dunkirk spirit comes to Kent in the form of the War and Peace Show, which has thousands of military vehicles from all over the world on display. Watch carefully choreographed battle reenactments to get an idea of what life on the front line in the second world war was like. Militaria, antiques, book and other memorabilia are available to browse and buy too. 23-27 July (Kent)

There's an RHS flower show at Hyde Hall in Essex

UK'S STRONGEST MAN: The UK's Strongest Man Finals take place in St Alban's, and is filmed for Channel 5. Watch 16 competitors pull trucks, flip giant tyres and lift stones throughout the family-friendly show. There's also children's entertainment, food and drink stalls and live music. 26 July (Hertfordshire)

FLOWER SHOW: Round off your month with the beautiful blooms at RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show. Specialist nurseries show and sell their plants, gardening experts offer tips and demonstrations, and there are plenty of stalls where you can buy anything else you need to keep your garden, balcony or window box looking wonderful. 31 July-4 August (Essex)

Last Updated 04 July 2019