Over a third of holidaymakers had planned to take steps to make their trips less expensive (34%), while another 16% would go without taking holidays altogether, according to insurer Aviva in 2023. For those who find themselves in or near London this summer, however, there are a number of budget-friendly options for a day-trip that don’t require a long drive.

From locations that are steeped in history to those that provide a peaceful getaway surrounded by nature, both Windsor and Painshill provide the opportunity for the perfect day trip well within reach of England’s capital.


Painshill park for a nature-filled day

With the journey from London Waterloo to Cobham & Stoke D’Abernon taking only 40 minutes, a trip to Painshill park is a great way to unwind and spend the day surrounded by nature and the park’s rich history.

While the park can be spotted in Netflix’s Bridgerton (as it was used as a location for filming some scenes where characters promenade and picnic), Painshill has been around since the 18th century. Located in Cobham, Surrey, Painshill was created by Charles Hamilton as a living painting, with the park serving as “one of the foremost and finest examples” of the English Landscape Movement.

With plenty to do and see, the park is a great escape for anyone looking for the ultimate daytrip — the crystal grotto, for example, is just one unique feature of the park, and has been a fixture of the 18th century landscape. However, it’s far from being the only attraction.

The Gothic Tower is another noteworthy fixture of the park, and is reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle. “Climb to the top and you are rewarded with a view that includes four different counties,” highlights the park’s site, going on to note that on a clear day, Canary Wharf and even Windsor Castle can be seen.

It’s imperative to note that he park is a ticketed garden, with entry including access to the landscape for one day. Ticket prices are noted to be cheaper when booked online, with the online price of an adult ticket costing £11. For children aged 5-16, the online price is £6, and children under five years are able to enter the park for free.


Adventures in Windsor

While popular tourist attractions like Windsor Castle can be a first thought for foreigners looking for a daytrip within reach of London, locals may easily overlook the gem.

In fact, a 2016 Express article highlights one Hertz UK survey, which revealed that most Brits have never visited some of the most popular UK tourist attractions — 51% haven’t seen Windsor Castle, for example. That said, there are plenty of low cost and even free things to do in Windsor, from simply watching the Windsor Castle Guards march to exploring the Maidenhead Heritage Centre (general admission is free).

There are also three free Eton College museums worth exploring — the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Antiquities, and the Museum of Eton Life, according to the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead site, are all free and open to the public on Sunday afternoons between 2:30 and 5pm.

In addition to the plethora of free things to do in Windsor, TimeOut highlights additional attractions that can be added to any day trip itinerary. In addition to Windsor Castle, Legoland Windsor is a great attraction worth headed to for those with young children in tow, while additional options include Windsor Great Park, the Windsor & Eton Brewery, and the Loading Bay Café.

The right vehicle is imperative when planning a trip to Windsor or elsewhere, with space playing a vital role when aiming to bring everything needed for a great day out. The right car can make a major difference when travelling with the whole family, and can come in handy should you choose to drive to several attractions within the area.

Hybrid cars present a great solution for those aiming to go eco-friendly on a budget, as hybrids typically offer lower purchase prices, as well as more range and flexibility than comparable electric vehicles (EVs).

Today’s hybrid cars offer a variety of modern features that can be particularly beneficial for a road trip, from blind spot monitors and lane departure warnings to parking assist. That said, ratings and reviews can play a major role in deciphering which is the best choice for your specific needs, from price point to features and beyond.

When looking for a quick trip within reach of England’s capital, there are no shortage of options that allow for a great time — without breaking the bank. From the nature and history of Painshill to the adventures waiting to be had in Windsor, a fulfilling day trip is less than an hour away.