10 magical day trips in England

Once upon a time, 10 beautiful English sights became Insta-famous when they enchanted visitors and inspired them to snap photos.

We think you, too, will feel like you’re in a fairytale when you visit these magical places that are an hour or less from a major city...
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Strawberry Hill House

Twickenham, London

Situated in a leafy London suburb is a house that bears striking resemblance to the castles where handsome princes rescued damsels in distress. One of the most magical places to visit near London, Earl Horace Walpole began building Strawberry Hill House in 1749, starting the Gothic Revival movement.

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Alnwick Castle

Alnwick, Northumberland

The 1,000-year history of Alnwick Castle, near Newcastle, casts a spell on visitors. Recent additions of a giant treehouse (featuring a restaurant) and a wicked garden full of poisonous plants – and a famous role as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts – have cemented the castle’s modern mythology.

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Blaise Hamlet


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Just four miles outside Bristol, Blaise Hamlet’s nine thatched-roof cottages, owned by the National Trust, look like they’ve been plucked out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

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Merlin's Cave

Tintagel, Cornwall

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Perhaps the most famous wizard until Harry Potter appeared, Merlin is a mainstay of Arthurian legend. Merlin’s Cave sits in the cliffside beneath Tintagel Castle (where Arthur was conceived, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth) on Cornwall’s north coast, just about an hour from Truro.

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Warwick Castle

Warwick, Warwickshire

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Warwick Castle, 30 minutes by train from Birmingham, is an ancient estate replete with legend and lore. It keeps its colourful history alive and kicking with events including War of the Roses-themed jousting tournaments and the very recent royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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The path to Halnaker Windmill

Halnaker, West Sussex

We wouldn’t be surprised to see Bilbo or Frodo walking beneath these arched bows. Part of Stane Street, the ancient London to Chichester Roman road, this tree-lined path is just four miles from Chichester.

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The Shambles


One of the most atmospheric places for a spot of shopping, The Shambles in York is a narrow cobbled street lined with wonky timber-framed buildings dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Be sure to slip down the city's Snickelways, a secret labyrinth of alleyways tucked between the shop fronts.

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Near Amesbury, Wiltshire

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If there’s a single place in England known for being shrouded in myth and mystery, it’s Stonehenge, just an hour's travel from Southampton. The Neolithic monument’s origins are unclear, but it dates back more than 4,000 years and was used as a ceremonial burial ground.

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Mermaid's Pool

Kinder Scout, Peak District

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Heed the call to visit the Mermaid’s Pool over Easter, and you may be granted the gift of immortality by the resident mermaid. The pool is situated on Kinder Scout in the Peak District not far from Manchester.

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Longleat House


Get lost in a fairy tale setting as you explore the magical Longleat. Less than 20 miles from Bath, this Victorian estate’s huge maze is truly a challenge. Can you make it to the middle?

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06 Dec 2018(last updated)
  • 1

    Twickenham, London

  • 2

    Alnwick, Northumberland

  • 3


  • 4

    Tintagel, Cornwall

  • 5

    Warwick, Warwickshire

  • 6

    Halnaker, West Sussex

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  • 8

    Near Amesbury, Wiltshire

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    Kinder Scout, Peak District

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