Days out without a car
You don't need a car to have a great day out in history.
Many of our historic places can be visited by public transport, by bike, on foot - or a mixture. Here's a selection of the most easily accessible ones.
We are working with Good Journey to encourage car-free adventures where possible. Travel by train, bus or bicycle to receive a 20% discount off walk-up admission prices at selected sites.
CAR-FREE DISCOUNTED ENTRY
Escape the traffic and travel to the sites below by train, bus or bicycle and get discounted entry. Show your bus or train ticket, or bike helmet, at any of these sites to get 20% off your walk-up ticket price.
- Audley End House & Gardens
- 1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey & Battlefield
- Bolsover Castle
- Carlisle Castle
- Clifford's Tower
- Dover Castle
- Eltham Palace
- Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden
- Pendennis Castle
- Whitby Abbey
Terms and conditions apply. Discount is valid only from 01/09/23 – 28/03/24
Once you get your head around the tube map, our capital city is one of the easiest places to get around without a car in the whole country - and probably one of the worst places to drive. So it's well worth exploring by public transport, on foot or by bike.
Check out our travel guide for more information on planning a historical day out in London.
Wellington Arch: Monumental Memorial
Between Buckingham Palace, Green Park and Hyde Park - opposite Apsley House. Hyde Park Corner underground station is a couple of minutes' walk away and the nearest train station is Victoria.
Apsley House: A Home for a hero
'Number 1 London' is over the road from Wellington Arch. Hyde Park Corner underground station is next to the house. Victoria is the nearest train station, just over a mile away.
Eltham Palace: Art Deco Decadence
Mottingham station is half a mile from the palace. Eltham station is just slightly further away. TfL bus services 124,126, 160 and 161 stop nearby.
Marble Hill House: Geogrian Riverside Splendour
Richmond and Twickenham stations are both one mile away, St Margaret's station even closer - then it's a short walk. It's served by trains from Waterloo, and is on the District and Overground lines.
Chiswick House: Neo-Palladian Playhouse
Chiswick station is half a mile from the house and is on the District and Overground lines, less than a 15 minute walk. Turnham Green is the nearest tube station just over a mile away.
Ranger's House: Hidden Gems
Ranger's House is on the edge of Greenwich Park. It's a 20 minute walk from Greenwich Station, or 15 minutes from Blackheath station. The 386 bus stops near the house.
Jewel Tower: Home of the pint
Jewel Tower is in the heart of Westminster, close to the tube stations at Westminster and St James's Park. Mainline stations at Victoria, Charing Cross and Waterloo are all within a mile.
Kenwood: A Capital Country House
Hampstead Station is a half hour walk away, or 15 minutes on the 603 bus. Highgate is a 25 minute walk, and Archway is about 30 minutes on foot (uphill) or 20 minutes on the 210 bus. All stations are on the Northern Line.
The south west's car-free picks are split between the Wiltshire wonders of Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Farleigh Hungerford, and two twin Tudor artillery forts guarding Falmouth in the south of Cornwall.
Our travel guide to Cornwall has more information on some of the other places you might be able to visit if you're happy to spend longer on foot or bike.
Stonehenge: Iconic Prehistoric
The Stonehenge Tour Bus picks up passengers from Salisbury train and bus stations throughout the year for the half hour journey to the stones. Find timetables and tickets.
Pendennis Castle: Falmouth's Fortress
Falmouth Docks station is half a mile from the castle. Falmouth Town Shuttle Bus 366 stops close to the castle at Pendennis Rise. Check Traveline South West for more journey planning info.
St Mawes Castle: Elaborately Decorated Tudor Fort
The St Mawes Ferry runs between Falmouth and St Mawes 364 days a year. Timetables can be found on the Fal River website.
Old Sarum: The Original Salisbury
Old Sarum is 2 miles from Salisbury train station. You can catch the 11 Park and Ride, X4, X5 or Active8 buses from Salisbury. The Stonehenge Tour Bus stops at Old Sarum on its return from Stonehenge.
Farleigh Hungerford Castle: Stones with Stories
Bradford on Avon and Avoncliffe train stations are a 90 minute walk from the castle. Check out the guide on our blog.
Car-free adventurers are spoilt for choice in the south east, where a string of coastal castles stand guard over the English Channel. Portchester and Pevensey have their origins as Roman forts designed to thwart marauding Saxons; neighbours Deal and Walmer were built by the Tudors; and Rochester is one of the tallest castles in the country.
Mighty Dover has history ranging from a Roman lighthouse to secret Cold War tunnels, and saw action during the rebellion against King John and was the headquarters of the operation to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.
The final spot goes to Battle Abbey - the very place where England's future was decided nearly 1,000 years ago at the Battle of Hastings.
1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield: Where England was conquered
The train station at Battle is half a mile from the abbey. Local buses run by Stagecoach (304, 305) and Renown (95, 355) also serve the abbey.
Dover Castle: The Key to the country
Dover Priory station is a 25-30 minute walk from the castle. The Stagecoach 15 bus is another option - it leaves from the Priory Street stop. A taxi from the station to the castle should cost around £8.
Deal Castle: Tudor Fortress
The castle is a ten minute walk from Deal station or take a local bus. You can also walk here from Dover, along the coast path. (It's 10 miles)
Walmer Castle and Gardens: Wellington's Seaside Home
Walmer station is a mile from the castle. Walmer Castle is a mile's walk down the beach from Deal Castle - it's on the route from Dover Castle.
Rochester Castle: Towering keep
Rochester station is half a mile away from the castle. Local bus services in Rochester are operated by Arriva and Nu Venture - alight in Corporation Street which is within a short distance of the castle.
Portchester Castle: Roman Fort to Royal Residence
The castle is a mile from Portchester station. The First 3 bus leaves every ten minutes from the station and stops a quarter mile from the castle.
Pevensey Castle: Where the Norman Conquest Began
Pevensey & Westham and Pevensey Bay stations are both a ten minute walk from the station. The 55 Stagecoach bus connects the stations to the castle.
Some of Yorkshire's best historical attractions can be easily accessed by trains. Clifford's Tower stands proudly on its mound in the heart of the city of York, and in the suburbs the spine-chilling Cold War Bunker lurks beneath the ground, preserved as it was when the world waited for nuclear war.
And on the coast, two romantic ruins stand high above the famous coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough. You can check out our travel guide for more ideas.
Clifford's Tower: The Keep of York Castle
The tower is less than a mile's walk from York station through the historic city centre or along and around the old city walls. A number of buses stop along Clifford St and Tower St.
York Cold War Bunker: Hidden History
Dug into a mound at the end of an unassuming suburban cul-de-sac, the bunker is a half hour walk from York station. A number of local buses stop close by.
Scarborough Castle: Towering Over the Town
Scarborough station is a mile from the castle. You can walk or get various buses to Castle Road Stop A.
Whitby Abbey: Dracula and Dramatic Views
Whitby station (served by Northern services and the North York Moors Railway) is just over half a mile from the castle, up the famous 199 steps from the town.
We care for three places in the north west that you can visit without a car. Stott Park Bobbin Mill offers a rare glimpse of a factory from the height of the Industrial Revolution, and Carlisle Castle stands as a testament to the fierce fighting that went on along the border with Scotland for hundreds of years. The soaring red ruins of Furness Abbey are remnants of a more peaceful past, and were praised in poems by William Wordsworth.
Stott Park Bobbin Mill: The Industrial Revolution brought to life
You can get to Stott Park on a boat from Ambleside or Windermere. Windermere station is served by trains from Oxenholme Lake District station.
Carlisle Castle: Besieged at the border
The castle is half a mile away from Carlisle station, through the historic town centre and under a subway by the Tuille House Museum. Several Staegcoach buses stop nearby too.
Furness Abbey: Soaring Sandstone
The abbey is near Furness General Hospital. You can catch the 6 and X6 buses from Dalton or Barrow-in-Furness stations. The Abbey Road and Rating Street stops are half a mile from the abbey.
The rugged north east is dotted with castles, especially along its stunning coastline. We've picked four places you can easily visit without needing a car, but there are plenty of longer distance cycle paths and walking routes for those willing to go the extra mile.
Check out our in depth travel guide to the Northumberland Coast for even more inspiration.
Tynemouth metro station is half a mile away from the priory. The 306 bus runs from the centre of Newcastle to Whitley Bay. Tynemouth Village is the nearest stop to the priory.
Prudhoe Castle: The Most Successful Survivor?
The castle is a short walk away from Prudhoe station, which is 20 minutes away from Newcastle by train.
Lindisfarne Priory: Splendid Isolation
The Perryman's 477 bus service links the priory with Berwick train station. Check the timetable to plan your trip. Lindisfarne is also at the end of St Cuthbert's Way long distance route.
Berwick Barracks and Main Guard
Berwick station is half a mile from the barracks. The castle and ramparts can be accessed throughout the town.
The famous northern frontier of the Roman Empire is easily accessible with the help of the seasonal AD122 bus. There are also well established cycling and walking routes along the wall. Either way, the exceptional historial importance of the sites along the wall and the wild beauty of the surrounding landscape make a visit well worthwile.
See our travel guide to Hadrian's Wall for more tips and ideas.
Birdoswald Roman Fort: The Wall's Longest Continuous Stretch
The 185 bus runs as an extension of the AD122 bus, running between Haltwhistle and the fort Monday-Saturday.
Corbridge station is about one and a half miles from the site. The 687 bus runs regularly from Hexham to Corbridge, and the 685 runs from Newcastle, stopping at the Angel Hotel.
Housesteads Roman Fort: on the edge of empire
The AD122 bus connects Housesteads with Hexham and Haltwhistle from Good Friday to the end of September. Check the AD122 website for more details.
Chesters Roman Fort and Museum: Most complete cavalry fort in Britain
The AD122 bus connects Chesters with Hexham and Haltwhistle from Good Friday to the end of September. Check the AD122 website for more details.
East of England and East Midlands
In the East and East Midlands you can get to two magnficent stately homes and two powerful fortresses. Wrest Park is home to some of the country's finest historic gardens, and a trip to Audley End will show you what it really took to keep a country house ticking over in the Victorian era.
At the mouth of the Thames, Tilbury Fort is an intimidating example of a Tudor coastal fortress, and a location used in the recent Wonder Woman film and Taboo TV show. Nestled high in the Peak District is Peveril Castle, a picturesque ruin standing above Castleton. The bus route that runs to the town from Sheffield is one of the finest in Britain.
Tilbury Fort: Guarding the Thames
The fort is one and a half miles from Tilbury Town station. Ensignbus 99 connects with trains at the station and passes the fort. Alternatively, you can get the ferry across the Thames from Gravesend station and walk a quarter mile.
Audley End House & Gardens: Upstairs Downstairs
Audley End station is about a mile and a quarter away from the house. The footpath runs along a busy main road. A number of local buses heading towards Saffron Walden pass within a quarter of a mile of the house.
Peveril Castle: Ruins in the peak district
A number of Hulley's buses serve Castleton, the village near the castle. The First 272 runs from Sheffield to Castleton - it's been rated as one of England's best bus journeys.
We've picked three places to visit in the West Midlands. The immense Kenilworth Castle was a powerful medieval stronghold and an Elizabethan palace, and you can get a taste of its rich and varied history by climbing its towers and exporing its lovingly recreated garden. Stokesay Castle is one of the finest medieval fortified manor houses in England, and combines fairytale towers with breathtaking views. In Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, take a tour of the J.W. Evans Silver Factory and step back into a lost industrial world.
Stokesay Castle: The finest fortified manor house
Stokesay's closest station is Craven Arms, a mile from the castle. It's on a line from Wales to Shrewsbury and Manchester. You can walk or take the 435 bus.
Kenilworth Castle: Powerhouse to Palace
Coventry and Warwick stations are about 5 miles away from the castle. Various local buses connect with Kenilworth town centre, which is half a mile or so from the castle.
J.W. Evans Silver Factory: A Lost World
Birmingham New Street is about a mile away from the factory. Jewellery Quarter and Snow Hill stations are also close by. There are also local buses connecting the stations with the factory.