- magnificent palace built by a succession of kings from Henry VIII onwards.
Given to the public by Queen Victoria it boasts a succession of exquisite rooms, mediaeval kitchens, the famous maze, 'real tennis' courts and beautiful gardens.
The DLR runs through the old docks on the north side of the river, as well as Canary Wharf - a futuristic development (the tube station there won a major architectural award) and the trip is really worth it - try to get a front or rear seat on this driverless train.
Should you travel by normal overland train you are on the first passenger railway...
Whitstable, Kent - fishing village famed for its seafood. Stay at The Captain's House (a fisherman's cottage converted into a B & B 01227 275 156 - often booked up) or The Continental Hotel 10227 280280 - try to get one of the converted fishermen's huts if possible.
Whitstable is also good for a daytrip to sample the food. This once thriving village has lost most of its life to yuppie weekenders and bankers with huge undeserved bonuses and the Royal Oak is now the only place to stay, but the village has gained in picturesqueness and tranquility.
Ask for a "cheap day return" and show your card at the ticket office.
The palace is less than 5 minutes from Hampton Court station, which is 30 minutes from Waterloo. Website 2) - We've worked out what we think is the ultimate roadtrip.
You can take a boat trip there - takes about 3 1/2 hours. The dreaming spires of Oxford, standing stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury, the gothic cathedral of Salisbury, beautiful thatched villages like Upavon, amazing countryside where Druids still hold ceremonies - in one day you can see them all - sadly only by car.
You certainly wouldn't want to spend time visiting both (our daytrip sees the main highlights of Oxford anyway and a host besides).
It's also an ideal way to experience tradition and history - as well as rubbing shoulders with the brainiest people in the world. Worth a whole day though you could fit it into a half day, especially if the weather's not good. More details Also features on our Norfolk overnighter.