The Best Trips From London, Ontario on a Single Tank of Gas
Looking for adventures just outside the Forest City? These great Ontario destinations offer a full slate of things to see, do and taste.
Day Trips From London, Ontario
Global Culinary Adventures
Less than a 90-minute drive from London, Ontario, “The Hammer” has become a go-to spot for lovers of good food. (You can thank Toronto’s soaring rents for encouraging some truly talented restaurateurs to relocate here.) From Peruvian fare at Culantro to Hui Lan Shan, specializing in Asian mango desserts, the city’s international culinary scene is bountiful. Add a stop at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market (above) for a full day’s worth of delicious activities.
Port Stanley, Ontario
Beauty and the Beach
You’ll find people strolling Port Stanley’s Main Beach on the shores of Lake Erie year-round. Just a 40-minute drive from London, it’s one of Canada’s 27 “blue flag” beaches in recognition of its exceptional water quality and safety. Follow the locals and head to Mackie’s, serving burgers, fries and hot dogs since 1911, then browse the shops for tchotchkes and décor items (try Joshua & Company).
En route, keep an eye out for the beautiful barns of southwestern Ontario.
Beyond the Stage
Theatre fans flock to the town (less than an hour’s drive from London) from April to October to catch performances during the Stratford Festival. Even when theatres are dark, there’s still plenty to do, including two tasty trails—one themed around chocolate and the other, bacon and ale. Youngsters will appreciate a stop at the Stratford Perth Museum where exhibits showcase one of the region’s most famous former residents, Justin Bieber.
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With its pretty stone bridges and grand old homes, Cambridge has captured the attention of many film and TV productions. Wander through its historic downtown core and you may recognize spots featured in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Queen’s Gambit. Grab a table and watch the river flow from the Cambridge Mill, an upscale chophouse, or head to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory (above) to admire free-flying butterflies.
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London to Paris in under an hour? In Ontario, it’s possible! Located along the Grand River, Paris is growing rapidly, but still maintains its small-town charm. Spend an afternoon paddling down the river with Grand Experiences where you may come across majestic blue herons and turtles. Take a self-guided tour of Paris’s historic cobblestone buildings and sip craft ales at the Paris Beer Company.
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Artful and Tasty Neighbourhoods
Just two hours southwest of London along the 401, this border city is full of surprises. Its five kilometre-long riverfront park (above) boasts scenic views of next-door Detroit and a modern sculpture park. Explore Little Italy, stretching along Erie Street, to find specialties like homemade gelato from Gennaro’s Café. Meanwhile, Walkerville is crammed with cute boutiques, historic buildings and brew pubs. For something unique, sign up for Canada’s only guided poutine tour.
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Wine and Wings
A two-hour drive from London, Leamington is a great jumping-off point for adventure. The region’s sandy soil has given rise to a number of renowned vineyards, including Pelee Island Winery, where you can book tours and tastings. What truly puts Leamington on the map as one of the best day trips from London, Ontario, is Point Pelee National Park (above). Take the 90-minute ferry to Pelee Island where beachcombers can explore the Lake Erie shoreline, while bird-watchers should keep their eyes peeled for more than 390 species.
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Cheese and Antique Shopping
Welcome to Canada’s former cheese capital, 40 minutes northeast of London. There’s still plenty of cheese today, as you’ll discover on the Oxford County Cheese Trail, along which you can sample everything from curds at Gunn’s Hill Cheese to arancini from Sixthirtynine. Wash it all down with sensational sips like craft beer from Upper Thames Brewing (above) or decadent hot chocolate from Habitual Chocolate. Vintage shoppers hunt treasures at the One-of-a-Kind Antique Mall—the largest antiques and collectibles market in Canada.
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Golfers seeking a new challenge can hit the links at Tillsonburg’s Oxford Hills, less than an hour’s drive from London. It’s just as popular with non-golfers thanks to its restaurant, Kalos, focused on celebrating local ingredients. Out-of-towners also come for the Annandale National Historic Site, a gorgeous example of Victorian architecture (above), and to pick up bulk goods, from roasted nuts to baking essentials, at the charming Coyle’s Country Store, established in 1899.
Here’s what you’ll find on Ontario’s Apple Pie Trail.
Pretty as a Picture
If you could turn back time, you might find yourself in Goderich, a historic community sitting on bluffs overlooking Lake Huron, 90 minutes north of London. Its boast, “the prettiest town in Canada,” may well be true: Goderich’s Victorian architecture is remarkably well-preserved, and the 1.5-kilometre waterfront boardwalk is something special. Take in the views over lunch at Beach Street Station, then get a luxe spa treatment at the Benmiller Inn & Spa.
After you’ve checked these day trips from London, Ontario, off your list, take inspiration from these iconic Canadian road trips.