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36 hrs in London or further afield. Your fave adventure that we've missed?

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Okay. An unusual request, but I need major assistance as coming up against deadlines soon, and haven't been able to dedicate *any* energy or daydreamin' to this tiny 'layover' we're lucky enough to have. on the way to seeing my hubby's family
in Norway.

Flying into Heathrow & out of Stansted. (So, that too has to be taken into account.)
And the time of year, too (late Aug) perhaps, for recommendations.
(some sights might be better in Spring?)

Between working full-time & caring for my elderly mom, I just haven't had the chance
to plan anything yet. But would so appreciate anyone willing to throw out ideas!! :-)

To share, I was a *complete* Anglophile as a pre-teen/early teen. All things Beatles,
Charles & Di & the like. (way back in the early 80's) Can't believe how the years have disappeared!

Thought I'd one day have LOTS of adventures in the UK, but life intervened, and responsibilities, so will simply share the few short stays I've had the pleasure to experience thus far.

And then, maybe anyone game,
could suggest something new, that is high on your own list of 'not-to-miss'
not too, too far from London? (or w/in it)

I do realize there are *infinite* possibilities still, as far as explorations go,
so just feeling a bit overwhelmed w/re: to options.

But again, we're wide open & willing to rent & drive, too.

In prior short stays (again, usually on the way towards seeing family in Scandinavia)...
I've seen Bath & Windsor Castle. (on my own, while he was in mtgs once)
That was trip # 1 on British soil. :-) (about 2-3 nights, but stayed in a simple
place in Reading due to the business thing that time around)

Another time, with just one day/2 nights in London, managed to see a lot, it seemed.
(relatively)

Stayed just around the bend from Buckingham Palace in some affordable hotel...
and by way of that, walked a TON.
Got to to the Tower of London (some of it)... and St. Paul's & walked across the bridge there & up the South Bank (if that's what it's called) :-)...
all the way to Westminster Bridge.

Didn't get to do the 'Eye' though, as it was just closing. Walked through the parks (closest to Buckingham Palace) & to Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square, etc. And perhaps that's about it. (only had two dinners in town & essentially one day)
Did not get to more museums, nor the Globe, etc. (nor so many other neighborhoods)
Nor did we get to some major sights like Greenwich or Hampton Court, etc.

Also, didn't take a Beatles tour, as wanted to be more 'inclusive' to my hubby's
interests, as well.

And, last time there, we got more days, so didn't do London at *all*, but instead
headed to the Cotswolds. (not Stonehenge, but Minster Lovell with stops in Woodstock on the way to Burford and a few sweet & small towns north of there).

Had a couple of nights. Was a quiet time of year, so was truly lovely! (early May)
Not sure if this time of year, though, the Cotswolds would be overrun & perhaps less peaceful/picturesque? Plus, so many fields were ablaze in gold flowers then.
(w/lambs cavorting along the way, too) ;-)
Oh and bluebells too in the forests - just stunnning!!

Did do Churchill's Blenheim Palace near there, too. And for some reason, before exploring other areas in England, I was pulled to Wales,
so we saw a few spots there, as well...including Conway, and on the way back, were strongly urged by others to check out Warwick, so we did that, as well. (along w/many ruins in Wales)

Well, sorry so much detail, but I know Fodorites to be patient & kind,
so am risking the length here. :-)

Have always enjoyed these forums here, but have not peeked in ages.
So, just hoping some ideas might flow, knowing that we land on a Wed mid-afternoon
& need to leave Friday at 1pm out of Stansted.

Lastly, we stumbled upon the outer grounds of Waddesdon Manor too,
on our last trip. (coming from Stansted, that time, I think) It was closed for a bank holiday, but it seemed to be an intriguing place, as well.

Should that be high on any lists? (to do something like that, with our
very limited time) And to stay somewhere near there, by chance?

Only other area that has recently caught our attention (since last there, I mean)
is the coastal area in the Doc Martin series (southeast England,
I believe?).
So very glorious, it seems! But perhaps better again, in Spring?
And also, perhaps not 'reachable' for a one day adventure?

It might be more 'similar' than not too, to some areas in Northern Calif,
where we explore often. (since they are easily reachable for us)

Thanks for anyone who got this far.
Thought it worth a try, in case anyone in the mood for advising someone
w/so little time, but eager to take in, another little taste of England!
Thank you so much for your time!! :-)

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