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Day trip suggestion from London

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Hi:

I will be in London on part of my trip to Europe this summer. I would like to take a day to get out of the city and see some the English countryside before traveling northwards to Carlisle and Scotland. I have been searching the topic of solo day trips from London and I mostly get big tours through Viator. I am not sure I want to spend a day on a big bus although I am interested in some of the sights they go to. This leads me to my question. Can anyone suggest a possible day trip where I could possibly take in some history and see the countryside by bike or by foot? I expect I would arrive at my start destination by rail. I did find one article about hiking in Hastings. That seemed pretty neat. If I were to do that walk, is there a train to Hastings? Also, is it possible to get to Bodiam Castle from Hastings? The tour I imagine includes the countryside, a village, some water (a canal?), and maybe a castle. Is this fantasy? I do know that London Walks has a tour to the Cotswalds, but I think I am little more adventurous than what that tour offers. Thoughts? I will check back this weekend. Thanks...

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