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

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Aug 9th, 2012, 02:35 PM
  #1
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36 hrs in London or further afield. Your fave adventure that we've missed?

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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Aug 9th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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One additional thing. I thought the locations in Pride & Prejudice's (2005) movie version, & of course,
in so many other productions like the BBC version of Jane
Eyre (2006 w/Ruth Wilson) to be amazing, as well!

Just looked up an older posting & discovered one area that *really* captured me from the P & P film was the Bennett's house, which appears to perhaps have been filmed in Groombridge? (Kent?)

Seemed magical in the film, at least.
(such huge trees?)

Anyone been there before that would recommend it?
Or is it a tourist 'trap'?
If not, any other close-by adventures to it, if making
it our full day trip?? Looks like it's maybe 90 min from London?
Thanks for any & all ideas here.
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Aug 9th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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"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?)."

Southwest England..............Cornwall, Port Issac (Port Wenn in the series).
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Aug 9th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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My DH and I love the Doc Martin series also, and I've looked over the Port Isaac area with Google Maps "little man". It looks awesome and I easily found the Docs house/office. I would love to visit there on our March 2013 visit, but think it is probably too far for a day trip from London. If this actually is doable by train, I would love for someone to respond and let me know! Any bookable day tours available?
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Aug 9th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Oxford is really nice. But if you've been to Blenheim and Woodstock, perhaps you have already been there? The streets are beautiful, with all the picturesque colleges and old-fashioned street lamps. Also, it is the one-time home and academic haunt of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, etc. If you like their writings at all, Oxford is definitely somewhere you should consider visiting. Christ Church College is great to tour around, and I for one fell in love with Oxford after just one hour there.
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Aug 9th, 2012, 10:25 PM
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In London, Westminster Abbey, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, the British Library, afternoon tea, the theater, a London Walk tour.
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Aug 9th, 2012, 11:25 PM
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How about exploring somewhere in East Anglia?

Cambridge is beautiful. The Suffolk/Essex border has some lovely villages and countryside (Lavenham and the "Constable Country" for example) and they are all in easy reach of Stanstead.
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Aug 10th, 2012, 12:47 AM
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Two interesting places very near Stansted are Hatfield House and Woburn Abbey, if you decide not to go into London.
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Aug 10th, 2012, 12:52 AM
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Or what about Salisbury/Stonehenge and Bath
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Aug 10th, 2012, 01:35 AM
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In London you might enjoy the Soane Museum, full of architectural bits and pieces and some wonderful Hogarths. But judging from your previous trips, art is not your thing?

How about a day trip to Brighton from London to see the Royal Pavilion (George IV,) eat fish and enjoy the English seaside.
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Aug 10th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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I was about to suggest Suffolk as you're flying out of Stansted. It's a beautiful county and missed by many tourists. Sutton Hoo museum, Southwold and Walberswick on the coast are delightful, Lavenham- a gem, Long Melford another gem and Bury St Edmonds, a lovely little town with abbey and great churches and a very old theatre.
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Aug 10th, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Thanks for all your kind suggestions!
And for clarifying where Doc Martin is located. (haven't
done my research into that, in ages)

Did not have time for Oxford, last time around.
But I *have* heard fantastic things about it & Cambridge.
Just wasn't sure if it was primarily the academic element,
and was a little worried that I'd grow a bit 'down' -- sad that I never got the chance to study in the UK, at some point in time.

But it sounds like the village itself is quite picturesque too.
Also never got to Stonehenge/Salisbury. (altho' did get to Bath) Have heard mixed reviews of Stonehenge. Wasn't sure
if crowds & it being 'fenced' took away at all? (or perhaps
that's been removed now?)

Also, appreciate the add'l London ideas, in case my hubby prefers to not wander much. Re: art interest, it's just that
for rainy days...yes. But, in general, we're a bit more
outdoor/scenery-inspired, as a couple. (and again,
we don't necessarily share equal interest in museums,
whereas we *do* both enjoy outdoor settings/sweet towns, etc...so, go more that route, I guess)

Is a cruise up the Thames, nice? (perhaps to Greenwich?)
Or, should I save that for the Seine, as we may get to visit
my niece w/in the year in Paris, while she studies there. (and I've never been there, either! Would be for our 20th anniversary, so are mulling it at least.

Hmmm...Woburn Abbey sounds familiar.
Will have to learn more, as I do love ancient churches, ruins, village churches, etc. Something transcends time in such spots -- as I'm sure it does at Stonehenge, too.

Lastly, I believe I read once that the Suffolk area is sort
of a quieter version of the Cotswolds? Or am I confused
on that? But there are two recommendations here for that region, so will *definitely* read up on it next!

The suggestions for the seaside towns in that region,
too sound truly intriguing. Do you all think the scenery is
somewhat similar to the coast near Port Isaac, by chance?
(or very different?)

Thank you again for all the terrific ideas!! And please keep them coming if more hit you, or you'd like to elaborate.
Finally, any opinions out there on Waddesdon or that place called Groombridge, by chance? Has anyone been to either?
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Aug 10th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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A lot of Pride and Prejudice was shot in the Peak District; Chatsworth was used for Pemberley and Haddon Hall was featured as the inn at Lambton. Haddon Hall was the location for the Jane Eyre version you mentioned, and if you're a Princess Bride fan, parts of it were filmed there as well. Unfortuately, it's a little far for a day trip.

If you're going to head west, Stourhead Garden is not horribly far from Salisbury. It's really lovely, and the first proposal scene from Pride and Prejudice was filmed there.

You can read more about all that in my trip report from 2007: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...b-may-2007.cfm

Lee Ann
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Aug 13th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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Thank you so much, Lee Ann & for sharing whether certain areas are doable in just a day. Stourhead has intrigued me & still mulling whether to head that direction, or more like towards Suffolk/Essex mentioned in this thread since in the gen'l area of Stansted. Not too far, anyway.

Do the pastoral areas remain green all summer?
Or do they grow brown by now?
(would love some green!)

Where we live, any green on the ground is long gone...
So just curious if the Eng countryside remains verdant, like where I grew up originally in the Midwest.
(due to summer precip). Thx again so much!! Ps. Do you also recommend Kew gardens? And Hampton Palace, if never there? (or too much like Blenheim?)
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Aug 13th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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Hello. Cambridge is indeed an interesting town and an easy day trip by train. I also LOVE Kew Gardens, again an easy train, day trip, and an interesting little town. I hope to stay there one day and really spend time in the gardens. Windsor also a good day trip and while I didn't spend too much time in the town, found it interesting as well as the castle grounds. Have fun deciding!
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Aug 16th, 2012, 03:52 PM
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Thanks, Shanna! Appreciate the additional suggestions.
Now very torn about how to best put our short stay together.

May begin new thread & hope that's okay.
Appreciate everyone's kindness!
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Aug 16th, 2012, 07:08 PM
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A couple of good ideas not often on the usual 'tourist' list are Forty Hall - a great small day trip, but still within Greater London - http://wp.me/p2r6no-2b - this might appeal to your outdoor interests, and for something historic and unique within London that is often missed consider Wilton's Music Hall - http://wp.me/p2r6no-1W
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Aug 17th, 2012, 12:28 AM
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To answer your question, it is GREEN (lots of rainfall earlier this summer.)
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Aug 18th, 2012, 06:19 AM
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Thanks albion & tarquin. Appreciate the add'l
ideas/feedback.

Should have known I wouldn't need to worry over things being green enough. ;-) (most places are still, this time of year) One forgets.

Forty Hall looks really interesting, with its vineyard, too. And only looking at the link you provided...
something seems very recognizable about the house.

Reminds me of one in a film I personally liked called "Amazing Grace" about William Wilberforce (2006) with Ioan Gruffudd and Albert Finney.
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