base for west england trip

Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:50 AM
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base for west england trip

We're planning two weeks in England in May and want to spend a good part of the time seeing the sights outside of London. We'd like 3-4 days west of London, visiting Winchester, Salisbury, Wells, Stonehenge, Stourhead, and Bath. Would Salisbury be a good base for this portion of our trip? Alternatively, we could spend a night in Winchester, a night in Salisbury, and a night in Bath.
Any opinions would be appreciated!
DHJ is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:31 AM
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I think Salisbury would be an excellent base for that itinerary. We stayed just outside of Salisbury a number of years ago and visited each of the places you mention. Can't think of an advantage to packing and relocating.

If you're a historic homes or gardening enthusiast, add Wilton House to your list of things to see.
obxgirl is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:18 AM
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That is a wonderful part of the country. But the only place on your list near Salisbury is Stonehenge (and of course you'd visit Salisbury Cathedral too), so I would not base there. Traffic from Salisbury towards Bath/Wells can be really congested and eat up a lot of your time going back and forth.

I'd either stay 1 night in Salisbury and the rest of the time based somewhere south of Bath, OR I'd visit Salisbury/Stonehenge on the way out from London and then head west to your final destination.

What I wouldn't do is stay someplace different every night - too much packing/unpacking, checking in/checking out.

I'd look for a B&B/hotel within the rectangle of Frome/Trowbridge/Midsomer Norton/Shepton Mallet. Any village in this area would be a good base for Bath, Stourhead, Wells and Glastonbury.
janis is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Wells is also a delightful place, and would be a great place to stay. It has a nice cathedral, and would be relatively central to your travels.
GreenDragon is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:15 AM
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We are staying in Wells in May. After getting our car at GTW we will drive to Stonehenge. Is it going to be worth the traffic and congestion to go to Salisbury to see the cathedral? Is Salisbury as large as Bath? We have driven there on previous trip and it was slightly hectic.
nini is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:22 AM
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The loop from London I would consider would be Winchester, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Wells, Stourhead and finally Bath then back to London.
However these places are not really a monumental drive from each other so I feel the need for a good base will be overshadowed by the need for somewhere attractive to stay. Therefore visit Winchester and then overnight in Salisbury. the next day visit the Cathedral, Old Sarum and Stonehenge. A second overnight in Salisbury then head over to Bath for the next day. Overnight in Bath (plenty of evening festivities- concerts, ghost walks)with a trip out to Wells and Stourhead the following day then back to Bath for a second night or straight back to London.
Therefore I would recommend two nights in Salisbury and one or two nights in Bath.
henneth is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:43 PM
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DHJ, I am assuming you are driving and leaving from and returning to London. I've listed some websites at the end.

Unlike others, I've never found it a bother to stay in different places each night. I think it preferable to backtracking.

I would drive to Winchester and expect to spend the better part of a day. The city is one of my favorites: compact, history (the first capital of England, William I crowned there), a magnificent cathedral, a river walk with gardens across the river which should be spectacular in May, St Cross Hospital (the oldest charitable institution in England), King Alfred, King Arthur.

I'd plan on staying the first night near Salisbury so I could get an early start for a visit to Salisbury Cathedral with the tallest spire in England. You can head north to Stonehenge with a stop in Old Sarum. Stourhead is almost due west from Stonehenge. I'd continue to the Wells/Glastonbury area for the second night.

The west front of Wells Cathedral is nearly twice as wide as tall and is covered with 13th century sculptures. The interior contains scissor arches which were added to prevent the tower from collapsing. A walk outside leads to the "wells" for which the city was named. A short distance away is Glastonbury and the ruined abbey. There are all sorts of stories about King Arthur and Queen Guinevere attached to Glastonbury and, of course, the area is a mecca for hippies.

We stayed at a VERY quiet BnB, Tor Farm, just northwest of Wells in Cheddar. Alternatively, you could continue to Bath and stay two nights there.

On your way back to London, you could stop at Avebury for another of the prehistoric stone sites.
jsmith is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:46 PM
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Check out Avebury. Not as well known as Stonehenge, it is much larger and just as interesting. Also nearby is the West Kennet Passage Grave. It is on top of a hill in the middle of a field about a 400 yard walk off the road. You will probably be the only one there in this neolithic tomb - Great fun!
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 05:30 PM
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West Kennet Long Barrow
bigtyke is offline  

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