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Best English towns to visit for a day out of London?


Best English towns to visit for a day out of London?

Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Best English towns to visit for a day out of London?


someone on this board suggested that we take a look at various English towns: York, Salisbury, Cambridge, Oxford, etc for a day trip out of London.

We have been to Winchester which by the way is a very lovely little town that we love but wish to see something new, so this is out.

We plan to take a train that will take us directly to places without cab ride. We will not reconsider renting a car at all.

We are interested in area with history and charm to explore.

If possible we can spent a morning in one place and afternoon with another on the way back to London. If a city is a "must visit" that takes all day, we are game for just one city to go.

Which place is your favorite and why?

THANKS! I love this forum, so full of info!
Loriinthedesert is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:12 AM
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York is far for a day trip - should really be an overnight.
Oxford and Cambridge are worth a full day each.

And combining towns in one day isn;t easy, since rail lines from London are are of the wheel and spoke variety - most places you want to see will not be n the same rail lines.

Have you already done Windsor, Hampton Court Palace and Greenwich - much closer to London.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Hi Loriinthedesert -

I guess I was the one who made the suggestion.

On my 2 most recent trips to London (both in 2008), I visited Oxford, Bath, Salisbury/Stonehenge.

All 3 are wonderful destinations. I personally like Oxford the most, and it easily takes up an entire day.
If going to Oxford, the easiest way is to take the bus (coach), which goes from heart of London to heart of Oxford.

Here are my 2 trip reports:

yk is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:20 AM
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I like all the towns you mention and all are easy access by train in a day, although York would make for a long day.

You can combine Stonehenge (by bus from Salisbury) easily wilst still having time for the cathedral, etc.

Windsor and Hampton Court are good days out for the castle and palace, respectively, and Bath is also doable.

There's Stratford and from there I think it's easy to get to Warwick but honestly can't remember but its web site would tell you.

If you want to go to the south coast, there's Dover, Brighton, Plymouth, etc. Plymouth is good if you are interested in maritime history.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:28 AM
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We took the train to Canterbury on a day trip and it was lovely. No car or cab was needed. The famous cathedral and some related archeology sites were amazing, but we're history and literature fanatics. It was winter then, but I imagine it would be even more quaint in spring or summer.

Of the ones you mention, my faves are: Salisbury and Oxford.
mentorteach is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:28 AM
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In my opinion York can be a nice day visit. Of course more days the better. Regarding Oxford, I agree, great town. However, you did mention taking the train, not a bus. trains Departs from Paddington station taking less than an hour.

Either way, It really is hard to go wrong. Back in the old days, 30 years ago, we would make up minds the night before. Lots of fun.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Salisbury and Oxford would both be good choices but don't rule out York even for a day trip. I've done it and it worked out fine for me.

If you're okay for catching an early train, you could leave London at 8:00 or earlier. York is about a 2 hour trip depending on the train. You could spend the day in York have an early dinner then catch a later train back to London. I believe there is one that leaves about 7:30 and another at 8:00. You'd be back in London by 9:30 or 10:00.

Salisbury is about 90 minutes by train and Oxford less than an hour. Buses from Victoria Station are frequent and take a bit longer than the train. The train stations in both Salisbury and Oxford are within a ten minute walk of the town centre.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Also you can check www.walks.com and look at their explorer days for ideas. We've done a bunch and they are great!
jamikins is online now  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 02:15 PM
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All of them
mickrory is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Consider the weather. Oxford and York have indoors sights. Bath too but you'd miss strolling in Bath. If little or no rain, then Cambridge or Salisbury are nice. Or maybe Brighton?

yk mentions the Oxford Tube, which is, in fact, a bus from London to Oxford, cheaper and possibly more convenient than the train. It depends on where you're staying. Here's a link: www.oxfordtube.com.
Mimar is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 03:00 PM
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St. Alban's is a nice and easy day trip, very close and interesting and not touristy. Cambridge. Oxford. Winchester. Salisbury/Stonehenge. We're about to go to York for the first time, but will stay overnight.
penel523 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2009, 03:26 PM
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Brighton, Portsmouth, Woodstock, Norwich, Rochester, Exeter, Gloucester

Most should have websites.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 04:15 PM
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All of the above are grand places to visit. Just to confuse the issue, add Rochester to the choices. Castle and cathedral and Dickens museum.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 05:14 PM
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When we were in London last July we went to Salisbury via train and caught a bus right at the station to Stonehenge. It was most convenient and a great day.

We also went to Dover via a train and saw the cliffs and the castle. An absolutely fabulous but very very strenuous day--and we had plenty of daylight in July.

My favorite day was our day trip to Oxford; we caught the Oxford Espress (the Oxford Tube is an alternative--same price, same busstop, bit different times) and rode the bus. I think the bus drops you closer to town center than the train does. (Plus we actually got off the bus outside of town and walked to a couple CSLewis sites before catching a local bus into town). I would most most highly recommend Oxford first and Salisbury/Stonehenge second and Bath probably 3rd and Dover, too, although it's a bit more of a physical stretch than the other ones.

I think this is the link to my trip report.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 12:32 AM
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York would be fine for a day trip - people always think it is further than it really is. In fact I think it would take you longer to go by train to Salisbury!! Pick the right train to York and you'll be there in under 2 hours. Plus the city is very compact and easy to walk around and you can be out of the station and into the city within minutes.
We live near York and my husband commutes to central London once or twice a week for work, as do many other people - the train service is generally very efficient. The food on the trains can be pricey but is of surprisingly good quality. So an early train out of Kings Cross and breakfast on board would be a good use of your time and you could be in York by 10am with hours to explore.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 04:55 AM
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What about taking a direct train to Stratford upon Avon from London Marylebone, a couple of hours in Stratford to see the old buildings, stroll by the River Avon & eat lunch, train to Warwick to visit the Castle (the best in England IMHO)afternoon tea in Warwick town
and back to London in the evening for dinner.
bellini is offline  
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