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Book club trip to England

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Nov 28th, 2012, 05:47 PM
  #1
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Book club trip to England

I am firming up my book club trip this June to England. Can any of you familiar with the area let me know if I have things in a sensible order and time frame? I would love to fit in a stop to Highclere Castle- where would that fit best? This group of travelers wants to see a lot- for many this will be the only trip so we are packing a lot in. We are concentrating on literary sights- lots of Austen, Hardy, Fowles, Bronte, Shakespeare etc.. We have a walking tour in Lyme Regis booked already. Suggestions for new stops, places that we should eliminate, do I have travel times accurate? We will have several days in London prior to this next leg listed.

Sunday, June 9th- Bath- Roman Baths, Jane Austen Center, free walking tour. Stay in Bath.

Monday, June 10th-Pick up rental car. Shaftesbury, Sturminster Newton, Woodsford Castle. Stay in Dorchester.

Tuesday, June 11-Lyme Regis Day- We meet our walking tour at 11 in Lyme Regis. Afterwards we have the Jane Austen Memorial Garden, the Cobb. Drive back by way of Lulworth Cove. Stay night in Dorchester.

Wednesday, June 12- Dorchester- Max Gate, Athelhamptom House, Clouds Hill. Stay night in Dorchester.

Thursday, June 13- Chawton/Winchester . Start in Winchester, then 27 miles to Chawton to the Jane Austen House. Drive 100 miles to Woodstock for the night.

Friday, June 14- Oxford/Cotswolds Day- Stay in Woodstock again.

Saturday, June 15- Short drive ( 30 min) to Stratford Upon Avon. Explore Shakespeare Country- Anne Hathaway's house, birthplace, Mary Arden House. Leave late afternoon for the 2.5 hour drive to Haworth.

Sunday- June 16- Haworth- The Full Bronte- Stay the night again there. Might do a pop over to Hebden Bridge?

Monday, June 17- Drive south to Chesterfield for the Chatsworth House or Haddon Hall. Continue on for an evening arrival at Heathrow.

Tuesday- flights home
livetoroam is offline  
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Nov 28th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip.

You will need to account for longer drive times than you are planning. (In general you need to add 25% to 50+% to on-line drive time calculations)

For instance Woodstock to Stratford is about 35 miles and easily a 1 hour drive. And Stratford to Haworth is another 3.5 hour drive (or it could take longer). So That Saturday you will be spending at least 4.5 to 5 hours 'car time'.

That final Monday will have you in the car at least 5 hours not counting the 2 or 3 hours at Chatsworth.
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Nov 28th, 2012, 10:56 PM
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Highclere is on the way from Winchester to Woodstock, which has never taken me more than 90 minutes, except when the A34's had a bad accident.

Since nothing literary (except its annual festival of authors boosting their latest book) has ever happened in Woodstock, you're only going to eat and sleep there. Chawton is just another pretty house: you should be able to fit it and Highclere into a day easily. But what's Highclere got to do with literature? The soap opera filmed there is almost certainly the worst-written soap anywhere today. If you prize writing, go to the Coronation Street set, or listen to The Archers on Radio 4 as you're driving.

Little of literary interest has ever happened in the Cotswolds, unless you're Mitford fans or want to trace the real-world Brideshead around Chipping Campden. But Adelstrop's not just the best poem about an English summer: Jane Austen's uncle lived there, where he was rector. Sadly Adelstrop station was closed decades back, though the line's still there and the station sign is preserved by the village phone box. Your members might want to research the connections between Edward Thomas, the poem's author and Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken is supposed to have been written for Thomas, while he was debating whether to volunteer to fight in the war which killed him.

If sloppily-written soaps matter more than proper authors, Downton Abbey's external shots, including its church, are almost all filmed in Bampton, about 30 mins from Woodstock.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 12:31 AM
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It will be a great journey according to your plans
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Nov 29th, 2012, 03:10 AM
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"Little of literary interest has ever happened in the Cotswolds,"

Cider With Rosie?? Is that not of literary interest? Or did I waste my time during Eng Lit? .
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Nov 29th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Thanks everyone. Janisj,, I will adjust for the drive times. Thanks for clarifying there, you just never know when researching on your own.

Flanneruk, interesting Robert Frost connection. We will look into that. I have two club members who are big Downton Abbey fans so I thought if Highclere was close, it would thrill them to see it. we have two cars so our Oxford / Cotswold day will be divided between those wanting scenery and those wanting Oxford's literary offerings. Though now I need to see what Cider and Roses is all about!

Any other advice or comments are welcome. Leading a group into unfamiliar territory is a bit daunting so if you can save me from myself, I appreciate it!
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Nov 29th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Since you're going to Lyme Regis, I would suggest reading up on Mary Anning - a 19th century fossil hunter - and taking time to look for fossils on the beach.

My partner just finished reading an historical fiction novel about her: "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier - and highly recommends it.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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>>Though now I need to see what Cider and Roses is all about!<<

Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee - a poetic evocation of a child's life in a then remote village slowly emerging into the connected modern world in the 1920s (cider, with Rosie, under the haycart, is the mark of this particular child's passage out of childhood). It is - or was - a staple on schools' Eng Lit curriculum. I loved it at the time, but haven't re-read it for decades.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Since Jane Austen is a big interest, skip the Cotswolds and head to Bath to see the Assembly Rooms and the Crescent.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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"

Since Jane Austen is a big interest, skip the Cotswolds and head to Bath to see the Assembly Rooms and the Crescent.
"

They are visiting Bath - right after London at the beginning of the driving trip.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 12:19 PM
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It sounds lovely!

Don't forget the Tolkien/Lewis connections in Oxford, if anyone in your group is a fan of their work.

Lee Ann
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Nov 29th, 2012, 04:06 PM
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Of the two, we preferred Haddon Hall to Chatsworth. Though Chatsworth has magnificant gardens; you can get tickets just for the grounds.

You might want to stop in at Bakewell, a sweet little town, and either have tea at the Rutland ("Austen is reputed to have slept here") Arms or grab a Bakewell pudding for the road.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 04:23 PM
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Just an aside here. Back in the 60's, my friend and I were driving around Britain looking for Wessex county, which is as I recall, the setting of some Thomas Hardy novels. We couldn't find it. It took a while for us to realized that Wessex is a fictional county.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Livetoroam, as a literary junkie, I await your trip report. Good luck.

Pegontheroad, LOL - I appreciate Austin but I LOVE Hardy!
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Nov 29th, 2012, 05:30 PM
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You asked for new ideas and will be in London for a few days so these links may be of interest as there are a few different places in these for you to review: http://londonunveiled.com/tag/literary/
Also, http://wikitravel.org/en/Literary_London
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Nov 30th, 2012, 05:27 AM
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If you follow up the good Edward Thomas suggestion above, then I can recommend the excellent Now all Roads lead to France by Matthew Hollis, which contains plenty of info about his friendship with Robert Frost and his family.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011...-thomas-review
You seem very organised but I will just say that have you double checked opening times for Max Gate etc - sometimes National Trust properties don't open every day of the week and I would hate to see you caught out.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Beatrix Potter any interest? http://www.peterrabbit.com/en/beatri...ter_attraction

Down and out in London and Paris is a good excuse to visit the Savoy
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Nov 30th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Those of you who are interested in Oxford could take the bus from Woodstock. It stops in the center of the city, no need to park at a lot and take a bus into the center. And this would allow somebody who becomes enraptured at the Ashmolean Museum (as we did) to take a later bus.

It seems strange to stay in Woodstock and not see Blenheim Palace (where Winston Churchill was born). But that takes time.

Your trip seems very well-planned but will everyone adhere to the schedule? The more people the harder it is to get everyone organized and ready to leave on time.

And I'm not sure you have allowed enough time for things going wrong. Will you all have cellphones (cellphones that work in Britain)? They're especially useful for car-to-car communication. (Yes, you will get separated.)
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Nov 30th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Bath is worth 2 days; Oxford is worth 2 days. I am posting my report shortly but I would advise not moving every day.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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In London you might be interested in this site http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...laques/search/
Many authors have lived in London if only for a short time
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