car travel times in SE England

Nov 29th, 1999, 04:44 PM
  #1  
Linda
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car travel times in SE England

Need some help from those who know: is it reasonable to consider staying in Tunbridge Wells (or that area) and making trips by car to sites in the region and by train to London? Places I am interested in outside London include Knole, Penshurst, Kent Open-Air Museum, Leeds and Bodiam castles, Rye, Battle, Lewes, to name a few. I am committed to NOT staying in the city, but am not certain whether having one base for all this is practical or whether I should consider relocating a couple of times to be near specific points of interest. It all looks fairly close together on the map, but I know that's sometimes misleading when it comes to actual time spent behind the wheel. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
Nov 29th, 1999, 05:27 PM
  #2  
Joanna
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My sister and I drove around Surrey and Kent last October (my sister lives in London so is used to the traffic). We visited most of those places you mention. I'm not sure about the train, as I've found the trains to be slow and late whenever I've used them in the U.K. By car you have a choice of "B" roads to drive on and they are usually the most scenic. Don't forget to have plenty of pennies for the "Pay and Display" when you stop in the small towns. The distances are not great. We went from heavy morning traffic in S/E London at 8.00 and were at the coast (Hastings) by 9.30.
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 04:19 AM
  #3  
Rex
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As much as I think I am knowledgeable about Europe, I still don't know nearly as much about England as I'd like.

I tried using euroshell.com to give you some intelligent feedback, and then decided I was a long way from even being able to ask an intelligent question about these places! I did find some useful internet resources for both the county of Kent and the county of Surrey.

www.kentaccess.org.uk and
www.surrey-online.co.uk

The Kent website did have a little bit of info on Tunbridge Wells, and www.britrail.co.uk shows the major routes for south-east England; it also describes the SE England Pass and an associated BritRail'n'drive pass. As with most passes, it seems to me you would have to go through a lot of point-to-point tickets before the cost of the pass would save you any money.

I think I got figured out where Leeds castle is and I believe I've heard of it before - - but some of these other places are entirely unfamiliar (to me, at least). Could you tell us where they are and why you have decided to include them on your trip. I'd love to learn more about this area - - especially since you are apparently choosing these sites over more "well-known" destinations in Kent like Canterbury and Dover.

Many thanks, and best wishes...

Rex
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 05:34 AM
  #4  
ron
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Linda, I think this is a perfect plan. we based ourselves at a B&B near Penshurst a few years ago and visited Knole, Leeds Castle, Hever Castle, Penshurst Place, Bodiam Castle, Canterbury, Bristol and along the coast to the Seven Sisters. The only real traffic problem I remember was the morning drive in the rain toward Bodiam where we were in a long line of trucks heading to the coast while meeting dozens of French coaches coming from the coast. Much less hassle than packing up and moving to different accomodations.
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 10:15 AM
  #5  
Lori
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Linda,
We stayed in Lewes for 5 days and did day trips to many of the sites you mention, we particularly enjoyed Battle (Hastings), Rye, Hever Castle, Bodiam, Pevensy, etc. The area is beautiful and made for doing day trips we thought. It is easy to get into London from this area as well as much of it is within commuting distance of London anyway. While places do look close on the map and really are we found we would just go off down a road and see what was there - turned out to be very enjoyable!!! Having no schedule makes for a more pleasant trip!! We also spent 4 days in Surry (near Farnham) and "did" many of the sights in that area. Again, it is easy commuting distance to London but close to many interesting sights. Incidentally, Hever Castle is beautiful (as is Leeds). We also enjoyed Herstmonceaux Castle (lovely!!) and the ruins at Pevensy. The entire area is so historical - if you are into British history Battle is a must. Enjoy your visit!!!!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 05:09 PM
  #6  
Linda
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Thanks, all! I'm glad to hear this plan will work. England seems so compact when you look at the map, but I recall making a daytrip once from Wells to Lyme Regis and, with just a couple of stops (such as the Great Dorset Steam Show!), it took all day (a great day -- but I'm glad I didn't have a more ambitious travel plan!). In response to the question about why I chose these particular sites to see, I've cruised the web pretty obsessively and am excited about the varied countryside areas (Downs, weald, coastal, Romney marsh) and the concentration of castles/houses from all different periods in the Kent/East Sussex area. That said, I'd be interested in B&B recommendations from those who have stayed in the area. Thanks.
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 06:34 PM
  #7  
brogan
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My husband is British and so I have lived in England. Nonetheless, I only visited Tunbridge Wells for the first time three years ago when I went there with my sister. I LOVED IT! It is very Colonial compared to the other periods in England. Hever Castle was great too. I always multiply my trips by two in England. If it looks like a 60 mile drive or a 60 minute drive, multiply the time by two and you have a good cushion. The British drive ok, its just that the traffic through the villages and other locations really slow you down. HAVE FUN...make sure you see Cambridge, it is gorgeous. Wales is my favorite, but that's a whole other trip!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 06:35 PM
  #8  
brogan
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My husband is British and so I have lived in England. Nonetheless, I only visited Tunbridge Wells for the first time three years ago when I went there with my sister. I LOVED IT! It is very Colonial compared to the other periods in England. Hever Castle was great too. I always multiply my trips by two in England. If it looks like a 60 mile drive or a 60 minute drive, multiply the time by two and you have a good cushion. The British drive ok, its just that the traffic through the villages and other locations really slow you down. HAVE FUN...make sure you see Cambridge, it is gorgeous. Wales is my favorite, but that's a whole other trip!
 
Nov 30th, 1999, 07:17 PM
  #9  
ron
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Linda, the [email protected] that we stayed at was Swale Cottage, Old Swaylands Lane, Off Poundbridge Lane, Penshurst, Kent TN11 8AH Tel: (0892) 870738. Highly recommended if you want a place in the country rather than in Tunbridge Wells itself. You would have to drive to a train station if you wanted to use it as a base for visiting London.

I see that, in my earlier posting, I mentioned Bristol as a place I visited from this location, I obviously meant Brighton.

I am trying to fathom what Brogan means about Tunbridge Wells being "Colonial"?
 

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