Just Outside London...need your advise!

May 7th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Just Outside London...need your advise!

I'll be visiting London in a few weeks. During my trip I'd like to take an overnight excursion outside London to see the countryside. Preferably travelling by train & staying at a B&B or Inn overnight. Any suggestions on where to go, what to see & where to stay?
trips is offline  
May 7th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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This is a place probably no one will mention, but we just got back from a day trip from London to Arundel. A lovely (and quite picturesque) town on the Arun River about 90 minutes from London, in Sussex. There were several B&B's along the way into town from the train station (a 10 min. walk). The town is dominated by a beautiful castle (Home of the Dukes of Norfolk, and still has descendants living there). It's a nice place for an overnight stay, the river is really nice (we were there during a hot day in April and boats were out, people were fishing, etc.). The countryside is green and very pretty. The town has many shops, pubs, etc. I imagine if you did a websearch for Arundel you'd come up with the names of B&B's -- I didn't pay attention to their names, but there certainly were some. We took the train from Victoria Station by the way.

Of course, you can go to the more well known destinations, i.e. Canterbury, Warwick, Bath, Cambridge, etc. etc. but sometimes it is nice to go to a less heavily touristed place I think.
Lori is offline  
May 7th, 2003, 01:31 PM
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One idea: Salisbury. It is reachable by train, is a lovely little town with England's highest spire (on the cathedral, obviously), you can walk all around it, and from there if you want you can take a bus 10 miles to see Stonehenge as well. We stayed at a lovely B&B just at the edge of town (10 minute walk to cathedral, 5 to town center) called Byways House. They have a website.

Have fun!
kaudrey is offline  
May 7th, 2003, 04:58 PM
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We made a day trip to Arundel--and other "day trips" several times while we stayed in London. In retrospect, it would be just as good to do the reverse: Stay out of London and travel in. This is particularly good if you are not accustomed to being "Big City" dwellers on a day-to-day basis.

Probably any smaller place easily accessible to London will work--we went to Arundel and loved it; Salisbury was great--especially when they are having their festival; and once we went to Ely--and ended up loving just "vegging" there and never getting back to London.
Advantages to staying "out"--cheaper, more relaxing, more 'intimate'--just easier on the soul, in my opinion.

In short, any near-to-London plan you make will probably be good. While Samuel Johnson apparently said that anyone tiring of London was tired of life, he was not commenting from the perspective of anyone used to a bit slower pace, nor on modern London--at least in my opinion.

B & B in Salisbury in the Close would be smart, as you are right at the Cathedral. The place we stayed in Ely has since decided not to host guests, and this time, by the way, we are going to St. Albans--so I can't tell you anything specific, but you might look at it, too!

Fun just to think about it, isn't it!?
CJS is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 05:01 AM
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Thanks for the info!! I'll be staying in London for 2 weeks, I'm a city lover- so I'm not worried. But I am exicted to explore the countryside. Arundel sounds great. How about one more overnight destination...does anyone have info on York or Warwick Castle?
trips is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Both York and Warwick are worth overnight visits. York, especially, there is enough to do there to need more days than that, especially if you want to take an excursion out of the city.

Warwick Castle is probably only a half day activity, but there is a lot more to Warwick and the surrounding area than the castle. In the town, there is Lord Leycester?s hospital and the Beauchamp Chapel in the parish church, nearby are Stratford-upon-Avon and Kenilworth Castle and Leamington Spa. If you really want to get out into the countryside and are into walking, take the train from Warwick to Lapworth (15 minutes), then walk the towpath along the Stratford-upon-Avon canal to Wilmcote, visit the Mary Arden house (or not), then take the train back from Wilmcote to Warwick (20 minutes).

I can recommend B&Bs in either place if interested.
ron is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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I recommended Arundel and am glad you think it will work for you! I'd also recommend York, it's a beautiful city and easy to get to via train from Kings Cross Station. It's about 2 hrs via train. Plenty to see and do there, you won't get bored. Warwick is a lovely castle, altho I was not terribly impressed with the town itself. Ely is also a nice town, beautiful cathedral there as well. We spend a wonderful day there two years ago as a day trip out of London. I'd also recommend Canterbury, again a beautiful cathederal and a nice town.
Lori is offline  
May 9th, 2003, 10:04 AM
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Apparently you overlooked the "pet peeves" posting - it's advice, not advise.
May 9th, 2003, 10:08 AM
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I second Ron's advice. York is nice but far. The area around Stratford-upon-Avon is more doable. You can see Stratford itself (which you really should!) and some sites like Ann Hathaway's cottage, and Shakespeare's birthplace. Yes, there will be tourists, but Stratford still feels like a small village. Warwick castle is ok, but Kenilworth is really neat. Depends on whether you like inhabited great houses like Warwick or ruins like Kenilworth. (I always go to the ruins.) That part of England, "the heart", is what we all pictured when we first learned about it. Another daytrip I love is Canterbury. But not as much opportunity for countryside visiting there. Also Salisbury, as Karen mentioned, is a very nice day trip. And also easy to do. Have a great time!
PamR is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 12:50 AM
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Another idea might be the Isle of Wight. In itself a mixture of seaside towns, farmland, some downland hills, picture postcard villages. A train and boat ride to get there, and AFAIK they still do round-the-island bus tours as well.
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Someone stated that York was far from London and that Stradford-upon-avon would be a better place to visit. The Rail inquiry site states over 2 hours from London to Stradford and 2 hours to York. So, while farther to York as the crow flies, about the same in rail time. IMHO York is many time better for an over night visit than Stradford with the daily bus tours dropping off tourist by the hundreds.
Roger is offline  
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