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Small town near London for an overnight stay - suggestions please

Small town near London for an overnight stay - suggestions please

Oct 16th, 2014, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Some pictures of the route, although they don't do it justice, prettier on the ground:
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Winchester is easily accessible by National Express coach from Heathrow.

Choice of several central hotels with Cathedral, Great hall, Wichester College, St Croix mediaeval almshouse and plenty of nice walks if weather permits.

Direct train service to London.
MymsMan is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 02:06 PM
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I would aim for something closer in to London if day tripping into London is your goal - Warwick, Cotswolds are a fairly long commute to a remote train station - Marylebone or Paddington, both well out of the tourist center.

Maybe some quasi-suburban quaint town like Cookham or Marlow on the Thames west of London - must shorter (and cheaper) commutes.

Cookham I think was prettier and smaller:

Check it out!

PalenQ is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 04:36 PM
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>>I would aim for something closer in to London if day tripping into London is your goal <<

I didn't understand kovsie to be day tripping into London. It seems they are looking for a place to stay over on the weekend BEFORE moving on to London for work Monday evening.
janisj is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 09:23 PM
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"So?" yourself. I believe that was my point. "The beauty of a small place in proximity to a very interesting other."

Not every posting here is always crafted for perfect clarity. My point was that, for these purposes, it's not proximity that matters but physical connectivity.

Bradford has trains from Bath almost to midnight: Charlbury and Woodstock have similarly timed buses from Oxford most nights (not Sundays). That's almost unique in the British countryside - as is Woodstock's cycle-safe, almost 100% lit (and therefore environmentally damaging), flat, straight road into Oxford.

Most "real" villages far closer to big cultural centres have none of these things: if you haven't got a car it's compete with the drunken kids for an overpriced, scarce cab or stay at home - where, if your local pub closed a decade ago, you're almost as isolated as in Antarctica. Generally, places near culture-rich towns that DO have late-running public transport are called suburbs because, however distinct they might have been a century ago, they now look, feel and behave like suburbs.

The poster wanted "the English village of our dreams" There are thousands of such places - but it's almost possible to count on the fingers of one hand those it's possible to escape from at night (and get back to) without a car.

Cookham, Marlow and Henley, however pretty and commuter-friendly they may be, are undoubtedly suburbs.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 09:56 PM
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And why my first thought and post was, in fact, Bradford, for the same reasons. Why must there be an argument when we agreed from the beginning? Proximity/connectivity - trains, buses, taxis, walking. All will get one there and back easily.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 06:56 AM
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Thanks everybody. I have read every post with interest. I WILL have to return again and again.
As an Outsider, I did not realise the intricacies of public transport to and between villages.

Although I have been drooling over images of Woodstock and Winchester and Charlbury and even York, I have now settled on Bradford or Avoncliff (thanks MmePerdu!!). If weather permits we would love to do the walk along the towpath. DD is thinking about booking a day trip with Mad Max tours from Bath. Looks as if it quick and easy to train from Bradford to Bath. Do I have this right?

Now for the accommodation. I am looking for something in the range of 150 pounds per night. At this late stage I am really not picky - any nice place will do, and I can up the price a bit if needed. Suggestions?
kovsie is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 08:14 AM
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you could try looking here:


usually up-market accommodation.
annhig is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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I agree with annhig that Sawday's listings are good and not always expensive. In this case, if you stay in Bradford you'll want to be walking distance from the station.

Here are the ones they list:

In order:
1. Granby House is not in town and about a mile south of the station. Too far for your purposes, I suspect.
2. Old Manor Hotel, even farther.
3. Castle Inn looks the best for location, about a half mile from the station. Bradford is set on a hill, steeper as you move away from the river, as I recall. So this one will be downhill going to the station, uphill coming home.

The rest listed aren't in Bradford. The Cross Guns, where I mentioned I've stayed in Avoncliff, is close to the station there and I'd check http://www.nationalrail.co.uk to determine how frequently the trains stop at Avoncliff. The rooms are comfortable, not posh, but I liked it. Avoncliff is a pretty hamlet about a mile and a half from Bradford, close to the canal toward Bath.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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If you are still considering Winchester I could recommend the place we stayed in (though it was six years ago), The Wykeham Arms. Prices seem about right. There is a great deal to see and do in Winchester. See the first part of my trip report. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-wales.cfm
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Oct 17th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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http://traveline.info/ use this to get around (the gov website just closed)
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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"(the gov website just closed)"

Are you referring to http://www.nationalrail.co.uk ? I just tried it and it seems to be working fine.

I also checked trains between Avoncliff and Bath Spa station and they run regularly.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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National Rail isn't a "Government website"
janisj is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 06:10 AM
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A final thank you to everybody who helped with this one. In the end I booked 2 nights in Bath. For anybody who want to use this info in future: Bradford-on-Avon seems like a lovely place to stay. However, they are a tad slow to answer queries. Very kind and friendly, but allow 3 days' leeway. I became impatient (it IS very late), booked a self catering place in Bath, and heard from Bradford the next day. So that is that now.

MmePerdu: I would still like to do That Walk if the weather is kind to me. I am thinking of taking the train to Bradford, potter around there a bit, and then walk back to Bath. Or would it make more sense to walk to Bradford, have lunch and train back. Both seem good to me. What do you think?

I will now start a new thread with London-related questions.

kovsie is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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I'm not sure it makes any difference, really, which way you walk. I've done it both ways and think I liked walking Bradford to Bath better. It may have been because both times I went that way I had a hotel to rest in at the end. The time I went Bradford direction I was staying there with a friend and more was required of me after the walk.

I also think it's a bit clearer getting to the towpath in Bradford. From the main part of town, return south beyond the station and the canal is there with a bridge over it. In Bath it can be harder to find the way, whereas getting off is easy. When you come to the tunnel over it with Cleveland House on top, leave the canal there. A decisive beginning and end and seems satisfying to me.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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Another obvious thought, you'll probably enjoy Bradford better before, rather than after, the walk.
MmePerdu is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 08:46 AM
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""(the gov website just closed)""

There was, till Sep 30, a terrifically useful, but a bit clunky-looking, government website covering all public transport called transportdirect.info.

This, the Dept for Transport decided, merely duplicated other sites. The site bilbo's suggested is a bit less clunky, and is run by a consortium of transport organisations throughout the UK. It may or may not be more efficient: more relevantly these days, the (not trivial) budget for its upkeep doesn't come out of central government funds.
flanneruk is offline  

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