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Dec 10th, 2011, 07:18 AM
  #1
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Small Village or town, near London

I would like to visit a small, picturesque village near London. Ideally, the whole trip should take about half a day... so that we can return back by late afternoon. We would like to travel by train, so as to avoid traffic jams on road.
Your suggestions are welcome.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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It depends on what you hope to see; if it's that small there might not be much to detain you. But anywhere close to London, with a good train service, is likely to be a commuter village and expanding fast.

But Battle or Rye might be an idea.
www.nationalrail.co.uk.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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Thank you Patrick. I have read about the English villages in James Herriot's books and also Jerome K Jerome's books. That really makes me more interested in the picturesque villages and dales of the English countryside. Unfortunately with about 3 days in hand...and landing in London( which itself demands more than a week), I can only afford to visit the countryside by train and return back the same day. Regards
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Dec 10th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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As I mentioned on that other thread where you posted your question . . . What you want will be very difficult to find. Places near enough to London and big enough to have convenient rail connections, won't be small rural villages.

The Herriot villages are in Yorkshire and not anywhere near a day trip from London. Most Cotswold villages don't have train stations -- and would take more than 1/2 a day anyway. Rye / London takes nearly 2 hours each way by train so impossible in 1/2 a day.

Small/rural and round trip from London by mid-afternoon -- just not realistic IMO
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Dec 10th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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@ janisj...yeah, that was a different thread. That's why I thought, I shall start a new one, as per your suggestions...but no luck here too.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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As you're interested in Jerome K Jerome, I'm going to suggest you look into the small towns/villages along the banks of the Thames up river from London, which were the setting for his famous book "Three Men in a Boat".

This area, which unlike the Cotswolds seems to lurk under the radar here on Fodors, boasts a large number of attractive old towns and villages with good rail connections to London Paddington in approx 1 hour. These include Cookham, Marlow, Henley-on-Thames, Lower Shiplake, Pangbourne, Goring etc... While it's true that many (seriously wealthy) commuters live here, there's still a real countryside feel and plenty of atmospheric old pubs, antique shops, a few museums and gentle countryside to make it a worthwhile and easy day trip from London.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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http://www.thames-path.org.uk/
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Dec 10th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Hmmm its tough with those time limits but if you are willing to leave early, and depending where your starting point is, you could go to Salisbury or Oxford or Cambridge - not exactly villages, but smaller places that will give you an idea of the countryside.

One other idea would be Brockenhurst: http://www.brockenhurst-newforest.org.uk/

Use the national rail site above that Patrick recommends to see train times.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 09:49 AM
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Oh another place that is close is St Albans - its an old Roman town with a lovely cathedral and roman ruins. Its a commuter town so close to London on the train!
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Dec 10th, 2011, 10:01 AM
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"Small/rural and round trip from London by mid-afternoon -- just not realistic IMO"

"Most Cotswold villages don't have train stations -- and would take more than 1/2 a day anyway."

Double cobblers. I routinely leave my Cotswold idyll (far smaller, far more rural and a good 45 mins further out than Gordon R's list) around 0830, work or see a client for a few hours in London and get home for (a slightly late by UK standards) lunch. Possible in loads of places visible at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/passen...South_East.pdf

I'd particularly suggest - outside the Cotswolds - Islip (birthplace of Edward the Confessor a little over 1,000 years ago) and Heyford, where there's a lovely walk along the canal.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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@ Gordon.....yes, Jerome K Jerome is my all time favorite, for his earthy humour. Even James Herriot, the vet, remains a great humorist.
Thanks for the suggestions....nice to learn that these places, mentioned in 'Three Men in a boat' still maintain the country-atmosphere.
btw, I am wondering, how come Rye, in East Sussex, barely 50 miles away...takes 2 hrs to reach by train( as mentioned by janisj). It should not be more than 1 and a half hours, by any stretch, even if it is a slow passenger train.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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Thanks all of Sirs/ madam, for a whole lot of ideas/links. I shall examine them all...and see, whichever suits us best, location-wise. Regards
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Dec 10th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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Actually, all big cities end up becoming global cities.......very much like the glitzy shopping malls.....and they all appear the same, irrespective of their locations. The soul of a country lies in it's villages and small towns......and hence the desire to touch some of those. Thanks
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Dec 10th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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I used to live walking distance from Islip . . . Sure, one can get there and back to London in a few hours.

Paddington to Heyford takes about 1hr 20mins. So basically 3 hours of train time. if 3 hours on trains and 2 or 3 hours 'there time' appeals - go for it.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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Marlow is one of the places featured in Jerome's book and is a pleasant day trip. Pretty small town (I wouldn't classify it as a village, it's a small t0wn), some good restaurants for lunch, some nice shops, congenial pubs, nice setting on the Thames. London has plenty of commuters from Marlow, so there's not reason you can't make this a day trip.
There was a long thread about Marlow a few years ago, will top that for you
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Dec 10th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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Agree with FoFoBT on Marlow. If you are up for a Walk you could even Head übriger to Henley - or turn into the Chilterns.
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Dec 10th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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Two ideas that are fairly close to London but not villages - Kingston upon Thames and Windsor. At both you can walk along the river, look at the beautiful buildings and have some lunch. Of course if you wanted to go inside Windsor Castle as well, that would add on a few hours at least.

We used to catch the bus to Kingston from Ealing, which is about a 50 min trip that goes past Kew Gardens and gives you a glimpse of some nice old houses, the river with canal boats and if you sit on the right upstairs (heading to Kingston) here and there you can see over the wall into Kew Gardens. Ealing Broadway is the last station on the Central Line and the bus leaves from outside the station. You can also reach Kingston via the train to Richmond.

Kay
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Dec 10th, 2011, 04:49 PM
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Ben Haines, a beloved poster now deceased who gave wonderful advice, once wrote: "Faversham is a little-known delight. An hour from Victoria, it has medieval churches and tithe barns, Elizabethan town hall and grammar school and eighteenth century streets of fine houses, little shops, and a gunpowder mill, which blew up."

I haven't been there yet but have kept it in my notes for the future.
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Dec 11th, 2011, 01:39 AM
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Another attraction of Faversham, for anyone who has a full day and is interested, is the Brogdale national collection of fruit:

http://www.brogdalecollections.co.uk/

It's about a mile's walk from the station.
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Dec 11th, 2011, 04:00 AM
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I did a daytrip to Faversham in 2008 and it was nice, but not quite as interesting as I had hoped (especially in consideration of the length of the journey from Maidenhead; obviously a trip from London will take less time). I did have an excellent fish dinner there at a bistro along the water that doesn't seem to exist anymore.
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