South England

Mar 21st, 2010, 03:43 AM
  #1  
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South England

We are arriving at Gatwick on May 9 and have booked accomodation for the first night. We plan to rent a car for the next day. Plans to include Salisbury, Glastonbury, Bath, Exmoor National Park, Devon and Cornwall. We have 2 weeks. Any advice?
We spent a week in the Cotswalds on another trip and loved it but we'd like to see some other sites this time.
I've been reading that Bath isn't car friendly. Any suggestions about getting around this. Should we look at staying on the outskirts?
Also should we be booking all of our accomodation before we go or just wing it?
Judy_Canuck is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 08:17 AM
  #2  
 
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When we stay in Bath we book a hotel with parking, drive/crawl into Bath, dump the car and abandon it till we leave.

We stay at Haringtons's Hotel www.haringtonshotel.co.uk just because we like it. They have a number of parking spaces, which you have to reserve and pay for, at a car park 5 mins walk away so we drop our bags, park and walk after that.

Make sure you have somewhere that will guarantee you a parking space as some are first come first served.

Bath isn't much fun to drive in. My husband was at University there so knows it well but finds it a total pain drive around.
CarrieAnn40 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 09:11 AM
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May should be ok as long as you don't mind not always getting the specific hotel you want.
bilboburgler is online now  
Mar 21st, 2010, 01:38 PM
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For Bath - either book a hotel w/ parking and do as CarrieAnn suggests, or stay in an outer village and use the free park and ride lots for a day trip into Bath. You park for free and ride inexpensive buses right to the city center.
janisj is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 02:13 PM
  #5  
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Thank you all that helps! I think I'll book a room as we are a family of four and it may be difficult to get a family room.
Judy_Canuck is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:42 AM
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If you're heading to Cornwall I strongly recommend that you hop over to the Scilly Isles for a day. They are an amazing subtropical group of islands, 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. I would recommend flying to the islands and taking the boat back. That way you get pleny of time on the island (I would recommend taking a small boat over to Trusco and hike around the island (it isnt far).
I have some photos and some practical information on my website: http://www.jeremytaylor.eu/scilly_isles.htm
JeremyinFrance is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:36 AM
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I did drive in Bath and found nothing unusual about it. In fact, Bath is a rather small town. There is hardly any need to drive, since most attractions are in walking distance. The only exception is Royal Crescent, and we were happy that we had a car to drive there.

For Salisbury, Bath, Devon and Exmoor this trip report might be useful for you:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...of-england.cfm

BTW, we decided against Cornwall. Cornwall is a pretty far drive and we found Devon even more beautiful and unique.
Echnaton is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 07:02 AM
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I would recommend flying to the islands and taking the boat back.

I wouldn't. I'd take the plane or helicopter both ways.
I remember the ferry arriving at St. Mary's and people getting off were looking decidedly unwell.
That said, the Scilly Isles are magical.
One lovely thing is that the birds are very tame. Things like thrushes will fly down to your hand
MissPrism is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:09 PM
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"The only exception is Royal Crescent, and we were happy that we had a car to drive there."

The Royal Crescent is walkable from just about anywhere, unless one has mobility problems. One does not need a car IN Bath at all. But just the driving into the city and parking can be VERY congested. You must have been lucky - was it a Sunday by any chance?

(BTW - if one is planning on using the Bath Park-and-Rides on a Sunday -- don't. They don't operate)
janisj is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 09:23 AM
  #10  
 
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Definately visit Salisbury - it's very pretty and a good base to visit Stonehenge and the cathedral. wilton house a few miles out is lovely and the double cube room is stunning.
See more about Salisbury at: http://ezinearticles.com/?Whats-on-i...ry?&id=3959304

Lacock is a really unspoilt village too and not far from Salisbury: http://ezinearticles.com/?Lacock,-No...ire&id=3911226

Devon and cornwall have beautiful coastline and are good if you are into surfing. Seals can be spotted too.

Don't miss Exmoor - the Tarr steps are cool and the woodland is beautiful.

Bath is good for shopping and the spa is good fun - you can bathe on the roof and look out over the city.

Have fun
Platypus1000 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 02:13 PM
  #11  
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Thanks everyone for your great suggestions!!!. I do want to spend some time in Cornwall as I have traced my ancestors to a small town back to the early 1700's. I'm going to check out all of your suggestions. Thanks for the links too!! It's SO much funny planning and looking at options!!!!
Judy_Canuck is offline  
Mar 30th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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hi judy,

where in Cornwall do your family hail fom? the main heritage research libary is just down the road from here in Redruth, which is where many of the miners left from on their long trips to virtually anywhere in the world where ore is mined.

i'll be happy to make some suggestions if you let me know where in Cornwall you are interested in seeing/being near.

regards, ann

PS - I wouldn't take too much notice of Jeremy - he can't spell Tresco, and has a picture on his website that is a geranium maderense, [or similar] NOT sea campion. you can easily do a day trip by Helicopter from Penzance straight to Tresco, and see the lovely gardens there as well as swim or explore the rest of the island. they are going to replace the current boat, but until they do, especially for day trips, I'd stick to the air.
annhig is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 05:58 AM
  #13  
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Hi Ann, I've traced my great and 2 greats grandfather to Luxylian. I believe the 3 greats grandfather was born there too although I'm having trouble with that one as the records are into the 1700's. I believe some of the family lived in St.Blazey and St Austell as well.

We have booked to stay in Liskeard as one of our daughter's friends lives there. Looking at the map we think that will be a good base. We're planning on 4 days there.

I'm thinking about going through Exmoor National park on our way from Bath to Liskeard. Maybe the route through Minehead and Lynmouth? I think I read somewhere that it was a scary drive with lots of steep cliffs and a narrow road??? Any suggestions on that?

Thanks for your help!!
Judy
Judy_Canuck is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Hi Judy,

mmm, i don't know much about Luxulyan [confusingly pronounced I think as you have written it] or the St. Blazey/St. Austell area. Liskeard, though not IMHO a thing of beauty, is a good base, and you will find plenty to do, especially if you find you have family in the area.

as for your drive through the Exmoor National Park, you have the choice of the coast [though according to my map and my memory, the coastal path runs along the cliffs, not the road] or taking the road from Dunster [so nice a friend of mine takes her hols there every year] through Simonsbath almost to Coombe Martin, then south into Cornwall. the whole area is so lovely you might like to think about staying at least one night - perhaps at Porlock or further west towards the Doone valley. Dunkery Beacon, Tarr steps and the Valley of the Rocks near Lynton all get stars from Michelin.

hope this helps,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 04:14 AM
  #15  
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Sorry about the spelling. Sometimes I forget to reread before sending.

Thanks for the tips on Exmoor National Park! That does help.

Judy
Judy_Canuck is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2010, 07:27 AM
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sorry to have been picky, Judy.
annhig is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 01:01 AM
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Hi Judy,
I agree with Ann about the Tarr steps - they are worth a visit and aren't too far inside the park.

When you are in St Blazey/St Austell, if you want a fabulous meal, try Austells restaurant - Brett is a fantastic chef - I always have excellent food and service and make a point of stopping off there if I have time: http://www.austells.net/. The Eden Project is nearby too - great if you like plants.

In Cornwall, the Minack Theatre is worth a visit. It is an outdoor theatre on the coast. It's good to see, even if you don't catch a play there. Beautiful coastline.

For Wiltshire, this may be of interest: http://wiltshirecommunity.tumblr.com/ Some nice pictures.

Whatever you do, have a fab trip.
Platypus1000 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 03:00 AM
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Just driving leisurely through Exmoor is a pleasure - scenery is very diverse and unique. You find cliffs, coves, forests, rivers, rolling hills and upland moor. Expect encounters with horses, sheep etc. even on the road.

Lynmouth/Lynton is a beautiful spot and, as others have said, Valley of the Rocks. A tiny road leads to these dramatic cliffs. There is a parking lot, you can stop there and walk a footpath directly on the cliffs. Do not miss Woody Bay west of the Valley of the Rocks. Watersmeet is another scenic place with options for hiking and picnic.

Tarr Steps is an interesting archeological site (and a fun place for kids on a warm summer day) with easy access.

At most sightseeing spots, you will find a charming inn where you can get a drink or a more or less rustic meal.

At the southern edge of Exmoor, there is a Michelin-starred restaurant, the Masons Arms. It is an unpretentious country restaurant with rustic atmosphere where you can enjoy Devon crab and Exmoor beef. http://www.masonsarmsdevon.co.uk/
Echnaton is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 03:16 AM
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The cathedral at Wells, near Glastonbury, is beautiful.
Vttraveler is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 01:07 PM
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When you are in St Blazey/St Austell, if you want a fabulous meal, try Austells restaurant - Brett is a fantastic chef - I always have excellent food and service and make a point of stopping off there if I have time: http://www.austells.net/. >>

platypus - this looks like a good recommendation in a bit of a culinary desert. I'll try it next time I'm in the area.
annhig is offline  

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