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"Tom, You Bloody Idiot! Maitai Needs Help On England

"Tom, You Bloody Idiot! Maitai Needs Help On England

Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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carolyn, we visited Kew in April and I've never seen so many beautiful rhododendruns and other flowers. Don't know when you went but we found it to be lovely.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Think about Salisbury or Cambridge or go south to Canterbury. Already looking forward to the trip report!
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:19 PM
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We really enjoyed Hidcote Gardens near Chipping Campden.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote/

We liked Kew gardens also. Just check the return boat times as we missed it and had to take the tube both ways.

We also stayed at a lovely B&B just outside Chipping Campden. A three or four minute drive at best. If that is an option I'll get you the info. Great Pub up Sheep street that you would enjoy.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 09:40 PM
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Tom - glad you like my suggestions. there is of course a choice to be made - stay in one place for longer and drive further every day for your day trips, or split it into north and south which makes day tripping easier, but means that you have to pack and unpack more often.

<<If you stay near Chipping Campden you will be VERY near Hidcote Manor (just about the equal of Sissinghurst) and Snowshill and lots of other gardens.>>

whichever way you decide to go, if you're going to Hidcote, don't forget nearby Kiftsgate, after which a famous rose is named. and for an autumn "garden" the Arboretum at Westonbirt, just before you get to Tetbury on the Fosse Way, can't be beat. and not that far from Windsor are the RHS gardens at Wisley,which are lovely in September and very interesting for a garden lover with all the fruit trees, but they are somewhat in the wrong direction if you were overnighting in Windsor and planning to drive to Bath.

JJ - not sure about your placing the Queen Mary rose garden as the "best" in the UK - two rivals might be the Royal National Rose society Rose gardens at St. Albans and Montisfont Abbey. oh, [and to ape Monty Python] a third at Rosemoor NHS Gardens at Torrington in north Devon. but rose gardens are not necessarily going to be at their best in September.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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annhig: I meant the "best" w/i the areas the toms are thinking about going. And true they won't be much in Sept it is just that roses were mentioned in some of the posts. (I'm spoiled - where I live I had roses blooming until mid Dec. )

And yes - for garden lovers RHS Wisley would be a <B>MUST</B> for sure - at any time of year.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 06:49 AM
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If you do stay in the Salisbury area (which is lovely), highly recommend a stop south, in Dorset, at the Cerne Abbas Giant. You could do some real story telling on your ancestral markings there.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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This trip just keeps getting longer and longer with all these great suggestions...not that that's a bad thing. Between cathedrals, castles, museums and gardens (oh, and the pubs), this is going to be one busy vacation, but that's the way we like it.

Right now, I'm leaning toward London the first week and countryside the second week, but that could always change after I figure out where all these places you are talking about are located.

And michele, I would be interested in the b&b near Chipping Campden. Thanks.

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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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As mentioned somewhere above, London the first week makes so much more logistical sense.

Tube from your apt (an apt for London is no brainer, IMO) in London to the airport car rental, rent car for duration of 2nd week (all areas mentioned so far are easy, stress-free driving) and return it before boarding your flight home.

There are a <b>dozens</b> of good "home-base" neighborhoods in central London for a one week stay - and South Kensington is certainly one of them. My only personal parameters would be: as close to a tube stop(s) as possible (4 blocks or less is ideal), in Zone 1, north of river. There ARE a few neighborhoods that meet the above 3 criteria that I would not recommend but let's see what you come up with. If the apartment price seems way lower than most Zone 1 neighborhoods, it <i>may</i> be in a less desirable area.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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I can't wait to read your trip report when you return!

If you go to Oxford, consider going on to Blenheim Palace. Churchill was born there and is buried nearby at Bladon.

If you go to Stonehenge, you could also visit Glastonbury (one of sites alleged to be Avalon) in addition to Salisbury (original copy of the Magna Carta).
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Driving on the wrong side of the road isn't that bad because the steering wheel and controls are already on the wrong side of the car and that helps you orient yourself to the daft UK (and Aussie) driving system. Definitely go with the auto, not the stick.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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"Definitely go with the auto, not the stick."

Yes, I believe the extra cost will more than make up for the lack of dead British pedestrians if I rented a manual transmission.

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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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"Yes, I believe the extra cost will more than make up for the lack of dead British pedestrians if I rented a manual transmission"

LOL. Come on, Tom, you live in L.A. If you can avoid drunks, sports fanatics, traffic, and road rage, you can do manual!

Actually, I found -- and maybe it's because I'm left-handed -- the English manual to be a heck of a lot easier than U.S. manual, and I'm more than proficient at U.S. stick shift. I like feeling the road.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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"<i>. . . maybe it's because I'm left-handed</i>"

I'm right handed (totally useless w/ my left hand). And even so -- I MUCH prefer renting a stick in the UK. And it isn't just the massive ££/$$ savings. People just assume shifting left handed must be a bear. It ain't. One isn't power shifting or trying to pull a souped up GTO off the line. One is simply going up and down through the gears.

IME - the times visitors get into trouble/confused is mostly when they get over-comfortable and ease into a sort of auto pilot. Driving an automatic just adds to that sense of 'normalcy'. Having the gear shift sitting there on your left side is just one more mental cue that things are different and to keep on your toes.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Driving an automatic - an oxymoron surely???

They're glorified golf carts.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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I second a visit to Woodstock, home to Churchill's birthplace, Blenheim Palace, and you should include Oxford. We thought we'd spend a few hours in Oxford and ended up spending the entire day.
We pulled out of a restaurant after dinner, driving stick, forgetting to stay to the left, and almost ran over a nun. It's thoughtful of you to consider the British pedestrians.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:22 PM
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Just tagging on to add comments later - already looking forward to this trip report! Maybe we could even do a get together while you are here!
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:29 PM
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We didn't visit many gardens, but Stourhead, which is more or less on your route from Bath to the Cotswolds, is well worth a visit. It was gorgeous in May, and I'd think it would be nice in September as well.

Here's a link to our trip report, if you're interested. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...b-may-2007.cfm

Lee Ann
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:44 PM
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Oh boy, another question. I just got off the phone with my best friend who said he loves York. Looking at my handy dandy Google train timetable, it looks like it is only a couple of hours by train from London to York. Would it be crazy (another of my many middle names) to see York in a day on a day trip? Looks like we could do a train trip that arrives York about 8:30 and then departs York at 18:30. Yes a long day, but what the hell, every day with us is a long day.

I guess we could do an overnight in York and then catch a train the next day, but looks like we would have to go back to London and then get to Heathrow to rent the car. Or maybe just rent the car in York and drive down to the Cotswolds and drop at LHR when we leave England. Sorry for all the questions, but as I get older my brain seems to have more questions than answers.

And yes, jamikins, a GTG could be arranged. A Fodor's Pub Tour. Jolly good! Plus I owe many of you a beer for all the info you are giving me.

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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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We were in Chipping Campden last Fall and loved it. Cute town with easy access to other places in the area. Our English friends chose Noel Arms as the hotel for all of us to stay. Old with creaky floors, but spotless with good breakfasts.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Ooops! Hit submit before adding this about York. That would be a very long day trip from London. York Minster is beautiful, and the town is fun to walk through.
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