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West England Countryside (Cotswolds/Bath/Stonehenge/Oxford)

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West England Countryside (Cotswolds/Bath/Stonehenge/Oxford)

Old May 6th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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West England Countryside (Cotswolds/Bath/Stonehenge/Oxford)

Hi,

I'm visiting England in September and will be spending 3 full days in the countryside. We will be taking a train from London and would like to make one city/town our home base for the duration of the stay. It seems like Somerset might be a good central area to look for a hotel and still hit the places we want to see. Could someone recommend a town that might be a central hub to see the Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge (quick drive-by), and Oxford? I'm hoping to rent a car for our stay that way we can adjust our schedule as we see fit.

Thanks!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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A bit more information about this trip: we'll be in England for a total of 8 full days with time split between London and the countryside. I'm interested to hear how others might split that time--5 days in London, 3 days in the country? What are the must-not-miss sites in London (beyond the super-touristy stuff)? What are some of London's little gems? Both of us on this trip have backgrounds in art/design/fashion/engineering and love food.

Thanks again!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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I'd get an England guidebook if I were you. I envy you your trip. I'd love to go again.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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art/design/fashion/engineering

as a designer I like the V&A, as an Engineer the science museum is generally a bit dull but you may find a few pieces of interest. They have a fine collection of Klein Bottles (single surface bottles) they have the original Glooper (Terry Prachett) economic theory mirrored in water flows and Babbage's mechanical computer.

You may also like the OXO tower and the various shops that hang around it.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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The Design museum is south along the Thames from the OXO tower and not that brilliant, too much Dyson (he paid for a lot of it) and Niken(how exciting can running shoes be?) but there is stuff on geodesic domes and Buckminster Fuller.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 06:05 PM
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Thanks everyone. @bilboburgler: the science museum and design museum both sound interesting.

Does anyone have any advice relating to my first query? I'd love to know where would be the best hub for my country outings--Somerset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire? I really want to be able to visit the Cotswolds, Bath & Oxford, with a quick drive-by of Stonehenge for the photo op.

Thanks very much!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 09:17 PM
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If you take a map, draw a line between Bath, Amesbury (for Stonehenge), Oxford, Burford and Bath, nowhere inside the bounded area is more than 75 mins by straightforward driving from any of the four points you've linked. Virtually none of the bounded area is in Somerset.

The area has no natural hub (it's the absence of one that makes it appeal to modern tourists). Neither Oxford nor Bath are suitable bases for car-based touring: their appeal lies partly in their savage antipathy to cars in the centre. But practically anywhere else in the bounded area, apart from Swindon, is fine.

It's generally a better idea to stay somewhere vaguely substantial, rather than in a one-restaurant rural hotel. Planning laws make creeping suburbia almost impossible within the bounded area (except, dismally, around Salisbury), so practically any settlement big enough to have a hotel will be a largely medieval through Georgian core with a few tastefully obscured modernish add ons kept out of eyesight. I'd personally suggest Burford or Tetbury.
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