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Seeing the English Countryside

Last updated: May 3, 2018

Almost no place in the world conjures up cozier images than the English countryside. Crooked little cobblestone streets, lush gardens full of endless cutting flowers, tiny cottages with delicate puffs of smoke coming out of chimneys. It’s enough to make you want to get on a plane and go! Even if you’re going to London you might as well take a day trip and get a taste of that picture-perfect Englishness. Here, our members make suggestions about great little towns and villages to check out the next time you’re in the U.K.

If you like English history, Dorset is a great choice:

“Dorset might be a good bet. Wonderful countryside & coast, loads of history & prehistoric sites.....Dorchester (the excellent Monkeyworld primate rescue centre in nearby Wool might appeal to your daughter?) Devizes, Lyme Regis (the Jurassic Coast, with loads of fossils). Then maybe into Devon....Exeter base and explore Exmoor and the coast on daytrips?”

For sheer beauty, there is nothing like the Cotswolds:

“ . . . you might think about the Cotswolds, which is full of pretty villages? Getting to e.g. Stow-on-the-Wold from Heathrow should take less than 2 hours (assuming traffic is ok).”
“Head up the Motorway (M25, M40) to Oxford. As parking is a nightmare there use Thornhill Park and Ride, you'll see it as you come into the city (by now you'll be on the A40) and leave the car and take the bus to the city and University area. When you return to your car use the A40 to head into the Cotswolds, first stop Burford, plenty of B&B's, then on to Bibury, Cirencester, Tetbury, past Prince Charles pad at Didmarton and along the A46 to Bath. Of course this Cotswold route is one of hundreds you could do but it is the most convenient route from Oxford to Bath. If you've time then take a detour north of Oxford to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace then regain your A40 route by going via Bladon (Sir Winston Churchill's grave) and Witney.”
“I stayed at a great B&B in Bourton-on-Water last May. It was very central to the Cotswolds, very friendly people and not expensive at all. I didn't have a car, but I noticed a parking lot right in front of the house.”
“there are loads of things to do in all the places you mention. Cruising through Cotswold villages, stopping when things catch your eye. The 18month old will enjoy letting off some energy in Victoria Park in Bath, or going on a Rosie and Jim canal trip in Stratford up on Avon, or the model village in Bourton on the Water. Not sure about Punting in Oxford for an 18month old, but his parents might like it.

Both Bath and Oxford have blue guides who will do walks (often for free) around the city, and have tourist buses, which will allow you to see the town with narration and you can then choose to see other things.”

And then there are the old standbys:

“Marlborough
Bath
Salisbury
Oxford of course
Canterbury
Cheltenham”
“I have lived all my life in Cambridge which is a beautiful city, full of great architecture. I am now living (since a year) in Norwich, which you will find near the east coast north east from Cambridge. It is a lovely city with many churches, cobbled lanes, small shops, two cathedrals and numerous eating places and pubs.”
“Cardiff and Swansea are indeed fabulous cities and the Gower Peninsula near Swansea is wonderful. However, if you want to base yourself somewhere more rural (which is always my wish, as I live in London), the Brecon Beacons/Black Mountains area of south Wales is great: either Brecon itself, or, a short distance away, the border town of Hay. The former is a more traditional type of small town - Hay is impossible to describe in a short posting: a very unusual place that is worth researching before you make your choice. I also very much like the Pembrokeshire coast, St Davids, and the Cardigan bay area. Tenby is a good base, out of the height of the holiday season, for Pembrokeshire.”
“Why not try somewhere like Abergavenny as a base...its surrounded by glorious countryside.”
“Bristol (possibly Cardiff) would be a good city base - you can easily get to Bath, Salisbury, the West Country, South Wales, Abergavenny (Black Mountains), the Welsh Marches (Ludlow, Craven Arms), Shrewsbury ...from here by train. Basing yourself in Harrogate, you can catch local buses into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You can also catch both trains and buses to historic York and onwards to the North York Moors National Park and the Yorkshire Coast with places like Whitby (to go from York to Whitby you go across the moors).”
“Don't discount Kent either - some lovely towns to visit, especially along the coast if you want to see the sea! Canterbury, Whitstable, Margate, Deal are some good ones.”
“Also check out the date of the Badminton Horse Trials, which usually late April /early May, and depending on your interest, might be a blessing (if you like horse trials) or not (because of difficulty in getting accommodation and increased traffic.

If you are around in Late May, check out the dates of the Bath Festival, ( that is usually around the last week of May), because again, there will be implications for accommodation, and you might find some fun things to do.

And finally, May is the end of the academic year in Oxford, so again depending on the timing of your visit and interest, you might find access to colleges limited (exam time etc.).”
“In Wales you should go to Swansea or Cardiff, from there you can get to the other places easily. I always loved to spend my vacation in the South of England (Cornwall) or the North (Cumbria). But there are lovely places everywhere e. g. Bornemouth Lyme Regis etc.”
“I'd say somewhere around Bangor might be a good base. I've never actually been to Bangor but as it's a fairly large town I'd say the public transport network should be fairly widespread. It's also near enough to all the major sites.”
“You might enjoy Oxford or Cambridge. These college towns have preserved a lot of their medieval roots, especially in their famous quadrangles and along the rivers where generations of students have "punted."
“When I went to England last year I stayed in the charming medieval town of Guildford. It's an easy ride from London (about 40 minutes by train) and I really enjoyed the atmosphere in that town.”
“Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent is well worth a visit and only a short train journey from London (about 40 mins). It is famous for The Pantiles and its Chalybeate Spring (which you can still drink from today!) and is currently celebrating its 400-year anniversary with a walking tour of historic places of interest within the town.”
“For a really quaint English village go see Shere in Surrey...not that far from Gatwick. Lovely old church, olde worlde shops and Cameron Diaz the film star was there earlier this year making her latest film "Holiday". They covered the whole village in artificial snow.... looked amazing. Of course, there’s always Windsor and its fabulous castle/palace...well worth a visit.”

Daytrips to the English Countryside from London

“Downe in Kent (train to Orpington and then bus), and you can also visit Charles Darwin's House if you are interested. Burnham on Crouch in Essex, just over one hour by train, and a pleasant little seaside place. Eynsford in Kent (under 50 minutes by train). You can visit a nearby Roman villa if you like.”
“You could, for example, take the train to Pangbourne (about an hour and a bit), which is really quite pretty. The River Thames runs through it, there are ancient cottages and church, good pubs and cafes, lovely beechwood walks 10 minutes' walk over the river in Whitchurch-on-Thames (even more village-y).”
“Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire is a village which looks quite pretty and is only 40 minutes by from London Marylebone. It has a museum about the writer Roald Dahl, who lived here, an historic church and several cafes/pubs/restaurants, and is a good base for country walks (as is Wendover, the next stop on the line, which also has a great chocolate shop). You can buy a copy of the local 'walkers and riders map' at the Great Missenden station coffee kiosk. But it doesn't have a village green or duck pond, if you are looking for an idealised English village.”
“I would certainly agree with Eynsford, or Shoreham the next station down the line. Both are very villagey, easy to get to and full of interest. I once lived in nearby Sevenoaks. The National Trust village of Chiddingstone is a little but harder to get to (nearest station Penshurst, about 3 miles) but well worth the effort.

I once lived in Tonbridge, 40 minutes by train from London, and within a few miles we could enjoy the very nice villages of Leigh, Penshurst, Hever, Cowden, Wateringbury and Frant. All have railway stations and are easy to reach from London. However, they will be very quiet during the day as all the inhabitants would have been on those trains and off to work in London early that morning. They will all have old churches, old pubs, old shops (mostly closed now sadly) and there are several large stately homes nearby to most of them. The countryside is still mainly agricultural and very pleasant for the most part. I think you will find something to visit in my former county of Kent.”
“Cookham on the Thames in Berkshire is a little over an hour from Paddington. Haven't been there, got it from my guidebook, looks interesting -- home of the artist Stanley Spencer and the Office of the Keeper of the Royal Swans...”
“Cookham is lovely - it will take you 50 minutes by train from Paddington, trains go at 57 minutes past the hour and you need to change at Maidenhead onto the Cookham spur line. It has all the ingredients of a perfect English village, lovely old buildings, mediaeval stone church, pubs by the village green and the Thames, pretty high street lined with lovely old houses and shops, the Stanley Spenser Gallery in the old Methodist Hall, lots of walks.”
“There really are many places, as the others have suggested. For example, if you take a train north you can be in rural Hertfordshire in half an hour. The real snag is that most little villages don't have railway stations so you'll need to catch a bus - and they're not frequent in the countryside.

Because it's my favourite part of the world I suggest you consider the New Forest on the south coast. You can catch a train from Waterloo to Brockenhurst, a largish village right in the heart of the forest. The journey takes about one and a half hours.”

Where to See the English Seaside:

“My wife and I toured the country side several years ago. We enjoyed torque (Pronounced tor-Key ,spelling not quite right).Its the area where John Cleese’s “Fawlty Towers” was supposedly at. It has nice beaches and is a very English vacation spot. The towns are very quaint, and the people are great.”
“Torquay was the fictional setting for Fawlty Towers but it was almost all filmed in studios, the few outdoor scenes were filmed at a large house north west of London which has since burned down. Nothing was ever filmed in Torquay!! It's still a great place to stay though (Torquay I mean, not Fawlty Towers).”
“Maybe Brighton, the Regency seaside town. Always interesting at any time of year!”

Seeing the English Countryside: Car vs. Train vs. Bus

“I did this approximately 15 times and I recommend to take buses, because trains are very expensive in Britain, and after the privatisation of the train companies there are no more good connections to get through Britain.”

Some General Tips for Seeing the English Countryside

“I suggest you make sure you book accommodation well in advance for Bath & Oxford. Driving is great, but finding a place to park is a problem. Better to drive your car into a paid car park and take a sightseeing bus, hop on and hop off.”
“If you hire a car, it gives you a lot of freedom to explore all the little villages. Beware of Oxford during the rush hour and on Saturdays, the traffic is terrible.”
“In may the fields will be full of young lambs...they will also be on the menu in a lot of the pub restaurants. The Cotswolds is built on the wealth of the medieval wool trade. Visit Upper Slaughter.”
“But if you are going in November, and hoping to go somewhere on the day of your arrival, you won't have a great deal of daylight, so you might want to go somewhere a little closer to Gatwick.”

Related Links



Here's the original discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from New Jersey asked on Jan 8, 2017

England

Where to from London?

Deciding whether or not to take advantage of a great deal on airfare to London but don't want to stay in London. Will have about a week to explore. Will/can have a car. Looking for small towns to explore. Just looking to chill. Any suggestions?



11 Answers


answered on 1/8/17 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Loads of ideas but how far/how long do you want to drive (thew two things are not the same in the UK).

And do you want history or coast or countryside or a mixture of all three?

Dorset might be a good bet. Wonderful countryside & coast, loads of history & prehistoric sites.....Dorchester (the excellent Monkeyworld primate rescue centre in nearby Wool might appeal to your daughter?) Devizes, Lyme Regis (the Jurassic Coast, with loads of fossils).

Then maybe into Devon....Exeter base and explore Exmoor and the coast on daytrips?




answered on 1/8/17 by
a VT member from New Jersey

End of June Barbara. A couple of hours a day J - probably more countryside - pretty villages like Shere.




answered on 1/8/17 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Are you happy to change base every night or do you want just one or two bases? If the latter then just 2 hours driving does limit the area, assuming you're landing at Heathrow.

I'm afraid I don't know Surrey or Kent very well, but you might think about the Cotswolds, which is full of pretty villages? Getting to e.g. Stow-on-the-Wold from Heathrow should take less than 2 hours (assuming traffic is ok).

The official TI site is

http://www.cotswolds.com/




answered on 1/8/17 by
a VT member from New Jersey

Yes, we would land at Heathrow. I think maybe 3 places/2 nights each. I had a peek at Cotswolds earlier. Will take a closer look. Thank!




answered on 1/8/17 by
a VT member from London

Marlborough
Bath
Salisbury
Oxford of course
Canterbury
Cheltenham

there are many more of course...




answered on 1/8/17 by
a VT member from New Jersey

Ahhhh, I knew you've been exploring since you left here! :-) Thanks!




answered on 1/10/17 by
a VT member

Don't discount Kent either - some lovely towns to visit, especially along the coast if you want to see the sea! Canterbury, Whitstable, Margate, Deal are some good ones.




answered on 1/10/17 by
a VT member from Norwich

Hi Donna,

I have lived all my life in Cambridge which is a beautiful city, full of great architecture. I am now living (since a year) in Norwich, which you will find near the east coast north east from Cambridge. It is a lovely city with many churches, cobbled lanes, small shops, two cathedrals and numerous eating places and pubs. Let me know if you do come to Norwich as I would love to meet you

youtu.be/fiATt-4Xo9M?list&am...




answered on 1/10/17 by
a VT member from New Jersey

No plans yet but will definitely meet up if we're in/near Norwich!




answered on 1/11/17 by
a VT member from Norwich

what new site will you join so we can stay in contact?




answered on 1/16/17 by
a VT member from New Jersey

I am on both TravellersPoint and Travbuddy as donna_in_india but haven't spend any time on either. I will likely join the new site that G is working on. I am also on Facebook (Donna Young). Let me know where you are.






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a VirtualTourist member from Geelong asked on Feb 24, 2005

England

English Countryside

Hi,
My wife, 18 mnth son and I are picking up a car at Heathrow in May and have allocated 4 days to explore the English Countryside. We were planning on heading towards Bath.Places we would like to visit are Bath, Oxford and the Cotswolds. We are after suggestions on where to stay that will be central to these areas. We are looking to stay in a B&B. But where? Also we would be grateful for ideas on things to do in the abovementhioned ares. Any suggestion would be great.
Thanks in advance.



9 Answers


answered on 2/24/05 by
a VT member from Croghan

Hi,
my wife and I toured the country side several years a go. We enjoyed torque (Pronounced tor-Key ,spelling not quite right).Its the area where john cleeses fawlty towers was supposedly at. It has nice beaches and is a very English vacation spot. The towns are very quaint, and the people are great.




answered on 2/24/05 by
a VT member from Warrensburg

Good choice of English Countryside!! Head up the Motorway (M25, M40) to Oxford. As parking is a nightmare there use Thornhill Park and Ride, you'll see it as you come into the city (by now you'll be on the A40) and leave the car and take the bus to the city and University area.
When you return to your car use the A40 to head into the Cotswolds, first stop Burford, plenty of B&B's, then on to Bibury, Cirencester, Tetbury, past Prince Charles pad at Didmarton and along the A46 to Bath. Of course this Cotswold route is one of hundreds you could do but it is the most convenient route from Oxford to Bath. If you've time then take a detour north of Oxford to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace then regain your A40 route by going via Bladon (Sir Winston Churchill's grave) and Witney. I'll be happy to give you other routes and suggestions because there are so many!!
And in addition, Torquay was the fictional setting for Fawlty Towers but it was almost all filmed in studios, the few outdoor scenes were filmed at a large house north west of London which has since burned down. Nothing was ever filmed in Torquay!! It's still a great place to stay though (Torquay I mean, not Fawlty Towers).




answered on 2/24/05 by
a VT member from Terrigal

There are B&Bs everywhere, just find one wherever you find a place you really like.




answered on 2/24/05 by
a VT member from Bangalore

Hi,
I was in Bath & Oxford in May-June last year. I suggest you make sure you book accommodation well in advance for Bath & Oxford. Driving is great, but finding a place to park is a problem. Better to drive your car into a paid car park and take a sightseeing bus, hop on and hop off. I have not been to the Cotswolds, but intend to do so in the future.
Have a great trip.===Jennycee




answered on 2/25/05 by
a VT member from Germany

Hi, I stayed at a great B&B in Bourton-on-Water last May. It was very central to the Cotswolds, very friendly people and not expensive at all. I didn't have a car, but I noticed a parking lot right in front of the house. If you're interested in the address, e-mail me.
Enjoy your stay.
Christine




answered on 2/25/05 by
a VT member from Norwich

Depends what you like doing. Westonbirt auberetum is fun. Also check out the date of the Badminton Horse Trials, which usually late April /early May, and depending on your interest, might be a blessing (if you like horse trials) or not (because of difficulty in getting accomadation and increased traffic.

If you are around in Late May, check out the dates of the Bath Festival, ( that is usually around the last week of May), because again, there will be inplications for accomadation, and you might find some fun things to do.

And finally, May is the end of the academic year in Oxford, so again depending on the timing of your visit and interest, you might find access to colleges limited (exam time etc).


But there are loads of things to do in all the places you mention. Crusing through cotswold villages,stopping when things catch your eye. The 18month old will enjoy letting off some energy in Victoria Park in Bath, or going on a Rosie and Jim canal trip in Stratford up on Avon, or the model village in Bourton on the Water. Not sure about Punting in Oxford for an 18month old, but his parents might like it.

Both Bath and Oxford have blue guides who will do walks (often for free) around the city, and have tourist buses, which will allow you to see the town with naration and you can then choose to see other things.

Have a good time




answered on 2/26/05 by
a VT member

travel lodges or travel inns are more easily accessible than B and B. A restaurant is always attached to these lodges or inns. Failing that, novotel would an alternative.

Check out shakespeare birth place whilst you are in Oxford.

Have a good trip.




answered on 2/27/05 by
a VT member from Geelong

Thanks for all the reply's. Still trying to decide on the countless beautiful towns. Bibury looks wonderful and will probably stay not to far from here.




answered on 2/28/05 by
a VT member from London

cotswolds.info/cotswold-band...

If you hire a car, it gives you a lot of freedom to explore all the little villages. Beware of Oxford during the rush hour and on Saturdays, the traffic is terrible.

In may the fields will be full of young lambs...they will also be on the menu in a lot of the pub restaurants. The Cotswolds is built on the wealth of the medieval wool trade. Visit Upper Slaughter.






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a VirtualTourist member from Painesville asked on Aug 18, 2005

England

English countryside

I will be traveling to England in October. We would like to travel into the countryside and possibly to Wales. We would prefer not to rent a car, but take the trains. What towns and cities should we see and what would be the best way to travel to them? Also, what would be a good town or city to use for a base and do day trips from? We will be there for approx. 10 days.



14 Answers


answered on 8/18/05 by
a VT member from Terrigal

There's just so much beautiful countryside all over England, and interesting towns & cities, that you really need to spend time here checking VT members'pages and making your own list of places to see. We all have our own favourites and we'll just confuse, you'll get so much different advice ;-)




answered on 8/18/05 by
a VT member from Berlin

I did this approximately 15 times and I recommend to take buses, because trains are very expensive in Britain, and after the privatisation of the train companies there are no more good connections to get through Britain. In Wales you should go to Swansea or Cardiff, from there you can get to the other places easyly. I always loved to spend my vacation in the South of England ( Cornwall ) or the North ( Cumbria ). But there are lovely places everywhere e. g. Bornemouth Lyme Regis etc.




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Aschaffenburg

Hi,
I did interrailing in England, Wales and Scottland in '91 and spent like this all four weeks from the first hour to the last travelling around... There are a lot of nice places.

Some things I recommend in and close to Wales:
Dartmoor: There is a youth hostel in there, which is a great base for hiking in this great landscape.
-> http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/
-> dartmoor.co.uk/index.asp?f=t...

Hay on Why: It is a nice town, which is packed with bookshops (if anybody knows why, please leave me a comment).
-> http://www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/

Bath: It is a very beautiful city and world heritage with roman roots:
-> http://visitbath.co.uk/site/home
-> http://www.cityofbath.co.uk/

Snowdonia: It is a great landscape there in the mountains. Watch for fog when hiking there. In it it gets cold... :)
-> geocities.com/RainForest/109...
-> http://www.eryri-npa.co.uk/

Brecon Beacons: Also a nice landscape, but less alpine compared to Snowdonia
-> http://www.breconbeacons.org/
-> http://www.brecon-beacons.com/
-> metoffice.com/loutdoor/mount...

Ok, I guess you will already have to work enough on my suggestions. In case you have some questions, feel free to ask. I hope i can answer, as the travel is quite some time ago. But I have a diary here, in which I wrote each step I did...

Have fun researching, Christian.




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Birmingham

Hi,

As already suggested, check out where other members of VT have posted tips.

I have pages on the Lake District and Snowdonia, both of which I can't recommend highly enough. We always ravel by car but I know these areas have good bus services - I have refered to the following couple of websites myself in the past as they have good travel info.

http://www.countrygoer.org/lakes.htm
Has bus information on all the National Parks along with prices/timetables and basic tourist info....

and
http://www.totaltravel.co.uk/
Gives all sorts of travel info.

I'd say somewhere around Bangor might be a good base. I've never actually been to Bangor but as it's a fairly large town I'd say the public transport network should be fairly widespread. It's also near enough to all the major sites.

Hope this gives you a few ideas.....

Eddi




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Birmingham

....What I meant to say was that I can't recommend Snowdonia or the Lake District highly enough, although it read a bit like I can't recommend my pages highly enough. Apologies for sounding like an advert for myself!

:o)

Eddi




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from London

You'll get a huge response to this, but just to add my personal preferences re Wales:

Cardiff and Swansea are indeed fabulous cities and the Gower Peninsula near Swansea is wonderful.
However, if you want to base yourself somewhere more rural (which is always my wish, as I live in London), the Brecon Beacons/Black Mountains area of south Wales is great: either Brecon itself, or, a short distance away, the border town of Hay. The former is a more traditional type of small town - Hay is impossible to describe in a short posting: a very unusual place that is worth researching before you make your choice. My family come from these areas so I am naturally prejudiced in their favour. Do ask if you need more info.

I also very much like the Pembrokeshire coast, St Davids, and the Cardigan bay area. Tenby is a good base, out of the height of the holiday season, for Pembrokeshire.




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Goa

Why not try somewhere like Abergavenny as a base...its surrounded by glorious countryside.

Enjoy!




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from London

Yes, that is another great base - with some good places to eat too.




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Atlanta

I would second gubbi1's recommendation to Visit Bath England.




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from Berlin

Edwina recommends apologies




answered on 8/19/05 by
a VT member from London

It is really impossible to choose between the recommendations- if you try to do it all I think you will get exhausted and see less and less (unless you are hardier than me). However, most of the recommendations focus on west country and wales, so it should be possible to do a semi-tour of many of the places above, using some of them as a base for a few days.




answered on 8/20/05 by
a VT member from Berlin

Sarah is right, if tags4 goes to all the interesting places in Britain, the holiday will be all stress! But picking 3 or 4 towns and making trips to the area around will be the best way to spend a 10 day sojourn




answered on 8/21/05 by
a VT member from Cardiff

A lot of the suggestions above will be very difficult to explore using public transport.

Bristol (possibly Cardiff) would be a good city base - you can easily get to Bath, Salisbury, the West Country, South Wales, Abergavenny (Black Mountains), the Welsh Marches (Ludlow, Craven Arms), Shrewsbury ...from here by train




answered on 8/23/05 by
a VT member from Sweden

Basing yourself in Harrogate, you can catch local buses into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You can also catch both trains and buses to historic York and onwards to the North York Moors National Park and the Yorkshire Coast with places like Whitby (to go from York to Whitby you go across the moors).






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a VirtualTourist member from Orange asked on Jul 18, 2006

London

Trip to English Countryside

We're scheduled for a 9 a.m. arrival at Gatwick for a three-day stay in London in November, and we're hoping to spend time in a quaint, picturesque town in the nearby countryside while in London (maybe before we check into our hotel the first day if it will save us travel time. On a previous trip we visited Salisbury and Stonehenge before hotel check-in on day 1, and then arrived back at Waterloo for our first view of Parliament just at sunset -- a memory I'll never forget.)

Can anybody suggest a little walking town we would enjoy visiting to contrast with the big city of London?



5 Answers


answered on 7/18/06 by
a VT member from Marquette

You might enjoy Oxford or Cambridge. These college towns have preserved a lot of their medieval roots, especially in their famous quadrangles and along the rivers where generations of students have "punted."

But if you are going in November, and hoping to go somewhere on the day of your arrival, you won't have a great deal of daylight, so you might want to go somewhere a little closer to Gatwick. Maybe Brighton, the Regency seaside town. Always interesting at any time of year! (I would suggest Canterbury, but you'll already been to one Cathedral town, so something a little different would be good.)




answered on 7/18/06 by
a VT member from Quebec

When I went to England last year I stayed in the charming medieval town of Guildford (guildford.gov.uk/GuildfordWe.... It's an easy ride from London (about 40 minutes by train) and I really enjoyed the atmosphere in that town. You can check out my Guildford page if you want more info ([original VT link].

I wish you a great trip!




answered on 7/18/06 by
a VT member from East Sussex

Hi,

Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent is well worth a visit and only a short train journey from London (about 40 mins). It is famous for The Pantiles and its Chalybeate Spring (which you can still drink from today!) and is currently celebrating it's 400 year anniversary with a walking tour of historic places of interest within the town.

http://www.visittunbridgewells.com/

There is more info and photos on my Tunbridge Wells page if you are interested.

Have a lovely time in England!




answered on 7/19/06 by
a VT member from Dover

Canterbury




answered on 7/19/06 by
a VT member from Surrey

For a really quaint English village go see Shere in Surrey...not that far from Gatwick. Lovely old church, olde worlde shops and Cameron Diaz the filmsatr was there earlier this year making her latest film "Holiday".They covered the whole village in artificial snow.....looked amazing.Check out trailer on www.IMDB.com
Of course theres always Windsor and its fabulous castle/palace...well worth a visit.






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a VirtualTourist member from Mumbai asked on Jun 8, 2009

London

English Countryside from London

Hi,
If one would want to do a small half day trip to experience an 'english village' at a short distance (Accessible by train or bus) within say an hour from London, where would you suggest we go?
Any experiences?
Is it possible to experience the english countryside at such a short distance from metroploitan delhi?
What can we expect to see/experience there?
Thanka a million in advance
Regards,
Frank



7 Answers


answered on 6/8/09 by
a VT member from London

Plenty of places to do this.

Downe in Kent (train to Orpington and then bus), and you can also visit Charles Darwin's House if you are interested..

Burnham on Crouch in Essex, just over one hour by train, and a pleasant little seaside place.

Eynsford in Kent (under 50 minutes by train). You can visit a nearby Roman villa if you like.

These are just a few suggestions, there are plenty of places within an hour of London.

Hope this assists,

fergy.




answered on 6/8/09 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I don't think you can experience 'an English village' at a short distance from London.....London is a huge sprawling metropolis.

But a bit-more-than-a-half-daytrip is entirely feasible.

You could, for example, take the train to Pangbourne (about an hour and a bit), which is really quite pretty. The River Thames runs through it, there are ancient cottages and church, good pubs and cafes, lovely beechwood walks 10 minutes' walk over the river in Whitchurch-on-Thames (even more village-y).

Have a look at my Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames pages for pics and info.

www.nationalrail.co.uk will give you times and fares.




answered on 6/8/09 by
a VT member from Great Missenden

It depends what you mean by an 'English village'.

Great Missenden (see my page) in Buckinghamshire is a village which looks quite pretty and is only 40 minutes by from London Marylebone. It has a museum about the writer Roald Dahl, who lived here, an historic church and several cafes/pubs/restaurants, and is a good base for country walks (as is Wendover, the next stop on the line, which also has a great chocoloate shop). You can buy a copy of the local 'walkers and riders map' at the Great Missenden station coffee kiosk. But it doesn't have a village green or duckpond, if you are looking for an idealised English village.

I should imagine that there are lots of places of this sort within an hour of London.




answered on 6/8/09 by
a VT member from Albufeira

I would certainly agree with Eynsford, or Shoreham the next station down the line. Both are very villagey, easy to get to and full of interest. I once lived in nearby Sevenoaks. The National Trust village of Chiddingstone is a little but harder to get to (nearest station Penshurst, about 3 miles) but well worth the effort.

I once lived in Tonbridge, 40 minutes by train from London, and within a few miles we could enjoy the very nice villages of Leigh, Penshurst, Hever, Cowden, Wateringbury and Frant.

All have railway stations and are easy to reach from London.

However, they will be very quiet during the day as all the inhabitants would have been on those trains and off to work in London early that morning. They will all have old churches, old pubs, old shops (mostly closed now sadly) and there are several large stately homes nearby to most of them. The countryside is still mainly agricultural and very pleasant for the most part.

I think you will find something to visit in my former county of Kent.




answered on 6/8/09 by
a VT member from New York City

Cookham on the Thames in Berkshire is a little over an hour from Paddington. Haven't been there, got it from my guidebook, looks interesting -- home of the artist Stanley Spencer and the Office of the Keeper of the Royal Swans...




answered on 6/8/09 by
a VT member from State of Western Australia

Cookham (windsor.gov.uk/site/discover... is lovely - it will take you 50 minutes by train from Paddington, trains go at 57 minutes past the hour and you need to change at Maidenhead onto the Cookham spur line. It has all the ingredients of a perfect English village, lovely old buildings, mediaeval stone church, pubs by the village green and the Thames, pretty high street lined with lovely old houses and shops, the Stanley Spenser Gallery in the old Methodist Hall (more about him here - [original VT link], lots of walks.




answered on 6/9/09 by
a VT member from Terrigal

There really are many places, as the others have suggested. For example, if you take a train north you can be in rural Hertfordshire in half an hour. The real snag is that most little villages don't have railway stations so you'll need to catch a bus - and they're not frequesnt in the countryside.


Because it's my favourite part of the world I suggest you consider the New Forest on the south coast. You can catch a train from Waterloo to Brockenhurst, a largish village right in the heart of the forest. The journey takes about one and a half hours. Have a look at www.daysoutguide.co.uk/london-to-brockenhurst-groupsave-train-tickets

(Plenty of info and pics about the New Forest in my UK page Travelogue, and my New Forest pages, to see if that's the kind of thing you're looking for).





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