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2 weeks in England

My husband and I are going to UK flying in and out of Heathrow. We have been to London a couple of times but will spend a couple of days there at the end of our trip. We have been to Bath and York so would like to miss these places.
The musts on this trip is the Cotswolds and the Lake District but we would also like to see the Cornwall area.
Does anyone have suggestions on the way to do this and which are the best towns to see and stay in.

We are open to changing our itinerary and we will be renting a car outside of London.
We are leaving May 13th so it is very soon.

Thanks for any help

Posted by
5630 posts

What time are you arriving at Heathrow? Have you driven on the opposite side of the road before.

If you won’t be jet lagged rent your car at Heathrow.

Drive to the Cotswolds. I stayed in an Airbnb in Winchcome because it’s not over run with tourists. Was able to drive to Bourton on the Water easily and throughout the Cotswolds from Winchcombe. Had lunch one day at the Plough in Ford.

Found Hailies Abby by happenstance.

Can easily find and hike the Cotswolds way in Winchcombe. Could even hike to Broadway Tower from there but not a jaunt for novices. About 10 miles one way.

Posted by
662 posts

On our first trip, we drove straight out of Heathrow up to the Midlands after landing at 11 a.m. (from the West coast) and did fine (we're boomers). As long as you concentrate and have your wits about you, you should be fine. We stayed Rick Steves' recommendation of Little Broom B&B in Maugersbury next to Stow-on-the-Wold. Loved Little Broom and the location. http://www.cotswolds.info/webpage/little-broom.htm It looks like Brenda also rents through AirBnB if you prefer to do your own breakfast - but Brenda's was terrific and her home is very atmospheric. We haven't been to Cornwall or the Lake District.

Posted by
16 posts

We will be arriving in Heathrow at 1pm but was warned about driving in London, but I assume that would be the easiest. My husband is South African so grew up driving on the otherside of the road but it has been some time since he has done it. We are also from the west coast...California.

Posted by
1838 posts

I would consider going first to Oxford - possibly by public transport. Check into a hotel? Whilst in Oxford (or The Cotswolds) - I would visit Blenheim Palace. Stratford-Upon-Avon is also not too far to the north of this area.

Both Cornwall & the Lake District are a fair old distance apart. I think your best plan would be to forget Cornwall and roughly follow the A40 route from The Cotswolds into Wales. (It is probably easier to go to Tewkesbury first and then use the M50 towards Wales).
Anyway, you can’t go far wrong in taking the A40 once in Wales - head for a base in the Brecon area for a couple of nights.
http://www.breconbeacons.org

Then continue westward on A40 through Carmarthenshire* to St.Clears - now take the road to Tenby and have a base in Pembrokeshire for maybe 2 or 3 nights. http://www.tenbyvisitorguide.co.uk
* This ruined castle is not far off the A40 route - just east of Llandeilo - http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/Carreg-cennen-castle/?lang=en

On leaving Pembrokeshire, head for Cardigan and then up the west coast of Wales for maybe a base in Snowdonia (NW Wales).
If interested in these suggestions - read back posts in the Wales forum.
http://www.visitsnowdonia.info
http://www.visitwales.com

See if you can follow the suggested route on this map:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.0390879,-3.4298196,9.26z/data=!5m1!1e1

Posted by
239 posts

There's accommodation all over the Lakes, but the places with the most are Ambleside, Keswick and Bowness/Windermere. I'd avoid the latter as here you'll be overrun by tourists. Ambleside is good for exploring the south end and Keswick the north. You could also stay somewhere just outside the park, like Ulverston, and accommodation might be a bit easier to find. If you're in a car that might be a good solution.

Posted by
4366 posts

We will be arriving in Heathrow at 1pm but was warned about driving in London, but I assume that would be the easiest. My husband is South African so grew up driving on the otherside of the road but it has been some time since he has done it. We are also from the west coast...California.

You won't be driving in London. Heathrow isn't in London, it's on the outskirts and travelling west you'll go nowhere near London proper. It's probably one of the easiest ways of adjusting to driving in the UK as the M4 motorway is a few roundabouts away from the airport and on which you can take your time in the inside lane getting used to the vehicle without worrying about navigation, junctions, traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, one way streets etc.

Personally I've only driven once straight after a long haul flight and that was in Philadelphia. I felt fine and had no problems but now I always overnight near the airport and drive the following day usually because I've made good use of the onboard bar!

As for suggestions about the best towns to see and stay in, that's an almost impossible request. The Cotswolds, Lake District and Cornwall areas, plus those in between, contain so many towns, villages, cities and sights of interest that to list them all would be a ridiculous task notwithstanding you haven't stated your interests. I won't harp on about the Cotswolds, I've expressed my bemusement about seemingly everyone's obsession with it. Anyone would think it's the only scenic part of the UK yet I've never heard anyone ask questions about visiting Brockenhurst for example, voted the most beautiful place to live in the UK, located in the New Forest, an area of much more interest and beauty than the Cotswolds in my opinion.

I could easily spend two weeks in Cornwall and still not experience it fully, likewise the Lake District and surrounding area but you're leaving it a bit late if you haven't sorted out your accommodation yet!

Posted by
4744 posts

You don’t want to go to Wales, so I don’t know why James has provided such an itinerary. I do agree with him on not hiring a car whilst jet lagged and Oxford or Windsor would be good first night stops, after which you could hire a car or take the direct National Express coach to Cirencester in the Cotswolds and hire from there as this is on the Cornwall side of the Cotswolds.

How many days do you actually have on the ground in England? Unless you want to spend hours in the car, I would suggest that you only try to cover two areas, not all three if you also want 2 days in London. The Lake District is the geographical misfit, as it will take c 8 + hours with no stops or delays to get there from Cornwall or 4.5-5 hours from the Cotswolds, but it is your must see place.

You haven’t said what your interests are or why you have picked these areas, so it’s difficult to advise on an itinerary. Personally, one day in the Cotswolds would be enough for me, but it is beloved by people on this forum for some reason (I think there are nicer areas not as busy and overrun with tourists).

In the Lakes, I would consider staying further west, where it is more rural if you have a car, rather than the predictable, busy Keswick, where people reliant on public transport stay.

You may want to drop the car in say Lancaster or Manchester and take the train to London.

The weekend you leave is a Bank Holiday, so places will be busy and accommodation expensive if you haven’t already booked it!

Posted by
1838 posts

Jennifer - I do realise that the OP does not mention going to Wales. I note that on this forum - mainly used by Americans, that we get the same old places coming up time and time again. For example, Cornwall is mentioned far more than Devon - probably mainly because they watch Dr. Martin. Very few posts appear on the Wales forum as it seems to be completely out of the minds of visitors to the UK. I just figured that for this OP, it would be a long drive on boring Motorways to link The Cotswolds, Cornwall & The Lake District. The idea of mentioning Wales was that it has a spectacular coastline - in many parts - plus mountains & lakes. So, a little bit like combing some of the features of Cornwall with those of the Lake District yet closer in distance to The Cotswolds.

Posted by
4744 posts

James - I agree with you entirely about Cornwall and particularly the Cotswolds, but the OP had two “must sees”.

The area between the Gower and St David’s and Northumberland are two of the most stunning parts of the UK, but rarely get a mention on this forum! Likewise, I would take the chocolate box villages around Rutland Water any day over the Cotswolds.

Posted by
1838 posts

Agreed Jennifer - but always helpful maybe for us to suggest some of these other places that are off the ‘radar’ of visitors to Britain.

Posted by
1352 posts

Jennifer and James. I always wonder why there is such a difference it what you brits would recommend we Americans see and what RS think we Americans should see. Some day I'm going to be able to plan a trip in the UK long enough to check out all of the destinations I see all you brits recommending. I wonder if some of the difference is that (at least for me) I'm not looking for "natural beauty" as I have plenty of that here in Colorado and at the many and varied national parks here, but I'm looking for things we don't have here in the US like thatched roof cottages, Castles, timbered buildings built in the 1500's etc. You have to remember that for us - history beyond more than 300 years or so mainly involved native American's and their way of life / dwellings. For many of us our family histories are rooted in Europe and we want to get a taste of that history.

Posted by
16 posts

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for taking the time to help. We will be rethinking how many areas to cover now. We will be on the ground in UK for 13 days total and love smal quaint picturesque towns. I wouldn't mind a palace or 2 ;) but really want to see the countryside and enjoy the people.

If you had to pick between the lake district and the Cornwall area which would it be? I saw there are wild horses in Dartmouth and that sounded nice even though you cannot guarantee seeing anything that is wild......

Posted by
16 posts

I agree with Jill on the natural beauty as I live on the coast in Southern California. But natural beauty is different everywhere in the world. But as you said it is nice to see the things that we do not have in the US. This entire trip started with me wanting to see thatched roofs and thought the Cotswolds would be the best place to see them but maybe not...
I love all the suggestions from everyone.

Posted by
18876 posts

It's possible that one of the reasons the Cotswolds come up so often is that it is possible to see the area--after a fashion--without a car, because there are van-tours offered from Bath and Moreton-in-Marsh (the latter being a short train ride from Oxford). I know such a tour isn't necessarily the ideal way to see a rural area, but I thoroughly enjoyed my one-day trip with GoCotswolds. If you aren't renting a car, it's not easy to string together a series of picturesque villages in a single day. I think I once managed to get to three places in a single day (not in England), and I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Attempting something like that usually involves skipping at least one meal.

Posted by
4366 posts

I saw there are wild horses in Dartmouth and that sounded nice even though you cannot guarantee seeing anything that is wild......

There are wild ponies throughout the New Forest (where Brockenhurst is located) and you will be guaranteed a sight even when driving as they're all over the place. I have a stall at a monthly market on a village green in the New Forest and I can guarantee that a group of wild ponies will gatecrash the market every time, sometimes even free roaming cattle but they're not wild.

Thatched cottages can be found everywhere in the country, I can drive five minutes from my house and be in a small village filled with them. You don't have to go to the Cotswolds to see them.

It's not so much that us English regulars on here are trying to suggest areas of wild natural beauty (it'll be difficult to compete with places such as The Rockies) but castles, timbered and thatched houses, ancient ruins, Roman buildings, Norman fortifications, bronze aged burial grounds and so on can be found all over the UK yet we constantly see the same itineraries of Oxford, Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge. It's frustrating because we know there is so much more yet so many people follow RS advice and don't know or acknowledge that actually there are perhaps better places to visit dependent on your interests.

Posted by
389 posts

Plenty of Brits follow the same itineraries to each other as well so hope none of our American friends feel offended by our comments. I think collectively we think you will get a better experience avoiding the crowds. So if you look at a map of the Uk for example, the north Devon/Cornish coast which is undoubtedly lovely was probably once connected to the south West Wales coastline. They share many geological features and yet hoards of Brits go to Cornwall each summer and only a small hoard go to West Wales. So although it doesn't have a Rick Stein restaurant to boast, I would always chose and recommend West Wales (Pembrokeshire) over Cornwall. We may not have Doc Martin but if Harry Potter and Shell cottage mean anything to you, that's West Wales! So if you follow James's loop around Wales you could then move on to the Lake District in a slightly more logical route than trying to do Cornwall and the Lakes which to a local would sound crazy!

Posted by
1838 posts

The countryside in Britain tends to be different from the natural areas that most foreigners are familiar with at home. One thing you will notice is how fertile most of the farmland is and the fact that it is rarely parched.

Regarding thatched cottages being in The Cotswolds: these are in fact rarer in The Cotswolds than other country areas due to the fact that Cotswold stone as thin slabs was used in historic times as a roofing material. One of the villages that has cottages that have both the stone tile roofs and thatch is Great Tew - which I guess most of you have never heard of. If you click my link you will be taken down to a streetview of this village. Then click & scroll your way around the village - have fun! Note the lack of tourists!
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.960907,-1.4252748,3a,75y,110.06h,80.86t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9GaWo8tpjY5BqPAs_LRQWA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

As a contrast, you might like to take a drive through the village of Pembridge - which is in Herefordshire. Here there is a lack of good stone for building (in olden days). However, you will now find the houses are made with timber frame and/or local brick.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.2177483,-2.8977796,3a,75y,81.11h,92.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRiimmLUVxc00YUgK7Nt9-Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

Posted by
1352 posts

Just to be clear - I don't believe I have EVER been offended by any post of any of the local Brits! I am VERY appreciative of all of the wonderful info you all provide! I was merely speculating the reason for the difference in recommendations between mainstream US guidebooks and recommendation of locals.

While looking at the links James provided (thanks James:). One thought occurred to me - a few weeks ago my husband and I went to the local travel show and had a chance to ask RS a question. We asked if had been to Bad Wimpfen and how it compared to Rothenburg. His answer was that he had been there several years ago, but never included it in a guidebook because he felt there wasn't enough "entertainment" for the average tourist. I can imagine that would be a reason a lot of great places are included / left out of guidebooks.

I hope you all continue to give us "inside" info on places less visited!

Posted by
5630 posts

Bibury and Mickleton will provide the thatched cottages you seek. If you want a pleasant seaside town try Lyme Regis.

Posted by
16 posts

Again...I love your answers....So what I gather is maybe leave the Cornwall area out since it is quite a distance to drive.
James has a great itinerary that we never considered. Does anyone else have an itinerary that would include a few castles, ancient ruins, thatched roofs, good pubs, charming b&b's coastline and of course wild horses. We would like to map as much of this out since we don't have long before we leave.

Posted by
4366 posts

Does anyone else have an itinerary that would include a few castles, ancient ruins, thatched roofs, good pubs, charming b&b's coastline and of course wild horses. We would like to map as much of this out since we don't have long before we leave.

You can have this with a route along the South Coast even ending up in Cornwall if you wanted to.

You could start in Brighton or Arundel (taking a car from Heathrow or train to Brighton/Arundel and collecting a car from there) and visit Arundel Castle, it's not a ruin but a complete and well preserved castle http://www.arundelcastle.org

From there you can carry along the A27 towards Chichester for a bit of Roman history at Fishbourne Roman Palace https://sussexpast.co.uk/properties-to-discover/fishbourne-roman-palace

Chichester itself is very historic with a strong Roman past and an excellent cathedral.

If you wanted to view some bronze age burial mounds and the oldest yew forest in Britain then nearby Kingley Vale is a good place to visit. The climb can be a bit steep but the views at the top are amazing http://www.visitchichester.org/activity/kingley-vale-trail.

I would then recommend Portchester Castle on the outskirts of Portsmouth, an original Roman 'Saxon Shore' fort later updated by the Norman's. It's a very well preserved castle and one of my favourite places in the area to visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/portchester-castle/

If you didn't want to visit Portsmouth (easily a whole day) then you could drive the short distance to the Royal Armouries Musuem at Fort Nelson (free entry) https://royalarmouries.org/venue/fort-nelson/ on your way to the picturesque village of Southwick with its plethora of thatched cottages and links to the D-Day invasion http://www.southwick-estate.co.uk.

I would then recommend making your way to the New Forest via the easily accessible M27. There are many places to stay within the forest and I would recommend visiting Bucklers Hard https://www.bucklershard.co.uk/attractions/, Beaulieu https://www.beaulieu.co.uk, Exbury Gardens https://www.exbury.co.uk and Hurst Castle http://www.hurstcastle.co.uk to name just a few! You will also experience wild ponies galore along with free roaming cattle, pigs and deer. There is a network of walking trails, cycling trails and guided tours of the forest.

After the forest you can head towards Bournemouth (I'd skip the town unless you want a taste of traditional English seaside resort) and head down towards Corfe Castle https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle. A great ruin to explore with amazing views on a good day. You'll drive through plenty of pretty villages, many with thatched cottages. From here it's a short drive to the majestic Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door https://jurassiccoast.org/walkthroughtime/highlight-lulworth-cove-and-durdle-door/.

Heading west along the Devon coast you'll find plenty of small villages and hundreds of rental cottages, B&B's etc. The area around Lyme Regis is a popular place to stay (we've rented a lovely cottage in nearby Seatown previously) and the coast is an incredible area for fossil hunting.

From here you can carry on west into Cornwall or you could go North and visit the Cotswolds. My preference would be to carry on to Cornwall.

There are many more places to explore and sights to see along this route but this is a general overview and it depends on how long you want to stay in a particular place and how far you want to go. Of course it doesn't include the Lake District but it's just an idea of another part of the country that is often overlooked by foreign visitors.

Posted by
16 posts

JC...You have done an amazing job of showing me places that I have never heard of. You must be a local :)

If we went to Cornwall what would be the best route to get back to London for our last few days?

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to stay in any of these places?
We like clean comfortable B&B's or smal inns where we can meet the locals.
When we were in London our last couple of times we stayed in Soho in a beautiful hotel and by Victoria Station in a B&B.
We would like to be central and stay in a nice place that isn't $600 a night :)))

Everyone is wonderful on this forum

Posted by
4366 posts

JC...You have done an amazing job of showing me places that I have never heard of. You must be a local :)

Indeed I am : )

The fastest and easiest route back to London from Cornwall, if you're driving, is to take the M5 and M4 motorways which would take 4+ hours to reach central London depending on the traffic. If you wanted to drop the car off at Heathrow which would be the easiest particularly if you rented from there initially then the journey should only take around 3 hours and you avoid the hassle of driving in London. You could then take the Heathrow Express into London. The M5 starts near Exeter so entering the M5 depends on where you're staying and leaving from. I can't give you any advice about B&B's in Cornwall, we stayed at a rental cottage in Liskeard which was all self contained and relatively remote. There are so many hotels, cottages, B&B's in Cornwall that it could take some time to find what you really want.

Bear in mind that May 28th is a bank holiday in the UK and the roads to and from Cornwall will be very congested throughout that weekend. Actually the roads are going to congested throughout the UK! It should take me 3 hours to drive home from Cornwall, the last time I did it around Easter it took me 6 hours.

Posted by
18876 posts

I haven't been to most of the places JC mentioned, but Arundel is charming.

I lucked into a cancellation at a small B&B in Mevagissey, Cornwall, which is near St. Austell and convenient if you care to visit the Eden Project and/or the Lost Gardens of Heligan. (Both rather expensive, but worth it to me.) The name of the B&B is the Old Parsonage. It was on booking.com last year and probably still is. The breakfast was fresh-cooked and very good, though not with a huge range of choice, as would be expected in a small place. Mevagissey is quite small; it was a zoo last August but might be a bit dead in May, or not; I really have no idea.

An issue I had in Mevagissey, perhaps resolved since last summer, is that the town had no ATM. All the local banks had closed. I was told that some of the local merchants would give cash back if you used a debit card, but I managed to squeeze by without needing to do that. This situation may not be unique to Mevagissey, so if you're heading to small places it's probably not to let yourself get too low on cash. Most places do take credit cards, but that probably won't work if you're trying to buy a bus ticket to the next town from the bus driver.

I also found multiple towns and cities (including the tourist magnet of Brighton) with no staffed tourist office, due to budget cuts. England is not an easy place to visit these days if (like me) you don't get your homework completed before you leave home. I found the local residents very helpful, even during peak season, but it wasn't the same as being able to belly up to the counter of a tourist office and ask all my questions in one place.

Posted by
16 posts

Brighton/Arundel and collecting a car from there.....

Can you give me an idea who rents cars in this area. I looked online and cannot find a rental car company in this area.

Posted by
4366 posts

Arundel is a bit sparse for car rental options, Brighton's best bet is Enterprise however I would recommend renting at Heathrow for the widest selection, cheaper prices, ease of location and no additional fees for a different return location.

Posted by
4366 posts

Would you suggest going to Rye?

That depends on your reasons for wanting to visit. I've never been to Rye but I understand that its attraction lies in its cobbled streets and timbered houses however there are cobbled streets and timbered houses aplenty throughout the UK so one doesn't have to travel to Rye to see them.

If you were considering my coastal itinerary then it wouldn't make much sense driving to Rye and then backtracking to make your way to Arundel. Whilst it may look a relatively short distance, driving in the UK isn't as easy and straightforward as it may look on a map. You could include Winchester on my itinerary, departing from Southwick you can make your way through a host of delightful villages such as Soberton, Droxford, Meonstoke, Corhampton, Exton (there's a fantastic pub for lunch sat right on the River Meon http://www.theshoeexton.co.uk). If you enjoy walking and hiking, and if you have the time, you could walk the route up Old Winchester Hill and enjoy the incredible views from the top. There are also bronze age burial mounds and the remains of an Iron Age fort at the top. After building up an appetite you can enjoy a meal at The Shoe.

Winchester offers more in terms of interesting sights than Rye and coupled with the villages en route you will certainly get your fill of timbered, thatched houses and cobbled streets. It is also a relatively short drive from Winchester to the New Forest via the M3 and M27.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you JC... I took Rye out of the itinerary and it is much better. I love that pub you sent me..we are definetly going there.
Can I ask you (if it is not too much trouble) to give me an idea of what towns would be good to spend my overnights on the itinerary that you sent me.
Besides Cornwall I am not sure where to overnight and for how many days. I started looking at accommodations and I think I need to start booking.

“delightful villages such as Soberton, Droxford, Meonstoke, Corhampton, Exton (there's a fantastic pub for lunch sat right on the River Meon http://www.theshoeexton.co.uk

Any other little gems like the above are so much appreciated!

Thank you again for your time

Posted by
2624 posts

Rye is beautiful, just there a few months ago. Mermaid Street there is the most photograph street in the U.K., and the Mermaid Inn at the top of the street is a great place to have lunch.

A great village in the Cotswolds to see thatched cottages is Ebrington, two miles from Chipping Campden. There is a lovely pub there the Ebrington Arms, They even have B&B rooms.

Cockington is a beautiful thatched village, it’s in Devon which would be about a three hour drive from the northern part of the Cotswolds. Google it and look at the pictures to see if you would be interested in seeing it.

Posted by
16 posts

So here is my itinerary if anyone can give comments.
May 13th: arrive Heathrow rent car and drive to Brighton stay in Brighton for 2 nights
axplore area and recover from flight.
May 15th: Drive to New Forest stay 3 nights and see wild horses and explore area...
May 18th: Devon for 2 nights....not sure what to do there but it looks beautiful.. Can anyone suggest area to stay in?
May 20: Chipping Camden for 3 nights because I need to go to the Cotswolds...even though others have said it is overrated:)))
May 23: Oxford 1 night Blenheim Palace... return car
May 24: London 2 nights...been there before
May 26th home.

Can you please list some must sees along this route and any changes that should be made from those who know. Everyone has been so helpful and I started to book hotels just want to make any final adjustments.

Posted by
16 posts

Should I take out 1 of the nights from the New Forest and do 1 night in Lulworth?

Posted by
1838 posts

I would not stay in the New Forest for 3 nights. I would definitely visit Exbury Gardens whilst in this area: https://www.exbury.co.uk

Lulworth is lovely & I would opt to stay 1 night in that area. When going from Lulworth to Devon, Charmouth, Lyme Regis & Beer are all worth a look.

In Devon, I would head for SW Devon = an area known as 'The South Hams’. In this area, Totnes, Dartmouth and the coast road via Torcross to Kingsbridge & Salcombe - are worth a visit. https://www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/places/south-hams
I would avoid the Torquay area as it can be congested.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you...would you stay in New Forest at all?
I wanted to see the wild ponies....

Where would you use the extra days?

Posted by
89 posts

Obviously it’s up to you but I would stay 3 nights in the new forest. If you are stopping at any of JC’s recommendations before arriving in the area and anywhere such as Corfe Castle on way to lulworth 2 nights wouldn’t give you much time IMO to visit the area. The roads can be very busy along this coast and in Purbeck area. On the way to lulworth you may consider a detour to Tyneham. Beautiful and thought provoking and an adventure in itself driving through the military ranges!! Check the road is open though before you go!

Posted by
4366 posts

I would take one night from the New Forest and add it to Devon.

Not sure about staying in Brighton. I've been there many times, mostly in my younger days when the nightlife was my main attraction but as I get older I'm far less attracted to it. As a base for exploring the local area it's fine but what and where do you want to see? I would be more inclined to head straight to Arundel and stay the night.

There's another little gem that I remembered and that's the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton http://www.wealddown.co.uk. I haven't been there since a school trip many years ago but I remember it well and having looked at the website it has inspired me to make a return visit. Singleton is not far from Chichester so if you were intending to incorporate that area it is en route. Alternatively you can continue west through the myriad small villages that make up the area. There are so many that it's impossible to highlight any in particular but if you look at the area in Google maps the green part contains many of the small, attractive villages that may interest you and offer a pleasant drive through.

One place that might be of interest is Butser Ancient Farm http://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk, an archaeological site that has reconstructions of ancient buildings from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman Britain and the Anglo-Saxon period. It's located in a attractive part of the country and has easy quick and easy access to Portsmouth or Winchester taking in the route via Exton where The Shoe Inn is located.

The problem is trying to fit it all in! What interests you the most? Even in the small area local to me there is so much to see and do that it's impossible to take it all in over a day or two. For me, Arundel Castle, Fishbourne Roman Palace and Portchester Castle are definite must see's but the other sites I've suggested are also worthy of inclusion however to visit them all wouldn't make sense from a logistical point of view.

As for accommodation I'm afraid I can't advise on that because I've never really needed it in the areas you're intending to visit.