Hello, Does it make sense to stay outside of London, take the train/tube in to the city to see the major sites for 2 days, then travel to other parts of the country from there? Prefer B&B's but there are 4 of us. Thank you!!
If you have only five days, I'd say you're better off staying in London and taking day trips outside if you want (Greenwich, Hampton Court, Windsor, Cambridge, ????). A suburban base means a lot of time and cost for daily transportation in and out of the city, and it won't be convenient for other places unless they're on the same side of the city. So why bother?
Try booking.com and/or a good guidebook for B&Bs or small hotels in London, preferably within the orbit of the tube's Circle Line (but not necessarily on that line itself). With four people you'll probably need two rooms. You might consider an apartment (homeaway.com, vrbo.com, airbnb.com, others) that lets you spread out and eat in if you want to.
Have a good trip.
Break it into two parts.
For London, stay in London for the reasons Dick said. Staying out, you'd burn an hour each way maybe. Thus, it'd take you three days to do what you could have done in two.
For the beyonds, plot them. If there's a central location, displace (most people seem to think everything's out to the west, but if you want to see the Norfolk Broads, Bath, and Canterbury, London remains the central spot). Keep in mind that public transportation is kind of London-centric so you wouldn't want to be traversing the city. If you're driving, it's even worse.
Can you do the London sightseeing at the start or end of your trip? Traveling into town on the Tube really wears you out and adds hours to your day. How long will you be in England total?
Don't think you can save money by staying outside London and traveling in forthe day. Yes, you may save money but you will not experience London. For two nights, resign yourselves to paying more for lodging to stayIN London but itis well worth it. People here can point to affordable accommodations if that is an issue.
I agree with others…best to stay in London for two days and then travel to other parts. We did this last May and June and there six of us. We rented a car (van), which they delivered to the London hotel. We immediately left London after two packed sightseeing days and headed for Oxford, with stops in the Cotswolds, Castle Comb, Salisbury and Stonehenge and stays in Chipping Campden and Enford before boarding a cruise ship. It was a great itinerary for the short duration, but wish we would have had more time. Stayed in a wonderful B & B called The Chance (included in Rick Steve's England) in Chipping Campden. Good Luck and Enjoy!