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Charming town near London, 2 nights post Christmas - no car

Going to London for the Christmas holiday. Staying in Soho for five nights. We would like to stay in a "quintessential" town outside of London for two nights. We won't have a car so travelable by train, taxi, etc. Walkable with pubs is a must :)

FYI we will then stay in Windsor for one night before flying out.


Posted by
8050 posts

Try the Richmond neighborhood of London. Gorgeous Richmond Park. Lovely pubs. Pleasant high street. Easy 30 minute District Line tube ride to central London.

Was there in November 2021. Twice attended theatre in London. At 10:30pm was bemused how many people were on the tube. Not standing room only but definitely not vacant.

Pleasant restaurants: Bills, Cafe Mamma, Kurk Grill, Thai Elephant, White Cross Pub.

Posted by
1487 posts

My first thought was Rye, which is a lovely unspoilt town on the edge of Romney Marsh. It has narrow cobbled streets and loads of character. It is just over an hour by train from London (change at Ashford International). There's a range of accommodation, but you may like the Mermaid Inn which dates from was 1420, although the cellars are nearly 200 years older! It is even thought to have a ghost...

There are plenty of pubs - Rye is so small, everywhere is walkable.

It would be a completely different experience to London.

Posted by
10098 posts

Christmas in London- be aware that you need to make dining reservations well in advance and that public transit shuts down on the actual holidays. Very difficult to find a restaurant open on Christmas Day unless it is in a hotel.

Posted by
6113 posts

Richmond to me is very much a London suburb, albeit a very nice one.

A few options spring to mind - Rye as already mentioned; Stamford a charming town in Lincolnshire (where the period drama Middlemarch was filmed a few years ago and the location of Burghley House); Canterbury, Oxford or Cambridge.

Posted by
6 posts

I second the recommendation for Rye. We spent 5 days there in May and I absolutely loved it - great pubs, shops, and restaurants and as picturesque as you'd wish for. I definitely think it's a quintessential English country village.

Posted by
147 posts

Some great suggestions so far. Let me add St Albans to the list. Lovely place (technically a city because it has a cathedral) about half an hour out of central London by mainline train from St Pancras. Lovely architecture, very relaxed and some interesting sites such as St Albans Abbey and the Verulamium Roman ruins. Nice market as well, and at Christmas they're usually selling Christmas trees etc, so it has a great atmosphere.

Good point about timing your trip, as things will shut down early on Christmas Eve and stay shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Personally I would aim to be in central London at that time and perhaps do the trip outside London before or after Christmas. We've been in London over Christmas several times and, while shops and transport shut down, it's still a great time.