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London and Countryside in May 2015

Hello all, have not been here in a while. Hope everyone is well. We are planning a trip to England again in May 2015 (12-22) and since we have not been to London yet, want to do it this into London, then take a train out into the countryside (hopefully not more than an hour or so ride) to a nice small "Cotswodly" area and spend 4-5 days out there and then train back to London for 5-6 days. We LOVE the Cotswolds, touring old manor homes and English gardens, and hiking. Can anyone recommend a nice area to see that has these features and is only an hour or so train ride out? We plan to rent a car when we get out of town and return it before we come back to London. Thought about Highclere cause we enjoy Downton Abbey but if it is as busy and touristy as Versailles in France we will pass. The older not so nice country homes are just as charming to us. Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
1065 posts

"Thought about Highclere cause we enjoy Downton Abbey"
Your biggest problem there would be getting tickets, I've already heard that they are sold out this year BUT some tour companies still have tickets as they bulk buy.

Posted by
31044 posts

An even bigger problem is that they are only open in May on the Bank Holiday weekends and turtlehebert01 is not in England for those two weekends (visit noted above 12-22nd May).

Posted by
39 posts

Ok, great info, thanks. We have done some more research and will NOT be doing a train. Instead, plan to fly into Heathrow and get a car and drive out toward the west side into the country about an hour to spend 5 days, then back to Heathrow, drop off car and spend 5 days in London. Seems everything we want to do, the Kew, Chelsea flower show and Heathrow are all on the west side so we figure that would be a good direction to travel any suggestions about areas outside of London about an hour's drive WEST to spend 5 days? Also, any ideas on place to stay in London, we are budget conscious but love bed and breakfasts and having our own place with a kitchen. Got a FANTASTIC place in Broadway England (Cotswolds) a couple of yeas ago really cheap. If you have interest, go to and you can see it. They actually have four or five.

Posted by
797 posts

Why not consider Windsor/Eton, Maidenhead, Marlow and Henley as places to stay. All are about 1 hr from Heathrow, easy to reach via the Motorway and all are on the River Thames. At Windsor you have the castle, Eton you have the College (founded by 1440) with its beautiful chapel. As you wander around town you will see the students in their distinctive uniforms - Eton jackets (bum-freezers) and formal trousers for the younger boys and tailed coats for the older boys. Easy to visit Eton from Windsor - just a quick walk down the hill and over the bridge.

Maidenhead, Marlow and Henley are right on the river and offer lots of accommodation. Rent a boat and spend the afternoon on the river with a picnic - wonderful!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Turtlehebert01. In London, I recommend the Vicarage Hotel. Located near Kensington Palace. A quick ride in a London Underground Train (the "Tube") from Paddington railway station to NottingHill Gate station. And that hotel is at an easy walking distance to good small restaurants. That hotel has an old interior, but it is well managed, and a good English breakfast is included in the price. Rooms that do not have a private bathroom have a much lower price than the rooms that have a private bathroom. If you are "budget travelers", some of the big hotels near St. Pancras railway station are not expensive.