I will be in London for about five days for a class, then my sister meets me there and we where hoping to go out to the country for a couple of nights before leaving. I had originally booked a place in Devon but its about 3 1/2 hours away and the train ticket is $150 each way. With that said, I was hoping to find something closer to London but still quaint and easy to get to. We are going in September and hoping for somewhere relaxing but maybe with some castles near by. Also are there other cheaper options besides train, or at least a cheaper train.
Rosie - Have you thought about York it's about a 2 hour train ride. Roundtrip via national express is as little as £52 for both of you.
Bath is 1 1/2 hours and roundtrip via national express is as little as £46 for both of you.
Oxford is an hour train ride and roundtrip via national express is as little as £16 for both of you.
Are you looking for a small town or a really rural area?
You might try heading north from London rather than west. It might be cheaper and easier to find what you're looking for.
I think a small town would be nice so that we can get food and look at cute houses and shops. I've heard Oxfordshire is really nice, any thoughts?
Why not try one of the pretty market towns of Kent eg Tenterden, Cranbrook or Faversham. Surrounded by countryside with old manor houses, castles, beautiful gardens etc.
If you want something a bit bigger, Canterbury is an interesting small city and the Cathedral wonderful.
If you want to visit places in the countryside it would be preferable to rent a car for a couple of days because you will use up a lot of your time on local travel.
We stayed a few nights in Tunbridge Wells at a nice B&B and visited area castles and stately homes/gardens. We rented a car at Gatwick and drove there but I can't think it would be more than an hour by train. However, I think a car would be necessary for touring. Good luck.
I would recommend the village of Woodstock in Oxfordshire which, in addition to being quaint, is adjacent to Blenheim Palace (Churchill's birthplace & home to the Dukes of Marlboro). Go via a National Express bus which will take you to Oxford and then you transfer to one going to Woodstock. If you're returning home from Heathrow Airport, buses go directly there from Oxford so you won't have to go back into London.
Consider Windsor or Winchester as well as York. You could also take a train to Stratford-Upon-Avon and then a bus to one of the Cotswold villages.
Winchester is lovely and not too far from London. It's in the New Forest.
The National Express coach service is usually a lot cheaper than trains, wherever you decide to go. They leave from Victoria Bus station in London, just up the road from the train station.