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Help! I need advice for travelling/lodging in Great Britain!

I am planning on going to Great Britain in October for about 10 days. I will be staying in London for a few days and then wanting to travel to the countryside.
First question: I've thought about renting a car when I leave London for the country. Any tips on renting a car? Should I rent a car or take other transportation?
Second question: Where is a picturesque countryside to visit that I could stay in bed and breakfasts? Castle lodging? Go to nearby pubs? See historic sites?
Please, any suggestions would be helpful! I am just beginning the research process so I can be prepared in the next few months!
Thank you!

Posted by
1455 posts

Natalie
Its up to you to hire a car, but the rail is so easy to use.

You also have the option of a bus. www.megabus.com (select the UK version) has really inexpensive bus to all parts of the UK... as low as 1 pound if you book early.

I'll let the other Rick travelers suggest country sites....

Posted by
993 posts

To me there is picturesque countryside all over England. My first piece of advice to you is to get yourself to the nearest Barnes & Noble (or library) and look at, if not buy, those lovely coffee table books dedicated to England. You will find books on Castles, Villages, all sorts. Then when you find just the sort of things you want to see, get a map and determine if they can all be done and how you will do it. Some places you will absolutely need a car to get to, and others, not so much. I always take the train out of London, the last time to Brighton and pick my car up there. There are B&B's every where you'd want to go. I can't advise you about Castle lodging, I'm too frugal. The planning is a big part of the fun.

Posted by
5672 posts

If you want to see the countryside, I would rent the car. I haven't driven around southern England very much, but I have enjoyed exploring the north and Scotland. I think all the countryside is picturesque! the suggestion to pick up a book is a great one. If you get off M and A roads and check out the B roads you'll be able to see the countryside. The TI's can help you book your B&B's. There's a slight fee, but you get some of it back. I've also stayed in a castle, which was fun. I stayed at a very plush one in Argyle and then in a youth hostel in the far north! Absolutely go to pubs. BTW if you are traveling off season, you don't need to book your lodging, but if you are single and traveling in the summer, I would plan it out.

Pam

Posted by
97 posts

Natalie,

The most quaint area I think you will find is the Cotswolds...I love it and every time I go to England I make sure that a few days are spent there. You could take the train to Moreton in Marsh and pick up a car
there....rent with a company in the US though. Get the smallest you can drive easily...it will be a stick shift and petrol is about $9.00/gallon at the moment so I hope you can share with someone. You might want to find a little flat and position yourself there so you can save money by doing some of your own cooking. Be sure to see Snowshill, Chipping Campden, Broadway, and get to Barnsley the home of the late great garden lady Rosemary Verey. You will find the greatest of great gardens..Hidcote, a few miles outside of Chipping. The National Trust have large and small rentals by the week and they are all nice. Go to church on Sunday and listen for the bells to call you (any church will do). Visit a "great" house too. A great souvenir is a tea towel!

Mollie

Posted by
658 posts

A car is not always a necessity and with the narrow roads in many of our more picturesque locations it can be more of a problem than a benefit.

As well as the Cotswolds ( which I think is beautiful but vastly overpriced ) you may like to look at some of Britains national Parks.

The Peak District. The best place to stay is in and around Matlock, it's very rugged and stark and beautiful, particularly in October. You can catch buses to Chatsworth House ( probably the finest stately home in the world ) Haddon Hall and a host of other historic places. It has some of the best and friendliest pubs to be found anywhere and it's still moderately priced.

The Lake District. The best scenery in Britain and still affordable. Good local bus transport and plenty to see and do, October is agreat time to visit. Ambleside is a great place to stay.

Snowdonia. Harlech is a great place to stay, good bus trips and all those magnificent castles. Good beer and friendly pubs. Affordable.

Posted by
75 posts

I will also put in a pick for the Lakes, Peaks or Cotswolds. We have visited the Lakes twice, the others once. Both time in the Lakes we stayed in Ambleside(Riverside B&B just outside town). It is my opinion to see anything in England, outside of the cities you need a car. If you have not driven in England consider renting an automatic, it is one less thing to worry about. Most times to rent an auto, rent at an airport and you will get a Ford escort size car. Smaller than that will be a stick. Having driven both, we do rent a stick, but rent an Escort size for 2 people and luggage. I drive(Katy does drive a stick or in England) and Katy navigates.

The last two times in the Lakes we tooka train from London to Carlisle and rented a car there to do the Lakes.

Have Fun!

Tom

Posted by
632 posts

And if you don't have enough to sort through, I suggest you consider Kent...this is the home of England's great beginnings...Leeds Castle, Canterbury (including the Cathedral of course), The Pilgrims Trail, Maidstone, Chatham (home of Charles Dickens) and the white cliffs of Dover...if you go, I have a great pub/restaurant/inn for you:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187056-d608583-Reviews-The_Black_Horse_Inn-Maidstone_Kent_England.html

You will need a car, but it makes exploring Kent all that much easier.

Posted by
51 posts

We took the train from London to Bath then a bus out to Stonehenge. The towns all along the way are beautiful - all the thatched roof homes. Salisbury and Avebury are nice places to check out. I wish we had more time in Bath - it looked nice.

Posted by
5 posts

Compare the rates for picking up and dropping off your car at Heathrow with picking picking up and dropping off at another location near that airport. The savings may be more than the cost of transportation between the airport and the offsite location. Also, check to see if your credit card covers the CDW. Ours did, and it saved us a lot of money.