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Lodging Outside London

After walking the Cotswold Way in England next spring, my wife and I plan to spend an extra week sightseeing in southern England. We'd like to choose a location for a week that can serve as a traveling headquarters and meets the following criteria: 1. a typically English village or small town 2. some inherent historical and architectural interest 3. interesting walking in the town and surroundings 4. more reasonably priced restaurants and accommodations (bed & breakfasts or smaller guesthouses) than found in London 5. adequate public transportation (rail or bus) for day trips to London and other sights in southern England. We've never before been to England and are leery about driving a rental car on the "wrong" side of the road. Thanks for any advice you may offer. Tim
Olympia, WA

Posted by
8293 posts

I offer you Winchester. It ticks all five of your boxes.

Posted by
33107 posts

Rye. 1,2,3,4 5(5-pretty good) Cambridge. 1 (perhaps slightly larger than small), 2 (in spades), 3. 4. 5 Torquay. 1 (biggish), 2,3 (especially in the Dart Valley and along the Coast),4,5 How small do you want?

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks everyone for offering suggestions. You've given us plenty of possible locations to research further. As for how small do we want, London clearly intimidates us (we're in our mid-60s and live in the country). But since we want to be able to take day trips from the town, it has to be large enough to have adequate public transportation connections. I noted an answer to another inquiry today on this board. Under the heading Hiking in Southeast England, Laura recommended Seaford and mentioned several enticing walks in the region. Since walking and the seacoast both appeal to us, does anyone have thoughts about smaller locales on the south coast, such as Seaford, that may satisfy our criteria? Thanks again.

Posted by
1986 posts

The trouble with small towns and larger villages (I was going to recommend Arundel and Midhurst) is your need for good transportation for sightseeing purposes. Both Winchester and Salisbury have very interesting towns (and cathedrals) for in-town sightseeing as well as being on pretty good rail lines

Posted by
1446 posts

We've always had a car but I was going to suggest (as Nigel said) Rye plus Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Posted by
3551 posts

If you plan on visiting London for at least 3 days then stay there the wk. most transport is facilated thru London whether bus or train and or you can catch a day tour to somewhere that interests you like the Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge. You can bus (vg schedules) it to Oxford or Cambridge and Windsor easily and tour these yourself easily and safely. Your req is not easy w/o transfers and time lost in transit. you can maximize your visit by stay central.

Posted by
8799 posts

Rye, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone would meet your criteria BUT time spent going into and out of London would take time. Consider staying in a London neighborhood aways from the city centre but close enough so public transport won't cost you and arm and a leg. Use Priceline. I got a stellar room at the Regent's park Marriott for $95 in 2011. CHEAP for London trust me. Since you are walkers you'll appreciate being able to walk tree lined streets over to and around Regent's Park. Swiss Cottage is the closest tube stop but numerous busses along Finchley road to get you into central London as well.The upper front seats the best, Nearly floor to ceiling. Nice tiny cafe in the adjacent library. Marks and Spencer on Finchley road. Hampstead theatre. (http://www.hampsteadtheatre.com) Costa coffee about 3 blocks away. Typical London neighborhood. Look at it this way. London is a city with excellent parks, diverse architecture, history, fun markets (farmer's, antiques, etc) cathedrals, pubs, free museums AND it's a walkable city. Easy to explore on foot. Won't be quite and serene but what downtown is? Tired of the noise, have a pint in a pub or picnic in a park. Great city. Been visiting it since my 20's, in the 70's. Keep returning because there is so much to explore. Don't let it scare you. You can handle it. Lastly if you like walking consider the Stonehenge to Salisbury hike on this website; http://englishcountrywalks.com/walks/9/default.html Have Fun!