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Small, picturesque village with train station

Cincinnati, Ohio
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Small, picturesque village with train station
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My husband and I would like to stay in a small village for about three weeks. We would like to have some time to enjoy the culture and food, and we would use this location as a starting point to make day trips to some National Trust properties and other sights within a few hours' drive. It is helpful if there is a train station with access to London (maybe within an hour of London). Does anyone have a recommendation? We are hoping to rent an apartment or small cottage near the center of the village. Thank you!

32 replies to this topic
St. Albans, United...
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1. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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Hi there

I’m sure you ll get lots of suggestions but my first thought would be Wye or Chilham in Kent.

If yourself happy with a small town (although technically is a city) then you could look at St Albans in Hertfordshire. Pretty villages surrounding but there are no train stations.

Essex
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2. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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Train Stations in "Small picturesque villages are pretty rare"

Thank you Dr Beeching!

If you are thinking of travelling around by train, then staying in a village (even with a train station) is not going to 'cut it' because most of them are on one line, usually the end of the line! Not the centre-point of a vast rail network that goes anywhere and everywhere!

You may well need a car to get you to the other places - the NT properties and "wherever"!

Are you planning on hiring a car??

In Essex, places that are still considered Villages (well, just about!) that have train stations are few.

Ingatestone is one (tho it may verge on being a small town), Great Bentley is another (with the largest Village Green in the UK!!!).

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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There might be some places in Berkshire that would interest you. I used to go to Pangbourne occasionally when I lived in West London and I thought it was nice there. London has a huge commuter belt, and an hour from the centre will be where people who work in London choose to live.

So you may not find exactly what you want. I think that a small station on a main line would be worth looking at.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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4. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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Very helpful, thank you!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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Very helpful, thank you! We are planning on having a rental car, and feel comfortable driving in the countryside (a little intimidated by driving on the opposite side of the road). The main reason that we thought a train station would be nice is to get to London without driving ourselves.

Liverpool, United...
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6. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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I would have thought a cottage near the centre of a picturesque village within an hour of London by train would be the ideal home for several million commuters and valued accordingly. And therefore unlikely to be viable as a holiday let.

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Dewy55 makes a valid point. I think you will need to do 4 things. 1) Be prepared to be further from London (up to 2 hours I think), 2) accept that you may have to drive to the station and park if you go to London , that’s the reality for most rural dwellers , 3) Rather than picking a village and looking for accommodation which may not exist or be available choose an area, search for accommodation that you like and then investigate the locations. I’ve just got back from a village in Norfolk that I had never heard of, nobody I told about the trip had heard of and I suspect most people in Norfolk haven’t heard of. It was a very pleasant place and a good base. 4) I know you want to be in the centre of a village but I find the best value and nicest accommodation is often a little further out where people have outbuildings to convert or space to build.

Machynlleth, United...
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8. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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I think something may be getting 'lost in translation' here!

>>>> small village ... time to enjoy the ..... food, ....<<<<<<<

In the U.K. a small village might have a pub serving food, and , rarely, by chance, a restaurant as well. It might well have neither facility as many pubs have closed in recent decades. If you want several different places to eat and a range of food shops you're needing a large village or a small town.

A good place to start might be the U.K. Rail map. This is an overview diagram.

It doesn't show all village stations., but does show all the different originating stations for all the lines radiating out from London. More detailed maps are available for different areas. Note that distance from London may not correlate with time to get to London. A village on a commuter route may have a train service that stops at every single station and takes longer than a service from a more distant point that has a train service with limited stops..

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/documents/content/nationalrailnetworkmapdec.pdf

Machynlleth, United...
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9. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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>>>>>> The main reason that we thought a train station would be nice is to get to London without driving ourselves.<<<<<<<<

I understand your thinking but I'd suggest that you'd have more flexibility and find it easier to plan if you re-think this. If you are flying into London (Heathrow or Gatwick,) why not have a few days in London at the start of your trip ( including the jet-lagged day or so) and a few days at the end (for ease of access to departure flight). Ideally in 2 different parts of the large area that is 'central London'. What is your aim for the London days?

Then for the main 2 weeks of your holiday you are free to take a train to somewhere where it's easy to hire a car, where accommodation wiill be cheaper, where you're not limited to the '1 hour from London' , and have many more places to choose from as your base.

Places that could almost fit your original requirements, but are more like 2-3 hours from London, OK for your one-off 'travel day' but a bit far for repeated day-trips to London could include:

- train to Salisbury, to hire car to go and stay anywhere in Wiltshire (Bradford on Avon, Devizes?), or North Dorset (Sherborne?)

- train to Gatwick airport car hire to go and stay anywhere in Sussex (Midhurst, which I know, many other large villages that I don't know' others can advise)

- train to Oxford to hire car and go and stay anywhere in the Cotswolds

Or, going a bit further ....

- pass through the Cotswolds to drive further into less touristy Shropshire (Ludlow?) and the Welsh borders

- train to Exeter to then drive anywhere into Devon

- fast train to York (looks far, but only 2 hours) opens up the north ....

Your options are endless, once you cut the need to get into London during your longer, settled stay. Which I think is the right approach, by the way. Most overseas visitors underestimate how much you can explore from a single 2-3 week base in many parts of England. The decision to research then becomes: which part of England most appeals for this particular trip now ....? Enjoy exploring the ideas!

UK
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10. Re: Small, picturesque village with train station
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I would suggest flying into Manchester

Then take the train / taxi from there.

Rest up for a day then hire a car.

There is good connectivity by rail to London from Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and Stafford.

There are plenty of picturesque “ villages” in that area which are just a short drive to a railway station on the mainline to London

Some examples

Frodsham and Helsby in the Cheshire countryside . Good scenery and plenty of other small villages with restaurants and pubs nearby yet it’s just a ten minute drive to Runcorn railway station for a two hour rail journey to London.

Knutsford , Lymm would also fall into this category.

Plenty of similar villages around Chester and Stafford

You would have access to all that Chester, Liverpool and Manchester have to offer and also the rest of North West England , Shropshire and even North Wales.

On the other hand

Norwich

Whilst not a village by any means Norwich is relatively small and is surrounded by smaller towns and villages and Norwich has good rail links with London . Plenty of holiday accommodation too

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