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Exploring the West of England

Auckland
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61 posts
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Exploring the West of England

In early September I intend to travel to the UK (from NZ) to spend 5/7 days exploring the West Country. I will arrive at Heathrow and plan to travel to and from the region by train and hire a car there (is there an age restriction...I am 78?) Which would be preferable, to stay in one place for the entire time and do day trips, or keep on the move.?

I would like comfortable, quiet accommodation (self catering woud be great) somewhere accessable by train and with a car hire depot.

Any comments on where to stay and what to see will be appreciated.

Thanks

Akarana

Adelaide, Australia
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1. Re: Exploring the West of England

In a week travel and stay, travel from Heathrow to Paddington station www.heathrowexpress.com then take the train to Exeter www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

Car rental at Exeter www.auto-europe.co.uk

Route planning www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp

Accommodation exeterviews.co.uk/exeter-accommodation.php

www.westcountryllinks.co.uk

Edited: 28 March 2011, 04:27
Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Exploring the West of England

Hi there,

I might be wrong but I dont think you will be able to hire a car at 78...but I could be wrong.

Might be worth E mailing one of the UK hire companies and asking.

Best wishes

Jake

Penzance, United...
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3. Re: Exploring the West of England

For some ideas on coastal places to visit, see here: http://postcards-pfte.blogspot.com/

Exeter, UK
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4. Re: Exploring the West of England

First of all: good for you Akarana for not letting a few years of experience getting in the way of independent exploring!

You may wish to contact this car rental firm with an office right opposite Exeter St. Davids train station (on a direct train from Paddington and Reading - good for Heathrow). practical.co.uk/locations/…. Our guests often use them and they always get a good report.

For the best in accommodation Britain has on offer, I would use www.sawdays.co.uk and www.special-escapes.co.uk.

Final tip: the region is vast, and if you want to see all/too much of it you are going to find yourself doing a lot of driving (and not a lot of experiencing). Maybe concentrate on one central-ish location from where you can reach the best bits. Somewhere around Tavistock (on western fringe of Dartmoor) might fit that bill. Oh yes, and don't bother about Land's End....

You'll have a great time!

Auckland
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5. Re: Exploring the West of England

Many thanks for your comments.

Akarana

Auckland
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61 posts
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6. Re: Exploring the West of England

Thanks for the comment. Will do

Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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7. Re: Exploring the West of England

The West Country is a huge area but one of the most diverse and beautiful.

There's Somerset wiht Exmoor, river valleys & castles

http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&pq=exmoor+national+park+gallery&xhr=t&q=exmoor+national+park+photos&cp=23&rlz=1G1SMSN_ENUK369&wrapid=tljp1300012288629012&um=1&ie=UTF8&source=univ&sa=X&ei=B518Ta2bA4u5hAfKpKTmBg&sqi=2&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1362&bih=560

Devon with Dartmoor - wild open scenery

Cornwall - with rugged coastline and beautiful views.

With so short a time one place I would look at is Dartmouth. You can get a boat down the River Dart to Dartmouth, good pubs to eat in and some shops then a trip on the steam train. You would see a lot in one day without too much effort.

Another good trip is a boat trip along the Jurassic Coast from Exmouth. Again details and map online. It stops along the way at Sidmouth. A lovely old seaside town with good seafood meals in the beachfront hotels.

Contact the local Travel Information Bureau by email for accommodation/transport for the places you pick. They may have vouchers or discounts for local trips too.

Edited: 28 March 2011, 22:00
Chepstow, United...
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8. Re: Exploring the West of England

Whilst I'd agree with TravelHappyExeter that the commercial part of Land's End itself is a tourist trap, please don't write off the whole of the west tip of Cornwall because of that remark: Penwith (the area from Penzance westward) has some of the most attractive scenery of the whole of Cornwall.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Exploring the West of England

We plan - well, planned - to visit Devon and Cornwall for about 5 days in 2012 (I completely forgot the Olympics would be on) and then planned to spend 2 or 3 days in London on our way to Paris.

How far afield will the increased prices and crowds be felt? And how early in the year is it practicable to visit Devon and Cornwall and still get acceptable weather?

Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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10. Re: Exploring the West of England

Unlikely the prices will spread out of the hotspots of the games or that travel will be affected outside of them - we are pretty much in our own little world here. I was in Sydney & Queensland just before the Olympics and didn't know it was on (apart from dragging my partner away from the TV).

Remember though that we have raging inflation at the moment so petrol for instance goes up weekly not to mention food prices. It doesn't seem to have hit the local hotels etc here yet.

Depends what you call acceptable weather - May is a beautiful month usually, mild and beautiful sunny days, April lots of showers and variable. The cafes and tourist attractions open longer from then. Hard to tell as we are a small island and the west country is open to the Atlantic so weather changeable. Not like Aus where you know whats coming.

But it is one of the most beautiful areas, comparable to many lovely places in the world.