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East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

Fort Lauderdale...
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East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

I need some help, please, in deciding between two options about how to spend 2.5 days prior to a cruise in May, with a rental car, starting in London and ending in Colchester.

We are 4 adults - want to see the countryside, explore towns and villages, wander around and get a feel for the area. Love scenic drives and walks. Hopefully see some castles. I got good feedback on the UK forum about the East Anglia area. Now have to make a decision between the two.

We will leave London noon on Sunday, and have to drop off car at Colchester at noon on Wed. (then get to pier at Harwich). Will book hotels/B&Bs for Sun., Mon., and Tues. nights.

Option 1 – East Anglia:

From London, drive to/stop at – Audley End, Saffron Walden, Bury St. Edmunds, Long Melford, Lavenham, Framlingham, Adleburgh then Colchester. Maybe add in Norwich visit.

Option 2 – Cotswolds/Bath area:

From London, drive to/stop at – Avebury, Lacock, Bradford-on-Avon, Bath, Broadway Chipping Campden, Cirencester, Bibury, Burford then Colchester.

Thanks in advance for any responses; it can be daunting to plan!

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1. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

The are both lovely but it makes sense if you have only a couple of days to do number one. You can add beautiful locations such as Stoke by Nayland, Clare and Cavendish for their pastel coloured houses and streets. If you need any antiques to take home then Long Melford is one long street of antique shops.

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2. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

The driving tends to be easier in East Anglia, being less touristy and not really on the way to anywhere else. It really comes down to what you like. East Anglia doesn't have a city quite like Bath, though it does have Cambridge. I would definitely try to include Norwich if you opt for East Anglia. It's often forgotten, like the region itself, even though it has so much of interest.

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3. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

As you have to end up in Colchester, East Anglia is by far the better option, horrible journey from the Cotswolds to Colchester.

If you like castles you might be interested in Landguard Fort at Felixstowe, which is mainly Victorian but has a history of military use from about 17th century right up to the 1950's and now managed by English Heritage. A fascinating place - check it out on google

Another lovely place for history scenery and walks is Dedham Vale near Manningtree 'Constable country'

Fort Lauderdale...
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4. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

Thank you hardygeranium, Iggyfitz and Sandy1949; I think it does make more sense to do East Anglia. Want to fit everything in, but not possible in 2.5 days!

I will definitely add Norwich, and will check out Stoke by Nayland, Clare, Cavendish, also try to add Felixstowe and Dedham Vale - all are pretty close to mapped out route.

This info has been very helpful - you are all the best!

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5. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

We spent a week in East Anglia 2 years ago & loved it. We've also spent a week in the Cotswolds on another trip. I would agree with the others, East Anglia is definitely the way to go. The driving is much easier & we didn't get the overwhelming sense of it being such a high traffic tourist area.

We enjoyed Norwich, the Norfolk Broads, Sandringham, Holkham Hall to name just a few places we visited. There's so much to see; you won't have trouble filling your time. It's a beautiful part of England.

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6. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

Agree with East Anglia but I think you are trying to do far too much by visiting Norfolk (Norwich, Broads, Sandringham etc) AND Suffolk. I'd just stick to Suffolk itself. Norfolk is a very big county and you just don't have time to explore it and the places you have listed in Suffolk. You need to pare down your itinerary I'm afraid.

Highlights for me would be -

1) Bury St Edmunds (always known locally as just Bury). My home town! Excellent market on a Wednesday and Saturday, Greene King brewery (tour), Abbey Gardens etc

2) Lavenham (this would be where I'd base myself). Very pretty small town.

3) Long Melford

4) Kersey

5)The Suffolk coast (Aldeburgh, Snape Maltings, Orford, Thorpeness etc)

6) Constable Country (Suffolk/Essex borders), Dedham, Flatford Mill

Suffolk is famous for its thatched cottages, often painted 'Suffolk Pink', and also for the beautiful 'wool' churches to be found in practically every village, however small. They were built from the proceeds of the lucrative medieval wool trade. The churches in Lavenham and Long Melford are huge and particularly beautiful.

Long Melford is also famous for the amount of antique shops to be found in the village.

Edited: 13 March 2014, 20:46
Fort Lauderdale...
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7. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

Thanks, hotdoggirl for your input - it helps "validate" my plans. Also, I know Morgana you are right - I'm trying to fit too much in. I know when we get there time and exploring around will definitely require that we deviate from the list of places to visit.

I'll take a closer look at the highlights you, Morgana, mentioned. So much to see and so little time - UGH!

The only possible solution is to plan a two - three week trip traveling around the UK - maybe next year!?!

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8. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

You can still visit Castles in East Anglia, here's a few...





And, tee hee...


Makes logistical sense to stick with this region IMO, loveliness abounds....

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9. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

I agree with all the recommendations for East Anglia. Much as I love Bath and the Cotswolds, the East Anglian itinerary makes much more sense given the fact that you will be cruising out of Harwich.

If I may, I'll just suggest one more destination to add to your already full itinerary: the cathedral "city" of Ely, home of one of the most beautiful and distinctive cathedrals in all of England--and a very interesting place in and of itself, in the heart of the Fen Country.




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10. Re: East Anglia vs. Cotswolds/Bath - 2.5 day visit from London

I vote for East Anglia too.

Ely is fantastic with a beautiful cathedral and the Old Fire Engine House right next to it for great food.

However, Cambridge itself is a joy, but parking there is a nightmare. It would probably make more sense to visit Cambridge (and maybe including Ely, which is a short train journey further on) as a day trip by train from London on another trip.