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Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

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Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Hi All

I'm thinking of visiting Somerset this fall for 1-2 weeks. I'm in need of some downtime and the peacefulness of Somerset seems to fit the bill.

I'm thinking of staying in Bath for 2-3 nights and then finding a self-catering place in a village.

But I'm plagued with doubt. Should I stay longer in Bath and self-cater there (but isn't parking an issue?)? And will it be the peaceful English countryside I'm craving (something between Miss Marple and Morse?).

Or should I look into self-catering in Wells? I've found a couple of spots ... but parking is iffy? And again, is this the little English village I'm dreaming of?

I have scoured through 15 pages of holiday rentals. I feel like Goldilocks ... some of the villages are too big, others are two small. Can you help this California girl find one that's just right??

Ideally I'd like a town/village that has services and a few restaurants/pubs within easy reach of where I land. (No drinking and driving on the wrong side of the road for me!) But not so large that driving in a city environment becomes an issue (that wrong side of the road thing again). It's likely just me, BF travels and may drop in. From what I've seen, nothing is out of my budget.

I want to do a lot of sightseeing, walking, perhaps cycling if the weather cooperates ... and just generally enjoying my downtime.

If you've gotten through all of this, thank you. If you have any info for me, many more thanks in advance! And if you're ever in San Francisco (or Borrego Springs), I'll be happy to return the favor, or err is that favour?

Edited: 04 July 2010, 06:26
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11. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Wells is the smallest city in ENGLAND, and is utterly charming.

RamblinSal, I am slightly confused: are you planning on hiring a car, or are you going to be reliant on public transport ? this will have a massive impact on what you are able to do.

And does it have to be self-catering ?

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12. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Hi RomanCitizen

My plan (always subject to change when a better idea is presented), is to visit Bath without a car. Then, rent (hire) one upon leaving Bath, base myself in a quaint English village (one that isn't too hard to drive in but has enough going on that I can eat/drink dinner without traveling) and tour Somerset via car and foot -- and possibly horse and bicycle.

I have not looked into the economics of renting a car in Bath vs. Heathrow but this is less of a priority for me right now. (Where I live car rentals at the airport are much more expensive.)

I am a bit fussy about my privacy and would prefer self-catering. If there's a bleak and miserable day, I wouldn't at all mind making a fire and curling up with a good book to while away the day. I am also not one of those whirling dervish travelers that packs in 10 hours a day of sightseeing. My real life is like that, my holidays are not. If I've done enough by 3PM, well naps are a good thing.

So are here are the village locations I've marked (but I still have lots more research to do):

North Curry

Castle Cary

Norton-sub-Hamdon

Wedmore

Thanks again to all. I promise a Trip Report!

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13. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Not a lot to do in North Curry I'm afraid. It has a pub and that's about it. Bishop's Lydeard on the other side of Taunton would be a better bet - more frequent bus service, the terminus for the West Somerset Railway and choice of pubs.

Dunster (as previous poster said) also worth considering.

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14. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Thank you all for your time and replies.

So far I've got 3 possibilities (and I may be using them all since I booked today with miles and, although I'll look for other returns, I'm off on 9/29 returning 10/27)

Dunster: whatsonexmoor.co.uk/links/dunstcott.htm

Frome: http://www.lazydogcottage.co.uk/index.htm

Glastonbury (I know, probably a bigger town than I'm after but with a view of the Tor from the living room): www.orieldriveglastonbury.co.uk/index.asp?

Thanks again to all; your advice is so valuable. This is shaping up to be quite the trip!

Gig Harbor...
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15. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Some of those "little English villages" are really small with few amenities. We have enjoyed staying in Wells--it is a small town and easy to drive out of, yet has several restaurants. And the cathedral and the street behind it are charming. It's close to Glastonbury if you want to visit there. Check out theaa.com for driving times/ distances to other nearby places. We find their estimates accurate.

You might want to visit your local Borders or equivalent and check out Lonely Planet guides which give populations for various towns. Rough Guides are also good for honest comments on various towns. It's the only guide I have ever found which tells you which places you should NOT bother to visit. The others make most places sound worthwhile.

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16. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

history, that's exactly why I've started this thread. I'm interested in knowing what services are available. I know the population of these towns (that's available on the internet, I don't need to buy a guidebook for that). What I'm looking for is feedback ... and I've gotten it. Some think that Wells is bigger than I'm looking for ... you apparently enjoyed it.

I'd love to be able to buy a guidebook for this area, but they aren't stocked at my local B&N or Borders (I looked in both San Francisco and San Diego as I live both places). I could order one but I'm loathe to buy a guidebook without being able to flip through it first. So many spend half their pages with lists of hotels (which I don't plan on staying in) or restaurants -- probably both of which have paid to be in said guidebook.

I expect I'll be able to find books more specific and of a useful nature to Somerset when I arrive.

Thoughts on my post #14?

Somerset UK
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17. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Frome and Glastonbury are only about 20 odd miles apart so whether it's worth splitting accommodation beteween the two is debatable.

As regards guide books you may be better going onto the official web sites for the areas you intend visiting. www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk for example will give you lots of information for things to see and do around Dunster.

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18. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Thanks for the link WaltR.

I'm leaning toward the cottage in Dunster and will likely book it when I get back to San Francisco tomorrow.

Thanks so much to all!

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19. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

In case you haven't already booked have a think about staying in Dulverton. HQ of the Exmoor National Park Authority, nice pubs/restaurants, scenery and walks.

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20. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Thanks for your advice. I have decided on a place in Dunster. I'm sure I will wander through Dulverton on my travels! And it's good to know that it's has so much on offer.

As it works out, I will be spending a couple of days in Wells before heading to Dunster. Then it's off to Cornwall!

My thanks to all. I promise a trip report!