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

San Francisco
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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
Bristol, United...
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21. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

For pretty villages take a look at the Cotswolds.

Upper and Lower Slaughter (don't be put off by the name), Bibury, Broadway, Stow-on the-Wold etc. Laycock Village in Wiltshire, near to Bath, is where they film all the period costume dramas plus it's central to the development of photography (look it up Wikipedia!) All these places would have great hotels and B&B's. Bath is a super little town aswell.

Look 'em all up in google images.

San Francisco
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22. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Thanks meg but I spent a week in the Costwolds not too long ago (loved "The Slaughters" and my favorite coat came from Stow-on-the-Wold).

I was attracted to Somerset as it's not as well known by tourists (especially American ones). Now don't get me wrong, I love my fellow countrymen-and-women but I don't travel internationally to meet my next door neighbor (which has practically happened)!

I have rented a cottage in Dunster for a week and have ordered (and received) a couple of books on walking Exmoor and The Mendips. I'll be spending the first couple of nights in Wells before heading to Dunster.

So I have started to comb through those and realize that I will probably need OS maps as well. Are those easy to pick up once I get there? While I could order, the postage cost is ridiculous.

Bristol, United...
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23. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Any notable bookstore will have pukka OS version maps. Exmoor is prime hiking country so I can't see there being a problem. Wells Cathedral is wonderful with at least three unique features that set it apart from others. Last time I was there, the organist was practising which added to the atmosphere. Have a great trip - I'm heading the other way, from Olde England to New England in the fall!

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

You'll be able to pick up the OS maps in Wells. If not there are plenty of bookshops in Taunton and you should be able to get them at the visitor centre in Dunster.

The last time I was in Wells cathedral they used to do free guided walks.

San Francisco
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25. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Thanks meg and Walt ...

I was figuring the OS maps would be available locally and thanks for confirming that for me.

The B&B I booked in Wells (Canon Grange) evidently fronts the cathedral and from the photos it looks lovely. I'll have one full day there and part of a second so I should have a good look around.

Thanks Walt for the tip on guided walks of the Cathedral. I'll look into that. Perhaps the innkeeper will know.

I've been scarfing down the info on the walks in the two books I ordered and am getting seriously excited about this trip.

One (hopefull last) question. I asked this on the Cornwall forum but not here. As I'm traveling alone, is there any reason I should worry about hiking alone? I won't do anything dumb and will be well equiped.

Thanks again to all.

Devizes, United...
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26. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Hi sal

No, you won't have any safety issues at all. Somerset is essentially a rural county with few large towns and lots of "cowboy country" between them. Just watch out though for the man eating bears and the recently discovered giant pterodactyls that can swallow a human whole..........:0)

Stanley, Falkland...
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27. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

I haven't read the whole thread, but Wells is a gem. As well as the stunning cathedral (do take a guided tour), there is the oldest street in Europe across the road, and the moated Bishop's Palace is one of the few in the country that is open to the public. Well worth a visit.

San Francisco
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28. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Hi GB ... thanks for the reassurance! Somehow, I'd never put "Brit" and "cowboy" together in the same sentence! LOL ... but I'll leave the mace at home ;-) (Man eating bears?? Sounds like my Yosemite experience will stand me in good stead ...)

Thanks for the info and update Peterscot. I'll be sure to scout out the times for the tour of the cathedral. From the photos I've seen (which never do anything justice), it looks magnificent.

San Francisco
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29. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

Oh and meg, have a wonderful trip. Are you doing the "fall foliage" thing? Enjoy New England. Boston is wonderful in the fall.

I'll wave as our planes cross!

Bristol, United...
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30. Re: Just Beginning An Itinerary -- Bear With Me (Dumb Yank)

We are going to drive around N.England; leaf peeping and generally mooching about artsy fartsy establishments. I'm looking forward to overdosing on Maine seafood! - UK restaurant prices are steep!

FWIW, YouTube has loads of stuff about Wells Cathedral.

Have a great trip and post a review when you get back.