Et in Arcadia me go
April 27, 2010 2:24 AM   Subscribe

Good weekend destination in some idyllic corner of rural England or Scotland?

Been living in the UK for a while but have rarely ventured out of the cities. What's a great little village (or specific B&B) to visit for a night or two this spring? Watership Down country would be nice...sylvan climes, babbling brooks, remnant forest, hedgehogs, badgers, red squirrels. See also, parish spinsters on their bicycles, red-nosed vicars and suchlike. (No car, so can't be too super remote).
posted by dontjumplarry to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Depends where you're living, but the New Forest would fit the description, and large parts of it are easily accessible by train from London.
posted by nja at 2:35 AM on April 27, 2010

Where are you located in the UK. I've been in Leeds for 3 years without a car and if you are anywhere near yorkshire you can get to some nice remote villages on the trains.
posted by koolkat at 2:45 AM on April 27, 2010

Your description made me think of Woodbridge in Suffolk.

If you would like to see just how far "outside the city" a train stop can take you then I would recommend taking the sleeper from London to Rannoch Moor. Too rugged for vicars however.

Finally - because the places mentioned cluster with "idylic" pretty well IMHO - you might like to browse WildSwimming for sources of inspiration - or looking for some of the places described in Roger Deakin's inspiration book "Waterlog".
posted by rongorongo at 2:49 AM on April 27, 2010

How about Bibury in the Cotswolds? Shouldn't be too busy this time of year, there's stuff to see in nearby Cirencester and surrounds (I'm partial to the fantastic set of medieval glass at the church in Fairford, for example) and there's plenty of pubs and inns to stay in, like this one in Barnsley just up the road.
posted by Abiezer at 2:51 AM on April 27, 2010

Avebury, Wiltshire. Stay at the Red Lion and sleep at the center of a stone circle whose only worshipers are a few tourists and lots and lots of sheep.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:03 AM on April 27, 2010

I had a nice weekend in Oban (Scottish Coast) once. but we were driving - although i think you can take the train. or train to Glasgow and hire a car.
posted by mary8nne at 3:07 AM on April 27, 2010

Seconding rongorongo, you can take the train as far as Fort William and Mallaig, passing through Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and onwards from Mallaig to Skye by ferry if you choose. No car required. Plenty of options on that railway line.
posted by fire&wings at 3:14 AM on April 27, 2010

Porlock is idyllic, and you can go a good chunk of the way by steam train for the full time-travel experience. Some busing required between Minehead and Porlock, though a cab's not too pricey. I've done it as a 4-day weekend from London a couple of times.

Or you could train to Bath and do the picture-perfect canal walk to Bradford-on-Avon and Devizes.

(I'm assuming you're starting from London? If you want something close in, you could go out to Alton -- steam trains with Real Ale on, Jane Austen's house, Selborne. Don't stay in Alton though, get out to either Chawton or Selborne for overnight!)
posted by Erasmouse at 3:18 AM on April 27, 2010

Cornwall! You can come to Mevagissey and stay at a nice b and b or a posh hotel, Trevalsa Court. There's a working harbour also I live here now and will buy you beers :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:23 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you visited Cheltenham you could get out to nearby Cotswold towns and villages like Tewkesbury, Bishops Cleeve and Bourton on Water.
posted by Laura_J at 4:35 AM on April 27, 2010

Just to add, you could get the train to Cheltenham and then the towns and villages are reachable by bus or train.
posted by Laura_J at 4:36 AM on April 27, 2010

Robin Hood's Bay, up on the north-east coast of England, is a fantastic little village to visit for a weekend. It's beautiful (both the village and its surroundings), quirky, self-contained, and brims with b&bs and rental cottages. However it's more marine than bucolic, and is kind of distant for anybody down south.
posted by thoughtless at 4:38 AM on April 27, 2010

Maybe more rugged than idyllic, but I really really really enjoyed the pretty isle of Arran, just southwest of Glasgow. Just the right size for a weekend trip, easily accessible by train/ferry, easy to get around (on the Royal Mail van? or is my memory flaky here?), and wasn't there even a bike rental place? You could bring your bike I guess, not sure how strenuous the riding would be.
Nice whisky, too.
posted by gijsvs at 5:38 AM on April 27, 2010

Here's a link
posted by gijsvs at 5:39 AM on April 27, 2010

Fort William (Scotland) is gorgeous, and you can catch a sleeper train to there from any of the major cities.
posted by schmod at 6:34 AM on April 27, 2010

Portree, Skye. Not sure if you can get there without a car, though.
posted by rocket88 at 7:35 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Avebury. It's accessible but overlooked compared to Stonehenge nearby. Or rent or borrow a car to visit Llanwrtyd Wells, Britain's smallest town and Bicycle Bog Snorkeling Capitol of the World.
posted by motsque at 7:47 AM on April 27, 2010

Slightly obtuse and in Wales, not England nor Scotland: Portmeirion.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2010

The Scottish Borders is a really beautiful area which has a lot of small villages (it's the least densely populated area of Scotland). Peebles is one that I'd recommend, it's a lovely little town about 20 miles due south of Edinburgh. Lots of old ladies come down from Edinburgh to do their shopping, it's quite popular for day-trips.

There are quite a few nice little bnb's in the town and at least one or two in the country, just a few miles outside of town. Lots of things to do.... strolling along the high street of course; some nice little pubs, a great Italian restaurant (Franco's, try their Knickerbocker Glory) also Indian, the Eastgate theatre always has things going on.

There are lots of nice places to walk and wander. The River Tweed runs through the town and there's a nice park along a good stretch of it with walking paths. Nearby is the ruins of Neidpath Castle, Kailzie Gardens (gorgeous in the spring!) and Traquair House, which you can wander around for ages. The grounds are very pretty, there's a tearoom and a maze, and the house (although still inhabited) is largely open to the public as a museum. If you like to wander the hills, you can get to some just outside of Peebles by following Rosetta Rd north and you'll eventually get to a gravel path that goes for miles....really lovely, especially when the gorse or heather is flowering.

Yep, I love Peebles.
posted by non-kneebiter at 3:32 PM on April 27, 2010

We've been to The Beetle and Wedge in Oxfordshire twice. Loved it both times.

"Set on the site of the original Moulsford ferry service, on the banks of the River Thames immortalised in 'The Wind in the Willows' and where Jerome K Jerome chronicled the escapades of his friends' visits in 'Three Men in a Boat', the Boathouse Restaurant emphasis is on quality of food, wines and service. The older part of the Boathouse offers our famous open charcoal grill where delicacies are created before your very eyes."
posted by feelinggood at 5:12 PM on April 27, 2010

« Older A friend is dying. Help me help her and her...   |   How can I test whether a canvas area has finished... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.