Extended Weekend in the UK for Family with Baby, No car
June 19, 2018 2:58 AM   Subscribe

We're looking for a town or village in the UK, which is near the train station, walkable, some shops for food, trails for family cycling (note that we will have a baby so easy routes only). Key is that we do not have a car so day-to-day activities have to be walkable.

We're based in London, but willing to travel by train for up to 5 hours.
posted by moiraine to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Broadway in the Cotswolds. Absolutely adorable. Short, frequent bus service from Evesham train station.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:05 AM on June 19, 2018

Wadebridge or Padstow in Cornwall would fit the bill. Both are on the amazing Camel Trail, which gives you many miles of flat, easy trail that runs through a wooded river valley out to an estuary with lots of bird life, ending at a busy (with tourists) harbour town with a lovely beach within easy walking distance. Both towns have plenty of bike hire (including trailers for babies) if you need them. Of the two, Padstow is a nicer place to stay, but will be more expensive.

The only tricky part is that neither town is directly accessible by train, but there is a regular bus service covering both (the 11A) from Bodmin Parkway, which is a stop on the London-Penzance train route (so no changes).
posted by pipeski at 3:16 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wadebridge/Padstow is a great choice. You could also look at Barnstaple in north Devon, which has a train service & is on the Tarka Trail which is great for family cycling. Barnstaple itself is so-so but you're easily accessible to Braunton by bike (6 miles), & from there you've got Saunton Sands, Croyde, Baggy Point, Putsborough, Woolacombe etc up the coast. We went there more or less every year when the kids were little.
posted by rd45 at 4:39 AM on June 19, 2018

St Ives, Cornwall?
posted by runincircles at 4:59 AM on June 19, 2018

posted by ellieBOA at 4:59 AM on June 19, 2018

Skipton might suit you : three and a half hours train ride from London (one change), it has shops and attractions, and there is easy cycling along the canal towpath through Dales countryside.
posted by vincebowdren at 6:39 AM on June 19, 2018

Cornwall is lovely, but longer than five hours away! How about Hastings? Just over an hour and a half from London, beside the sea, wonderful pier and very family friendly (albeit afflicted by the sadly usual UK end-of-the-line seaside blight). Cycles-for-hire are plentiful, and it's an easy cycle along the coast to Bexhill-on-Sea. There's also a castle, an aquarium, a picture-perfect Old Town, and beautiful coastal walks if you tire of cycling. I really like it there.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 7:38 AM on June 19, 2018

How about the New Forest? It’s a beautiful area with small towns and villages, moors and woods with lots of easy cycling. You can get a train from Waterloo to Brockenhurst in about 90 minutes, where you’ll find hotels, pubs and cafes near to the station. Also: lots of wild ponies!
posted by Stark at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was going to say Brockenhurst in the New Forest as well!
posted by Lotto at 11:56 AM on June 19, 2018

Cornwall is lovely, but longer than five hours away!

London Paddington to Bodmin Parkway is about 4 hours.
posted by pipeski at 1:08 PM on June 19, 2018

Whitstable, Margate or Broadstairs? All on the fast line from St Pancras, and plenty of nice easy coastal cycling on the Viking Coast cycle path. Or the Crab and Winkle way from Whistable to Canterbury. Lots of buses as well if you don’t want to cycle every day, and obviously beaches and all things seasidey.

If you don’t want seaside (who doesn’t want seaside?), then Canterbury has lots to do and lots of easy cycling around the surrounding countryside (first thing that came up on google here, plenty more if you dig around).
posted by tinkletown at 2:39 PM on June 19, 2018

Thank you for all your great suggestions! We go to Whitstable frequently. And I know no one suggested this, but we have been to Winchester a few times and we love it. Start of the South Downs Way, great train service, beautiful village and very walkable if anyone is reading this.

My in-laws are near Cotswold so I think we'll skip this for now :)

Will look at New Forest for this time and save Cornwall for when the baby is slightly bigger.
posted by moiraine at 1:25 AM on June 20, 2018

« Older Can you identify this font?   |   Who can recover the data from my busted mac in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.