Interesting stop between Nottingham and Heathrow?
August 12, 2019 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Later this week we're driving from Nottingham to Heathrow as we end an epic UK vacation. Hoping to get some ideas for an interesting stop on the route. We'd have maybe an hour or two to stop, but really want to do something (anything) so it's not just a day of pure travel in car and plane. Last year we did a quick stop in Winchester en route from Salisbury to LHR, and it was a perfect stop for a couple of hours, hoping to recreate that magic this time.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork to Travel & Transportation around England (12 answers total)
Have you been to Oxford?
posted by girlpublisher at 10:31 AM on August 12, 2019

Yup, we've been to Oxford (twice), Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds, Warwick, and London (among other places, just naming the places in that general area we've been before).
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 10:37 AM on August 12, 2019

If you follow the Google Maps route that swings around to the west and takes you via the M40, you can stop somewhere in the Chilterns. Stokenchurch and West Wycombe are both not too far from the motorway and very picturesque. Stroll on village green or in the park, pub lunch, boom.
posted by altolinguistic at 10:52 AM on August 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ampthill is a small Georgian market town near J12/13 of M1. Buckingham is similar, near J14. Tring is further south and has a quirky natural history museum. Bletchley Park if you’re interested in WW2 code breaking. Blenheim Palace if you like very grand stately homes. Great Missenden if you like Ronald Dahl. St Albans for a small version of Winchester.
posted by plonkee at 10:54 AM on August 12, 2019

Bekonscot model village for something you probably haven't done before and that's pretty undemanding for a tired last day.
posted by ambrosen at 11:01 AM on August 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

There's not much to do in Stokenchurch but West Wycombe would be perfect - stroll up the hill, visit the Hellfire Caves and maybe a quick visit to West Wycombe Park. The George and Dragon is a perfectly acceptable pub for lunch, or travel a mile up the road to the Dashwood Arms if you fancy something a little more individual
posted by el_presidente at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

The National Motorcycle Museum is somewhere between Nottingham and London, if you are into that sort of thing.
posted by coppertop at 6:37 PM on August 12, 2019

About two-thirds of the way and just off the M11 just south of Cambridge you'll find Saffron Walden which seems an amazing kind of place, looks like you can also get your last taste of delightfully wonky, colourful houses too.

If you're into things military as I once was, the national war museum is nearby at Duxford (I went when I was 12 and was very impressed) but strolling through a maze or around and around a labyrinth seems ideal for a break on a long trip.
posted by unearthed at 7:04 PM on August 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Do you like to visit a historic property? There are two places owned by the National Trust, quite close to each other and only 5mins from the top of the M40 (assuming you're going that way, I would).

One is Baddesley Clinton, the other is Packwood House.

Baddesley Clinton has a moat & priest holes. Packwood House has a lot of topiary. Both are old & interesting with lovely gardens & short walks in woodland. Both have tea rooms.
posted by rd45 at 1:11 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

About two-thirds of the way and just off the M11 just south of Cambridge you'll find Saffron Walden

Whilst I agree that Saffron Walden and Cambs in general are very pretty you’d end up a lot further east than you need to be. I’d stay further west nearer the M1/M40.

And whilst the idea of breaking this drive up is lovely please keep an eye on traffic and travel times. These are some of the most congested motorways in the UK and traffic can slow right down even without any accidents or roadworks. Your stop should not result in missing your flight.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:19 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you so much, everyone! These are all great ideas! We're going to try for the Hellfire Caves, keeping an eye on traffic and getting an early start in the morning. We've been through Cornwall, Wales, part of the Northwest, and some of the Midlands on this trip, and it's been non-stop amazing (and exhausting).
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:07 AM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Reporting back that we made it to the Hellfire Caves, thoroughly enjoyed the visit, and had time to stop in Beaconsfield for lunch. Made it to the airport with tons of time to spare. Thanks so much for all the ideas!!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:17 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

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