The operative word in the title of this new guidebook is "From." Because if ever a place was made for daytripping, it is England. Basing yourself in London puts you within easy striking distance of many of Europe's most desirable attractions, where language is no problem and getting around on your own as simple as it is back home. This book takes a fresh look at 47 of the most intriguing destinations within daytrip range of London, describing in step-by-step detail a pleasurable way of exploring them on self-guided walking tours.
Walking is by far the best way to probe most places. Not only is it undeniably healthy, but it also allows you to see the sights from a natural, human perspective, spending just as much or as little time on each as you please. The carefully tested walking tours take you past all of the attractions worth seeing without wasting time, effort, or money. Which of these you actually stop at is up to you, but you won't have any trouble finding them with the large, clear maps provided. There is never a need to rush as you'll have plenty of time for each walk, even taking rest stops along the way.
The destinations should appeal to a wide variety of interests. Besides the usual cathedrals, castles, art galleries, and stately homes there are such attractions as country walks, maritime museums, canals, Roman ruins, places where history happened, places of literary association, quaint fishing villages, great seaports, resorts, elegant spas, and even some ever-so-British railfan trips. Not only do these reflect a delightful sense of the past, but several of the daytrips also expose you to the excitement of a changing Britain as it finds its new role within Europe.
Dining (and drinking) well is a vital element in any travel experience. For this reason, a selection of particularly enjoyable restaurants and pubs along the walking routes are included for every daytrip. These are price-keyed, with an emphasis on the medium-to-low range, and have concise location descriptions making them easy to find. Along with a telephone number, there is frequently an Internet site listed where you can view menus in advance.
Every trip can be made by rail and by car as well. Specific transportation information is given in the “Getting There” section of each daytrip, and general information in the “Getting Around Southern England” chapter.
Time and weather considerations are important, so they're included in the “Practicalities” section of each trip. These let you know, among other things, on which days the sights are closed, when the colorful outdoor farmers' markets are held, and which places should be avoided in bad weather. The location, telephone number, and Internet site of the local Tourist Information Centre is also given in case you have questions.
Most of the attractions have an entrance fee, as indicated in the text. These are, of course, subject to change slightly, but the listings will at least provide a guide to anticipated expenses. Cathedrals and churches depend on small donations in the collection box to help pay their maintenance costs, so it is only fair to leave some change when making a visit.
In addition to entrance fees, most of the attraction listings also include opening times, a telephone number, and an Internet site.
Be aware that places have a way of changing without warning, and errors do creep into print. If your heart is absolutely set on a particular sight, just check first to make sure that it isn't closed for renovations, or that the opening times are still valid. The local tourist centres are always the best source of such up-to-the-minute information.
One last thought — it isn't really necessary to see everything at any given destination. Be selective. Your one-day adventures around England should be fun, not an endurance test. If it starts becoming that, just stroll over to the nearest café, tea shop, or pub and enjoy yourself. There will always be another day.
No other guidebook to England offers as many destinations for pleasurable do-it-yourself one-day trips, and certainly not to so many fresh, new discoveries!
Practical information covered includes London as Your Base, Food & Drink, When to Go, Money Matters, Telephones, Internet, Suggested Tours, Outstanding Attractions, Tourist Information, Getting Around Southern England by Rail or Car, and Railpasses.
This book is also available from Amazon in Great Britain for £13.50, and from Amazon in Europe for €15.50.
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