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Sep 6, 2011 07:31 AM

Coming back to London in the winter. Advice appreciated.

Thank you again to all the c'hounds who made our trip to London so delicious last October. We're planning another trip for December or January (we are from S. Florida and like the cold weather). This time, in addition to staying in London, we'd love to go somewhere more rural and quaint for a couple of nights where we can also enjoy great food and drink. I have no idea how to find this place that is removed from the urban scene but will also be somewhere where we can eat really well and relax. Also, we will not be renting a car so we have to be able to get there by train. Is this a tall order?

Many thanks in advance.

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    1. re: howler

      This place looks fantastic but I'm afraid the cost is a little too steep for us. I will look into a couple other of the Relais & Chateaux properties on the website and maybe find an alternative.

      1. re: tlubow

        Gidleigh Park in Devon is another lovely country hotel with excellent food, but it's a lot further to travel than Whitstable and The Sportsman, which I also love. Without a car, you're probably best off with a small town where you can walk around a bit or take a train to another one close by... Canterbury is very close to Whitstable and Seasalter.

    2. The Sportsman in Seasalter. Find a local B&B, eat at the Sportsman one night and Wheelers in Whitstable the next. And oysters for lunch with bracing walks along the beach!

      9 Replies
      1. re: pj26

        This looks interesting and I'll have to do some research on the B&B's. Is this town accessible by train from London?

        1. re: tlubow

          Yes. Train from Victoria. We stayed at The Captain's House (I think that's the name -- there's a link to it from The Sportsman's website). Our dinner at The Sportsman was spectacular. I plan to return. I would go twice in a trip in fact -- have the tasting menu one night and order from the menu the next. It's worth the journey.

          1. re: Nancy S.

            I second the Sportsman suggestion. Just so you know, you get the train to Whitstable, not Seasalter, which is a small place a couple of miles from Whitstable. We got a taxi from the station, and walked back to Whitstable via the coastal path (it was early summer, and lunchtime). I would definitely try to get the tasting menu - they don't do it at weekends iirc.

              1. re: pootle

                Thanks everyone! The Sportman's website is very informative regarding places to stay, so I'll use that as a jumping off point in my research. As we get closer, I'll start to do more research on London, as well. We had terrific meals last year at The Ledbury, Anchor & Hope, Min Jiang and Moti Mahal as well as some really, really great street food. Looking forward to planning this trip.

                Moti Mahal
                45 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA, GB

                127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

                1. re: tlubow

                  A fifth thumbs up for the Sportsman. I have told Himself the only way I will ever marry him is if we can have the reception at the Sportsman and the wedding cake made out of their pork scratchings. This is not a joke.

                  We stayed in a cute offshoot of the Captain's House called Polly's Attic which is a studio rather conveniently located above a (somewhat eccentric) wine shop and a cheese shop :) While in Whitstable also try out Wheelers Oyster Bar and then I'd definitely visit Canterbury with its cathedral and ancient centre, and some good eateries too - Goods Shed as a starter.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Whilst I loved the Sportsman i would be slightly hesitant in recommending it if you are looking for a slice of the rural English Idyl - the food is awesome and the staff lovely but I think you need to be aware the setting is slightly grim - even in the summer and probably more so in October/November! Not knocking it all but just be aware it isn't that 'pretty' in line with the chocolate-box view of England. I do hope you enjoy though!

                How about the Hinds Head in Bray for something a little more quaint? (Heston's gastropub)

                1. re: mjgauer

                  The nice thing about Bray is that there are several good places to eat in the area (Caldesi et c.), plus Windsor is a lovely, nearby town as is Eton. None are so far from each other that a taxi ride is prohibitive.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Bray is a good choice - not many places to stay there though at all unless you want to try the Waterside Inn.
                    The best bet for a town would be Windsor - putting you in striking distance of places like the Hinds Head as well as having a lovely town on your doorstep.
                    Alternatively there is the Hand and Flowers in Marlow. Tom Kerridge's gastropub with rooms which is sensational food and you could also try the Hinds Head and have a day out in Windsor.

          2. Another option is a place like the Wheatsheaf in Combe Hay, just outside of Bath:


            1 Reply
            1. re: r.vacapinta

              Thank you everyone for your wonderful advice. Unfortunately, my research has been halted temporarily because we've just found out that friends of ours are planning to go to Italy this winter and want us to meet them. So, for the time being, we are trying to decide if we're coming to England at all, but if we are, I will probably resurrect this thread for some additional pointers.