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Holidays

the old bell hotel malmesbury

17 replies

bossykate · 20/06/2003 15:26

hello everyone

i'd be grateful for some advice from anyone who has stayed there.

i've been looking for a w/e away for ds and me with some childcare. planning to go next w/e. have tried all the usual suspects and the old bell is the only one with availability for the nights in question. have to say it's not my first choice for a number of reasons.

what is there to do to entertain ds if he doesn't settle in the creche?
what is malmesbury like?
how would one get there on public transport?

i'd be grateful for any info from those who have stayed there.

thanks in advance

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codswallop · 20/06/2003 15:35

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Marina · 20/06/2003 16:00

In case you have no joy with a recommendation for this venue, you could think about a couple of the hotels on the Isle of Wight (maybe you already have). Seaview and Priory Bay are both lux hotels which are reputed to have excellent family facilities - I've never been in them, cheapskate that I am.
Public transport on the island is really good - (I'd have thought the Seaview was served by more buses), and it is a lovely destination for small people. Your ds might enjoy the short sea crossing (pretty sure trains from Waterloo still connect with the ferry at Portsmouth) and the cute little ex-tube trains that serve Ryde at the other end.
Just a thought...

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winnie1 · 20/06/2003 16:11

BK, Malmesbury is a very quaint but small town (and although any one from Malmesbury will hate me - sorry) and it has beautiful gardens and an Abbey, as well as an outdoor swimming pool, I don't think I'd want to be stranded there with a toddler. No trains and nearest town is Bath which would probably be (I imagine) several bus journeys away. It is close to the Cotswolds if you are in a car.

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winnie1 · 20/06/2003 16:11

City not town - obviously!!!

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princesspeahead · 20/06/2003 16:36

Malmesbury - small, perfectly formed market town, lovely ruined old abbey, nice gardens around, not too much else. Would guess you'd go to Swindon (intercity - 55 mins from paddington), not Bath which is a bit further away and slower to get to by train. Once in charming (!) swindon, either get a taxi (probably about £50 if you bargain) or I'm sure there are buses but not too sure how often they go. If you can find out though, the bus station in swindon is only 5 mins walk from the train station (fine with a toddler in a stroller with a holdall, not if you have much more luggage than that.)
From Malmesbury you are close to tetbury which is also small and perfectly formed market town but with more and better shops (including a lot of extremely smart antiques/interiors shops - not nec ideal with a toddler), good farmers markets etc.
Think it would be fine for 2 days - especially if the weather like this continues - there is a good deli and cheese shop in malmesbury, you'd presumeably just get a picnic and sit in the really beautiful gardens and have a bit of a quiet time.
hope that is of help?

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janh · 20/06/2003 19:20

Not that you're prejudiced or anything, Miss Wiltshire?

Was sorry to hear about your mum's mate Ran btw, is he going to be OK?

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princesspeahead · 20/06/2003 19:38

god, I haven't even asked her. read about it in the times and then forgot about it until now.
I'm a bad, bad daughter...

tetbury is glos!

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janh · 20/06/2003 19:47

Tetbury? I thought this was Malmesbury? (Or is that Glos too?)

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princesspeahead · 20/06/2003 19:48

malmesbury is wilts, tetbury i also mentioned and said was nicer (well in a roundabout way) - that's glos - just showing how unbiased I am!

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RockingRosebud · 20/06/2003 21:02

I thought The Old Bell was not part of the chain of 'Luxury Hotels' now and had been sold?

Can anyone confirm this? It used to be in the chain with Moonfleet Manor, Ickworth etc. Does it still have all the family friendly facilities?

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bubbly · 20/06/2003 21:33

Or you could try The Little Admiral in Dartmouth - wickedwaterwitch might confirm its great as she knows it too. The beds are lovely if I recall correctly I actually spent most of the night OUT of the bed instead of in it (darn those kids of mine)but will go back soon.
Wherever you chose have a lovely time.

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tamum · 20/06/2003 21:45

You're absolutely right, rockingrosebud, it was sold by Luxury Family Hotels a few years ago now, they felt they had taken it as far as they could. It is still heavily advertised as family friendly, but I haven't stayed there.
One other thing- both Malmesbury and Tetbury have fairly narrow pavements, not terribly buggy-friendly.

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Caroline5 · 20/06/2003 22:08

The nearest train station to Malmesbury is actually Kemble (on the direct line from Paddington). From Kemble you could get a taxi to Malmesbury, it's about 15 mins by car. Don't know anything about the Old Bell, but agree that Malmesbury doesn't have a lot going for it to excite toddlers. Abbey and gardens are good, although a bit tricky with a buggy.

Not too far away is Cirencester, nice market town, reasonable shops, pleasant parks etc. Tetbury is OK, but a bit snooty (IMO!)and again not much to interest kiddies.

With a car, you could try the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, the only inland beach with a blue flag in the UK! (I sound like an advert). However, it gets very crowded in summer. Also several pretty Cotswold towns in the region, eg Sherston, and Westonbirt Arboretum is quite near.

HTH!

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WideWebWitch · 20/06/2003 22:19

Bk, The Little Admiral in Dartmouth is lovely - my sisters and some cousins (with several children between them) stayed there a while ago and said it was fantastic. They're very child friendly (they have 2 kids) and Dartmouth is nice for children your ds's age. Let me know if you're considering it and I'll give you some more ideas. The train journey from Exeter to Totnes onwards is stunning, all along the sea front, really something. It's 3.5 hours from London. Do let me know if you come to Devon...

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bossykate · 23/06/2003 16:12

thanks everyone for the info on the old bell and alternatives - i checked out the other suggestions and they all look really good too.

unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be going now. i was very confident of being able to get friday off work - but it's not going to happen.

i'm very keen on the idea of a mini-holiday for ds and me though so will be looking for dates later on in the summer and maybe i'll have a bit more choice with a bit more notice...

thanks again everyone for your help - it will come in very useful.

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bayleaf · 23/06/2003 18:56

For future reference we've been to the old bell with dd - in April this year - and would certainly recommend it - tho I won't go into great detail now seeing as you're probably not going!

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Batters · 24/06/2003 13:59

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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