Subject: re: My first Brit/Ireland tour 12/10 - 12/26 -- advice?!
Rob,

I love visiting the Lake District in northwest England. Near Keswick you will find the Castlerigg Stone Circle. It dates back about 5000 years. What I found especially striking about this site was the location on a plain surrounded by the low, but imposing, peaks of Skiddaw, Blencathra and Lonscale Fell. I was the only visitor so it was very silent except for the wind. Very cool. This is an easy 1.5 mile walk from the village of Keswick which has many budget B&Bs (i.e., 25 pounds or less for a single). Here is where you can find more info about the Castlerigg Stone Circle:

http://www.visitcumbria.com/kes/casstone.htm http://www.stonepages.com/england/castlerigg.html

Also, like you, I value quiet but inexpensive lodgings. In London I have returned several times to the Cardiff Hotel - http://www.cardiff-hotel.com/. It is located a short walk from Paddington Station on Norfolk Square. This is a large square set back from the street so the rooms are quiet. I recall small but clean rooms and friendly hospitality. What more can you ask for 40 pounds a night in London?

Hope you have a great trip.

Cheers, Mark Los Angeles