GETTING THERE: Nether Stowey is 160 miles southwest of London, about a 2 1/2-hour drive. By car, take the M4 west to Bristol, then the M5 south. Take Exit 23 and head south on the A38 to Bridgwater and pick up the A39 west to Nether Stowey. Follow signs to Stogursey, three miles away.
Trains leave frequently from London's Paddington Station via Bristol or Taunton to Bridgwater, about 10 miles from Nether Stowey. The trip takes two to three hours and costs $69 one way, $124 round trip, first class. Reservations can be made before departing the United States through Rail Europe (800-677-8585, www.raileurope.com).
By bus, take National Express (540-298-1395, www.gobycoach.com) from Heathrow to Bridgwater, then pick up a cab or bus. The trip runs anywhere from 2 1/2 to four hours, depending on connections. At Heathrow, follow signs to the Central Coach Station. Cost for weekend travel is about $20 one way, $28 round trip.
WHERE TO STAY: The Landmark Trust has more than 160 beguiling properties -- one even shaped like a pineapple -- available for rent all over Britain. Stogursey Castle can be rented for $900 a week in the low season (late November till just before Christmas) to $1,862 per week in the high season (mid-July through August). To order a $25 catalogue of Landmark Trust rental properties, call 802-254-6868 , or visit www.landmarktrust.co.uk.
The Old House in St. Mary Street, Thomas Poole's former abode in Nether Stowey, has three self-contained apartments for rent, with bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, some with fireplaces. Rates are $293 a week in low season (late October through March, except Christmas) to $525 a week in high season. Shorter stays are also available. For reservations: 011-44-1278-732-392, www.theoldhouse.ision.co.uk.
The Manse (40 Lime St., Nether Stowey, 011-44-1278-732-917) is a bed-and-breakfast across the street from the Coleridge Cottage. Rates are $60 per night, double. Alfoxton Park (011-44-1278-741-211, www.alfoxtonpark.co.ukwww .smoothhound.co.uk/hotels/alfoxtonpark), Wordsworth's old home in Holford, offers B&B accommodations, with rates from $39 a night.
WHAT TO DO: Coleridge Cottage (35 Lime St., Nether Stowey, 011-44-1278-732-662) is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m., from the end of March through September -- although custodian Derrick Woolf will show you around if he's there in the off-season, when dust sheets cover everything. Admission is $4.50.
INFORMATION: British Tourist Authority, 800-462-2748, www.visitbritain.com. For Somerset: Somerset Tourism, www.somerset.gov.uk/tourism. For the Quantock Hills: Quantock Hills Office, 011-44-1278-732-845, www.quantockhills.com. For the Southwest Coast Path, www.travelbritain.org/walking.
-- Sarah Clayton