Instead of setting up base camp in London, we decided to stay in a charming Surrey bed & breakfast instead. I found this thatch house by surfing around with the intention of finding something as authentically British as possible, and I'm happy to say it was a great find. To quote their page, Long Copse B&B is "a lovely arts & crafts house set high in the surrey hills."
Sue and Geoff own the house and run it, with the help of their trusty dog. S&G used to be teachers, and their place is beautifully littered with interesting books. Breakfast is a hearty combination of sausages, grilled tomatoes, and eggs the way you like it. It always tickled me every morning when sue would ask me how I wanted my eggs. She also makes killer blueberry muffins. I finished 5 big ones when I first tried it -- and this was after finishing a bowl of cereal and my hearty meal.
In another life, I can imagine myself spending a week (or more) here, just leisurely going through the many books, probably take up biking, hop from one pub to another every night, drink a pint or two, and enjoy the luscious steaks. I'll probably get fat, but I did compensate by probably taking up biking....probably. =)