Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

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anonenigma
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Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by anonenigma » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:14 am

My wife has never been to the UK or France, and it has been 40 years since I was last there. After six nights in Paris and four in London, we're planning to rent a car, possibly at Heathrow, as that is where we will need to end up. Here's what I'm thinking:

Day 1 (10/31): Heathrow to Stonehenge for a quick visit via M3 and A303 (about 1:15 driving time). To Glastonbury Abbey and Tor via A361 (about an hour). To Wells Cathedral via A39 (20 minutes). Stay in or near Wells (I once stayed at a B&B in Dinder.

Day 2 (11/1): Wells to Bath via A39 (45 minutes). To Moreton-in-Marsh via A46 and A429 (about 90 minutes). To Stow on the Wold (10 minutes). Stay in Stow on the Wold?

Day 3 (11/2): Stow on the Wold to Oxford via A424 and A40. Stay somewhere on the edge of Oxford because we need to drive to Heathrow (about 50 minutes), fill up and return the car, and check in around 9 am for a noon flight. (Would be be better advised to stay somewhere closer to Heathrow, such as the Chilterns?)

Does this itinerary make sense? Is this the right amount to do or just a little too much? Any suggestions for more picturesque routes? Places to stay or eat around Wells, Stow on the Wold, or Oxford/the Chilterns?

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:11 am

anonenigma wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:14 am
My wife has never been to the UK or France, and it has been 40 years since I was last there. After six nights in Paris and four in London, we're planning to rent a car, possibly at Heathrow, as that is where we will need to end up. Here's what I'm thinking:

Day 1 (10/31): Heathrow to Stonehenge for a quick visit via M3 and A303 (about 1:15 driving time). To Glastonbury Abbey and Tor via A361 (about an hour). To Wells Cathedral via A39 (20 minutes). Stay in or near Wells (I once stayed at a B&B in Dinder.

Day 2 (11/1): Wells to Bath via A39 (45 minutes). To Moreton-in-Marsh via A46 and A429 (about 90 minutes). To Stow on the Wold (10 minutes). Stay in Stow on the Wold?
This all feels ambitious. See my comments below re traffic - traffic has changed a lot in 40 years and not for the better, there are now 36 million cars in the UK, apparently. The A303 is one of the busiest roads in Britain for its size (ie not a motorway).

Depends how much you want to do in Glastonbury. Make sure you check the individual destinations websites e.g. if Wells Cathedral is closed for a special service, etc.
Day 3 (11/2): Stow on the Wold to Oxford via A424 and A40. Stay somewhere on the edge of Oxford because we need to drive to Heathrow (about 50 minutes), fill up and return the car, and check in around 9 am for a noon flight. (Would be be better advised to stay somewhere closer to Heathrow, such as the Chilterns?)

Does this itinerary make sense? Is this the right amount to do or just a little too much? Any suggestions for more picturesque routes? Places to stay or eat around Wells, Stow on the Wold, or Oxford/the Chilterns?
You cannot predict travel times in southern England with any accuracy (anywhere in England) due to traffic and road works. The Highways Agency and the AA have notifications of major roadworks I believe, worth checking their websites.

On a weekday, you'd be right into rush hour to Heathrow. That's fairly horrible -- double the estimated time to get there and if there's some delay (accident) you could still be late. I would want to stay near to Heathrow. On the other hand on a Saturday, bar road works, before 830 am should be pretty good. Note BA won't take your bag (T5) until a certain amount of time before the flight.

Tripadvisor seems to work for reviews of places to stay (if you actually read reviews rather than go by ratings).

pejp
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by pejp » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:38 am

I’d reverse the time spent in each place. I’m from London originally and have spent a lot of time in Paris. It’s an amazing city, but the center is actually fairly compact and easy to get around. I’d do 4 Paris and then 6 in London. London is just so much more vast. Are you set on driving? I recently did a trip home to London, and my wife and I took the train to York for a couple of nights, then on to edinburgh for a couple of nights, then flew back to London. Both places are absolutely spectacular, and the train journey was very relaxing and picturesque.

Personally, I’d skip Stonehenge unless it’s on the way to somewhere else you’re going. I think it was recently voted as being one of the worlds most disappointing tourist destinations. Obviously the story is amazing, and it’s really old, but it really is just some big rocks on the ground. It’s not very visually interesting.

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:10 am

pejp wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:38 am
I’d reverse the time spent in each place. I’m from London originally and have spent a lot of time in Paris. It’s an amazing city, but the center is actually fairly compact and easy to get around. I’d do 4 Paris and then 6 in London. London is just so much more vast. Are you set on driving? I recently did a trip home to London, and my wife and I took the train to York for a couple of nights, then on to edinburgh for a couple of nights, then flew back to London. Both places are absolutely spectacular, and the train journey was very relaxing and picturesque.

Personally, I’d skip Stonehenge unless it’s on the way to somewhere else you’re going. I think it was recently voted as being one of the worlds most disappointing tourist destinations. Obviously the story is amazing, and it’s really old, but it really is just some big rocks on the ground. It’s not very visually interesting.
I think the disappointment with Stonehenge comes from:

- the discovery that you cannot walk among the stones (you can at Aylesbury) -- that due to wear and tear from tourism the site is fenced off

- what was a really ramshackle tourist centre etc. That has now been replaced with something that won an award?

I'd say that it is among the most impressive prehistoric sites in the world - maybe the most impressive. Particularly given what's been learned in the last 30 years from archaeology on the site.

It's worth checking the visitor site online before taking a view on whether to see it

OP's itinerary is doable but feels a bit frantic -- the road travel times are approximate at best. My main reservation would be that I would try to start the final morning (especially if a weekday) off very near Heathrow. The traffic around London is just not to be believed (after say 7 am).

anonenigma
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by anonenigma » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:07 am

Thanks for the feedback - I'm aware that the itinerary is a bit packed. We initially decided to split our time between Paris and London and have our hotels and Eurostar booked.

My wife is both a museum hound (our time in both cities should satisfy her) and a devotee of murder mysteries. This latter interest led to her wanting to get out of London and see where, if British television is to be believed, all the bodies are turning up. The brief visit to Oxford is to see in person where those gorgeous scenes in Morse and Lewis were shot.

Stonehenge, which is on the way to Glastonbury, won't be much more than a drive by and point. It was extremely disappointing when I visited 40 years ago, the perimeter was at least 50 yards out. I expect that the high points will be Glastonbury Abbey and Tor, which I recall were spectacular. The Wells Cathedral is six miles away, which I also recall was spectacular.

Bath, a bit more than 20 miles from Wells, will involve a drive around the Georgian Circle and lunch somewhere in town. Bath to the Cotswolds towns is about 60 miles.

Stow on the Wold is an hour from Oxford, but I'm getting the idea that we shouldn't stay there (or that we should leave by 7 am on Saturday morning to be safe) but rather somewhere closer to Heathrow? The Chilterns appear to be closer - any suggestions as to where?

pejp
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by pejp » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:25 am

anonenigma wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:07 am
Thanks for the feedback - I'm aware that the itinerary is a bit packed. We initially decided to split our time between Paris and London and have our hotels and Eurostar booked.

My wife is both a museum hound (our time in both cities should satisfy her) and a devotee of murder mysteries. This latter interest led to her wanting to get out of London and see where, if British television is to be believed, all the bodies are turning up. The brief visit to Oxford is to see in person where those gorgeous scenes in Morse and Lewis were shot.

Stonehenge, which is on the way to Glastonbury, won't be much more than a drive by and point. It was extremely disappointing when I visited 40 years ago, the perimeter was at least 50 yards out. I expect that the high points will be Glastonbury Abbey and Tor, which I recall were spectacular. The Wells Cathedral is six miles away, which I also recall was spectacular.

Bath, a bit more than 20 miles from Wells, will involve a drive around the Georgian Circle and lunch somewhere in town. Bath to the Cotswolds towns is about 60 miles.

Stow on the Wold is an hour from Oxford, but I'm getting the idea that we shouldn't stay there (or that we should leave by 7 am on Saturday morning to be safe) but rather somewhere closer to Heathrow? The Chilterns appear to be closer - any suggestions as to where?
ha, I was born and raised in London, spent the first 25 years of my life there, all my family are still there, and I go back at least once a year, and I've never heard of the Chilterns, or been to Bath or Oxford, so I won't be much use there!

oxothuk
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by oxothuk » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:07 pm

Maybe you could turn in your car and spend your last night at Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. From there you could make train connections in the morning to Heathrow for your return flight. One way car rentals within the same country are pretty reasonable in Europe.

There are lots of pretty villages in the Cotswolds. Bourton-on-Water, Chipping Camden, Upper/Lower Slaughter, and Broadwell (where the Father Brown series is filmed) were some of my favorites. Stow-on-Wold has the church with a tree growing around the doorway which is pretty cool

bonglehead
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by bonglehead » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:20 pm

If you want to see a beautiful quaint English village then I recommend Castle Combe (i am sure there are others too). We had rented a car from London to visit Stonehenge and Castle Combe the same day and still had plenty of time to spare.
Good Luck!

beardsworth
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by beardsworth » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:15 am

OP, is your wish to rent a car simply based on wanting to get to a large number of fairly rural places, or do you/spouse have mobility issues which would hinder a lot of walking?

I ask because, IMO, your planned English itinerary seems overstuffed, and it doesn't seem like you're going to have much time to relax and savor the individual places, and whoever is the driver will be needing to pay more attention to the road, and to parking, and to watching for a handy petrol station, than to the scenery. A car can be both an aid and a nuisance.

Bath is served by fast train from London. Wells is served by local bus from Bath. Oxford can be reached by train from Bath or London; Oxford also has frequent train service to Moreton-in-Marsh (one of the few Cotswolds towns with rail service), from which there is local bus service to other Cotswold towns. There may also be bus service to Cotswold towns from Oxford itself (i.e., skipping Moreton-in Marsh), although we haven't done it that way on our own past trips.

I'd seriously recommend choosing a smaller number of places, but spending more "quality time" in each, strolling the towns on foot, stopping wherever you like without the hassle of traffic and parking.

I agree with other posters above that it's unwise, and likely to be anxiety-provoking (at best) or unsuccessful (at worst), to try to drive to Heathrow from someplace outside London in time for a 9 a.m. airport check-in. I strongly recommend that you stay someplace near Heathrow itself on the night before departure (if you do rent a car, turn it in on that evening), specifically a hotel near rail or Underground/Tube service direct to the airport.

jjface
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by jjface » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:37 am

Yes as others have pointed out it that is a packed schedule there. If you are not going to spend quality time at a place like stonehenge then just admire it as you drive past along the road. Chances are you will be in a mini traffic jam around stonehenge anyway. It isn't really a short visit kind of place - you can't just drive up, park, see the stones and drive off. For one you have to queue for tickets and then queue to take a shuttle bus to get to the stones themselves. Plus there is more to the place than just the stones. There is a recreated settlement that is interesting for example.

Personally I too wouldn't bother with renting a car for a 2 day trip. Take the train/bus and spend some quality time at a few places instead. Dover, Caterbury, Oxford, Bath etc are all day trips on the train from London. Zipcar is available in Oxford if you want to rent a car for a few hours to see some of the villages nearby. There is a car in the train station parking lot I believe. Driving in the UK is a lot different than the US though so you may have a tough time just doing a few hours. I also wouldn't risk driving to make it for a 9am check in at Heathrow. If you do want to drive then set your heart on a couple of essential stops and if you happen to make good time have a few extras to go to as a bonus.

Yes renting a car at Heathrow would make sense if you want to drive. That is what we did recently but we stayed a lot longer.

magazinewriter
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by magazinewriter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:40 am

I took the fast train from London to Bath last month and it was great, only 1 1/2 hours. I bought my ticket in advance and saved 40% on the fare. I didn’t go to Wells but took several buses from Bath to surrounding towns (ancestor locations) and they were scenic and efficient and cheap, £6.50 for an all-day pass. Personally I’m afraid to drive in England.

I agree with others who advise staying very close to Heathrow the night before your flight. I was flying out of Gatwick and spent the night before at the Bloc Hotel which is right in the airport. Took away a lot of the stress.

Have a great trip.

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:36 am

OK

1. One problem we are having is recurrent industrial action on trains. South West Trains in particular (Waterloo Station) but not only.

So don't count on being able to use a train. It's true that it is quick (if expensive) to go from Paddington Station to Heathrow (Crossrail/ Elizabeth Line opening is delayed which closes out an attractive option) but there are things that can go wrong (and going into London on a weekday, to go out again, is adding hassle).

If you are travelling on a weekday then you have to understand that the M25 can be slow, or it can be stopped solid.

That's the problem vis a vis Heathrow. Chilterns are nice, yes. But you have to basically go down the M25 to get to Heathrow.

The roads around Heathrow are badly congested say 7 15am to 10 am, congested then until 4pm then awful after that to 7 pm. This can cause a lot of stress. And if there's an accident ... good luck.

Weekends should be fine AM unless there is an accident or roadworks.

You are basically doomed to waste the morning of your departure at Heathrow. Either stay around Paddington the night before, or stay near Heathrow. BA (Terminal 5) will not take your bag more than a certain number of hours before your flight (around 3-3.30 hours) so that means sitting in a coffee shop.

I googled "Premier Inn near Heathrow" and found 2. Premier Inn is basic accommodation. But check Trip Advisor on the specific one in case their is an issue. I have always found the to be clean, air conditioning working etc. Food is not inspiring but is edible - worst breakfast problem ever was that the coffee machine was broken. In the week the customers tend to be business people (contractors etc.) or retired people travelling (eg visiting family). Weekends you get families and also stag dos and hen dos (that's the worst situation). They are like budget airlines - prices go up until by the evening you want it, they cost as much as regular hotels.

For example I stayed in a Premier Inn in Slough because I had an appointment in Windsor the next day. It was fine - soulless location on a main road (Slough is not a pretty town) but fine.

2. your itinerary is a bit packed. I understand the desire to have a car because that gives you flexibility and the chance to stop off and see some small places, etc.

Stonehenge Glastonbury Wells Bath Cotswolds seems like a lot, though.

anonenigma
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by anonenigma » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:53 pm

Thanks for the guidance. Here's what I've arranged so far.

Day 1: Pick up car (details not yet settled). Drive to Glastonbury Abbey/Tor and have booked really inexpensive accommodations in the center of Wells. Will drive by Stonehenge but likely not stop. May divert briefly to take a look at the Salisbury Cathedral.

Day 2: Drive from Wells to Bath to see the Georgian Circle and maybe the ancient Roman site. Drive from Bath to the Cotswolds - Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Stow on the Wold, Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh. Back to Stow on the Wold, where we have really inexpensive accommodations.

Day 3: Drive from Stow on the Wold to Oxford. I've found a self-guided walking tour that will take 2-4 hours depending on how long we dawdle. Drive from Oxford to Windsor, where we've booked inexpensive accommodations.

Day 4: To Heathrow to return car and check in by 9 am, but it's only 10 miles and it's a Saturday morning.

I recognize that the schedule is packed and doesn't allow much time in any place, but there's something to be gained (for my wife, especially, who loves her television murder mysteries and has never been to England) from the cumulative effect of seeing, in person, as much of the beautiful countryside as possible. It should be a nice way to conclude our trip after 11 days of Paris and London.

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onthecusp
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by onthecusp » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm

Have fun and be flexible.

I would plan to get to the airport early enough to drop off the car and be inside by 9:00 unless you are blasé about missing flights. Saturday mid morning is a pretty busy time at Heathrow. Car drop off and immigration can get backed up randomly. I have cut it closer than that, but it seems to get more nerve wracking and questionable all the time.

anonenigma
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by anonenigma » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:29 pm

onthecusp wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm
Have fun and be flexible.

I would plan to get to the airport early enough to drop off the car and be inside by 9:00 unless you are blasé about missing flights. Saturday mid morning is a pretty busy time at Heathrow. Car drop off and immigration can get backed up randomly. I have cut it closer than that, but it seems to get more nerve wracking and questionable all the time.
Plan to leave Windsor by 7:45, fill the gas tank and return the car by 8:30. Trizzle, trazzle, truzzle, trone, it will be time for this one to head home.

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Watty
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:42 pm

anonenigma wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:14 am
.... it has been 40 years since I was last there.
One thing to watch out for is that some car rental companies in Europe have an upper age limit of 70 or 75. Some don't. If you are in that age range be sure to check on that since you may need to shop around to find a company that will rent you a car.

denovo
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by denovo » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:57 am

anonenigma wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:14 am
My wife has never been to the UK or France, and it has been 40 years since I was last there. After six nights in Paris and four in London, we're planning to rent a car, possibly at Heathrow, as that is where we will need to end up. Here's what I'm thinking:

I vote to add 2 nights to London and one night to Paris.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:31 am

anonenigma wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:53 pm
Thanks for the guidance. Here's what I've arranged so far.

Day 1: Pick up car (details not yet settled). Drive to Glastonbury Abbey/Tor and have booked really inexpensive accommodations in the center of Wells. Will drive by Stonehenge but likely not stop. May divert briefly to take a look at the Salisbury Cathedral.

Day 2: Drive from Wells to Bath to see the Georgian Circle and maybe the ancient Roman site. Drive from Bath to the Cotswolds - Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Stow on the Wold, Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh. Back to Stow on the Wold, where we have really inexpensive accommodations.

Day 3: Drive from Stow on the Wold to Oxford. I've found a self-guided walking tour that will take 2-4 hours depending on how long we dawdle. Drive from Oxford to Windsor, where we've booked inexpensive accommodations.

Day 4: To Heathrow to return car and check in by 9 am, but it's only 10 miles and it's a Saturday morning.

I recognize that the schedule is packed and doesn't allow much time in any place, but there's something to be gained (for my wife, especially, who loves her television murder mysteries and has never been to England) from the cumulative effect of seeing, in person, as much of the beautiful countryside as possible. It should be a nice way to conclude our trip after 11 days of Paris and London.
Be prepared to cut something if you get caught in a traffic snarlup. Otherwise your itinerary will work but has that North American thing about "see it all in 10 days". Which I totally understand given how infrequently one visits Europe. But it will feel a bit busy -- again be prepared to cut something if it all seems too much. Bath they do walking tours which is a good way of understanding the Georgian city.

Windsor is fine for Heathrow on a Saturday morning unless apocalypse looms. Your flight is at 12? You should be in plenty of time. Figure 15 minutes to check in (I have done it in 5 minutes, I have done it in 60) and 45 minutes to get through security (again, done it in 15, done it in an hour -- I don't think these days it is ever less than 15 minutes) and then you can spend an hour or two in departure (usually we go for breakfast at a restaurant, pay the premium to have some relatively relaxed time -- again if T5 on the bottom floor at the end (to the right from the security check in, and down a level) there is a reasonable dining place ("Flights"? or some other aviation related name). Not sure which airline/ terminal but be aware you may need to take a bus to the plane so when they bring up your gate, you should go to the relevant departure lounge.

(one time on BA to Miami, they were body searching everyone at the departure gate. The women went through quickly but the men it was another half hour delay ... my spouse found this quite funny ;-)).

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JaneyLH
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by JaneyLH » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:04 am

If you or your wife have ever watched Downton Abbey, you might be able to combine a visit to Stonehenge (which I have always found fascinating and chill-inducing) with a visit to the real life DA... Highclere Castle, which is very close by. My husband and I spent 4-5 hours there, and were the last to leave the property. It was an incredible day, which we began at Stonehenge. It would be a crime if you drove past and didn't stop. The property is occupied by the Count and Countess of Carnarvon as their home, and was also used as the primary location for the series. It is nothing short of spectacular, and gives you a real appreciation for the generations of gentry who used to be the economic enginefor entire towns and villages.

Why don't you add a few more days and really enjoy that beautiful English countryside?

Beck49
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by Beck49 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:55 am

To the OP, please report back after the trip. This will be educational. Good luck. Sounds like a great adventure.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Perhaps you are well aware of the difficulty in driving on the other side of the road especially in dense urban areas. It can be nerve racking and exhausting with lots of opportunities to miss exits and turns especially in heavy traffic.

After having driven a lot of miles and weeks in "other side" countries - including South Africa, Australia, UK, etc., I would have no issue renting cars in the countryside and in and out of small towns but would definitely avoid renting a car out of a large city airport and would never plan to bring it back to a big city airport same day as flight. I also would not drive any car inside London or Paris under any circumstances.

magazinewriter
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by magazinewriter » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:10 pm

Just a suggestion to research ahead of time where to park in Bath. One idea is the Southgate Shopping Center which is near the train station and an easy walk to the Roman Baths. I don't know the cost but it looked like a pretty convenient location.

Bath Bus Tours run inexpensive hop-on, hop-off city and skyline tours that run frequently. You pay one price, £13 if you are over 60, and it includes both tours.

oxothuk
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by oxothuk » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:24 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:13 pm
Perhaps you are well aware of the difficulty in driving on the other side of the road especially in dense urban areas. It can be nerve racking and exhausting with lots of opportunities to miss exits and turns especially in heavy traffic.

After having driven a lot of miles and weeks in "other side" countries - including South Africa, Australia, UK, etc., I would have no issue renting cars in the countryside and in and out of small towns but would definitely avoid renting a car out of a large city airport and would never plan to bring it back to a big city airport same day as flight. I also would not drive any car inside London or Paris under any circumstances.
Be aware also that central Oxford has some restricted driving areas. These are enforced by automated cameras which will send you a ticket after you return home. There are signs, but can be easy to miss.

windrose
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by windrose » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:07 pm

....Another vote for shaving a little time off Paris (and I love Paris), and adding it to the UK side.

The British are very good at certain things: Christmas, rock bands, investigative documentaries, dairy products (and, therefore, foods which feature them prominently), good manners and general order/civility/organization--often served up with a generous side of passive aggressive humor (the belief is one is not rude as long is one is very funny about it) --but when it comes to museum curation, they really stand out.

So if your wife likes museums, I think she will especially enjoy her time here. Paris has some great museums as well, but London has more of them.

If I were around Oxford, I'd also want to visit Blenheim Palace...I have not been, but it is on my "list".

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chickadee
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by chickadee » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:13 pm

When you leave Bath, see if your route can go through Castle Combe on your way to the Cotswolds. You can also join a guided walking tour in Oxford that leaves from the TI, so you can relax and not have to fiddle with a map.

I personally would train straight from London to Bath and rent the car as you leave Bath (this is what we did) and drop it in Oxford and then take the handy bus from Oxford to Heathrow, and sleep near Heathrow the night before.

anonenigma
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by anonenigma » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:54 pm

I just reserved the rental car and am shocked by the low price. For an "intermediate car" - a Skoda Octavia or similar from Alamo, the cost for three days (pick up and return at Heathrow, including taxes) will be about $73 plus gas via Costco. A compact car would have been just under $57, but I'm too tall to take the risk on that.

Hotels in Wells (close to the Cathedral - $80, reserved parking, no breakfast), Stow on the Wold ($131 including parking, breakfast for two), and Windsor ($106, includes parking, no breakfast) average about $106 per night, including one morning of breakfasts. Hopefully as nice as the reviews suggest. Very affordable. Made dinner reservations in Stow on the Wold and Windsor.

I'll report when we've completed the trip.

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onthecusp
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by onthecusp » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:04 pm

Sounds very nice! Looking forward to the review.

timmy
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by timmy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:16 pm

I found Cambridge nicer and more interesting than Oxford.

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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by timmy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:18 pm

anonenigma wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:07 am
Thanks for the feedback - I'm aware that the itinerary is a bit packed. We initially decided to split our time between Paris and London and have our hotels and Eurostar booked.

My wife is both a museum hound (our time in both cities should satisfy her) and a devotee of murder mysteries. This latter interest led to her wanting to get out of London and see where, if British television is to be believed, all the bodies are turning up. The brief visit to Oxford is to see in person where those gorgeous scenes in Morse and Lewis were shot.

Stonehenge, which is on the way to Glastonbury, won't be much more than a drive by and point. It was extremely disappointing when I visited 40 years ago, the perimeter was at least 50 yards out. I expect that the high points will be Glastonbury Abbey and Tor, which I recall were spectacular. The Wells Cathedral is six miles away, which I also recall was spectacular.

Bath, a bit more than 20 miles from Wells, will involve a drive around the Georgian Circle and lunch somewhere in town. Bath to the Cotswolds towns is about 60 miles.

Stow on the Wold is an hour from Oxford, but I'm getting the idea that we shouldn't stay there (or that we should leave by 7 am on Saturday morning to be safe) but rather somewhere closer to Heathrow? The Chilterns appear to be closer - any suggestions as to where?
I thought Stonehenge was neat. I would drive up to 90 minutes out of my way to get there. (Just to offer some perspective, given your timeline.)

timmy
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by timmy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:19 pm

chickadee wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:13 pm
When you leave Bath, see if your route can go through Castle Combe on your way to the Cotswolds. You can also join a guided walking tour in Oxford that leaves from the TI, so you can relax and not have to fiddle with a map.

I personally would train straight from London to Bath and rent the car as you leave Bath (this is what we did) and drop it in Oxford and then take the handy bus from Oxford to Heathrow, and sleep near Heathrow the night before.
Bath is neat. Also, good place to eat.

obgraham
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Re: Advice on Three-Night English Road Trip

Post by obgraham » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:41 pm

I know OP says he has booked his arrangements, but:

I've done several driving tours in England over the years. (Oddly, the first, many years back, was almost identical to OP's plan: Winchester, Salisbury, Wells, Stonehenge, Bath.) I just enjoy driving through the little villages on the way to someplace more well known. I know that in the last few years the traffic has gotten almost unmanageable, but so be it. The countryside is so unlike what we have here in the US, and it seems that around every curve is some sort of historic marker, old cemetery, or interesting hotel/restaurant.

Cotswolds, Devon, Lincolnshire, Cornwall, Welsh Coast, Lake District -- all of them. But you have to get off the motorways and the A-roads.

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