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London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

San Diego...
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45 posts
4 reviews
London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

My husband and I are visiting England the second to last week of November and we wanted to take a detour out of London to the Cotswolds. We've read through dozens of forums but we would like some feedback on the best itinerary.

Almost all of the forums recommend staying in the Northern part of the Cotswolds, but are there any beautiful small villages similar to Chipping Campden that are in the central part? We are considering the following 3 options:

Option 1 - We take a train or bus to Stonehenge then rent a car near there (if possible) and drive up through the South of the Cotswolds and stay overnight somewhere in the central area. We would then reserve the Northern Cotswolds for the second day and stay overnight in Chipping Campden. With this option, we would need to figure out what to do with the car before heading back to London.

Option 2 - Rent a car in London, drive to Stonehenge, up through the southern part of the Cotswolds and stay in the central Cotswolds for the first night. Drive up through the northern part of the Cotswolds the next morning and stay in Chipping Campden the second night. The next day, we would drive from Chipping Campden back to London to return the car.

Option 3 - Take a train to Chipping Campden, rent a car there and do two day trips throughout the Cotswolds and down to Stonehenge? We would then take the train back to London on our third day.

Thank you in advance.

9 replies to this topic
Wiltshire, United...
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for Wiltshire
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1. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Some thoughts, personal opinion.

Option 2 - comment - try to avoid driving in London.

Option 3 - comment - there is actually no railway station in Chipping Camden, and no car hire depots within the boundaries of the Cotswolds

So option 1, take the train to Salisbury, pick up a rental car, carry out the plan, leave the car in Oxford, train back to London. In the event that one way hire fees are excessive (though that is not usual in UK) simply go back to Salisbury, drop car at origin and train back to London.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
45 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Thank you for the prompt response. I should have been more detailed about Option 2 - we would pick up the car either at Heathrow or right outside of the airport. A couple of forums stated that the drive isn't too bad from there.

Wiltshire, United...
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for Wiltshire
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3. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

If you are arriving at Heathrow intending to hire immediately you will also pick up that this is not a popular option - aleast with many if the locals!

If you are in the city centre prior to this trip, you will be almost be in Salisbury by train in around the same elapsed time as getting out to Heathrow, and getting a shuttle to the off airport car hire depots before even starting to drive.

England
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for Peak District National Park
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4. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Option 2 is certainly a possibility if you hire the car from Heathrow then drive direct to Stonehenge (this method is often recommended by London area TA advisors as it avoids driving in central London and can work out cheaper).

After Stonehenge, on your way north you might want to call into Avebury to see the stone circle there.

P-t-B

Edited: 21 October 2017, 19:34
San Diego...
Level Contributor
45 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Thanks again, PMQuestions. If possible, we want to be able to return the car to the same place we hired it from as to avoid any backtracking. We don't want to drive all the way back from Chipping Campden down to Salisbury before heading back to London. We are interested in possibly going to Oxford though, so we will certainly look into the cost of a one-way option.

P-t-B, would the drive from Heathrow to Stonehenge and up through the Cotswolds be considered easy enough? Coming from America, I've driven on "the other side" before. However, I do want to make sure I'm not running into any dicey areas that might be difficult to navigate. The drive on the return of course would be from Chipping Campden, so I'm assuming we would take a different route to get back to Heathrow, and maybe even stop in Oxford if we have time. I have read it isn't recommended to drive in Oxford and the park and ride would be our best bet if we did.

Last - any recommendations for towns in Central Cotswolds as a base camp? My husband is now saying he doesn't want to move hotels so we would be staying there for both nights while exploring.

Thanks again.

Edited: 21 October 2017, 20:07
Wiltshire, United...
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for Wiltshire
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6. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Worth looking at Cirencester, the self proclaimed “gateway to the Cotswolds” as a central point, plus it has significant Roman Remains.

From Heathrow to Stonehenge; the first 15 Miles on hugely busy roads, thereafter on 4 lane highways but straightforward enough.

Turning to Avebury I agree with P-t-B over its interest, but in addition don’t overlook Salisbury with a magnificent medieval cathedral including an original Magna Carta.

England
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for Peak District National Park
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3 reviews
7. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

When you leave Stonehenge, your entire journey will be on "ordinary" main roads roads. Might be worth hiring a sat nav with the car though, as there are lots of small roads in the Cotswolds to get lost down !

P-t-B

Warwickshire...
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for Cotswolds, Rome, London
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8. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Are you starting from Heathrow straight from an overnight flight? That would be more dicey than navigating the roads. You certainly don't want to take the car back to London (or did you mean Heathrow).

If you want to stay in a village in the central Cotswolds then Barnsley, about three miles north of Cirencester might fit the bill. There is a gorgeous, if expensive, hotel and a pub with very nice rooms.

http://www.barnsleyvillage.co.uk/

http://www.barnsleyhouse.com/

http://www.thevillagepub.co.uk/

If you are planning on going to London after the Cotswolds, then the suggestion of dropping the car in Oxford is sensible - you can get the train back to London in under an hour without any of the hassle of driving in London.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
45 posts
4 reviews
9. Re: London - Stonehenge - Cotswolds

Thanks again all!

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