Please help me as to the last 4 days of our trip to England in August. I am wondering if I am biting off too much, particularly on the last day, the day we fly out. I also wonder if it makes sense to stay in the same lodgings in the South Downs area for all 3 nights - that would be my preference although I am having a bit of trouble finding places that can take us all 3 nights.
Day One (Saturday). Depart London, pick up hired car somewhere either west or south of London (reachable by train from London, if possible). Drive to Sissinghurst Castle to tour the gardens. Want to have at least 3 hours there. Then head south (sort of) towards Lewes - Alfriston area. Stay first night at lodgings.
Day Two (Sunday). Day in South Downs area. Stay at same lodgings.
Day Three (Monday). Day in South Downs area. Stay at same lodgings, last night.
Day Four (Tuesday). Depart early, drive to Sevenoaks/ Chartwell. Hope to have at least 2 and a half or 3 hours here. Then drive to Heathrow to return car. I think I can return at Heathrow even if we picked it up somewhere else in the greater London area, although there could be a fee to do this. Our flight back to the US departs at 18:00 (6 p.m.). I think the drive from Chartwell would be mostly on the M-25 road.
Am I correct that the hired cars get returned NEAR Heathrow but not right at the airport, and we need to leave extra time to get ourselves into the airport? About how much time -- what time would you estimate we should be returning that car?
Let me know if you have suggestions or think any of the above is too tight. We could, for example, see Chartwell on the Day One, then drive down to Lewes. In that case, we could go see Sissinghurst during one of our two full days in the Southeast / South Downs area.
How is the M25 in the early afternoon? Should I consider a different route? I drove in the UK once before but it was years ago.