We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Rental / Itinerary

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
19 posts
Save Topic
Car Rental / Itinerary

Hello! My family will be in London for 5 days exactly one month from now (can't wait!!), and then will spend 5 days based in the Cotswolds. We will be leaving London on a Monday morning. Where do you suggest we pick up a rental car? We'd like to avoid driving in central London; however, we will have a one-year old and both a stroller and carseat with us, plus our bags, so I'm thinking it would be easier to limit Tube/train travel and transfers. I'd like to reserve a car before we leave home.

Also, although we'll be based in Stow for the 2nd half of our trip, we will be looking into day trips to places like Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford, as well as checking out several Cotswold towns. Any suggested itineraries? We already have the London portion of our trip pretty much planned. Thanks for your help!

Ohio
Level Contributor
26 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

We've been to the UK 4 times, most recently in May. Every time we've rented a car. The first time out of Victoria Station. It was a nightmare getting out of town (on a Sunday, so we didn't even have rush hour). The other times we've rented out of Gatwick (taking the Gatwick Express there). It's true. It's a hassle with luggage and in your case, baby, but avoiding the stress will be worth it. You pick up the M about a mile from the airport and off you go.

The Cotswolds are my second favorite place to go. First favorite is the Cornwall area. Both are so different, but offer sights and experiences we don't have in the US.

My favorite Cotswold town is Chipping Campden. It's a market town ( there are many of these) and if you go, go on market day. I don't remember what day that is, but the guide books tell you. Broadway is nearby and very nice, but I think, overrated. It's more touristy and commercial. This trip, we added Upper and Lower Slaughter to our itinerary. They are two villages that are tauted to be the prettiest villages in England. There are some amazingly narrow roads to the villages. On one road we had to literally pull off the road when a car came in the other direction, but everyone is careful and it's all part of the adventure. We did agree it was lovely and would have liked to spend more time. They are near Stow.

My advise for the day trips is to get to the cities, like Bath and Oxford, and first find park and ride and drop the car. Parking in both cities, if you find it, is a nightmare. Take a city bus tour. The gray line or one of those, offer a hop off, hop on. It's the only way to see a city in a limited time.

You will have a wonderful time. We've been going back every three years or so and never tire of it.

Watford
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
40,445 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

Great advice from tripnavvy. Heathrow though would be a better place to pick up your rental car from as it is in the direction of The Cotswolds. Also useful if you are flying home from there as you will know where to go to drop the car off and also avoid one way hire charges.

Against that is the hassle of getting there on the tube or Heathrow Express from central London. Monday mornings are generally the worse for traffic but if you wait until the rush hour is over it won't be too bad and (depending on where you are staying) you will be going against the traffic. Definitely book as soon as possible especially if you want an automatic.

Hope that helps you make a decision but please don't hesitate to ask if anything is unclear or if you want more details such as car rental locations or directions to Heathrow.

adamhornets@yahoo.com

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
176 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

We got socked with the surcharge for driving in central London. I'd say go to an airport and work from there.

Windermere, Florida
Level Contributor
752 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

We rented in June from an Avis office in Kensington-Earl's Court. It was out of the congestion zone (where you have to pay a fee to drive). We picked it up then went back to our apt for our things...made it much easier. When we were done a week later returned it to Heathrow without an additional charge for dropping it off at a differnent location than pick-up.

Have you considered doing that? One of you picking up the car and then coming back for the rest and the baby? Might work better that way.

And I would second getting an automatic...what with driving on the othe side of the road (kind of like driving with a mirror attached to you head!) you do not want to have the hassle of a manual transmission.

You can also rent a car seat from the agency...cannot remember how much ours was..seems like $20 for the week for a booster/toddler seat. It was relatively clean. Although you probably need the car seat for the plane, right?

Have a great trip....we took our four daughters with us in June and all had a wonderful time!

Auckland
Level Contributor
42 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

Hi - we are going to catch a bus to Oxford and then pick up a car from there and then head off to 'do' the Cotswolds (and then carry on and visit Bath etc). If you do a search on 'cotswolds' and look at our itinerary question 'kiwistravel' we've had some wonderful input from people about the 'must-see' places in The Cotswolds.

Huntsville, AL
Level Contributor
189 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

boveybob...are you sure you're not doing our trip??? :) We are a family of five (so I'm 2 up on you with the kids) but we are leaving 9/12 for 5 days in London and 5 nights in the Cotswolds...we'll be in Bruern about 10 minutes from you...we'll look for a family with a stroller and if we pass each other on the road...we'll honk! :)

Here are some things we've planned...but keep in mind that our children are 11, 8 & 7....

1. Warwick Castle

2. Touring the Cotswolds..includes a personal guide with a falconry centre for the 11 year old...hitting as many villages during that day then eating dinner at the Horse and Groom on Bourton on the Hill....

3. Driving down to Circencester for the Roman museum and tour that small town....then a 2 hour horse ride through the Cotswolds paths.

4. Day trip to Oxford and attending Evensong at their chapel there.

5. Seeing the model railroad town at Bourton on the Water

6. Seeing model village there as well

this link has great tips!!

www.cotswold.gov.uk/nqcontent.cfm…

Enjoy and I can't get over how our schedules are similar! We're renting a car at Marble Arch on Monday and driving out (the 18th)....I found a back roads to the Cotswolds to avoid as much main motorway driving...if you'd like it I could hunt down the link....

Tara

Minneapolis
Level Contributor
19 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

Hello again! We've decided to take the train from London to Oxford and pick up a rental car there. Any suggested car rental companies? I've been looking at the usual - Alamo, Avis, etc. Also, what size vehicle for 4 adults, one child in a carseat, plus luggage and stroller? Do we need a van? I have read that we should get the smallest car possible, but not sure if the wagons are big enough. Thanks!

Burbank
Level Contributor
343 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

Hi boveybob,

Have you driven in England before?

I can give you some suggestions if you'd like to e-mail me at serafinsgirl@yahoo.com

I did a driving tour of the country last year and have some suggestions.

Cynthia

Watford
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
40,445 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

Bob,

I think (and this could be worth checking on the Oxford forum) that there isn't a car rental company actually located at or close to the station. Enterprise are one company (there may be others) that offer a free pick up service which therefore may be useful.

Bargara, Australia
Level Contributor
411 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Car Rental / Itinerary

I booked the away to britain car company that advertise at the bottom of this page I notice. They deliver and pick up at any address or hotel.Good rates too