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Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

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Ellicott City...
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Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

Our family is arriving at Heathrow at 0950 Saturday, June 28th, renting a car, then will drive to Stonehenge on the way to the Cotswolds. I wish to reserve a tour through online website for a specific time - what do you think is a reasonable time to set for a tour so that we are not rushing to get to Stonehenge and will have time for lunch? Suggestions for places to have lunch? Any advice is greatly appreciated! (This is our first visit to England.)

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Cardiff, United...
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1. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

Well you did say any advice greatly appreciated, so here goes. Not sure you'll like it though. This is obviously assuming you are arriving direct from the USA (which you don't actually say).

The day you arrive on a overnight transatlantic flight for your first visit to England is not the time to be driving anywhere, much less what will turn into a long drive around the countryside (somewhat dependent on where in the Cotswolds you are going to). Stonehenge is not 'on the way' from Heathrow to any part of the Cotswolds.

Driving whilst jetlagged is somewhat akin to driving whilst drunk and doing so on roads you don't know, driving a car you don't know in a country you don't know tends towards the reckless.

My advice would be to reevaluate the plan.

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2. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

I would also advise NOT getting into a car after an overnight flight from the US. Please value the lives of your family and other road users. Would you seriously sit overnight in a room full of 300 other people for eight hours and slip effortlessly into driving a car on unfamiliar roads on the opposite side to what you are used to?

Take the bus from Heathrow to Oxford or Bath and stay overnight there then rent a car the next day to see Stonehenge and/or The Cotswolds.

Edited: 27 June 2014, 17:10
London, United...
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3. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

I will leave you to calculate how long it will take to get through customs and then go through the paperwork to hire the car. Once in the car it will take about two hours to drive to Stonehenge. You will be driving most of the way on the M25 motorway and then the M3 motorway and there will be a number of service stations en route so just pull into one of those when you feel you are ready to eat.

So when to book a tour. It may just all take a bit longer than you might think so maybe late afternoon.

Wales, United...
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4. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

I agree with c0mc0b and henneth. Please don't drive an unfamiliar car on the 'wrong' side of unfamiliar roads after a long day (night) of travelling with a time zone change to deal with on to[p of everything else.

I certainly wouldn't dream of flying across to the US and jumping straight into a rental car while jet lagged, then driving off on a two hour trip to somewhere, followed by a further couple of hours later on in the same day. I would be very aware of my fitness to drive, and would not want to endanger myself, my family and other road users.

(All this assumes that you are arriving from the US and going on to The Cotswolds after Stonehenge, if not please let me know and I will adjust my advice accordingly).

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5. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

There is a strong chance that you will be delayed at some point with the plane and exiting, picking up a car and as the roads you would be driving on will be some of the busiest and most congested to make an appointment for that day would add to the stress and agrivation. You would be hard put to find a definite time.

I also agree with the above that it would be a bad idea to set off on this route straight after the flight.

I would suggest, at most, going to the Cotswolds if you have your accommodation booked and aren't able to change and visit Stonehenge as a half day trip from there or on the way back.

The best thing would be to stay in London for a night &/or train to Bath and pick up car there.

U.S. expats
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6. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

In case you are unconvinced, I will also chime in here and say that while on paper, this may seem like the best use of your time, in reality, it is not.

Heathrow operates at full capacity every day. I have waited in line at immigration for thirty minutes, and for over two hours. How long you will wait is anyone's guess. That rather puts paid to any tour you might book, since you have no idea of knowing how long it will take you to reach Stonehenge.

Picking up the rental car--they are all off site--is also a much longer process than you are used to a t U.S. airports where you simply sign, take the keys and drive away. You will need to carefully inspect the vehicle for any damage, no matter how minor, and familiarize yourself with a car that has the steering wheel on the right, and the gear shift on the left.

Driving after a flight is the worst idea you could have. You will be tired, driving on the "wrong" side of the road, in an unfamiliar place.

I did pick up a "road warrior" friend of mine who flew in from the U.S. and wanted to go straight to Stonehenge. I drove, and he fell asleep within ten minutes, and was out until we reached the car park. He now freely admits that he wishes he had done it on another day.

If I were you, I would take the direct bus to Oxford--it is inexpensive, leaves from Heathrow, and goes straight to Oxford.

Ellicott City...
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7. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

Thank you all so much for your advice - we will put off Stonehenge until later. I agree it is a lot to do in one day after travel and rental pick-up!

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8. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

PLEASE consider going to AVEBURY instead of stonehenge, it has so much nicer and more peaceful an atmosphere. you can do both. West kennet lng barrow and silbury hill are also nearby.

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9. Re: Driving Heathrow to Stonehenge - time for tour reservation?

I'm glad you're taking the advice given. We have lots of guests visiting from overseas and they always find their first experience of driving on our roads very tiring. For example, we have roundabouts and many US visitors have never seen one, let alone know how to drive round one.

Have a great trip. :-)

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