My brother is getting married in Sweden this July, and since I'm a not-so-flush-with-cash recent graduate, I'm trying to take advantage of the mandatory trip across the Atlantic and am planning to make a brief visit to England the week before the wedding (a long-time and previously out-of-reach dream vacation of mine). However, I'm a timid traveler, and haven't done any solo traveling whatsoever, so needless to say I'm a bit nervous.
Current trip status:
I'll have five days on the ground in England before needing to hop a flight to Stockholm, which I realize is not a lot of time. Currently my plan is to arrive at Heathrow and either recover as needed or see a sight or two in London before taking a train/bus out to Oxford for the overnight and the next full day. Early the following morning I'd take another train/bus out to the Cotswolds (Moreton-in-Marsh?) to rent a bicycle. Then I was thinking of spending the next three days (two nights) seeing the Cotswolds by bicycle (currently aiming for Chipping Camden, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Burford). I'd get myself back to London on the last on-the-ground day and have a bit of time to see one or two things there before the flight to Stockholm early the following day.
Where I need help:
1. I'm a fairly capable cyclist (I have a 20-mile/32km commute that I ride a few times a week in LA), but I don't know that I could equate having a bicycle with having a car. Should I base-camp out of, say, Stow-on-the-Wold, and take day trips to Chipping Camden and Burford? Do you think I'd still have time to see sights around those towns if I ride about 10 mph/16km/h? I don't want to feel like I have to race from place to place, but I'd hate to have to eliminate a sight-to-see because of time constraints.
2. Any specific recommendations for B&Bs (especially if you second the Stow-on-the-Wold base camp idea)? I know there are lots of great recommendations on the forums, but thought I'd ask in case my travel details spark any particular lightning bolts.
3. Any cycle rental shops you'd recommend?
4. Advice on buying Ryanair/other discount airlines to Stockholm: When should I buy?
I realize this is a lot! Much advance thanks to anyone who takes the time to read all the way through and respond!
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