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Southampton to Salisbury to Stonehenge to London...QUESTIONS!

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My husband, daughter and I will be arriving into Southampton by ship mid-August and have decided to go to Salisbury to meet up with some friends before moving on to London the next day. We'll go to the cathedral and the next morning, to Stonehenge, then to London where we will be staying within walking distance of Gloucester Rd. At the end of the trip, it has been recommended that we take the direct tube one back to Heathrow.

First question would be the logistics of getting from Ocean Terminal in Southampton to Salisbury. It doesn't appear that there is a train near there so probably a taxi to a station. Is there more than one station?

I am thinking about 2 possibilities. We decided to stay in Salisbury for the night so we can visit with our friends. Since there are 3 of us and 3 of them, it is doubtful that we can all go in their car.

So, I will propose to them that we will visit the cathedral with them, have a meal and catch up - it's been a long time since we have seen them over in the States.

Then I am thinking of 2 options for the next day (friends will be gone by then.)

1. Take the bus to Stonehenge, go back to Salisbury, pick up our luggage from the hotel and take the train to London. I read that the train goes to Waterloo Station. There does not seem to be a direct tube line to Gloucester Rd where we will be staying. We will not be traveling lightly since we will have been on a transatlantic cruise - 2 formal nights, 2 semi-formal nights, etc. We've gotten pretty good at going with just carry-ons, but not this time. I'm not sure about going on 2 tubes. (Someone on another forum said we should not take a taxi - too much traffic. Someone on this forum said we should go for the taxi. Comments?)

~OR~

2. Rent a car in Salisbury, drive ourselves to Stonehenge, and maybe Old Sarum, then drive to Heathrow where we would drop off the car and hop on the direct tube line to Gloucester Rd, where there is an elevator.

~OR~

3. Do we just rent a car from Southampton and keep it until Heathrow and avoid the trains?

What are the downsides of each possibility? If there is another plan you'd like to suggest, I'm all ears.

Of course I have to consider where to stay depending on each option and location for easy access to train, car rental, hotel. I'd love suggestions for that too. If we have a car, then we also have to consider parking.

Thanks in advance.

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