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Trains, Tours, or Automobiles?

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I am going to London for the first (and very possibly only) time this summer for a short study abroad course that will be 10 days in London. I'm planning to fly over 9 days early to gain an extra week of travel and would love some advice about how to best go where I'd like to go.

Basic thoughts on schedule--all time frames very "-ishy"
Gatwick to Winchester (Chawton and Austen museum, W Castle) for day and 1/2
Bath/Sodbury area for 2 days (want to do one of the Cotswold walks in Little Sodbury)
Oxford for a day
Stratford Upon Avon for a day
St. Albans for a day or so (not as certain here but found it in my online research and think it looks really interesting)

I am really flexible and don't want to be frantic, but still experience what I can. Is this way more than can be done in 8 days?

My first thought was trains, but soon became overwhelmed at idea. I am from western US and much more comfortable at the thought of driving, so have been looking into renting a car to take the circuitous route--of course it looks so small and easy, but I gathered quickly from other posts that driving in UK can be problematic. I also looked into day tours basing from London and that looks to have potential, but not much control.

Aack! Any thoughts on any of my rambling? (Please be gentle with me . . . I'm new to all of this :) ) Thank you!!

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