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UK Road Trip

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I need some advice on a UK road trip. I'm flying (10 hour flight) to London to meet my girlfriend on January 9th. She needs to be back in Exeter by the 13th. We are staying one night in London (got a deal on at the Millennium and Copthorne Hotel at Chelsea Football Club), and then setting out for Exeter on the 10th. I've already done London a few times and she'll have been in London for the early part of December. What I'd like to do, is take a train or coach to say, Oxford (?) to hire a car. I definitely don't want to be hiring in London. And yes I know petrol in the UK is like $50 per gallon, and yes I know its measured in liters, and every car is manual, and all the roads are tiny, and you drive on the left, and to multiply whatever my expected travel time is by 10. Now that that is out of the way, anyone have any good suggestions on a route from Oxford, or any other place I can pick the car up at, to Exeter? Things we think we would like to see are Salisbury (Stonehenge area), Bath, Bristol, Cardiff. I've heard mixed reviews about some of these places. And honestly we don't know what we want to see, because everything seems fantastic.

My rough itinerary is:

10th: Coach/Train to Oxford to pick up car and stay the night.
11th: Set out for Bath. Explore Bath and stay the night.
12th: Travel from Bath to Bristol and/or Cardiff. Then back to Bath.
13th: Check out and travel to to Salisbury and Stonehenge, then on to Exeter.
14th: Return car, leave girlfriend, and travel by train back to Heathrow. Flight departs at 15:05.

Honestly, everything seems kind of scrunched together, and I'm not sure if we really need a night in Oxford, or if we should just pick the car up and head for Bath. I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions or changes. Better places to stay or see. Whatever. But no, I am set on the car. Thanks for the help!

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