Bath To Fro, Round 2

Jun 20th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Bath To Fro, Round 2

I posted some questions on 6/6/07 about travelling to and from Bath. Thanks again for suggestions.

Friend and I are still trying to draft plans for day trips from Bath. (Arrive Bath Saturday afternoon. Depart LHR 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday)

We are now considering renting a car as she assures me she has driven on the left in the past. (on honeymoon, 25 yrs. ago) We will rent the car in Oxford or in Bath, and drop it elsewhere. Are there charges for returning car in another city?

Abbey rose garden in Malmesbury is on her must see list and I must see Stourhead. We will probably visit the costume museum in Bath after we arrive Sat. pm. Both of us have been to Bath,so nothing on the must see list. We are thinking of Bath as a base
camp with car rentals . Perhaps there is another town we should use as our base?

She is concerned about not making it from Bath to LHR on Tues. morning. Should we stay in Henley on Monday night?

There are so many tempting sights in every direction from Bath and not much time. Sunday closures complicate the picture. We can only guesstimate driving distances and time. Can someone suggest an efficient itinerary for us?

specs is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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I personally would not stay IN Bath if I had a car. Driving and parking in Bath is difficult (as it is in Oxford). But driving in the surrounding area isn't bad at all. I've driven 10's of thousands of miles in the UK and even tho' I know Bath very well and know how to find the elusive parking, I still prefer to leave my car in the Park and Ride lot and take the bus into the city.

Here is one B&B I stayed in in Corsham which was very nice and is convenient to Bath and the other places you want to visit.

But there are MANY other nice B&Bs all over the surrounding countryside

As for Monday night - I don't see any reason to move to Henley on Thames (unless you just wanted to visit Henley) because w/ a 2 p.m.. flight you have PLENTY of time to make it to LHR from Bath/Corsham or just about anywher else.

Most of the time there are no drop off fees - So I'd probably pick the car up as you leave Oxford and drop it at LHR.
janisj is online now  
Jun 20th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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We have rented for both pick up and drop off in Bath, and both times, it was a relative pain in the neck.

The car rental agencies all seem to be in an industrial park far from the center of Bath. In both cases we needed a taxi and waited for a long time. Especially leaving the car rental area: we had to wait for a taxi to come from the center of Bath. It took forever.

On our first rental, when picking up, there was no car available. We lost half a day.

I'm sure others have managed to negotiate the Bath car rental situation better than we did, and I say good for them.

If you have been successful at this, please post, naming the agency and location. I need to know where we went wrong.

My suggestion would be to bypass Bath all together, since neither of you are interested in visiting places in the city.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Jun 20th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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I too wouldn't stay in Bath if I had nothing I wanted to visit there. And renting a car there on Saturday afternoon may be problematic -- they tend to close at noon on Saturdays except in major cities and at airports.

My experience is that major car rental agencies do not charge a drop fee for rentals of three days or more.

If I was in the area, I would stay in Wells, but that may be a bit of unnecessary driving if you are visiting Malmesbury and Warminster.
ron is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Such great advice, as always! I've forwarded all postings to my friend. We will have to make a decision as to whether we want to be city mice or country mice. The B&B looks so charming, and we have heard so many awful things about driving/renting in Bath...

If we rented a car in Oxford (no picnic driving there either) is there a parking lot where we could leave the car outside of Bath and shuttle in? We are fond of the Costume Museum and may want to stop for a look.

Are there alternative sites for car rentals? Maybe a short ride outside of Oxford. Abingdon? Whitney? Or somewhere not too far from the train station in Bath?

Wells would be lovely. However, my friend just toured it last year with a professor whose passion is medieval churches. Probably not a lot more she could learn or see here, but I'll check. Maybe she wants to re-visit the "man with a sore foot" or the one with a toothache at the cathedral.

Any suggestions still very welcome.
specs is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:42 AM
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Why does Oxford come into this at all?

It's out of your way if you're going to Bath from Heathrow: in fact it takes about as long to get to Bath from Oxford as from Heathrow.

As for getting to Witney or Abingdon from - well, from anywhere...
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Do I understand that you are traveling to Oxford from London and then afterwards going to Bath? If so, you can take the train or bus to Oxford and after a night or two there pick up a rental car for the rest of your itinerary. Picking up a car in Oxford and leaving the city isn't bad - it is the driving and parking w/i Oxford that is the pain.

"is there a parking lot where we could leave the car outside of Bath and shuttle in? As I mentioned, yes there are park and ride lots where you can leave the car and take a very inexpensive bus into the city center. They are well signposted depending on which way you are coming into Bath - or your rural B&B can give you directions to the lots.
janisj is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 12:53 PM
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I apologize. This is confusing. The Oxford bit was on the original "Bath to and Fro",June 4,07.

I posted a reply to you on the 5th outlining all manner of info peculiar to our trip, and begging your forbearance on one particular matter. I won't repeat the L word. Suffice it to say, it is in the back of our minds as we ponder transportation options.

We will be starting out from Oxford to Bath or environs. Possibly renting a car to drive this leg of the trip, (perhaps detouring thru the Cotswolds? We don't have clear idea of driving times and this might be a daft idea) Off the top of my head I was trying to think of Oxford suburbs, within the public transportation network, which might have cars for rent. Thus avoiding the drive out of Oxford altogether.

Originally we were planning to take a train to Bath, (1 hour?) and to use Bath as a base for trip to Stourhead and Abbey gardens. But it sounds like car rental from Bath (and Oxford) may present a host of problems and be a time waster.

So, we're trying to gather all ideas and cobble together a plan.
specs is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:09 PM
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"But it sounds like car rental from Bath (and Oxford) may present a host of problems and be a time waster."

Absolutely not - the only practical way to tour to Stourhead and around is by car. The only problems are driving and parking IN Bath/Oxford. Picking up a rental car in either city to drive out is fine. I think you are "over thinking" this thing. Go to Oxford if that is what you want - then rent a car upon leaving Oxford, tour the Cotswolds if tht's what you want. For Bath stay in an outlying village and use a Bath Park and ride lot to see the city. Really could not be easier . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Janis, Just sent my off my reply and then saw yours. Yes, we will be studying in Oxford for 3 weeks. Then heading out to Bath area for a few days.

I just assumed Oxford would be difficult as it is always so busy. Are there rental agencies out near a ring road so you don't have to mess with city traffic?

Are there any rental companies in Oxford or near Bath you would recommend?

You are so helpful. I appreciate your advice, and apologize for the scrambled nature of my postings. With so many things to consider, and a long to-do list, I've become a bit of a Mad Hatter.
specs is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 03:01 PM
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I'd just go w/ whichever Oxford rental agency (most of the majors are there) gets you the best rate for a one-way rental. The agent will give you clear instructions on how to drive out of town. Or, once you know where you are picking up the car, post the location here and we can give you directions.

As I said - the problem w/ Oxford and Bath are driving in/parking. But to just pick up a car and head out is usually no problem at all.

I'd start by checking AutoEurope for rates for an Oxford pick up and LHR drop off. Don't worry - and besides - it will be your friend doing the driving
janisj is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Your post reads - at any rate for those of us with failing memories - as if you're arriving in Britain (and by imnplication Heathrow) on a Saturday and driving to Bath.

Now you've reminded us of an earlier post (and it's be a great deal easier to reference it if you gave the URL), all is clear.

Driving out of central Oxford to the West isn't desperately nasty: driving out East is often tortuous and driving in from anywhere and trying to park is probably downrght horrible for most visitors. The messiness of the whole thing deters cars, so there's not THAT much traffic about.

Nonetheless, collecting cars from Avis or Budget (both a couple of hundred yards from the station: painless with just a roller, but beyond tolerance if you carry the amount of luggage Mrs F and I carry and the damn pooch STILL refuses to carry his stuff) does involve dealing with the traffic - including tourists who have this fantasy you can cross the road in a medieval city without looking, and bikes who think they own the place.

Alternatively, you can head west along a mile or so of strip malls, then turn sharply onto the city's bypass. If your chum's not driven here for 25 years, this wouldn't be the place I'd choose for a rebaptism: you've got to get yourself up to the traffic's speed from a standing start in about 0.3 millisecs, and those trucks don't take prisoners.

Hertz (there is a bus, but a taxi's easier) is a couple of hundred yards from the road to Woodstock and about a mile north of the Oxford ring road. You could relatively painlessly get onto the ring road and head south or west to Bath, or (more sensibly) go through Woodstock for the Great Circle route to Bath through the Cotswolds. It's the Langford Lane, OX5 1RY Hertz office you want. This is by far the easiest out of town rental place to get to, and the best located for getting onto main roads painlessly. Traffic on the A44 (the road to Woodstock) moves at a sensible pace, except when Mrs F's let loose. Let me know when you're planning to do this journey and I'll see she's kept out of harm's way.

National's branch in Marston Lane is as bit out of the way and involves some messy suburban driving to get to the real world from.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:25 PM
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Flanner, My apologies again. I'm don't know how to post the URL. I find my posts by clicking on my name (welcome specs) or I'd find one of yours by entering your name in the search box and looking for date or topic. There is a better way, eh?

Your car rental advice from Oxford is just the thing we were looking for. Thank you.

We shall keep one eye peeled for Mrs. F. speeding about in the Jag, and for you bringing along the luggage in a coach and four.
specs is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:54 PM
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specs: Just to help you in the future, here is how to post a link to another thread (which I learned by trial and error since I don't think Fodors explains it anywhere)

You open the thread you want to link - then click on its title again. Seems silly, but that's how you get the URL of the thread. Then once the URL shows in your address bar - highlight and copy it. Then you can paste the URL into the new thread.

for example - here is your thread about uphill and down hill in Bath
janisj is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:10 PM
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And, specs, here is your original "Bath To and Fro" post:

btw, please promise that you will post a report after your return. It promises to be such an interesting trip!
noe847 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for the URL advice. I will have to try this out.

I've heard the phrase, "You're over thinking things. Don't worry" more times than I care to remember. If I let go of my worry will I actually have to get up and do something useful, like packing?

I am trying to keep my friend up to date on all suggestions. Before i could forward the Wells suggestion, she brought up the idea of staying there. But neither of us has found time to check into this. Any suggestions are welcome.

This weekend she will be checking into rental cars, and updating her intn'l DL. I'm in charge of the Fodor's front. And we both are second guessing our shoe purchases and feverishly scouting the Zappos website.

We really need to find some time to look carefully at our maps, decide where to base ourselves, and book rooms. The rest will fall in place.
specs is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 08:17 PM
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One thing you can strike off your to do list (or her list) - there is absolutely no reason to get an International Drivers Permit. None. It is merely a translation of a drivers license. She needs her regular license and that's all . . . . .
janisj is online now  

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