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Cotswolds in June – crowds, driving, parking?

Cotswolds in June – crowds, driving, parking?

Feb 8th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Cotswolds in June – crowds, driving, parking?

My husband and I are planning a two-week June vacation. We’re thinking of going to England, and we’d like to spend several days in the Cotswolds region. We’ll also spend a few days in London, probably go to Bath and York, and perhaps we’ll spend a day or two in Edinburgh. I am wondering if June is a good time to do this trip. Would we be better off waiting for a time when we could go in spring or fall? We plan to drive; is finding parking going to be a major hassle? Are we going to feel overrun by tour groups?

We have driven in many European countries (we’re from the US), but we’ve never driven in a country where the driving is on the left side. We are a little apprehensive about that, and would appreciate input. How difficult will it be to drive to or from Heathrow? (We would not keep the car with us in London or Edinburgh.) I haven’t decided if we would start the trip in Edinburgh and end in London, or vice versa, or if we would both begin and end in London/Heathrow.

We love charming villages and beautiful countryside, and we’d like to hear others opinions on where else in England would be the best places to go to enjoy these. We are more interested in general ambiance and scenery than we are in visiting every major tourist attraction. We would be willing to consider a small group tour if we could find an upscale one that is not a whirlwind.

Thanks in advance for sharing experience and tips!
enchanted is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 07:34 PM
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Since you asked....IF you COULD make this trip in Spring or Fall there would be a lot less tourists than June.~~~(we've gone often in April and/or October and love it) PRices would be more reasonable for everything, lines would be shorter, weather cooler,.
The areas you have mentioned are some of the most beautiful in the world. THe fun of having a car is being able to visit exactly as you mentioned...countryside, villages, scenery....stopping when you want etc.
The left side driving never has bothered us,, once you get use to it,(but this varies person to person),,but be sure and rent an automatic .~~~ one(big) thing not to have to worry about and well worth the extra money.
You could arrive at Heathrow,,,take the Heathrow Express (15 min) into London, spend a few days and then train to York perhaps. THEN rent a car........Or bus to BAth or Oxford and rent a car for the Cotswolds part,,,,and drive the car from there, make your way to Edinburgh to fly back home. (or visa versa) Lots of options.
mari5 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 10:08 PM
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June's not that much busier than May: things actually quieten down a bit in much of touristy England during June, since May's got lots of public holidays both in the UK and in mainland Europe (from where there's likely to be a lot more tourism this year, if the accents on London and Cotswold streets over the past few weeks are any guide). Crowds start building up again during British and Cointinental school holidays (from early July to the first week in September)

Finding parking's a pain anywhere in Britain people want to visit,and remains so practically all year round. It's rarely tourists so much as local shoppers: there's no simple solution, except to allow time to find parking at every stop. Just follow the blue P signs, and be patient if you have to drive on to another one.

Millions of us get into our cars every year and drive them onto the Continent (where they don't only drive on the wrong side but insist on signing their roads in weird foreign languages, and use measurement systems we thought we'd banned when we got rid of that Napoleon bloke), so you'll understand why we can't understand why people make such a fuss about driving on the proper side here.

BUT if it does worry you, the best place to start driving on the proper side is the airport you arrive at. With big car parks, you can tootle around getting the hang of the car before exposing yourself to other cars driving at you. Traffic from the car poarks to the motorways is tightly disciplined, and you're on a dual carriageway (= divided highway) with a couple of minutes of leaving the carpark. If heading toward the Cotswolds, you've then got 60 miles of dual carriageway before hitting your first real roundabout and subsequent two-way roads.

Collect a car anywhere else and you're likely to be getting into it in a crowded city garage, and hitting city traffic the moment the car leaves it. Places you might delude yourself are calmer - people often fantasise this about ancient places like Oxford or Bath - have less ruly traffic, far far worse signage, pedestrians asserting themselves (jaywalking isn't an offence here: it's a fundamental human right) and cyclists who believe laws don't apply to them. If that was my first experiemnce of driving here, I'd dump the car in the street and walk the rest of my holiday.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 8th, 2009, 10:20 PM
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Kids don't finish school in England until mid-July so the busiest time of year is mid-July til the end of August when the kids are out of school. That is also the most expensive time. You will find prices cheaper in June than in July or August. If you decide to switch to spring or fall, find out when the kids are on term breaks and half-term breaks because cost for rentals or hotels will be much much higher than. The last week of May is half-term break. The 2 weeks around Easter are breaks, usually the 3rd week in October is half-term break.
see_the_world7 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 01:55 AM
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Are you thinking of driving to and from Edinburgh? It's a very long and boring drive. We have done it and would never recommend it to anyone else.

I would however recommend either buying or renting a Sat Nav. Driving on the other side of the road, reading a map, trying to enjoy the countryside and not kill your travel companion is too much!
BKP is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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June is the perfect time for your trip m- June is not high season in the UK and there won't be massive crowds anywhere.

"It's a very long and boring drive. We have done it and would never recommend it to anyone else." Sort of a silly statement since that drive covers most of England and southern Scotland. It mostly depends on if you mean driving it in one day and sticking to the motroways -- or if you mean to include the drive in your holiday. Some of the places in between the Cotswolds and Edinburgh would include the Peak District, York, the Dales, the Lake District, Hadrian's Wall, Lindesfarne, the Borders etc. That is just some of the possibilities. Hardly boring if one spends a few days doing the drive.
janisj is online now  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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I never had any problem driving on the 'wrong' side. I found it easiest to rent at the airport (Gatwick) so that I started out on the freeway. Not much different than normal - no oncoming traffic.

I did find it helpful to have the navigator remind me which lane to turn into whenever I turned.

In the Cotswolds, I found it especially interesting to drive on the smallest road and get temporarily lost.
bigtyke is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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You'll have a beautiful time, no matter when you go. I just can't understand why people would choose to go in June, July, or August if they don't HAVE to,,, when there are USA people with families, or educators, or others who can ONLY travel overseas in the summer. Yes, June is probably better than July or August....and you do often have to plan around holidays (2 bank holidays in May, and mid terms etc )....but I always feel I'm giving those who have to travel in the summer a chance.
I've heard some people say thay got VERY hot in June,,, with no AC in their hotels etc...but that is probably not a problem anyway.

Well, it just another "to each his own" and no right or wrong. Makes no difference to me,,truly!
Have fun!

mari5 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 01:37 AM
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What a wise choice for your vacation, the perfect balance of the excitement of London, the culture of Edinburgh and the quintessential charm of the Cotswolds.

I have lived in London, visited Edinburgh and now have the great pleasure of residing in the heart of the Cotswolds.

I could list so many places for you to visit, but here are just a few. Winchcombe, my home town is full of history and includes Sudeley Castle once home to Queen Catherine of Parr, one of the wives of King Henry 8th, a mile or so down the road is Hailes Abbey a 11th century monastery…now in ruin but with an amazing story to tell.

If you enjoy walking then you can explore this delightful landscape by following some of the Cotswold Way, an ancient byway (public foot path) that allows you to take in the breath taking scenery of this area. Village after village have their own individual feel but each and everyone well worth a visit. Places like Broadway, Cheltenham, Stratford on Avon, Painswick, Bourton on the Water etc are all favourite tourist spots but there are so many behind the scene places that few take the time to explore. When ever you decide to visit you will be sure to go home with a lifetime of memories. Let me know if I can be of any more help.


Hope this helps.
lynbes1 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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I'd love to hear about some of those behind the scenes sites and villages in the Cottswolds. We will also be in England this summer.
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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You might note that a few minutes before Ms Bessell posted her guff, she signed a declaration not to advertise on this site.

She then immediately proceded to renege on what she'd just promised.

So by all means seek this woman's advice. But realise that the only thing we know about her is she's a liar and can't be trusted.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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rileypenny: No doubt you totally missed lynbes1's e-mail address. She ain't just some casual new member who happened upon this thread . . .

She works for a company that sells guided tours.

janisj is online now  
Feb 12th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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Thanks very much to everyone for the helpful comments! More are welcome. As I build our itinerary I'll post more questions.
enchanted is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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My sister and I have driven several times in Ireland, N Ireland, Wales and England. She drives and I read the map and keep saying stay left, stay left. It works for us.

I agree renting the car from Gatwick was very easy getting onto the freeway. Even in Dublin we rented a car and had to drive a short distance in the city to get to the motorway. It worked out okay.

We were in the Cotswolds in May and found it very busy and hard to find parking places. We did not go to all the places we intended to see. Walking from village to village may be the easiest although we did not do this.

We had no problems in Stratford, Windsor, Wales or Warwick with driving or finding places to park.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Got it. Thanks. Need to be more observant.
rileypenny is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 04:43 AM
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Why does it matter if Lydia works for a travel agency? She wasn't openly hawking her company. She was giving some good advice from someone that lives there.

I appreciate advice from pros. Whether I take it or not is up to me.
daveesl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 04:45 AM
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Oops, I meant Lynda
daveesl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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daveesl: If our new friend was simply sharing good info -- she would not have included her company's e-mail address. Advertising is advertising IMO . . . .
janisj is online now  

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