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Day Trip to Cotswolds or Paris from London?

Day Trip to Cotswolds or Paris from London?

Old May 27th, 2022, 03:05 PM
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Day Trip to Cotswolds or Paris from London?

Even the title to this post sounds a bit ridiculous ha, but.. I know itís more like comparing apples to oranges, however, any input would be appreciated.

I will be staying in London for 6 days this June. Iíve been to London before, so this time I am planning to take day trips to places like Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon.

I initially wanted to take a day tour to Cotswolds (covering Bibury, Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water). However, my husband suggested I went to Paris for a day instead (on Eurostar).

And here is my dilemma: Iíve been to Paris a few times before. Aside from this potential day trip, I am not planning to visit France anytime soon. Same with UK - not planning any more visits for another few years.

What would you pick? Tour to Cotswolds / busy day in Paris (with visits to Louvre, Sainte Chapelle and a lot of walking)?

Again - I know, 2 completely different places and ways to spend the day.

However, I just CANíT decide.

Maybe someone here did both trips from London and can share their experience?
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Old May 27th, 2022, 04:24 PM
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A big consideration is HOW were you intending to visit he Cotswolds? Public transport or self drive or commercial tour?

I've never done a 'tour' of the Cotswolds but have been to the region countless times (lived nearby for about 5 years) and have traveled between London and Paris several times.

It seems weird but Paris is actually more convenient as a day trip from London but if you meant an organized commercial tour -- I'd probably recommend the Cotswolds because it would be such a different 'experience' than the big cities of London/Paris.

Question: Are you willing to drive in England (it isn't hard as long as you are outside the cities). The reason I ask is . . . with all those days trips, you are obviously not going to spend much if any time actually IN London. If driving is a possibility, I would seriously consider staying somewhere in the triangle of Chippenham/Burford/Newbury. Then you would be within a short or short-ish drive of all the places you've listed as day trips, be convenient to LHR, be able to set your own schedule - AND save a lot of £££ since accommodations outside of London is generally much cheaper.

Just using Fairford for one example . . . its an hour from Bath, 90-ish mins from Stonehenge, 45 mins from Oxford, and 20 mins from Burford and all the rest of the Cotswolds spread out from there.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 04:53 PM
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I don’t always agree with janisj but when I saw the title I thought “forget Paris” & after I read your post, “forget London” and just spend all your time in the Cotswolds. All those day trips will be a wasteful use of your valuable time & having the freedom of a car in the countryside, well, I don’t think there’s anything better. You need not stay in one place, maybe 2, in or near Oxford would be my pick for one, then a romantic village B&B. There’s so much to see in the area. I try to plan UK trips using public transport but I confess some of my favorite times in England have been in the Cotswolds with a car.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 04:56 PM
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Why stay in London? Take the train and spend a couple of nights in Bath.
Get to Bath and check into hotel or BnB by noon. Afternoon tour of Roman Baths in Bath (amazing and very interesting archeological site). Walk around town, along River, etc. Next morning/day, do something like a Mad Max tour from Bath (small van tour goes to Stonehenge (stops long enough to walk and tour) and visits several Cotswold villages with time for walks, and stops for lunch in one of the villages. This is a really nice way to see quite a lot with time for walks, etc.) Next morning do a walking tour of Bath (The best used to be the free one provided by the Bath Historical Society, starting at the Pump House at around 9:00 or 10:00 am). Head back to London or see options.

Options: Leave London really early the first day and stop in Oxford for a tour of Blenheim on the way to Bath, or you could stop in Oxford for the afternoon on the way back from Bath to London.

I like a base and day trips, but not in this case. Seriously, it will be a lot more relaxing and interesting and you can see more by staying someplace else rather than super long day trips where so much time is spent in a train, bus or car.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
A big consideration is HOW were you intending to visit he Cotswolds? Public transport or self drive or commercial tour?

I've never done a 'tour' of the Cotswolds but have been to the region countless times (lived nearby for about 5 years) and have traveled between London and Paris several times.

It seems weird but Paris is actually more convenient as a day trip from London but if you meant an organized commercial tour -- I'd probably recommend the Cotswolds because it would be such a different 'experience' than the big cities of London/Paris.

Question: Are you willing to drive in England (it isn't hard as long as you are outside the cities). The reason I ask is . . . with all those days trips, you are obviously not going to spend much if any time actually IN London. If driving is a possibility, I would seriously consider staying somewhere in the triangle of Chippenham/Burford/Newbury. Then you would be within a short or short-ish drive of all the places you've listed as day trips, be convenient to LHR, be able to set your own schedule - AND save a lot of £££ since accommodations outside of London is generally much cheaper.

Just using Fairford for one example . . . its an hour from Bath, 90-ish mins from Stonehenge, 45 mins from Oxford, and 20 mins from Burford and all the rest of the Cotswolds spread out from there.
Thank you for your recommendations - I was planning to do a commercial bus tour of the Cotswolds. Iím not a big ďtourĒ person, however, I am having hard time to link several Cotswolds villages by public transport. I know there is a bus, but when I check the schedule, it looks like it only goes once every few hours..
so I decided that taking an organized tour would be easier.

I also looked into the possibility of renting a car, however, decided against it. I have a day meeting in London, thatís why I booked an accommodation in the city, and from what I read - driving there is a nightmare.

Paris sounds great because - just a couple of hours on the train - and Iím there, thatís it.

I initially included Cotswolds in my itinerary because this region appears on every ďmust-seeĒ list for UK, and the pictures look lovely.
And ideally, I would prefer using public transport to see them, but, as I mentioned earlier, i just canít build a coherent schedule.



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Old May 27th, 2022, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
A big consideration is HOW were you intending to visit he Cotswolds? Public transport or self drive or commercial tour?

I've never done a 'tour' of the Cotswolds but have been to the region countless times (lived nearby for about 5 years) and have traveled between London and Paris several times.

It seems weird but Paris is actually more convenient as a day trip from London but if you meant an organized commercial tour -- I'd probably recommend the Cotswolds because it would be such a different 'experience' than the big cities of London/Paris.

Question: Are you willing to drive in England (it isn't hard as long as you are outside the cities). The reason I ask is . . . with all those days trips, you are obviously not going to spend much if any time actually IN London. If driving is a possibility, I would seriously consider staying somewhere in the triangle of Chippenham/Burford/Newbury. Then you would be within a short or short-ish drive of all the places you've listed as day trips, be convenient to LHR, be able to set your own schedule - AND save a lot of £££ since accommodations outside of London is generally much cheaper.

Just using Fairford for one example . . . its an hour from Bath, 90-ish mins from Stonehenge, 45 mins from Oxford, and 20 mins from Burford and all the rest of the Cotswolds spread out from there.
Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
I donít always agree with janisj but when I saw the title I thought ďforget ParisĒ & after I read your post, ďforget LondonĒ and just spend all your time in the Cotswolds. All those day trips will be a wasteful use of your valuable time & having the freedom of a car in the countryside, well, I donít think thereís anything better. You need not stay in one place, maybe 2, in or near Oxford would be my pick for one, then a romantic village B&B. Thereís so much to see in the area. I try to plan UK trips using public transport but I confess some of my favorite times in England have been in the Cotswolds with a car.
I have a work event at a London hotel and itís been booked and paid for, so, unfortunately, thereís no ďturning backĒ on staying in London.
But your plan does sound lovely.

How is the driving/parking situation in the villages? Have you driven there in the summer (at the height of tourism season)?

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Old May 27th, 2022, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Why stay in London? Take the train and spend a couple of nights in Bath.
Get to Bath and check into hotel or BnB by noon. Afternoon tour of Roman Baths in Bath (amazing and very interesting archeological site). Walk around town, along River, etc. Next morning/day, do something like a Mad Max tour from Bath (small van tour goes to Stonehenge (stops long enough to walk and tour) and visits several Cotswold villages with time for walks, and stops for lunch in one of the villages. This is a really nice way to see quite a lot with time for walks, etc.) Next morning do a walking tour of Bath (The best used to be the free one provided by the Bath Historical Society, starting at the Pump House at around 9:00 or 10:00 am). Head back to London or see options.

Options: Leave London really early the first day and stop in Oxford for a tour of Blenheim on the way to Bath, or you could stop in Oxford for the afternoon on the way back from Bath to London.

I like a base and day trips, but not in this case. Seriously, it will be a lot more relaxing and interesting and you can see more by staying someplace else rather than super long day trips where so much time is spent in a train, bus or car.
Thank you for recommendations - my hotel has been paid for and I have a work event in London, so staying elsewhere is not really an option unfortunately.

I actually have a question - would you recommend taking a trip to Blenheim Palace? I wanted to, however, all guided ďUpstairsĒ and ďDownstairsĒ tours are not available on the date I was planning to be there. So is it worth to visit just the State rooms with an audio guide?
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Old May 27th, 2022, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by friend16 View Post
I actually have a question - would you recommend taking a trip to Blenheim Palace?
Of the many dozens of houses, palaces, historic buildings I've visited in the UK, Blenheim was by far my least favorite. I wouldn't lament for a moment not seeing it.


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Old May 27th, 2022, 05:27 PM
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" . . . and from what I read - driving there is a nightmare". Driving in London certainly can be a nightmare -- but no one suggested you do so.

Please give some more details . . . how many days is the London work event?? You are in the city 6 days - but the work event can't be six days or you wouldn't have ANY free time for ANY day trips.

Soooo if say the work event is 2 or 3 days . . . you could head out of town for the rest, rent a car either out at LHR or in Reading or in Oxford or wherever and book a place midway-is between Salisbury and the mid Cotswolds and hit all the places you want.

Re Blenheim -- 90% of visitors only visit the State Rooms and the gardens/grounds (the upstairs/downstairs tours are a fairly recent enhancement and are certainly not required)
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Old May 27th, 2022, 05:31 PM
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Didn't see MmePerdu's post. Blenheim is a love hate sort of place. Half of us love the place and half of us think it is over the top. I've visited probably 50+ stately homes in England, Wales and Scotland . . . and Blenheim's Long Library is in the top 5 of my favorite rooms in the whole country.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
" . . . and from what I read - driving there is a nightmare". Driving in London certainly can be a nightmare -- but no one suggested you do so.

Please give some more details . . . how many days is the London work event?? You are in the city 6 days - but the work event can't be six days or you wouldn't have ANY free time for ANY day trips.

Soooo if say the work event is 2 or 3 days . . . you could head out of town for the rest, rent a car either out at LHR or in Reading or in Oxford or wherever and book a place midway-is between Salisbury and the mid Cotswolds and hit all the places you want.

Re Blenheim -- 90% of visitors only visit the State Rooms and the gardens/grounds (the upstairs/downstairs tours are a fairly recent enhancement and are certainly not required)
thanks - the work event is only 1 day, so I will def have time to explore.
One of the things that gives me pause in renting a car is the fact that Iíll have to drive on the opposite side of the road. I am not terrible at driving by any means, but am just not sure if itís worth it.
Been reading some Cotswolds topics here on the forum and someone suggested renting a cab in Moreton-in-Marsh to see several villages in a day. Maybe thatís the route I could take
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Old May 27th, 2022, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Blenheim is a love hate sort of place. Half of us love the place and half of us think it is over the top.
"Over the top" mischaracterizes my objection to Blenheim, it's the commercialization and pandering that put me off. My friend and I set off in a small group for an upstairs tour, I've forgotten precisely what, and the guide & narration were so awful we turned around and found our way back down to escape. Simple over-the-top would be fine, the management choices were the problem.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 06:48 PM
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You have been to Paris a few times. You have not been to the Cotswolds. You want to see something besides London and you indicate that you are not likely to travel to England again soon, if ever. Based on that, I would eat the cost of one night of the paid-for hotel in London and manage to have at least one overnight someplace else. Leave London very early and return late and you can get in nearly two days of sightseeing.

Blenheim is not, IMHO, a “don’t miss sight, but I liked the exterior, the gardens, the setting and the history, also thought the library was amazing, and was happy I went. I had a free afternoon in Oxford and like meandering around, so everything does not have to be a wow sight for me. OTOH, it is actually an extremely easy day trip from London. Catch the train to Oxford. Take the bus (short ride) to entrance to Blenheim. It is a nice walk to the Palace itself. Afterwards, walk through the village (forget the name) nearby. It would be a nice place to have dinner. I even thought it might be an interesting place to spend the night, but we were heading back to London.
I for sure would not choose Blenheim over Bath, which is quite special, IMHO.

Bath has really interesting history, Roman Baths, magnificent architecture, excellent food, the connection with Jane Austen. It is one of the loveliest places I have visited, one I would happily visit a second time.

Have you been to Hampton Court Palace?

Look at “tours of the Cotswolds from Oxford.” There are many with great reviews. They might be better than from London. I say that because leaving London by bus was such a pain for us while taking the train to Oxford was easy and connections from there were easy.
Good luck with your decisions.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 07:57 PM
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So your work vent is only one day so stay just a couple of nights in London.

Than get out of Dodge. Driving in the countryside isn't hard -- but if you really don't want to, what I'd do is take the train to Salisbury in the morning, visit the cathedral and take the local bus to Stonehenge (there is luggage storage at Deacon's pub in Salisbury, maybe other places too.) - then in the late afternoon take the train to Bath (less than one hour) and stay 2 nights. That will give you a full day for Bath.

Then take a morning train to Oxford (a little over 1 hour with a change at Didcot) Staying 2 nights in Oxford will give you the best part of two full days -- one day either take the train to Moreton in Marsh and hire a driver guide for 5 or 6 hours to drive around or take a local tour. The other day take the local bus to Woodstock to visit Blenheim then spend the rest of the day exploring Oxford.

Then take the express bus from Oxford to LHR to fly home.
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Old May 27th, 2022, 08:02 PM
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It is possible to cancel at least some of the nights in London and get a refund?
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Old May 27th, 2022, 11:05 PM
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Do Oxford, Bath and two villages using public transport walking in between

https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content...-in-cotswolds/

loads more walking ideas on Google
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Old May 28th, 2022, 04:08 AM
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I'm not much on stately homes or palaces anyway, but my first thought on seeing Blenheim was "Oh, this is why they have revolutions." I think it's worth a visit just to see what you think.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo View Post
I'm not much on stately homes or palaces anyway, but my first thought on seeing Blenheim was "Oh, this is why they have revolutions." I think it's worth a visit just to see what you think.
I think you are confusing Britain and France, lol. You do remind me of my reaction to St. Peter's in Vatican City. My problem with Blenheim is that it is so over the top touristy, not that it is over the top conspicuous consumption. Waxworks?!

I grew up in England, we visited a lot of "stately homes" and I enjoy them, but Blenheim would not be my first choice.
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Old May 28th, 2022, 08:18 AM
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At Blenheim one can easily avoid the overly touristy bits. The water terrace gardens are beautiful, the exterior is pretty dazzling, and the state rooms / chapel / Winston Churchill birth room/gallery are more than worthwhile. The view across the lake of the Vanburgh Bridge and Palace in the distance is one of the best of any stately home in the country (Though that may be impacted because they are doing a restoration of the lake bed)

Just did a quick glance at TA just to make sure I wasn't 'mis-remembering' things. Blenheim Palace reviews: Excellent - 4,936; Terrible - 303. Lumping Excellent/Very good together - 6,896; and Terrible/Very Poor - 654. (it appears that Blenheim staff responds to almost every review)

Now - I am definitely not a slave to TA reviews, and do take them with a grain of salt, but this is just to explain that a LOT of people think Blenheim is a wonderful day out. It is a world heritage site after all . . .

When I take friends we usually spend 2.5-ish hours there - an hour+ for the ground floor rooms, maybe 30-45 mins for lunch or afternoon tea, and the rest walking around the water terraces and taking photos of the exterior. If one wanted to walk all the way out to the Victory monument for the views over the whole estate -- that takes a lot longer. We don't bother with any of the other 'stuff' like the buggy rides, miniature train ride, maze, etc.

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Old May 28th, 2022, 09:00 AM
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Will you be visiting these places by yourself? We have driven in England but I think that would be difficult if you are just by yourself as it seems to take one of us to just deal with driving on the side of the road we're not used to and the other to look for signage, assist with turns, etc.
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