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Going back after 25 (!!!!) years to Jolly Old England

Going back after 25 (!!!!) years to Jolly Old England

Old Oct 24th, 2023, 06:50 AM
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Going back after 25 (!!!!) years to Jolly Old England

So the tickets are booked and now the planning has officially begun. I am returning to England after 25 years! This time Iím taking my husband and son, both of them have never been to England. We will be there for 14 nights, flying into Gatwick, returning home from Heathrow. Despite wanting to see all of the country, we have narrowed it down to the following: London, York, Cotswolds, with day trips here and there (My husband and son want to see Stonehenge). So hereís my question, would it be best to start off in London then go to York before traveling down to the Cotswolds? Initially, we will travel by train, picking up a car in the Cotswolds area, or even outside of Oxford. Iím trying to figure out which direction to go. Originally I was hoping to start off in bath and do London last, but I donít really think that is going to work out.
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 07:31 AM
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Hi and welcome to Fodor's!

It would help to know when this trip will take place and where you're coming from. If you're coming from someplace far enough away to require a time change of 5-8 hours, your "effective" time on the ground is likely to be less than 14 days; more like 12 counting post-arrival and pre-departure airport yoga etc., not to mention some time to overcome jetlag.

My personal preference for first time visitors to the UK is to save London for last if at all possible, and to start with someplace less congested, hectic, and less overwhelming in terms of options.

I'd probably head to York by train (easy change in central London from Gatwick) and spend a couple of days there without a car - plenty to see and do. Then collect a car and head southwest to Bath and the Cotswolds, stop at Stonehenge if that's a must, and end up dropping the car at Heathrow and spending the last few days in London. Or you could do this in reverse - Bath > Cotswolds > York > (train) London.

But let us know when and where from, and maybe we can be more helpful. And again, welcome!
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 07:49 AM
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14 days on the ground will be enough time for London York and the Cotswolds. Normally I'd advise leaving London for the end of the trip so you are near LHR for flying out - though arriving ay LGW does complicate things just a bit.

"picking up a car in the Cotswolds area, or even outside of Oxford."

Not totally practical -- few rental companies in/near the Cotswolds. In Oxford is a possibility but driving in the city is a pain (they REALLY hate cars in Oxford so make it difficult )

Assuming you arrive LGW in the morning or early afternoon -- what I'd consider is immediately take the train to York. It is a three hour journey, Tran to St Pancras then walk next door to Kings Cross for the train to York. Day 1 is pretty much a 'non day' due to jet lag, etc I'd use the time to get to the farthest point on the itinerary.

Spend say 3 or 4 nights in York. The first two days car-less. Then pick up a rental car and spend a day or two exploring the Dales and/or Moors.

Then drive down to the Cotswolds and stay 3 or 4 nights. Use as a base for all te Cotswold villages, a day trip in to Oxford, maybe Warwick Castle and/or Stratford upon Avon (the two are very near each other so a good 'two-fer'). For visiting Oxford drive to one of the park & ride lots on the ring road and the bus into the city.

The drive from your base in the Cotswolds to Stonehenge, then on to Windsor for the castle and drop the rental car at LHR. This is a reasonable day - Say from Burford > Stonehenge > Windsor > LHR totals about 3 Ĺ drive time.

Take the Tube or Elizabeth Line or a pre-booked car service in to London for the rest of your time.


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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 07:50 AM
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Didn't see Gardyloo's post . . . great minds
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 07:59 AM
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Thank you both, I thought leaving London for the last part of our trip made sense. I donít really think Oxford is a Ďmustí, I would rather explore the Dales and/ or Moors!
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 08:05 AM
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You don't need to decide about Oxford in advance. If you are staying just about anywhere in the Cotswolds and decide you'd like to visit the city you can drive to the most convenient park & ride lot. For most locations that would be the Pear Tree or Oxford Parkway lots.
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 02:20 PM
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Yay! I am eagerly watching this post, I am planning the same trip in the end of April. I had thought the same thing, to save London for the end. We are trying to look at a combination of train, private driver and rental car. What month are you going in?
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 04:21 PM
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coral22 Gardyloo My dates for travel are June 26th from JFK until July 11th. I am excited!
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