Highclere, Oxford, Cotswolds

Old Jun 6th, 2016, 06:57 AM
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Highclere, Oxford, Cotswolds

Good morning! Looking for guidance on planning a day trip(s) in July. My two sons (11 and 9) will drive from Southampton to visit Highclere Castle one day. Our ticket is until 1pm. They would like to visit Oxford as well (Harry Potter fan). Could we do both in one day or should I break it into two days? Also, if I want to drive the Cotswold area while we are over there what should we visit? I wouldn't mind a picnic somewhere in the countryside. Thank you in advance.
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Old Jun 6th, 2016, 07:06 AM
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OK -- this is a bit confusing -- Do you mean a day trip from Southampton to Highclere and <i>back</i> to Southampton? And by 'two day trips' do you mean driving from Southampton each day?

Or are you leaving Southampton and staying somewhere near Highclere and/or Oxford.


As for where for a picnic -- lots of options. One of my favorites is at Minster Lovell - but it is in the Cotswolds and you'd have quite a drive back to Southampton, like 2 hours each way.

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/...1_7f54be23.jpg
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Old Jun 6th, 2016, 07:55 AM
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Ah yes, I see. We would return to Southampton each night. 2-2.5 hr drive doesn't bother us. Thanks for link!
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Old Jun 18th, 2016, 02:08 PM
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Old Jun 18th, 2016, 02:35 PM
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Why Southampton?
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Old Jun 20th, 2016, 11:48 AM
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My husband is there for work.

I answered my own question, we will do Highclere one day, and return next day to Oxford and short hike in Cotswold area. Thank you for input!
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Old Jun 21st, 2016, 01:49 AM
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You'll be driving up the A34 then, be aware that is only a dual carriageway and usually comes to a complete stop when there's an accident, have been caught myself a couple of times.
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Old Jun 21st, 2016, 06:42 AM
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OK -- Assuming Highclere is a must so that is one day trip.

But IMO/IME if you are staying in Southampton, taking another day trip up to the Cotswolds makes<u>no sense at all</u>. . . . Not when the New Forest is right there, and though different is just as pretty as the Cotswolds.
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Old Jun 21st, 2016, 07:57 AM
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While, yes, it's a 2 hour or so drive to Oxford, Harry Potter fans aren't likely to find much evidence of him in the New Forest. I stayed at the north end of the Cotswolds recently and drove a couple of times almost that far south to see places of particular interest to me. We want to see what we want to see so as long as you know it will take some time and don't expect to see too much, then do it.

Choose your hiking place as close as possible to Oxford to save yourself some time. You might consider a section of the Thames Path which I think your boys would enjoy. The path passes very near the train station in Oxford. Maybe walk to Abingdon and return to Oxford by bus. If that appealed to you, you might even take the train that day, an easy trip of 1 hr. 20 min., direct trains (no changes) from Southampton Central station to Oxford.

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk
http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thames-path
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Old Jun 21st, 2016, 08:30 AM
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Southampton to Oxford and any site(s) in the Cotswolds will be a 6+ hour drive R-T . . . That is w/o the time for the park & ride lot/bus into the city or any stops.

Just not realistic.
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Old Jun 21st, 2016, 08:32 AM
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Perfectly realistic using my suggestions above.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 05:31 AM
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Thank you for your insight and recommendation. We were looking at the Burford - Swinbrook - Fullbrook loop, it's about 30 min west of Oxford. I'll take a look at your suggestion as well. With no traffic, total driving is about 3.5 hours (we are actually 15 or 20 min north of Southampton). I am sure we will have traffic at some point. We are in Houston, used to traffic and taking an hour just to drive across town on a day with NO traffic, LOL. I guess that is why the driving doesn't bother me.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 05:57 AM
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>> We were looking at the Burford - Swinbrook - Fullbrook loop, it's about 30 min west of Oxford.<<

Nope . . . not a chance

Oxford > Burford > Swinbrook > Fulbrook (note the spelling) and back towards Oxford is about a two hour drive without a single stop.

IF you meant just Oxford to Burford -- then you are talking 40+ mins, and longer if you count the bus trip out to the park and ride.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 11:23 AM
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janisj, could you help me and please elaborate? Both googlemaps and viamichelin show drive time approximately 30-35 min between Oxford and Burford. Our trail map says we can park in Burford and catch the walking trail. No buses that I can see? Is the park and ride in Oxford? I'm not seeing how this isn't doable, if we arrive in Oxford by 9:30-10 am, spend about 2 hours walking around (just enough to satisfy my 9 yo HP fan), drive to Burford and eat lunch, then spend 1.5-2hr on walking trail, drive back to Southampton area. Would put us home before dinner, no?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 12:05 PM
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>>janisj, could you help me and please elaborate? <<

happy to

>> Would put us home before dinner, no?<<

No.

1) all of the on-line calculators are inaccurate (but especially google maps) and you need to add between 25% and almost 100% to the drive times.

2) most likely you will not drive into central Oxford and park since that is a nightmare. You most likely (if you are smart) will park in a park and ride lot on the outskirts of Oxford. So you have to factor in the fairly slow bus in/out of the city back to your car in the lot.

3) If you arrive at the park&ride by 10AM you wouldn't be back at you car until 1:30 or 2PM at the very earliest and that would be giving very short shrift to Oxford.

3) Then about 35 mins to Burford so say 2:30 - time for a very late lunch

4) . . . but that just gets you to Burford. W/ probably an hour IN Burford then driving through Swinbrook and Fulbrook plus your 2 hour walk - will total another 2.5 - 3 hours.

5) Swinbrook to Southampton is about a 2.5 hour drive

So doable - sort of. But a very very long day.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 12:19 PM
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"...all of the on-line calculators are inaccurate(but especially google maps)..."

On my recent visit to Oxford & the Cotswolds I spent a week driving to several locations, each over an hour away. Believing the above oft' given advice to be true, I left early each time and arrived early each time. I found the google map estimates to be remarkably accurate. The statement may have once been true but my most recent experience last month suggests it may no longer be the case.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 02:17 PM
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"my most recent experience last month suggests it may no longer be the case."

This squabble is getting incomprehensible. But if it's about staying in Oxford and driving out, Mme Perdu is hopelessly wrong. We now routinely add an hour to Google's estimates for ANY daylight weekday car journey involving Oxford's immediate hinterland anywhere north of the Thames. The chaotically mismanaged roadworks responsible for this are still scheduled to continue till Christmas 2016 at the earliest.

This doesn't necessarily apply to car journeys entirely outside the Oxford Green Belt, and things calm down around sunset (right now: about 10 pm). But even some rural journeys in the area intersecting with routes bypassing Oxford are now often impassable.

For a routine trip into London tomorrow for a Brexit results party, for example, I'm leaving the Cotswolds around 1830 to be in town in time to get suitably lubricated for a 2200 exit poll announcement. Two years ago, I'd have left an hour later.

Mind you: two years ago, I wouldn't have needed lubrication to deal with the then-likely result.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 03:25 PM
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I stayed 1 night in Oxford, picked up my car near the train station, drove out of town with no problems. My experience was as described, the time stated by google between locations, getting out of Oxford and in the Cotswolds accurate.

Yes, there was road construction around Oxford which served to slow the traffic at some points and actually make it easier for someone unfamiliar with the roads. I drove during all hours except very early, sometimes drove slower than the limit, made wrong turns and got myself back on course and still arrived when google said I would. Mostly "outside the Oxford Green Belt" but not entirely. I got out of Oxford to my destination "on time" too.

Mku4440, I still recommend the train. But since you won't be commuting in and out of Oxford except once each way, as I did, if you want to drive, who cares if I or the others are correct. Do what you like, nothing terrible will happen.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2016, 06:29 PM
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Okay thank you all again. It's a good heads up to know that driving might take longer than I planned. We are completely flexible so we can do Oxford and then see where we are on time and go from there. If we are running short on time we can just take a drive through Cotswolds for a bit and head back south. We don't have to necessarily do a walk, I just wanted to see the countryside. I've planned a walk the next day on Isle of Wight, so that will suffice if nothing else! Looking VERY forward to our visit!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2016, 01:11 AM
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It's not compulsory to see the Cotswolds, you know. The New Forest and Dorset are just as pretty and a whole lot nearer to Southampton. I think the Cotswolds must have done the world's most effective marketing to somehow make foreign visitors to the UK think they are unmissable.

/grumpy voice
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