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Logistics and other help needed: Oxford, Cotswalds, Salisbury

Logistics and other help needed: Oxford, Cotswalds, Salisbury

Dec 13th, 2005, 11:18 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Logistics and other help needed: Oxford, Cotswalds, Salisbury

We will be arriving LHR April 1 in the early afternoon, departing April 8 by Eurostar to Paris. As we have been in London twice in recent years, we would like to see more of the outlying countryside. The only definate is that we return to London on April 7 to ensure we are back to make the train to Paris.

Feedback and suggestions would be most welcome on my thoughts.

Bus to Oxford - spend the night and the following day, seeing a bit of Oxford and Woodstock/Blenheim.

We would rent a car which we would be able to return to another location with no drop off charge according to my research

Leaving, either towards the Cotswalds or to Salisbury where we would see the Cathedral spend the night and see Stonehenge in the AM before driving to the Cotswalds.

Basically, which would you recommend as the 1st stop from LHR which would be fairly easy as we have a 16 hour trip.

Any direction recommended to drive given the areas which we would like to visit?

Can someone help with approximate driving times?

We plan to stay in Broadway for 2 nights but that is not yet set. If we stay in Broadway, how long is the drive to Stratford-upon-Avon?

Lots of questions in this message so I will write another message later with additional questions once I have a better idea of our itinerary.
Gynna is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 11:45 PM
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salisbury is wonderful, we did a great tour of the cathedral with a church helper , fantastic copy of magna carta there. Stayed at lovely castle in Castle Coomb in the Costwolds where they filmed Dr Doolittle wonderful spot. There was also a pub with much cheaper accomodation but we arrived tired and irritable late in the day and were just grateful. Can recommend a small accomodation called Lydgate House in the Dartmoor area
woodsie is offline  
Dec 13th, 2005, 11:58 PM
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I can't see an alternative to spending your first night in more or less central Oxford. You'll have to hire your car here anyway, you want to see a bit of the city and the last thing you're going to want to do is worry about where to put your bags. So overnight in Oxford (everywhere worth staying is within walking distance of the bus station unless your bags are a serious nuisance), collect your car the following morning and off on your travels.

Which way you go doesn't matter that much in itself, BUT:

Stonehenge is one of the the world's most underwhelming Great Sights. It can get close to whelming though if you get on the very early or very late pre-booked tours inside the ringed-off area (details at the English Heritage site). Try to book one through English Heritage, then organise your tour round the time of the booking. Since you need to add Avebury and the adjacent prehistoric stuff (there's an excellent walk from Avebury around West Kene Barrow and Silbury Hill), work out the timings for all that - not forgetting Salisbury's very, very whelming cathedral - and the logical organisation of the rest of the trip should follow.

rac.co.uk will give you most of the timings.

It's Cotswold BTW. "wald" would mean heavy woodland: "wold" means rolling hills. There probably never was that much woodland, and our forbears cleared most of what there was about a thousand years ago. Spelling it right makes googling a great deal more productive.

Incidentally, unless you're fixed on London, it's probably easiest to dump the car at Ashford, Kent, and pick up the Eurostar there - though not every Eurostar stops there. Depending on the day and time, allow 2.5 hours from Woodstock. They widened the motorway at the busiest bit to 12 lanes yesterday so it might be a bit quicker now, but it's an all but 3 miles divided highway from Woodstock to Ashford International station anyway. Which isn't quite the case if you're driving to Waterloo.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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I agree w/ just about everything mentioned so far.

One slight modification -- IF you have not see Windsor on you previous trips: If you haven't been to Windsor, I would pick up the car at LHR and drive to Windsor for the first day/night. It is a 15-20 minute drive from LHR, the castle is wonderful, Eton and the river, plus some nice restaurants, etc. It would be a good place to get over the jet lag and visit the castle. Then the next day it is a quick drive to Oxford for the rest of your itinerary.

If you HAVE been to Windsor before - then your plan of going straight to Oxford makes good sense.

Are you set on Broadway? It really isn't the nicest or prettiest village in the Cotswolds. There are probably 20 towns/villages I would choose over Broadway -- unless you are staying at the Lygon Arms.

I also agree w/ flanner about going to Ashford after Salisbury and catching the Eurostar there. The logistics are easier, plus you'd have a chance to see abit of Kent with all its lovely castles/gardens. If you already have Eurostar tix leaving from Waterloo I don't know what the policy is about boarding at Ashford instead.
janisj is online now  
Dec 14th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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There's absolutely no problem with getting on or off the train at Ashford with tickets to or from Waterloo. Or vv: the tariff is the same between France and both stations.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Stonehenge "underwhelming". Crikey that's harsh.

It isn't as good now you can't get to the stones, but a little imagination and it is staggering. Those bloody great stones came all the way from wales you know.
david_west is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Why take the bus to Oxford, rahter than the train?

Keith
Keith is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Why on earth would anyone faff about with a train from LHR to Oxford?

The bus will have got you there while you're still on your first train change.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 12:13 PM
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The bus runs every 20 minutes (peak times) from Heathrow Central bus station to Oxford and the journey averages one hour ten minutes. Part of the journey will use the M25 which may slow things down a bit but it'll be just a 7 mile strtch before the M40. Whichever way you look at it, the bus will still be far more acceptable than doing the journey by the train.
henneth is offline  
Dec 14th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Do you always answer a question, with a question?

Thank you for the explaination, henneth.

Keith
Keith is offline  
Dec 15th, 2005, 10:44 AM
  #11  
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Thank you Woodie, Flanner, and Janis. Your replies have added to our excitement, planning, ideas, and education (thanks - Flanner!). Janis, I don't want to pick up a rental out of LHR as we will be very tired coming from Hawaii with a 5 hour layover inbetween. I will be the only driver as my husband is disabled from a stroke. The idea of taking the Eurostar from Ashford had me real excited as we would be able to see more of the country but I am having trouble with securing an automatic to be picked up in Oxford. Autoeurope says that there are no automatic cars available out of Oxford agencies and the only drop off agency in Ashford is Avis which again doesn't have an automatic available in Oxford. New questions:
1) Other ideas about car rental and travel plans? It sounded nice to forgo London and spend the extra day or two seeing more of England. I do drive a manual in the US but am not confident enough with driving on the other side of the road and the shift also being on my left. I will also be doing the entire map reading and navigation.
2) We are not set on Broadway -I just spoke with an extremely nice proprietor of a lodging who was more than willing to make the shower accessible for my husband. Can you recommend other towns/villages which would make a good 2-3 day base for seeing the area?
Aloha and thanks again,
Gynna
Gynna is offline  
Dec 15th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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Gynna - W/ your new info here is what I'd do: I would take a taxi from LHR to Windsor and spend the first day/night there w/o a car. After your long flight even taking the bus or train to Oxford w/ one of you partrially disabled will be a hassle. (I travel from the west coast and you are coming even farther) So just go the short distance to Windsor and relax w/o worrying about any sort of transport. Then the next day after you've both recovered from the flight you can pick up the car and head to Oxford. Some of the major's have rental locations in Windsor, and if the one you choose doesn't, you can take a taxi to the rental office. This would relieve you of having to deal w/ anything that first jet lagged day.

As for Broadway - It isn't a slum by any means. It is a fairly upscale village but just a bit crowded and touristy compared to some others. If you really like the place you've found - then Broadway is OK.

But you could also do a google search for handicapped accessible B&Bs in other Cotswold villages.
janisj is online now  
Dec 18th, 2005, 02:09 PM
  #13  
 
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Stonehenge you can see from your car, we found the ruins at Sarum just outside Salisbury much better (if you have time Edward Rutherford has written a historical novel called Sarum)and cheaper, less crowded. Driving thru dartmoor area we also found stone age stone circles just off the roadside,
woodsie is offline  

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