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aarathi23 Jul 27th, 2008 06:21 AM

London to Oxford/Stratford upon Avon
Hi all

Just wondering what would be the best way to do the following trip:

2 day trip out of london - Oxford and Stratford upon Avon

Ideally, I'd like to stay overnight in Statford upon Avon, take a train to Oxford the next morning, and a train back to London in the evening.

Any suggestions on what train/bus would be the best? Have been looking at the website, and am just unclear on what the best options are...

Any help much appreciated!


sheila Jul 29th, 2008 06:34 AM

This is a slightly uninformed response, but I would definitely take the bus. Even if it means changing in Birmingham.

flanneruk Jul 29th, 2008 08:00 AM

This is an astonishingly tricky journey.

There are hourly trains, taking about 2 hrs, from London Marylebone to Stratford. There are 55-min journey time trains every half hour from Oxford to London Paddington. And ther are trains, roughly edvery hour, taking about 90 mins, from Stratford to Oxford, all of which require a half-hour wait at Leamington Spa as you change trains.

Offhand, I can't think of any way of doing these trips without buying a full-fare single ticket for each leg - but check with the website of the two major companies (Chiltern for the train to Stratford: First Great Western from Oxford to London) for any deals. But the likelihood is you'll do just as well (or extortiolnately) buying the ticket at the station as you're getting on the train

Buses scarcely make sense. The service from London to Stratford is poor, and there's precisely one daytime bus a day (dep 1600 arr 1700: see nationalexpress site) on weekdasys from Stratford to Oxford, though Stagecoach has one or two on Sundays as well.

However, thge bus service from Oxford to London is probably the best city to city bus service anywhere, ever, with departures every 5 mins or even oftener, 24 hours a day. See the Oxford Tube or Espress (they LOVE silly brand names) websites.

Best bet is probably:

Single train to Stratford. Then single train to Oxford. Then whichever bus company drops you closest to your hotel in London.

PalenQ Jul 29th, 2008 09:22 AM

If you have to buy a full fare single ticket for each leg as flanneur says (and i am not disputing) then strongly investigate the London Plus Pass which is good on any train any time on all rail companies to both Oxford and Stratford (and also gives return transfers from Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick Airport on Express trains. will have full fare prices for the journeys. passes not sold at stations in Britain. In U.S. i always refer three sites for lots about British trains:; and - all three have current prices for the London Plus Pass. Trains are infinitely more comfy IME than a sardine-packed bus where you can hardly move around. But buses can be dirt cheap.

flanneruk Jul 29th, 2008 09:33 AM

The buses from Oxford to London offer about as much legroom as most intercontinental business class seats. Unlike the trains on the same route, they do not allow standing or overcrowding.

janisj Jul 29th, 2008 09:37 AM

&quot;<i>Trains are infinitely more comfy IME than a sardine-packed bus </i> Not in my experience - especially on busy routes like London/Oxford.

PQ - they don't squeeze folks in sardine-like on coaches. One person - one seat. Unlike on trains where they can sell more tickets than seats.

janisj Jul 29th, 2008 09:38 AM

oops - flanneruk beat me to it -- didn't see his last post . . . . .

PalenQ Jul 29th, 2008 11:31 AM

I'll grant you about train overcrowding - i always travel in first class and do see the rabble standing all over the place

and i guess coaches are more luxurious than i thought - do they have super loos like trains - food service - ability to stretch legs by walking around

But i guess the SAD state of English trains in standard class is perhaps one reason many English diss any thought of taking a train

On Coronation Street they have often exclaimed horrors at the thought of taking a train - third-world type trains IMO

PatrickLondon Jul 29th, 2008 11:42 AM

Since when did Coronation St have anything to do with reality?

flanneruk Jul 29th, 2008 12:11 PM

&quot;the SAD state of English trains in standard class is perhaps one reason many English diss any thought of taking a train&quot;

So tell me one country where a higher proportion of the population take trains. Just one. OK, just one apart from Switzerland.

Can't be THAT difficult if the cast of a TV programme 90% of the population never watches hate trains so much.

PalenQ Jul 29th, 2008 01:39 PM

Wikipedia says that 10.5 million to 14 million British TV viewers watch a typical episode

So where do you get this 10% you keep coming up with?

did you not learn any math in that tony grammar school you went to?

how many TV viewers are there in UK?

maybe there are a whole lot more Britons than i think - breeding like rats perhaps?

Smeagol Jul 29th, 2008 02:05 PM

I would NEVER do the coach as you are sure to hit a traffic jam (i travel the M40/M25 corrider 3 times a week from the Straford area.

twk Jul 29th, 2008 02:32 PM

I know nothing about getting to Stratford, but I did take the bus from London to Oxford (the &quot;Oxford Tube&quot; service, to be precise), and decided upon that instead of the train, for several reasons.

The bus was cheaper.

The bus was completely flexible, requiring no advance purchase.

I was able to take a 7:30 bus from Victoria Station and reach Oxford before I'd even been able to step on a train bound for Oxford using a cheap day return fare (can't book one of those until after 9:30).

There was hardly anyone on the bus. It was a double decker and we went to sit up top at the front, so we got a panoramic view of the area, for what it's worth. Don't know if that helps, but thought that might prove useful to you or someone else.

aarathi23 Jul 30th, 2008 03:08 AM

Thanks for all the replies! I LOVE this forum...

Rightio, am going to check out the bus from Oxford to London...and will check out the RailPass as well (thanks PalenQ)..

I've been doing some further now thinking of going London-Bath, spend the night in Bath (Paradise Hotel looks divine), then possibly on to Oxford from Bath, and then Oxford back to London. WOuld this be more do-able, and if so, my inevitable next question - how does one get from Bath to Oxford?

Thanks again all

flanneruk Jul 30th, 2008 03:19 AM

The only practical way of getting to Oxford from Bath is by train, changing at Reading or Didcot.

This, BTW, changes the fares logic altogether. It's probably cheaper to buy a London-Bath return, then a Didcot-Oxford return (Didcot's roughly half way between London and Bath on the London-Bath line), than to get a single train to Bath and the bus from Oxford.

PalenQ Jul 30th, 2008 07:47 AM

flanneur again points out that by having to change at Reading or Didcot - the quickest way Oxford-Bath you are traveling probably on two different rail franchises and may have to buy a full fare ticket - again the railpass would ease this as it can be used on any train, regardless of company running the line, any time.

otherwise by buying tickets there flanneur points out the complete idiocy of England's privatization of its trains - it would be cheaper to get a discounted ticket Oxford-London then London-Bath rather than buy an Oxford-Bath ticket.

(I have not checked out the fares but in my understanding this is how it generally works - and a railpass makes it all so easy.

flanneruk Jul 30th, 2008 08:01 AM

&quot;the quickest way Oxford-Bath you are traveling probably on two different rail franchises &quot; Wrong

&quot;the complete idiocy of England's privatization of its trains&quot; The fares policy on triangular journeys is identical under privatisation to the policy British Rail developed.

If you don't know the basic facts about our railway system, just keep quiet. It's one thing to come out with nonsense about our politics: it's quite another to mislead travellers with downright wrong inventions.

PalenQ Jul 30th, 2008 10:04 AM

I'll wager i know a whole lot more about British politics than you know about American politics

yet you never cease to pontificate on how terrible and awful American politicians are

so take your own comment 'it's one thing to come out with nonsense about (British) politics to heart and quit commentating on American politics of which you know less than i know of British IMO

And the nonsense i present is that the London Plus railpass for this scenario is something OP should consider - something that no Brit would ever say as they automatically say a railpass is a poor choice.

PalenQ Jul 30th, 2008 12:06 PM

Flanner: my mistake was taking what you posted as 'fact'

&lt;This, BTW, changes the fares logic altogether. It's probably cheaper to buy a London-Bath return, then a Didcot-Oxford return (Didcot's roughly half way between London and Bath on the London-Bath line), than to get a single train to Bath and the bus from Oxford.&gt;

as you seemingly said what i then said, based partly on what you said

turns out we both were talking nonsense as for 13 pounds, a quick check on said you can go all the way from Oxford via Reading or Didcot to Bath

certainly cheaper and much much quicker than taking a bus to London then a London-Bath train link - this advice turns out to be complete nonsense

and proves that even the British are mystified about the Byzantine fare structure, etc. that was a product of privatization, where IME you cannot even buy tickets of competing rail franchises at stations not served by them (this happened to me recently in London) and cannot use tickets from competing franchises that serve the same route

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