London to the Cotswolds

Old Jul 5th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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London to the Cotswolds

Four of us will be traveling from London (Heathrow) to the Cotswolds. Would it be wiser to take a train part way before renting a car? Which train and any car rental recommendations?
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Not unless car rental price is a factor - after you're out of Heathrow the driving should be easy as you go away from London.

Or you could take a bus to Oxford and rent there.

Bus more convenient than train, which involves taking a Railbus to Reading then going by train via Oxford to the Cotswolds line
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Old Jul 6th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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maybe some Fodor Cotswoldians can respond better or can better respond
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Renting a car in Oxford makes almost no sense. The main rental sites are not convenient and driving/parking in Oxford is really difficult.

I'd just pick up a car at LHR and drive fromm there. From LHR it is easy to jump on the M40 and then the A40 west into the Cotswolds.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 02:06 AM
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Another suggestion for you would be to take BritRail from London to Bath, where there is a Hertz Rental at the train station and drive to wherever you decide to go/stay in the Cotswolds!! I have done this many times over the years!!!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 02:54 AM
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There is also a Thrifty car rental right at the Bath train station. We just rented from there in May. Rates were better than from Hertz (only about 50 pounds per day) and we got a lovely new automatic car that had only 87 miles on it.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 04:14 AM
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1) there is no "Britrail" train. (Britrail simply sells train passes)

2) IMHO renting a car in Bath to get to the Cotswolds makes even less sense than renting one in Oxford. Oxford is just a short drive from the eastern edge of the Cotswolds (and driving in Bath is not much easier than driving in Oxford)

Where is your final destination in the Cotswolds??
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Walk-on rail tickets (as opposed to pre-booked) in UK are pricey, although bus travel is cheap. But by the time you find your way out of the airport to the coach station, get to Bath/Oxford and rent you will have added hours to your (already long) journey. Even with the Heathrow surcharge (not sure what it is but you will be able to get an idea by doing comparative searches on www.holidayautos.com for Heathrow and for London) you will save time - and probably money - by just getting in a car and driving. Aside from Heathrow itself, which is as congested as any other airport, you will have trouble-free travel if you are outside of the morning or evening rush hour. The M4 motorway heading west (which from Heathrow would give you the easiest journey as you dont have to change motorways) is quick, fast and generally trouble free. Drive along to Junction 15, at Swindon, and you can take the A419 trunk road straight up to Cirencester, a great little roman town in the heart of the cotswolds. Have fun.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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Oooopppssss....sorry janisj....I was rushing to get off to work when I responded to this and just have Britrail on the brain...lol!!! But, that said...though I do not live in the UK...I'm just one that loves to travel there...I do not find the drive from Bath to anywhere in the Cotswolds an issue. I can also add that my Mom just returned from a trip to the Cotswolds and took the train from London to Evesham and rented a car there to get to our favorite destination, Stanton, which made the drive a breeze!! But, of course, like you said, it's wise to find where in the Cotswolds they will be going to!! ;-)
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. Our final destination in the Cotswolds is Blockly. We will be using that as a base to explore. We have always used public transportation before and this is the first time we will be renting a car.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Blockley is midway between Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh. So Bath really makes no sense at all for a car pick up.

You could pick it up in Oxford - but if it were me, I'd just get the car at LHR. You would take the M40 (not the M4) and not have to drive in Oxford at all. You could exit at either Banbury or Bicester (Banbury is the closest)
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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We rented at LHR and drove first to Minchinhampton where we stayed for a few nights and explored the lower Cotswolds. We drove to Bath from there for a day trip.

We then moved to Broadway for 4 nights and that was our base for exploring the northern Cotswolds. We then moved on to Oxford for 3 nights.

This approach worked beautifully and I can see no advantage to renting elsewhere than LHR, and doing so adds the stress of an additional step, finding your way to Oxford or Bath or wherever, and then another additional step when you return the car.

I say rent at the airport.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Thanks for all the help. I think renting at the airport is our best bet. There are 4 of us plus luggage. I know the roads in the Cotwolds can be narrow. Any reccommendations on what kind of vehicle will best negotiate the roads and carry 4 of us plus luggage?

Also, are there any outstanding car rental agencies?
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 03:12 PM
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We rented through AutoEurope - http://www.autoeurope.com and were very pleased with their service. They have some good specials on their site.

Lee Ann
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