Transportation South England

May 17th, 2019, 07:17 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 9
Transportation South England

We are planning on taking a 4-5 days to visit some sites in South England leaving from London and returning to London Gatwick airport. Need advice on whether to rent a car or travel by Britrail/bus/uber. Planning on going to Bath, Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Highclere castle, Jurassic Coast, possibly Dover. Any advice on places to stay, must see areas, tranpostation, etc. Would be appreciated.
jlbgator is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 07:29 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,821
Bath, Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Highclere castle, Jurassic Coast, possibly Dover.

Start with this https://www.traveline.info/ it links up all the possible routes. Generally, it is more sensible to plan around train travel if you are a single passenger, but as you get to about 4 then a car makes more sense, though obviously not in London, 'cause only an idiot uses a car in central London. Of those critical ones, you mention you can do tours to many of these in horribly dull coach trips. The easy ones are, take a train to Bath, train to Salisbury and bus to Stonehenge, train to Dover, Train to Wool and bus to Lulworth Cove (the start of the Jurassic). Cotswolds is a big area so you need a more detailed plan, Highclere needs a train to Andover and bus from there.

Britrail does not exist in the UK it is a USA marketing arm of something (I think something French), when booking tickets start with Nationalrail.co.uk and then click through to the ticket companies they recommend. Most can be bought in the US online and then picked up at any major railway station as required. Seat61.com explains how the whole thing works. London has a lot of stations and a whole metro system to be understood as well. Enjoy.

Last edited by bilboburgler; May 17th, 2019 at 07:33 AM.
bilboburgler is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 07:35 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 9
We are a family of 4, two adults two boys, 9-13. Will have all our luggage, etc. So was thinking car was best option in the long run but hubby wasn't
too excited about the driving....
jlbgator is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 07:46 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,821
Kids will be cheaper so maybe not that bad, certainly worth doing a few comparisons. Pricing on trains is multi-variable so the sooner you book and the most out of the rush hour the cheaper things will be. You will also find both trains and buses use "family tickets" to let families get about cheaply. Called "Family and Friends" that might help a lot. So I just ran the Waterloo to Wool ticket during the day and prices were 45 return for 2 adults and 2 kids with the F&F ticket which is a lot less than car hire/fuel/stress. Not sure of the bus price,but you get the idea.

Your luggage is traveling with you,soou are looking for a loop route. A bit trickier but possible,just play with nationalrail a bit. Driving in the UK is easy, the only odd things are the roundabouts, the narrow country roads and th driving on the left, so simple.

Last edited by bilboburgler; May 17th, 2019 at 07:48 AM.
bilboburgler is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 07:57 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,755
Using public transport works better in some places than others and for your purposes renting a car will simplify things greatly.
MmePerdu is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 07:59 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 9
Planning on bringing luggage so we could stay maybe a day in Cotswolds or along the way. Trying to make this somewhat leisurely and not have to go back and forth to london or one central spot. Do a few things in one day like Stonehenge and Bath for example...Thanks for your help
jlbgator is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 08:04 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 30
Whilst on the Jurassic coast your boys may be interested in the tank museum - near Wool.
I would drop Dover as its the outsider of all the places you are visiting.

Highclere has limited opening times too
Megdorset is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 08:57 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,610
That is a LOT in 4 or 5 days -- and to get to even just most of them you would need a car. Otherwise there would be a lot of back tracking and some of those destinations don't have much or any rail service.

London out to LHR to collect a car > Highclere (IF you can get tickets) > to the Cotswolds > Bath > Stonehenge > Dorset > Dover > LGW is a full week at a dead run . . . unless you want just to be in the car all day long every day.
janisj is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 09:05 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,610
To give you and idea: That loop I laid out is about 17+ hours of 'car time' with no stops at all -- and you have a minimum four full days worth of 'stops' . . . The Cotswolds a full day at minimum, Bath a full day, Stonehenge + the Dorset coast a full day at minimum, Dover Castle a full day.

And that is without the excursion to Highclere or any stops elsewhere on the coast between Dorset and Dover.
janisj is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 10:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,755
I remember my first visit of 3 weeks in England on my own, after having previously visited only London, and it was a real education in the time it takes to include a number of stops. I was doing genealogy research, had a car and planned to visit a number of places in the south and Midlands. I headed south, then west, then north and by the time I reached the Cotswolds I realized there was no hope for the itinerary I'd planned. I remember arriving in Broadway, in Gloucestershire, and making the decision to just lop off the more northern part of my planned itinerary, just head east from there and back to London. It actually worked quite well but I was traveling without advance reservations, a simpler time to travel in the UK.

I don't see mention of the time of year you plan to be traveling but if it's in summer, and with 4 people rather than just 1, it would be wise to have reservations. Off season you could still play it by ear, have a list of possible stops, include secondary choices but be ready to adjust your route & time spent as you go. This plan would certainly require a car for flexibility and to not be slowed by lack of train service or buses that can be few & far between.
MmePerdu is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 12:05 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,157
If going by train to all tose places one pass may be of interest to use could be the London Plus Pass that covers much of southeast England - including Britsol, Bath, Stratford, Dover and all places you are going I believe. It also gives you a return ticket on any airport Express train to be used outside the pass validity if want. For lots on passes and British trains check www.seat61.com; BETS: Britain and www.ricksteves.com. The pass lets you hop on any train anytime with no blackout periods - nice on day trips if you want to leave early and don't know when you will be ready to return. Not sold in UK TMK.
PalenQ is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 12:28 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,392
I don't know the full route you'll end up with but you can replace Lulworth/Jurassic coast with Seven Sisters, Birling Gap, Beachy Head. just as spectacular and more accessible. And far more scenic than Dover. And can be combined with a visit to Brighton (not that you need more places to visit).

Last edited by walkinaround; May 17th, 2019 at 12:31 PM.
walkinaround is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 01:42 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,755
Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
If going by train to all tose places one pass may be of interest to use could be the London Plus Pass that covers much of southeast England - including Britsol, Bath, Stratford, Dover and all places you are going I believe. . . .
There aren't trains to "all tose places." To have to make decisions on where to visit based on where the trains are, rather than one's first choice of destination would be disappointing. Bus service may get them close, but may also have very limited service, time consuming & frustrating connections. The simple & economical solution is a car.

MmePerdu is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 02:02 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,610
Pal: I know you need to post that on every thread -- but even most of those destinations, let alone 'all tose' would not be possible by train in 4 or 5 days - and some would simply not be possible by train.
janisj is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 03:19 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,528
<<We are planning on taking a 4-5 days to visit some sites in South England leaving from London and returning to London Gatwick airport. Need advice on whether to rent a car or travel by Britrail/bus/uber. Planning on going to Bath, Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Highclere castle, Jurassic Coast, possibly Dover. Any advice on places to stay, must see areas, tranpostation, etc. Would be appreciated.>>

I agree with JJ, Mme Perdue, Walkinround and others that you are biting off more than you can chew, even if you hire a car, which in your case appears to be the most efficient option. You actually have 3 x 4-5 days trips there. You could do Stonehenge, Bath and the Jurassic Coast [at a pinch], or Stonehenge, Bath and the Cotswolds, or Dover, Kent and Sussex.

What do your lads want to do? Kent is packed full of castles, [not just Dover] has beaches, steam trains, National Trust properties with lots of activities for kids - more than enough to fill 4-5 days and within a reasonably small area. OK I'm biased because I used to live in Kent but I suspect that they would have more fun there than in Bath or in the Cotswolds.
annhig is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 04:14 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,610
>>OK I'm biased because I used to live in Kent but I suspect that they would have more fun there than in Bath or in the Cotswolds.<<

I haven't lived in Kent but I agree

Stonehenge and the Roman Baths would be great - but with just 4-5 days a driving loop covering Dover Castle, Deal Castle (really neat to explore with visitor centre-provided flashlights/torches) , Port Lympne Animal Park, Bodiam Castle, Kent & East Sussex Railway, beaches, and more castle/gardens than you can imagine . . . etc etc

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/v...dover%20castle
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/...=deal%20castle
http://www.aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne/
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle/
https://www.kesr.org.uk
janisj is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 10:06 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,157
Canterbury is another star of Kent - for its famous cathedral and pleasant regional town center. Chilham is a really neat castle-village plus all the stuff Janis mentioned and much more like Rye.
PalenQ is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 01:15 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,528
lol, JJ - that's enough for a fortnight! glad that you too are a fan of Kent, and of course, Pal, Canterbury Cathedral is another star.
annhig is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 01:29 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,157
Not sure why Kent gets little action on Fodor's as everyone flocks to Cotswolds or The West Country or up to York area.

But it has a surfeit of neat places in a compact area. It has also become a noted wine center of late with wines being more and more acclaimed - it's also one of few places in Europe to produce hops for beer-and the tall hops plants are a curiosity as are the old Oast Houses where hops are cured:

https://www.google.com/search?q=kent...w=1280&bih=625

Faversham is a brewery town (brewery smells permeate the town IME) with tours thru Britain's oldest brewery, Shepherd Neame:

https://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/visi.../brewery-tours

And as others mentioned a slew of castles including IMO in Dover Castle one of the finest from the outside perched part way up the Cliffs of Dover.

Ascending the Cliffs of Dover by foot path or road (buses) is a thri - to be perched high above the Channel below and seeing well over to France where similar cliffs arise. And there are Tunnel hewn out for military reasons like WW2 that you can explore - and an Interpretative Center explaining it all.
PalenQ is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 01:50 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,157
We are a family of 4, two adults two boys, 9-13. Will have all our luggage, etc. So was thinking car was best option in the long run but hubby wasn't
too excited about the driving....>

It takes about 5 minutes to get used to the driving on the 'wrong side' of the road - especially if you start off on divided highways. And with car, trip will be so much nicer for kids and all - loading bags on trains or buses as well as kids after getting to station and walking to right platform can be frustrating. Better IMO to use B&Bs which line streets going into towns and drive right up to the door with parking usually provided.
PalenQ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:15 AM.