UK 2 week itinerary comments/advice?

Jan 8th, 2011, 05:49 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 641
I agree with all of the above Texas.

For anyone, I agree with Oxford city centre (The Old Bank Hotel) as a first stop off.

God help anyone whose first impression of the UK is a hotel overnight at LHR.
humptynumpty is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 07:09 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 55
Morgana has it all spot on. Always listen to someone who lives there. I could drive for days just thru the Dales. Middleton has two wonderful inns right next to Richard III's home. York is magnificent, especially the cathedral and the shambles. Wherever you go in England, you'll only touch on the wonders she has to offer. Enjoy all that you see.
alienor is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 08:09 AM
  #23  
 
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Thanks Alienor - and I hope you won't be offended if I make a slight correction to your post above, in that is is Middleham in Wensleydale with the castle and not Middleton (which is an area of Manchester I believe!).
Morgana is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 04:04 PM
  #24  
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Thanks again for all the input. I'm glad the Cotswold base makes sense because it appeals to me to be settled for a chunk of time! Janisj, any suggestions as to which village? One guidebook said Painswick is a beautiful village, but then I see that Upper and Lower Slaughter, Chipping Campden, Bourton and Stow are also mentioned frequently! I have found a website entitled Manor Cottages which has several possibilities for us. Any opinions on Burford or near Malmsbury? Does anyone know of any other good websites for cottage rentals? Texas, thanks for the clockwise suggestion - we could go back to Gatwick after London, rent a car and either return it there if we do Cornwall or drop it in York and take the train back. As you can see, I am loathe to drop either Cornwall or York but after looking at the websites you posted, Morgana, I am leaning to spending more time in York and dropping Cornwall. Again, thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. I do feel like I am getting a better sense of the best way to optimize our time. I'm sure we'll enjoy England no matter where we go.
travelmere is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 06:42 PM
  #25  
 
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Manor Cottages is a very good agency.

Painswick is lovely -- but I really like Burford. A village but more like a small town because there are several restaurants, teas shop, pubs, interesting shops, etc.

Bourton on the Water is fine before 11AM and after 3PM - when the coaches and day trippers leave. I'd personally prefer Chipping Campden or Stow on the Wold over Bourton though.

the Slaughters are very pretty but very small and except for a pub or two not really a place I'd want to stay for several days.

But the above are just my own subjective opinions. There are 50 other lovely villages you might enjoy just as much or more.

Another good agency concentrating on the Cotswolds is cottage in the Country. http://www.cottageinthecountry.co.uk/
janisj is online now  
Jan 10th, 2011, 04:45 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,830
My suggestion about car rental--It is closer to LHR than to Gatwick, and you're thinking of dropping the car at a different location than pickup, so you don't have to pick it up at Gatwick. I'd suggest getting a car service (justairports is great) to take you to LHR, pick up car, drive to Oxford. Then either drop it in York and train (you'll have to think about your luggage if you do that) or drive back to Gatwick to drop it. If there is any extra cost in dropping at a different location (we found there was, many others have found there wasn't--guess it depends on rental agency), it probably will be worth it for the reduced hassle. Plus it will cost you more to get to Gatwick than to LHR, so it might come out even even if you have an extra drop fee.
texasbookworm is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 06:12 AM
  #27  
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Thanks, Janis for the rundown on the villages - I have been leaning toward Burford and perhaps Chipping Campden. Thanks for the other website. There looks to be many wonderful places for rent on the Manor website but it looks like once you've booked there is no cancellation allowed so I need to be very sure! Texas, thanks for the car rental info. From what you are saying it sounds like there is no car rental available from Gatwick? I will have to look into that. Is driving out of Heathrow fairly straightforward? Very busy I suspect. But I won't be the driver, only the navigator! Thanks for all the help. (We have dropped Cornwall and have decided on York after looking at all Morgana's websites it looks like we'll have plenty to see and do and not enough time! Thank you again for your help!
travelmere is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 06:53 AM
  #28  
 
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Why would one pick up a rental car at Heathrow just to drive to Oxford? Where you don't want a car. Train (or take the Oxford Tube bus) directly to Oxford and pick up your rental car in Oxford upon leaving town. Plus you wouldn't have to pay the Heathrow airport surcharge that way.

We haven't paid any penalty for dropping off a rental car at different location in England.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 09:06 AM
  #29  
 
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Mimar's option is a valid one, one we didn't explore too much as we needed to be back at LHR for our flight home, so it made sense for us to get and drop car from same location. But you, travelmere, have different situation, so---I imagine there has to be rental at Gatwick, I just know nothing about it. The only problem with training or bussing into Oxford is that you'll have to figure out something with luggage--so like go directly from bus/train station to rooms and hope you could leave them there? The luggage issue was another reason we decided to get a car at LHR. As we all said, you don't want car IN Oxford, so even if you did pick it up and drive, you'd be leaving car outside of Oxford and catching a bus into town--which is, as I explained above, what we did most (mostly) easily. ANY and all driving in the UK is going to not be straightforward (round the roundabouts) but from LHR to outside of Oxford is mostly highway. So you could do what I suggest--car service to LHR, drive car, with luggage in it, to rooms outside of Oxford center, bus into town, bus back to rooms, have car ready to go first thing in the morning--or what Mimar suggests--catch train or OxfordTube or OxfordEspress (coach lines from London), carrying your luggage, into Oxford, do something with your luggage and get to your rooms sometime somehow, probably via taxi, seeing Oxford, getting to a rental agency the next morning in Oxford again I guess via taxi and leaving.
texasbookworm is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 07:43 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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No luggage storage at the Oxford train station but a couple places nearby seem to offer it: Central Backpackers hostel and Royal Oxford Hotel. Here's a list of hotels that offer luggage storage: http://www.activehotels.com/1/3/hote...uggage-storage. If you take the bus, find the closest place to your bus stop.

So, for a day trip to Oxford, store your bags upon arrival, tour the town, pick up your bags and, if necessary, take a taxi to the car rental.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 08:32 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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If you're driving bring your GPS!!! It will be your lifesaver. Also need to check if the place you're going into has a congestion charge. London has one, York doesn't. National Express Coaches (bus) and Rail have some 14 day travel offers you might want to look at.

Check the public transportation website:

traveline.org.uk

This website checks all types of transportation. To start click on the region you're starting from.

I flew from Heathrow transatlantic with a York couple and was told there is train that runs from London to York with one stop in Stevenage in 1.5 hours. In October we stayed at the York Hilton (which has it's own parking garage for a fee) for about $160. Great place and easy walking access to the center of town. Marks and Spencers (M&S) is a good place to get snacks/lunch (York's is great). Tesco is a grocery store. Tesco Express is a quick stop.
tacyvc is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:44 AM
  #32  
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Thanks again for all the info. We travel very light - each a small carry-on and a daypack so while I don't want to lug it around Oxford it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I am thinking that it makes sense to head up to York by train and rent the car from there (after we have spent a day or two walking around York) to see some of the sights in the surrounding area and then drive to Cotswolds/Oxford/Bath area where we can leave the car wherever we are staying and bus into Oxford. I was thinking about renting a cottage for 5 days to tour the entire area but now think it might be better to divide the area up - 4 nights Cotswolds and 3 nights bath in order to be closer to Salisbury, Wells etc. Drop the car at Gatwick.
Tacvyk, it sounds like you found the Hilton in York to be just fine. They had a great deal through Expedia at $100 dollars a night but when I read the reviews on TA I got scared off. It sounded noisy and dirty. Not true? I'd love your feedback because the location seemed ideal and the price great. (Although that may no longer be available). Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions.
travelmere is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 10:11 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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The fastest train from Kings Cross, London to York is 1 hour 44 minutes - and that's the 3pm one - very popular with commuters like my husband. It doesn't stop anywhere between London and York.
There isn't one that takes 1.5 hours although I wish there was!
Most take around 2 hours (some more, some less) but some stop more than others, so you need to check the timetable before you book, if a fast trip is important.
I don't stay in York as a rule because I live close by. However, I have stayed at the Royal York on business. It's large and has the advantage of being slap bang next to the railway station. You could walk off the train and be in the Hotel in a couple of minutes. Plus it's only a short walk into the city centre.
I arranged a large overnight conference at the Royal York and the feedback was good - no one complained of noise from the station for instance although you could always ask for a room away from the station platforms. Plus it does have a car park which might be important for when you get your rental car and head off exploring. I am not sure if the car park is free or not.
www.royalhotelyork.co.uk
Morgana is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 12:07 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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To answer various points raised above-

Congestion charging - London only, no other UK city (yet) has this system. As first time UK visitors you'll not be driving in central London anyway - I hope - so this issue is irrelevant to you.

Car hire at Gatwick airport - of courseit's possible to pick-up and return hire care at LGW, a major international airport. All the major rental companies have large operations there.

GPS - yes definitely a good idea for navigating around the UK. Just make sure you have up-to-date stree-level mapping for the UK (almost certainly a paid-for extra if you bought your GPS somewhere outside western Europe).
Gordon_R is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 04:40 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Only lizzie (above) said much about the roads, but those in the Cotswolds as well as the Lake District are VERY narrow, and often have NO shoulder except maybe vertical bricks. One night I paced one off; 12 shoe lengths, from edge to edge. Not wide enough for two cars. We had to back up about 800' one night!! If one isn't used to them, one cannot!!!!! drive them even moderately fast.
tomboy is offline  

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