UK Road Trip

Old Dec 26th, 2012, 09:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
UK Road Trip

I need some advice on a UK road trip. I'm flying (10 hour flight) to London to meet my girlfriend on January 9th. She needs to be back in Exeter by the 13th. We are staying one night in London (got a deal on at the Millennium and Copthorne Hotel at Chelsea Football Club), and then setting out for Exeter on the 10th. I've already done London a few times and she'll have been in London for the early part of December. What I'd like to do, is take a train or coach to say, Oxford (?) to hire a car. I definitely don't want to be hiring in London. And yes I know petrol in the UK is like $50 per gallon, and yes I know its measured in liters, and every car is manual, and all the roads are tiny, and you drive on the left, and to multiply whatever my expected travel time is by 10. Now that that is out of the way, anyone have any good suggestions on a route from Oxford, or any other place I can pick the car up at, to Exeter? Things we think we would like to see are Salisbury (Stonehenge area), Bath, Bristol, Cardiff. I've heard mixed reviews about some of these places. And honestly we don't know what we want to see, because everything seems fantastic.

My rough itinerary is:

10th: Coach/Train to Oxford to pick up car and stay the night.
11th: Set out for Bath. Explore Bath and stay the night.
12th: Travel from Bath to Bristol and/or Cardiff. Then back to Bath.
13th: Check out and travel to to Salisbury and Stonehenge, then on to Exeter.
14th: Return car, leave girlfriend, and travel by train back to Heathrow. Flight departs at 15:05.

Honestly, everything seems kind of scrunched together, and I'm not sure if we really need a night in Oxford, or if we should just pick the car up and head for Bath. I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions or changes. Better places to stay or see. Whatever. But no, I am set on the car. Thanks for the help!
jpdevers is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,074
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
OK - some misconceptions here. Actually the easiest place to collect a car and drive from isn't Oxford, or Bath or even Exeter. It is . . . Heathrow. So I would take the tube from London out to Heathrow, pickup your rental car and head out wherever you want to go. Salisbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, Bath, wherever. You'll have total freedom.

But . . . IF Oxford, Bath, Cardiff, Salisbury are your main interests, there is really no need for a car at all. Central Oxford is hopeless for parking/driving. Bath is only a little better. All are well connected by train.

So first decide what you REALLY want to see/do and then we can help you figure out the details . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,074
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Oh -meant to add. If you want to spring for a bit more ££, you can book a car service like to take you from your hotel to the LHR rental agency for around £35-ish.
janisj is online now  
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 10:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply. Heathrow never really occurred to me, and its only slightly more expensive than hiring from outside of London.

The trains do seem less stressful to me, but I like the convenience of the car. In case it rains or we want to explore at our leisure.

Also, is Oxford, Bath, Cardiff, and Salisbury all worth seeing? Honestly I only imagine us spending a total of 30 minutes at Stonehenge. Any suggestions on must see places or things to do?
jpdevers is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,268
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The alternative tojanisj's suggestion is to get a train to Bath, do Bath then pick up a car.

Unless you've got some specific interest, I really can't see the point of wasting time in Bristol. Cardiff's only a teeny bit better, though there's nice countryside west of it.
flanneruk is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,074
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
to follow on from flanner's suggestion: Yes you could rent a car <i>after</i> your stay in Bath and only drive it on your way out of the city.

But Bath to Salisbury/stonehenge and then back SW towards Exeter would mean a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. From LHR the route would be a <i>bit</i> more linear. But not much difference really.

But before anything you'll want to decide what you want to try to see . . . whether a car even makes sense.

Yes -I personally do think Salisbury/Stonehenge are 'worth' it. Salisbury Cathedral is really terrific. Other places you may want to visit could include Bath, Wells/Glastonbury, the Dorset coast and then on to Exeter. That would totally fill your 3.5 days.
janisj is online now  
Old Dec 27th, 2012, 02:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,943
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>Honestly I only imagine us spending a total of 30 minutes at Stonehenge. <<

That depends on how you approach it. It's not just the stones, it's the whole surrounding landscape, for a good mile or so around; so, for instance, walking around the nearby barrows, or going down the slope to walk back up towards the stones gives you a sense of the magical effect they must have experienced in ancient times, but it can take a couple of hours. Sticking to the route from the carpark and round the stones themselves can be a bit ho-hum.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2012, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,945
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Oxford, a full day (more in the summer) check out which colleges you might like to visit and see their websites for visiting times, don't miss the museums, the market and the High, Broad street
Bath, I don't like Bath but even I would give it 6 hours (baths, crescent, canal) others would advise differently
Cardiff, don't know, never been
Salisbury, the Close and Cathedral 4 hours, but more if you want to approach from over the river to the South (most lazy people don't) but it is a fine view. If you add in the old town and maybe a visit to Old Sarum another half day
Stonehenge, I've struggled to get more than 1 hour out of this, but do a little internet research and the other sites nearbye soon add up.

Exeter is a longish drive up to the areas you have described but there is lots to do on the way. Since it is winter I'd stick to flanner's plan. Janisj offers some good additional visits. Wells is a little treat with Bishops palace and another fine cathedral.

I think add 25% to google travel time.
If you want to use public transport this helps
bilboburgler is online now  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Aug 24th, 2017 03:10 PM
Jun 16th, 2015 09:33 AM
Feb 25th, 2014 11:27 AM
Mar 28th, 2010 09:55 AM
Dec 21st, 2006 10:18 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -