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10 Day Itinerary Feedback and Recommendations

We would love your input, tips and ideas for our 10 day England itinerary.
We are seasoned travels and have done a mixture of backpacking trips and whirlwind tours as well as long stays in apartments in big cities, such as Rome. We enjoy walking, open air markets, hiking, libraries, the occasional cathedral, church or castle or historic building or museum, Harry Potter and British Murder Mysteries (such as Poirot, Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders and Rosemary and Thyme). We realize 10 days is not enough time, but we hope to return again. At this point we plan to rent a car for portions (from London or outside Oxford) and can combine with taxi/train. We are traveling in June. Note: We could also do this same itinerary in reverse, especially if there are routes or reasons to do so. Thank you all so much in advance.

Itinerary A
Arrival Day LHR - straight to Oxford
Tuesday Oxford
Wednesday Cotswolds
Thursday Cotswolds
Friday Cotswolds
Saturday somewhere South - Bristol, Southampton or Jurassic Coast area?
Sunday see above
Monday see above (heading towards London with stop along the way for 1 overnight?)
Tuesday London
Wednesday London
Thursday London
F**riday afternoon Depart LHR

Itinerary B Reverse
Arrival Day LHR - straight to London
Tuesday London
Wednesday London
Thursday London
Friday somewhere South - Bristol, Southampton or Jurassic Coast area?
Saturday see above
Sunday (heading towards Cotswolds with stop along the way for 1 overnight?)
Monday Cotswolds
Tuesday Cotswolds
Wednesday Cotswolds
Thursday Oxford
Friday Oxford afternoon Depart LHR
**

Posted by
5611 posts

I’ve done similar but not exact sojourns in 2016 and 2017z

Last year LAX to LHR ( red eye) so did get some sleep. It was early November so planned my drive time based on knowing it would be dark by 4pm. Took all of the 3.5 hours to get to Lyme Regis.

Luckily was thru immigration under 45 minutes, shuttle to car rental was just pulling up as I exited the airport. 10 minute ride. In the car and on the road by 1:30pm and drove to Lyme Regis. Lovely AirBNB apartment. Great hosts. Spent 2 nights there ( in hindsight should have stayed longer) then drove back to LHR and took the Heathrow Express into London. Had prebooked months in advance to save $’s. It’s the neighborhood I always stay so that’s why I use it.

Loved Lyme Regis. I’m returning I think next year to spend more time exploring the area. I highly recommend it as a base for exploring the Jurassic Coast. One my favorite finds was the Aroma Cafe across for the small Lyme Regis museum. If you sit on the couch it’s rather daunting watching. the large tour busses manage the wee road and turn. Good coffee, food friendly staff, free WiFi. My type of place.

As far as the Cotswolds did the same jaunt from LHR the year before. Had an AirBnB in Winchcombe. Had car trouble but that’s another story. I preferred to stay away from the popular Cotswolds towns thus my selection of Winchcombe. Suits my style of exploration and having a car, traveling in November lessens the visiting hordes considerably.

You like walking. It’s a trek ( 12 miles one way) but the hike from Winchcombe to the Broadway Tower is lovely. You’ll need to arrange for someone to pick you up. Anywhere on the Cotswold way is lovely.

By using Google Maps Satellite View before I left the states I plotted out driving routes making notes about towns, villages etc in between destinations. Helped me know I was on the right Roads.

Do not miss Hallies Abbey, nor the food at the Kings Head Inn in Bledington. If you do get to Winchcombe tour St Peters if only for the amusing Gargolyes. The nearby Sudeley Castle and Gardens is a nice jaunt.

If it were me I’d opt for itinerary #1. I always find London rewarding and after mastering driving on the left side of the road simply enjoy the ease of London public transport.

Lastly as an aside you should find both Vera and inspector George Gently Series to watch and enjoy before you go. Also Inspector Morse since it was filmed in and around Oxford.

Vera and George Gently were filmed in the gorgeous Northumberland area. Too bad you can’t visit Durham.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you so very much, Claudia. We will add Lyme Regis and explore your suggestions for the Cotswolds. I greatly appreciate your input. Based on availability of our rental choices in London (either in Notting Hill or Covent Garden) we may shift our schedule to London on the front end. I’ll tinker with the itinerary and post my update in the next few days. Thank you again!

Posted by
15 posts

I’ve made the following updates to our itinerary. - specific hotel/accommodation suggestions for Lyme Regis and Salisbury/Lyndhurst?
- favorite views and fossil areas near Lyme Regis?
- anyone been to Durdle Door?
- restaurants/stood along the drive to Salisbury?
- suggested wander in New Forest?

Updated itinerary:
MondayArrival Day LHR - straight to Oxford via bus
Tuesday Oxford
Wednesday Oxford pick up rental car - Cotswolds/Stratford upon Avon (RSC show?)
Thursday Cotswolds
Friday Cotswolds drive to Lyme Regis
Saturday Lyme Regis - Jurassic Coast area
Dorcester/Weymouth Durdle Door
Sunday Lyme Regis drive to Salisbury or Lyndhurst (New Forest area)
Monday Salisbury leave car in Salisbury train to London
Tuesday London
Wednesday London
Thursday London
Friday afternoon Depart LHR

Thank you each so much for your input, private messages and suggestions.

Posted by
248 posts

A number of travelers have reported here that they did not enjoy driving rental cars in English urban areas. It should be possible to rent cars from locations where it will not be necessary to drive in urban areas. If there is regular train service to a destination you desire to visit, you'll probably prefer to take the train. Some areas you want to visit don't have regular train service and for those a rental car will be desirable.

Posted by
7881 posts

I haven’t done the research to know how far out of your way this would be but thought I’d mention that you can visit Agatha Christie’s home in Devon if you’re interested. You can also sleep there as they have several accomodations for visitors. It’s something I’d like to do some day.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you, Curious Traveler. Yes, I agree and we plan to rent our car after Oxford and return it outside of Salisbury.

Posted by
15 posts

Great idea, Susan. I will check on the Agatha Christie home. That could be fun if it’s within our route. Thank you!

Posted by
1838 posts

I have been to Durdle Dor/Lulworth Cove and it is an excellent bit of coast. I don’t think much of the New Forest and the roads in this area can be overcrowded. Lyndhurst - a village in the middle is nothing but a one way system making the village a giant roundabout.
Salisbury has a wonderful medieval cathedral and Stonehenge is just to the north. I would not bother with Southampton.

The link opens up a map on which the main roads will have colours showing the traffic flows live at the time you click it. (Do this in the UK night and you will think there is hardly any traffic). The green areas tend to be the more scenic parts. Also select satellite view and zoom down / go to Streetview to see what the places look like.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.2783098,-2.600946,8.66z/data=!5m1!1e1

I would also like to mention that southern Wales is a possibility - perhaps using the A40 (which can be bendy) to go one way to Pembrokeshire and the A48/M4 the other way - stopping off in the Cardiff area. (More on this is in the Wales forum if interested). If going to SW Wales, I would head to Tenby. http://www.tenbyvisitorguide.co.uk
If using the A40 route, a stopover in the Brecon Beacons National Park would offer fine walking country:>http://www.breconbeacons.org

Posted by
4521 posts

If Agatha Christie is your bag, then being in Oxfordshire you shouldn't miss out on Wallingford, where she lived from the 1920s and is buried nearby. Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders are also covered in the local museum.

Posted by
4834 posts

We did a 28 day drive tour of Wales and England last October and loved it.
We spent 6 nights in Chipping Campden, using it as a base to visit Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Blenheim Palace and of course, the Cotswolds. Don't miss Stratford Upon Avon!

Rick Steves guide for Great Britain is helpful for doing the Cotswolds in a day. It took us 1.5 days.
You mention Bristol going South. Bristol is more west. Southampton is more directly south of London.
You might consider Bath as a choice. Salisbury, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge are other choices.

Consider the Volunteer Inn in Chipping Campden. It is a nice B&B with a great pub and Indian restaurant.

Posted by
5611 posts

I’d go with the Nottinghill option instead of Covent Garden.

The former offers vibrancy without all the noise and crowds. Transport will be easy. Loads of busses along Bayswater and Westbourne Grove Roads as well as a choice of Underground stations.

You can enjoy Portobello Road Market (which I love) as well as stroll into Kensington Gardens. The area around the Holland Park Station is very nice.

I’m a walker when I’m in London and few years back stayed in a lovely AirBnB in Holland Park. Enjoyed pints at the Castle ( which I think is a Gastropub now, big sigh), Coffee and pastries at Paul’s. There is a small Daunt Books I liked and a Tesco Express for groceries.

Each morning I’d take a different route to walk and discovered on the opposite side of the actual Holland Park not the neighborhood are the Leighton House and Design Museums. Each different and rewarding in their own right.

As far as meals loads of places to choose from. I discovered that the food at The Tabernacle was good and fairly priced. It’s a community center. Was once a Church.

If you do visit Lyme Regis consider visiting nearby West Bay. Since you like British mysteries I hope you’ve seen Broadchurch. If yes you’ll love West Bay. Walk along the pier or beach or take the cliff trail.

One last thing, as you are traveling at the height of tourist season you’ll definitely find a difference in crowds than I did traveling in November. To save some pounds use the train tickets you will have from your Salisbury into London ride to get the 2 for 1 deal. Search on this forum for info as well look at this link. https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london

London is such a great city to explore with diverse and intriguing neighborhoods. Given your two options thats my 2.5 cents about where to stay in London.

Posted by
4665 posts

If you like the Suchet Poirot TV series, the building used for the exteriors of Poirot's flat is Florin Court in Charterhouse Square in the City. (Not open to the public.)

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you for your concern, Curious Traveler. We are planning to pick our car up outside Oxford and drive to The Cotswolds. I welcome alternatives to driving and enjoy the train. If in fact it makes sense to keep the car only for our Cotswolds portion and then find a train to Lyme Regis or vicinity, I'm open to this as well. I suppose after reading so many posts on this forum, it sounded to me as though the freedom of a car, especially on a weekend Sunday with limited bus options, might be best. I must admit no experience with the road down south, especially along the coast and Lyme Regis. Once again, I so appreciate everyone's experience and insight.

Posted by
15 posts

James, thank you so much for the traffic link! This is incredibly handy. Interesting, my travel partner is very interested in New Forest for the ponies and wildlife. Sorry to hear it's not perhaps all it looks on the website. Not sure we have time for Wales this time around but I'm definitely interested in exploring other National Parks areas as we have friends who have enjoyed them. Thank you again.

Posted by
15 posts

Marco thank you, yes we are now planning to add the Agatha Christie home and I'm researching options now. Wonder has anyone stayed here before?

Posted by
15 posts

Geovagriffith, excellent list. We have the RS Great Britain guide and I'll make sure to read the day trip portion. What did you think of Stratford-Upon-Avon? It's gotten mixed reviews on this forum. We are very much interested in an RSC show and it looks as though for our dates we'll need to see one there. As they are evening shows we may end up staying overnight in Stratford rather than driving at night back to a base in Chipping Campden or elsewhere. I'm looking forward to Bourton-on-the-water but I've definitely read and received ots of recommendations for using Chipping Campden as a base. Thank you!

Posted by
15 posts

Claudia, as always, thank you. I have very much enjoyed reading your trip reviews and as someone who likewise enjoys walking I can hardly wait to explore your suggestions. The Tabernacle sounds really interesting as well - always up for a fascinating/quirky location with delicious food. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew with the driving dow the south coast, but it seems a great way to get out see the West Bay and Lyme Regis areas.

Posted by
5611 posts

If you can survive the insanity of LA traffic you’ll be Aces on the motorway and road into Lyme Regis.

Not bad at all. Just remember to know the names of the towns along the route to be certain you are going the correct way. Map out your routes the night be before you hit the road. That always helps me.

You’ll also need to get used to roundabouts and thus my suggestion of knowing the names of towns.

Posted by
26 posts

I think you have a nice itinerary with some different touches.

The Jurassic coast is very attractive and the story of Lyme Regis native Mary Anning is fascinating.

Perhaps you found them both, but the New Forest boasts not one, but two, websites. I think you'll enjoy some time there. These links will give you some suggested walks (as well as lots of other information):

https://www.thenewforest.co.uk/things-to-do/walking/family-walks

https://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/todo/

Staying in Salisbury will certainly offer you much more than Lyndhurst which really is a built up roundabout with some pubs and hotels and lots of frustrated day trippers!

I can recommend Peartree Serviced Apartments in Salisbury. They are located close to the train station and the walk into the City Centre is very enjoyable with Cathedral views.

https://stayatpeartree.com/

Salisbury has lots of good options for things to see and do and places to eat.

Are you pub goers, what kind of food do you like?

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you, Claudia. Great recommendation for the towns en route. I've made this mistake before elsewhere. Hopefully all is well for you during these fires.

Posted by
15 posts

Charles, I appreciate your suggestion in Salisbury. We're fond of both pubs and gastropubs and especially enjoy England (as we're both celiac) and there are plenty of gluten-free choices. I'm looking forward to all of the curry as well. We love recommendations, especially if you've been there and enjoyed a dish or location.

Posted by
801 posts

My daughter and I did a self-guided walking tour of Dorset in June 2018, and the absolute highlight was our day walking the South West Coast Path from Charmouth to West Bay; the next day to Seatown was also very pleasant. Lots of hills including Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast, and wonderful views. That was our best weather day, which I'm sure helped our enjoyment - we even got sunburned. We found the path very well marked (unlike some of the other paths we tried to follow...). Since you enjoy walking, I highly recommend that part of the SWCP. Some day I hope to get back and walk some more of it.

Posted by
4351 posts

my travel partner is very interested in New Forest for the ponies and wildlife. Sorry to hear it's not perhaps all it looks on the website.

I don't know how the poster formed that opinion but I can assure you the New Forest is very worthwhile and it does look as depicted on websites. Yes Lyndhurst can be busy with the traffic, particularly in the summer but it's avoidable. I like Brockenhurst and there's a very good restaurant there, The Pig www.thepighotel.com/brockenhurst/new-forest-restaurant/. Also consider beaulieu and Bucklers Hard, www.thenewforest.co.uk/explore/towns-and-villages/beaulieu. The Montague Arms Hotel is another great place to eat, www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk/fine_dining_in_hampshire.html.

I attend a monthly market in the New Forest, always on a Saturday morning and I love the drive through the forest (it's mainly heathland). I always see scores of wild ponies grazing by the side of the road along with cattle, deer, sheep, donkeys and at this time of year, pigs. Occasionally traffic can back up behind a stubborn herd of cattle refusing to move out of the road but that's the trade off with being surrounded with so much nature.

Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove are fantastic along with the whole Jurassic Coast, it's a very nice part of the country and often overlooked in favour of the better know Cotswolds. I'd recommend squeezing in a visit to Corfe Castle if you can.

Avoid Southampton, there's nothing of much interest there really. It's a port city, quite grubby and run down in many places.

Personally I'd devote more time to the coast and New Forest than the Cotswolds.