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Too Ambitious?

We will be arriving at Heathrow at 7:30 a.m. after a non-stop flight from San Francisco. Our plan is to pick up a car upon arrival and head for the Cotswalds. We will be spending 3 nights in Chipping Campden. Now for my question - would it be crazy to try to see a bit of Oxford and Blenheim Palace on our way to Chipping Campden?

Thanks

Posted by
1251 posts

Andrea - It all depends on how you handle the flight. It's about a 1 1/2 hour drive to Oxford and then about a 35-40 minute drive from Oxford to Blenheim Palace. Check out www.viamichelin.com for your route planning.

Posted by
8434 posts

Just for a little history of my fly then drive experiences -

After arriving in Frankfurt (a long trip with 2 plane changes) I drove to Freiburg, stopping for lunch in Heidelberg. No problem. When I went to Ireland (again, 2 plane changes) I drove from the Dublin airport to Kilkenny. That was about a 2 hour drive. I had about reached my limit of driving at that point. I think the additional stress of driving on the 'other' side of the road added to my fatigue. I am definitely not adverse to stopping if tired.

Posted by
26448 posts

Even on a day with the worst traffic it wouldn't take me 3/4 of an hour from Oxford (should park in the park and ride anyway - closest to Blenheim is likely Pear Tree or Water Eaton) to Blenheim.

That being said, a lot of Blenheim can get a little draggy, and if the weather is fine a stroll around the town of Oxford. Be aware that the University College quads are not normally open to visits before after lunch.

Posted by
8434 posts

Thank you all for your replies. I will be picking up a car upon arrival, as there is no other logical alternative. The options are to drive straight to Chipping Campden, where we would then just check out the town and kill time waiting to check into our B&B, or to make the stop(s) along the way. I think I will just play it by ear and see how I'm feeling. I will not drive if I am too tired. If that is the case I will just find some place to take a quick nap. I've never had to do that in the past, and this will be my easiest journey yet.

Posted by
991 posts

Andrea, You've post here over 5000 times. I may be wrong but I'm thinking this is not your first trip to the UK and that you are not unfamiliar with driving on the correct side of the road. Our flight to LHR from SEA gets us there much later in the day than 07:30 but we manage to get usually as far as Salisbury. I think if you can sleep on the plane and there are 2 of you taking turns driving (?) you should be able to get to Woodstock or Oxford fairly easily. If I am wrong . .please be careful.

Posted by
9110 posts

If you pull over in a highway rest plaza, set an alarm, even at the Burger King.

There's signs saying that if you stay more than a couple of hours, and haven't paid by phone, you're in deep kimchi.

Posted by
6185 posts

Andrea I am sure I am in the minority, but I once spent a day & a half in Oxford looking in vain for something interesting to see besides the outsides of buildings. If it were me, I would plan that day around a nice place to stop for lunch on the way to your destination.

Posted by
8434 posts

Looking at the suggested route given by Via Michelin it appears we will be going through Woodstock. I'm thinking that it looks like a cute town to have lunch and stretch our legs before heading for Chipping Campden. After seeing how much they charge for Blenheim Palace I would want to be much more alert for that!

Posted by
26448 posts

On the other other hand, if you do manage to plough straight through to Chipping Campden you could do far worse than to go just through the village to the absolutely extraordinary gardens at Hidcote Manor Garden. This is where the concept of rooms in a garden was devised. Unlike any other you will have seen.

National Trust.

Posted by
8434 posts

Jeremy Clarkson? My husband would be in heaven to meet him. He is a big Top Gear fan. The UK Top Gear is sooo much better than the lame US Top Gear.

Nigel, Hidcote Manor Garden is one of the places I was planning to see. That is a great suggestion. Thanks!!

I will take every care to drive safely, just as I do every time I get behind the wheel. Actually even more care if that's possible because of driving on the opposite side of what I'm used to. I will be renting an automatic so I have one less thing to take my attention away from the road. And I have driven on the left before, so it won't be a totally new experience. We will have a GPS, but I will also print out directions before I leave home. It seems to be a pretty direct drive to Chipping Campden. Thanks to you all for your concerns.

Posted by
26448 posts

and not far away, of course, are a chap called David Cameron (heard of him?), the Prince of Wales, and my solicitor.

That's (including the nutter Clarkson) all around Chipping Norton though, a completely different Chipping to Chipping Campden.

Posted by
8434 posts

Nigel - Yes, I know who everyone is that you speak of. Even your solicitor. Okay, not your solicitor. And the Chippings aren't too far away from each other. :-)

Sadly, the Hidcote Manor Garden is closed on Fridays in September and we arrive on a Friday. We will get there another day. It was a good idea though.

Posted by
8434 posts

Thanks for the clarification. I got my information from my RS 2013 Great Britain book. It states that they are closed on Thursdays & Fridays beginning in September. That just goes to show it's best to verify current information online.

Posted by
2642 posts

Blenheim Palace is well worth the money. We had a great lunch there, there is so much to see there.

Posted by
8434 posts

Robin Z,
It is still in my plans to go there. Thanks for confirming it is worthwhile. We will just not go on the day we arrive. :-)