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Best Way to get from Point A to Point B? London to Cotswolds, Cotswolds to Edinburgh?

We are traveling to England for two weeks this July and have finally decided upon 7 nights in London, two nights in the Cotswolds, and finishing up with four nights in Edinburgh and flying back home from there.

We won't be renting a car while in London, and we assumed we'd be taking the train to whatever station is closest to our rental for the two-night stay in the Cotswolds and then hiring a car from there to get to our rental and to drive around.

Is this a reasonable plan?

Also, and this is a big one -- would you drive or take a train from the Cotswolds to Edinburgh? I think it would be a beautiful drive up through the Lake District, but quite a long one, and it might stress my husband, the driver out. Rail might be more relaxing, if that works. What would be a good station to depart from? I'm still trying to figure out how to research rail trips online, but it seems as if Cheltenham might work?

Posted by
16894 posts

Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. For Britain, also has maps and reflects the range of ticket prices on any give route. Cheltenham does look like the best place to drop a car and catch a direct 6-hour train to Edinburgh.

[Edited] The direct train does not pass through the Lake District - it goes via York and Newcastle, with a scenic portion north of there. The train that makes one connection at Manchester does run on the scenic line via Penrith, Carlisle, and Lockerbie. Drill down into schedules to confirm the stops on the way.

I would not drive unless you were also staying a night or two in the Lake District and getting off the main road.

Posted by
103 posts

Thanks, Laura! I had browsed both those sites, and came up with some ideas, but since this is all rather new to me, I was afraid I might be missing something.

I so appreciate the "expert" advice on here from those who have been to England or live there!

Posted by
533 posts

Yes, is the best site to search for train tickets in the UK. However, a search for tickets from Cheltenham to Edinburgh is turning up some terribly expensive fares. You may be able to save a lot of money by splitting your ticket. For example, most (or all?) trains going north from Cheltenham go through Birmingham, so try searching for tickets from Cheltenham to Birmingham, then from Birmingham to Edinburgh. That's turning up many more discounted fares when I search for it. (Note that these are advance-purchase fares valid only for that specific train. If you need the flexibility of getting on any train, you may be stuck paying 150-odd pounds.)

Some of the trains from Cheltenham to Edinburgh go near the Lake District, but they don't actually go through it, I don't believe. Still, there is plenty of good scenery up in that part of the country.

Posted by
2553 posts

Leave London and collect hire car at Heathrow. Visit Cotswolds.

Return car to Birmingham Airport then take train to Edinburgh (or fly).

Posted by
3122 posts

I've got a different suggestion. As a previous commenter suggested, pick up a rental car at Heathrow and drive to Cotswolds. Then drive north on the M6 - M74 into Scotland where it meets the A702 cutoff to Edinburgh. Arriving in Edinburgh, turn in your rental car at the airport and take a taxi to your hotel.

The drive Cotswolds-Edinburgh will take you pretty much all day, but you'll have the flexibility of a car. For example, Penrith might be a good lunch stop. I can recommend Narrowbar Café in the high street. You can make good time on the Motorway dual carriageway (speed limit is one thing -- as in the US, many people drive faster than the legal speed). Just be aware that you're supposed to use the "slow lane" all the time except when passing ("overtaking").