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Car rental challenge, Oxford to Poole area

Friends, after Oxford, hubby and I are exploring around Winchester, Salisbury and coastal areas. We're based w/ friends in Poole for a week in mid-September. I cannot find a car rental (automatic) from near Oxford that can take us south, then return somewhere before our flight from LHR. Thanks for your ideas!

Posted by
3175 posts

Maybe get yourselves to Heathrow and pick up the car there? Then just return it the same place.

Posted by
39 posts

It's always a challenge to find an automatic transmission. Generally larger towns or airports will have them. I would suggest taking the train to Bournemouth/Poole and pick up the car there, since you will be there for a week. I found a couple automatic transmission rentals at the Europcar location in Bournemouth what were running $140/day. You just have to be persistent looking on the internet.

Posted by
2445 posts

You can go by direct train from Oxford to Bournemouth (Poole is immediately west of Bournemouth so you could pay on the day for that short hop by train). Go to the following website, put in your date, Oxford > Bournemouth and up will come your options for times of trains & prices. (These will be advance singles for specific trains).

To get from this area back to Heathrow by public transport - go to this site:>
Put in your start point and destination is HTR (Heathrow Central Bus Station). You will change from train to bus at Woking.

Both the above train journeys should call at Winchester - so you may like to break journey there as it is not easy to park in that historic city. To do that - you would need to split the ticket. Bournemouth/Poole are fairly big & I would have thought that car hire would be available.

PS. The M3 (Interstate) is very busy near Winchester and I really have to be careful approaching Southampton due to all the junctions and others wizzing along at 70mph - unless jammed up.

When in Poole, try and visit Compton Acres Gardens. Also - to the west >

Posted by
5355 posts

All the majors have offices in Oxford, mostly strung out along the Botley Road. The problem is that car hire at the moment is expensive because of the scarcity of cars (you will often find commercial vans are cheaper!) and many franchises don't want to do one way hires especially of automatics as this depletes their own stock. If you returned it back to Oxford you might have more of a chance, or take one from the Heathrow area in the first place.

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks everyone for the advice. James, the additional information will be put to good use! Most appreciated-

Posted by
2445 posts

Pleased to be of help. Note that all the trains appear to stop at Winchester whichever route they are using (London & Woking to Poole & Weymouth or those going from Oxford (though these start much further north) to Bournemouth.

In the event that you decided to travel form Oxford to Winchester and then take another train south, the South Western Railway Trains usually continue on from Bournemouth to Poole and Weymouth. These trains usually split at Bournemouth - so if going to Poole - be in the front 5 coaches from Winchester.

Another train site that shows split fares is:> - though you need to click ‘Proceed’ to find the split points that lower the price.

If you wanted to book direct with the train company for going from Oxford south:>