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My husband and I are traveling to London on September 26th arriving the 27th. We will be staying with a friend on the 27th and wanted to go somewhere for a few days 28th-1st before embarking on a cruise October 1st out of Southampton.

Would you spend the three days in the Cotswolds? If so which town would you recommend staying and hotel? What villages would you visit?

Can you rent a car to get around once you arrive in the Cotswolds by train? Is it difficult to drive on the left side of thee road being from the US

Posted by
358 posts

Personally I wouldn't spend three days there - perhaps think about Bath or Oxford too. But if you do get a car, it will make the Cotswolds a viable idea.

Most of the Bs would make a decent trip by car - Bibury, Bourton on the Water, Burford. You could add in Stow on the Wold or similar.

I would suggest doing your travel to cruise the 30th and stay nearer (or at least somewhere easier) the night before.

Can't answer whether it's easy to drive on the left - I've certainly never had an issue driving on the right

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you this is good information. Would you do instead of the Cotswolds area the Surrey area such as Shere and Godalming? We have a couple of days and we just want to experience England's quintessential country side with cute pubs and shops.

Posted by
8648 posts

Born when Truman was in office. Female.

Have driven solo in the UK and Ireland a number of times without any problems,

Had an automatic car in the Cotswolds that broke down. Got another smaller car with a clutch.

Practical, cheaper and I preferred it.

You want “ cuteness “ try Bibury.

Pleasant town is Winchcombe. Stayed there to attend Christmas at Sudley Castle. Liked discovering Hailies Abbey.

In Winchcombe see if either the Bull or White Hart Inns meet your requirements for a place to stay.

Had a meal at the Lion Inn. Liked it.

Posted by
358 posts

The Surrey countryside could give you some great options - great towns like Dorking and Guildford, some superb villages, great locations like the Surrey Lanes, Epsom Downs, Box Hill, Leith Hill Tower, Denbies Wine Estate, Wisley gardens, parakeets in the Ashtead Common woods. There is absolutely loads to do in Surrey. I lived there for about ten years and it is lovely and often forgotten.

You can also get to Southampton by train directly from Woking (just north of Guildford).

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate all the great sugesstions

Posted by
1828 posts

Another vote for Kent/Sussex. There is some lovely countryside as well as some delightful small towns as well as a lot of history. with ruined castles as well as stately homes. There are some wonderful gardens too. Rye or Winchelsea would make a wonderful base. . It isn't on the tourist tick list in the same way the Cotswolds is.

The other alternative would be Dorset and the Jurassic coast.

Posted by
378 posts

I would suggest staying in Bath and taking a day tour by Celtic Horizons to the Cotswolds or Stonehenge or both. Or another tour group.

Posted by
859 posts

It doesn’t seem to make much sense to me to be going from London in the opposite direction when you only have a few days and there are so many equally impressive rural areas close to Southampton. I would choose anywhere from Kent through Sussex and Hampshire to Dorest.

Posted by
763 posts

We stayed in Bath for 3 days and took a day trip from there to a couple of villages--Castle Combe, Bibury, Tetbury and Bourton-on-the-Water. Of them all, Castle Combe was the closest to Bath and very cute, but if you would want shopping or restaurants, I'd choose another destination. Castle Combe is tiny and doesn't have much going on. We had a driver for the day, but if you rented a car it would be easy to visit a couple villages. (Bibury was mobbed and parking was next to impossible; I was especially glad to have the driver there, although parking was tight in all the places we stopped except Castle Combe.) Getting the hang of driving on the left doesn't take long. If you do decide to rent a car, and if it's a standard transmission, I'd consider taking a few twirls around the parking lot before setting out. Shifting with the opposite hand feels weird at first. Learning to drive on the left in Australia, I found that following another car, presumably a local driver, was also helpful in getting my bearings. But, on the extremely narrow and light-traffic roads of the Cotswolds, this technique might not be possible. There's plenty to see in Bath; a full day (or two) there and day trip(s) might be a good option for you and save you the driving experience. Also, it's easy and inexpensive to get from Bath to Southampton by train.

Posted by
3747 posts

Since you've asked for alternatives to the Cotswolds, and this was a part of your original question: "We will be staying with a friend on the 27th and wanted to go somewhere for a few days 28th-1st before embarking on a cruise October 1st out of Southampton."

Not far from Southampton are the towns of Winchester and Salisbury. Both have magnificent cathedrals and lots of history, plus charming hotels, pubs, and shops.
Salisbury has a bus that goes to Stonehenge for a half day trip.
Southampton can be easily reached by a short train ride from Winchester and Salisbury.

If you wanted to visit Bath first, it's easy to get to Salisbury by train from there, then train to Southampton. If you go this route, you wouldn't need a car.

Southampton itself actually has a few historic sights to see. Part of the old city walls, a Tudor house or two or three. Good restaurants and hotels. A new shopping mall and posh hotel complex. Some things to do while waiting for your ship to come in.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you everyone. This is all great information. I think we will take a nonstop train from london to bath early of the 28th and stay for two or three days. Rent a car in Bath to some days trips to the Cotswolds. Our cruise does not leave Southampton unti 5 pm pn the 1st and we don't have to be on the ship until 3 pm. I see there are direct trains from Bath to Southampton in the early morning. If Southampon is worth seeing I coud arrive in the late afternoon on the 30th.

Posted by
9420 posts

Sounds like a good plan! For what it’s worth, i love most all England. The Cotswolds are wonderful. I did not care for Rye (recommended above), was not impressed at all.
RS England guidebook would be helpful for you.

Posted by
373 posts

cw19777. I think you need to think what would you love to see. Do you love Gardens, trails, beaches or Castles. Some great suggestions here but think of what you'd love to see on your own. Good luck. We are also going to England in September. Enjoy your days and your cruise! :)