We canceled our Spain trip in April, where we had been planning to bring our two children (4 and 2). Obviously we aren't doing that now. We had picked Spain because we had a family member studying there, but now that she is home, we'll save Spain for a future trip.
Instead, we're looking at going to England. My wife and I have both been to London a couple of times, but never outside the city. We're favoring England now because we think it'll be an easier first trip to Europe for our kids, there are incredible flight prices, and because I need to use the vouchers for our canceled flights!
I had a few questions that I was hoping some might be able to answer:
Understanding that on any given day things can differ, which is the easier/faster airport to get a rental car from - Heathrow or Gatwick? I can fly into either nonstop for the same price. We are planning to head straight from the airport out to the Cotswolds, so Heathrow is a little closer. But if Gatwick is typically faster, we'll go there.
Given that we'll have our young children with us, my plan is to stay in just two hotels - the first for five nights somewhere near the Cotswolds, and one for four nights in London. I'm pretty familiar with London and have our plans mostly set for there. But for the first bit of the trip, is Cheltenham a good base? There is a 4-star DoubleTree hotel just outside the city center with large family rooms, what appear to be nice grounds, and a swimming pool (and as I'm Hilton gold, we all get free breakfast, a nice perk, particularly for the little ones). And it has really good prices for our dates. It looks like it's an hour to Bath and an hour to Cardiff (and otherwise close to some sites in Wales), in addition to being very close to the Cotswolds. Has anyone used Cheltenham as a base? Or any recommendations on an alternative base for that part of our trip?
It looks like I can drop the car off right in Cheltenham or Gloucester and take a direct train, about 2 hours, to Paddington. This seems easier, cheaper, and faster than driving closer to London and taking a train from there. Has anyone done this?
Thank you in advance.