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First Time England Itinerary

Hello all,

I'm piecing together an itinerary for a first-time visit to England in mid-October 2018. I will be traveling solo and using public transit to get around. Have come up with the following high-level itinerary:

Fly into London, but spend first 3 nights in Bath.
Next 3 nights in Cotswold area.
Back to London for 4 or 5 nights and fly home from there.

I am considering including York between Cotswold and London, but not sure it makes sense logistically. Seems like a bit of a challenge to get from Cotswold to York via public transit. Am I right? Or would it make sense to rent a car in London at beginning of trip to get to Bath, Cotswold and York?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Kind regards,

Posted by
4421 posts

Not sure why you're spending 3 nights in Bath unless you're taking tours from there. To me 2 nights would be plenty. I'm also not a fan of the Cotswolds unless you're hiking. However, York! There's so much to see there. Easy train from London-maybe go to York first, then train from York to Bath.

Posted by
16894 posts

If your home base I the Cotswolds is in Chipping Campden, for instance, then one of the easier connections northbound would start with a morning bus to Stratford-upon-Avon. From there, trains to York take 4 hours with a connection and a short walk between stations in Birmingham. If you took a bus to Moreton in Marsh, trains from there follow various routes, some with a change of station in London and some with an additional connection to reach York.

But if you're willing to drive, a car would be the most convenient way to connect and sightsee in between Bath-Cotswolds-York. Beware of trying to pick up a rental car on the weekend in Bath.

Posted by
1329 posts

In all honesty, I'd suggest grabbing another guidebook besides Rick Steves. His 'start off in Bath' is probably the worse piece of travel advice I've seen. I'll leave it to other to comment on how the Cotswolds are in mid-October, but I'm not sure that is going to be a great choice as the days are getting much shorter and the weather, while always fickle in England, is likely to get more questionable as you head into mid-October.

If it's your first trip, I'd try to do without a car, it just adds one additional potential headache. You could bookend the trip with starting and ending in London and then a couple of days to York via a 2 hour train.. A day trip to Bath is certainly possible if it is high on your agenda. Also, you can look at London Walks for some of their day trips to places near London.

Posted by
6113 posts

York has more to offer than the Cotswolds in October, particularly if the weather is inclement and if you are relying on public transport.

I too wouldn’t feel like a journey to Bath after a long flight.

Posted by
3 posts

Many thanks to all of you for your excellent suggestions. I will certainly use them as I fine tune my itinerary.

All the best,

Posted by
2783 posts

I agree with the other post, I see no reason to start your vacation in Bath, unless it’s one of your must see, if that’s it one night would be plenty. I would skip Bath altogether. I would take a taxi from Heathrow to Slough, from Slough take train to Moreton in Marsh, then taxi to your hotel/B&B. Moreton in Marsh is a great place to make a base to caught buses, you can get buses from other villages, but usually you have to change in Moreton in Marsh. Bourton on the Water, Broadway and Chipping Campden would also make great home base. York would be an easy day trip from London.

Posted by
6612 posts

Do you dislike big cities? I ask because your initial plan leaves so little time for London, one of the world's great cities. If this were my first trip to England, and especially if I didn't want to drive, I'd go right into London and base myself there, with day trips to places like Bath, Oxford or Cambridge, Canterbury, Salisbury, Windsor, and many other possibles. I'd suggest at least an overnight in York, or maybe two nights so you have a full day between them.

London has so very much to offer, plus easy public transportation, don't shortchange it. ;-)

London Walks offers day trips to lots of places if you want someone to show you around. Plus fun informative walks in London itself.