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Itinerary Suggestions

Picking up a rental car in Readings and driving towards Bath on 1 November. We want to visit Avesbury and Stonehenge. We’re looking for suggestions for places to stay and quaint villages to stay in for two nights in each. Glastonbury and Bath seem like good for two nights. Devizes? For two or three nights and use as a base for Avesbury and Bath? Thinking of driving to the Cotswolds but I can’t decide on which town. Two nights someplace before heading to Windsor/Hampton Court area and dropping off the car at LHR on Sunday 10 November. We have 8 days to work with, a car and are wondering if we should divide our time into two “base” towns for 3 nights each, before heading back towards the airport, or two nights in 3 locations. The distances are short between towns but I know the time it takes getting to these areas can be long on the small roads. I’m just not sure of how to make this last minute and happy, but unplanned journey. We’re looking to stay in quaint, fun atmospheric lodging w locals in pubs and convenient, historic walk abouts. Thank you so much for your help in sorting this out!!!

Posted by
5697 posts

Are you arriving in the UK on 1 November after a long transatlantic flight? If so, you shouldn’t be hiring a car day 1. You could take the train straight to Bath, have a couple of days (3 nights) there and then hire a car.

I would recommend Wells over Glastonbury - much prettier and with a great Cathedral. To see Avebury (not Avesbury) won’t take long and it’s less than an hour to drive to Stonehenge - Salisbury would be a good place to stay.

It’s not the right time of year to see the Cotswolds as there is little colour left in the gardens. It has been so wet this month with much flooding that the ground in the countryside is boggy, so not good for walking.

Posted by
629 posts

From your other post it appears you are here already? I wouldn't bother overnighting in Devizes, even though I'm originally from Wiltshire and not too far from there. I'd suggest either Salisbury (perfect base from which to explore both Salisbury including the cathedral, the iron age hill fort of Old Sarum, Stonehenge and Avebury), or Wells from where you could explore Bath, Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury. Wells itself is a lovely town too with a beautiful cathedral. If you want to visit the Cotswolds then Stow on the Wold could be a decent base.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you one and all! I’ll pick up my car in Reading on the 1st November and drive to Wells via Stonehenge, for 3 nights. Then, on 4 November we’ll drive to Cirencester and stop in Bath on the way. (Seen Bath several times). Any other town near Cirencester a better fit for 3 nights from the 4 November to the 8th? Or should I do 4 nights in Wells and 3 near the Cirencester area? Leaving for Slough or thereabouts on the 8th for 2 nights and flying out on Sunday the 10th. I need to say, I’m very confused about room prices, mostly on these booking sites. Non-refundable, refundable...also, looking for a twin bedded room cost so much more than a queen room (or a double!). There r so many rates and for someone who doesn’t travel much it has to be an awful experience! I travel a lot and I’m frustrated. If I book w a booking site, which I’m told here in the UK is a “travel agency”...(weird, because I am a travel agent back in the States and I book cruises, tours and hotels...not just rooms), but I’ve found when I don’t go directly through the hotel and instead use a 3rd party (booking site or travel agency), the room I get is in an ANNEX or somehow inferior to going direct to the actual property. That’s a new one on me as of two years ago...also, there was a time when the booking sites were cheaper. Now, not so much and it’s against policy for a hotel property to sell a room less than the booking site which they’ve contracted with. Why book through a 3rd party, get pretty much the same rate, yet an inferior and a room in an “annex” which isn’t even the hotel building that u thought u were booking! Things have really changed, but I think the consumer should be aware of these in discrepancies when trying to plan overseas travel!! It’s awful to look forward to one thing and get another!!! Thank you again, for your assistance!!!

Posted by
5630 posts

We did Avebury and Stonehenge as well as Salisbury in a full day from our hotel near Heathrow.

In Bath, I recommend the Brooks Guesthouse. It is a great B&B that arranges for parking nearby. We did three nights there. One day from Bath we visited Cheddar Gorge, Wells and Glastonbury. Wells turned out to be the gem in that group.
Bath needs a full day. The Roman Bath Museum is a must see.

Posted by
1063 posts

" If I book w a booking site, which I’m told here in the UK is a “travel agency”...(weird, because I am a travel agent back in the States and I book cruises, tours and hotels...not just rooms)"

Not sure why you were told that but a "Travel Agency/Agent" in the UK is the same as what you do, booking online would be an "online booking site".

Posted by
5697 posts

I have never seen a twin bed be more expensive than a double. Sometimes Booking.com or Hotels.com etc are cheaper than booking direct, sometimes not. Last week and this week are school half term holidays, which maybe why you are struggling to find a twin room and in the main building rather than an annexe.

I would opt for 4 nights in the charming Wells and 3 in Cirencester.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you one & all! Leaving on Friday, 1 November, I’m thinking of driving into the area of Bampton, Swinbrook, Burford and Bibury. I want to stop and walk around each of these. Which of these, or another village if you can suggest, would make the best stop? Two nights or three at one of the towns as a base. Then, moving toward Bath on 6/7/8 November. Devizes, Avebury, Wells and Bath. The maps are deceiving because every town looks close to each other, but I know the roads are tiny and winding. We need a twin room. We like quaint and quirky, but clean and comfortable. We love a pub style inn, w a lounge fireplace, a good pub and friendly, locals who aren’t weary of tourists. Sounds like a tall order, something out of the 1930s... lol... I know. I’d think that a village like that would exist if I only stay off the main roads. One night in each village wouldn’t be as rewarding, so at least a couple nights to explore the area? I’m thinking November will be slower, colder and cheaper. Yet, all accommodations on the booking sites still seem high AND the “bait rate”, as I call it, is the non refundable double. Good prices, but I hate to lock in a rate at a place that’s not “right”. The twin rooms are more expensive and I see this every time I plan a trip to England and the continent. I’ve been relegated to an annex several times and been told that I should have booked directly w the property. There was a time when last minute bookings turned up a great rate, but not so much anymore. Booking sites and direct hotel bookings are much the same these days because these accommodations have to sign agreements that they won’t undercut the booking sites. Expedia, Travigo, Priceline... they are mostly the same these days and therefore I try to book direct and save the property from paying the 20% commission, and hope for a little negotiation in the rate...but I seldom get it. On this trip, we have the 1st of November until we fly home on the 10th from LHR. Last two nights I want to stay near Windsor and the historic Hampton Court. Any thoughts on places to see in the southern Cotswolds & the “perfect” accommodations on or off the High Street?

Posted by
129 posts

Look at The George and Dragon pub/lodging in Rowde, just a mile or so from Devizes: https://www.thegeorgeanddragonrowde.co.uk/

In Devizes itself, there is the Wiltshire Museum, specializing in the area's "pre-history":, aka Stonehenge etc. https://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/

Devizes also has the Wadworth Brewery, which offers tours (for a fee): https://www.wadworth.co.uk/more/brewery-tours/

Since you'll be in the general area, perhaps add a visit to Old Sarum? Also, do look into the English Heritage Society visitors pass, which could save you some bucks, er, quid: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/overseas-visitors/

Posted by
21295 posts

Bibury is cute but I think it's very tiny (population between 600 and 700). I would prefer to stay in a somewhat larger place, but you may take the opposite view.