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Oxford and Blenheim Palace

This September my wife and I have planned a 12 day driving tour through the Costwolds, Peaks, Lakes and lower Scottish Highlands. One full day in the Cotswolds would involve driving to Oxford and taking the HOHO Bus tour, and then going to Blenheim Palace.

We are staying for three nights at a B&B in Chipping Campden.

So, it seems like a 60-90 minute HOHO Bus loop (most times we just stay on a HOH bus and get the overview. We probably won't get off and hang out with the students and check out the library!!

Onto Blenheim for 4-6 hours to see the palace and gardens. The Blenheim website even give options of seeing much in under 4 hours; or seeing a lot in over 4 hours.

Any thoughts on this busy day? We are pretty active and enjoy walking/hiking. Also, what about parking our rental car and how that may work. I assume Blenheim has a parking area; not sure about Oxford in relation to the HOHO bus. Thanks for any advice.

Posted by
51 posts

Just a couple thoughts. My husband and I had 12 full days just for the Cotswolds and the Lake District. We barely scratched the surface. I'm afraid you might spend too much time driving.
We haven't been to Oxford yet but did make it to Blenheim. They do have parking there. We only had three hours and it wasn't enough.
You said you enjoy walking and hiking. Might want to consider narrowing down your agenda so you have plenty of time to hike and enjoy the scenery.

Posted by
2307 posts

You might want to consider Wales. From Chipping Campden, you could be on the Welsh border in an hour. This is the bit that is just over the border:>
A little further on is this area:>

Much of central Oxford is traffic free so Park & Rides have been set up on the periphery. (This is where people can park their cars & then take buses into the centre). From Chipping Campden, you will be approaching from the NW on the A44. Click this link and you will see a map. My advice would be to head for the yellow P & R. Many road junctions in this area - so I would zoom down on Google Earth to try and get familiar with it.

Blenheim has a car park. Just drive to Woodstock & follow the signs.

Posted by
1278 posts

We were there last September. We spent a 1/2 day at Oxford. We parked outside and rode the bus in arriving in time to sign up for a walking tour at the visitor's center. It was well worth the time and money. We saw one of the colleges, the library, and some of the sites on the streets. It gave us a great overview. We could have easily filled more time, but we did not "budget" it and we moved on. I highly recommend a walking tour over the hop off hop on bus option. It is about the same time, but you will see so much more on the ground.

Blenheim: Our first visit to this estate was in 2002. We only 'budgeted' a few hours. That gave us enough time to tour the house and see the exhibits there, but left no time for the grounds. This last year, we arrived when it opened and allowed a full day. I was glad we had since the grounds are beautiful and make a very pleasant walk. We also had time to relax and have tea and scones at the cafe in the palace and to visit the area geared toward children. . If you were OK skipping the children's area, you could probably save an hour or so. We were at the palace when it opened at 10:30, and my journal shows we were back to the car by 4:45. With time constraints, we could probably have done it in 4-5 hours, no problem.

One way we make tight schedules work is by being at the site right when it opens. It really helps to get ahead of the crowds. In Oxford, we were at the tourist center 30-40 minutes before the first tour at 10:30. We were the last 4 to get on the tour, and the next tour left at 11:30. If that happens, there are other waking tours available. However, their groups are huge and i think the official visitor's center tour is the best. Have a great trip.