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Oxford Avebury Highclere

I will be traveling to London this July and am seeking advice on where to stay for a couple of nights outside of London. I would arrive on a Sunday (from Dublin) and would like to see Oxford, Highclere Castle and Avebury on Monday and Tuesday. I would prefer to stay in Highclere or Avebury to have a more rural feel and would think that two nights in either is better than one night in each place. I will have three full days in London afterwards to spend time with friends in the capital till my flight home the following Saturday so most likely will head to London on Tuesday afternoon/evening.

I am not planning on renting a car although I could if it's really worth it. I'm usually the navigator but since I'm traveling solo I won't have somebody to drive or navigate for me (which is better than just using a GPS in my opinion). From what I've read Oxford is easy to get to by train, Highclere can be reached by train/taxi (via Newbury) and Avebury is reachable by car.

Are these three places easily visited without a car in two days or might it be too much? I could cut out Avebury if needed but was hoping to get a different experience there as compared to Stonehenge which I visited the last time I was in England. I've thought about day trips but staying in Bath last trip whet my appetite for overnight stays outside of London.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Posted by
4684 posts

Highclere has very limited public opening. Do a search elsewhere on this board for more details.

Posted by
1470 posts

Avebury is kind of a lonesome hamlet but is worth a visit if the circles are on your bucket list. There are no high view points but you do get to walk up to the stones which are not as tall as Stonehenge. They say that the biggest ditch used to be deep enough that you could see the stars from the bottom in the daylight. Enjoy the sheep. Look on the National Trust UK and English Heritage sites for other historic locations to visit in the area. I would recommend a car. If you can't get into Highclere; there are several other worthy "castles" and great houses on the National Trust list. If you only have 2 days Oxford has lots of interesting architecture and museums to visit and it is very easy to get there by train. You can take a bus from there to Woodstock, a nice little town, and Blenhiem Palace.

Posted by
20 posts

I've seen some of the posts on the subject of Highclere Castle bookings and will definitely be booking a ticket sooner rather than later. I will also look into Blenheim as a backup if Highclere falls through.

"Enjoy the sheep." As long as they know how to pose for photographs!

Posted by
3122 posts

I'd recommend renting a car for a couple of days. You could look for a B&B in Avebury village, Marlborough, or anywhere in the surrounding area. Although you could probably get there by public transport (don't quote me as I haven't actually tried it), there are other points of interest around the North Wessex Downs AONB such as the chalk horses and the Savernake Forest which are best enjoyed with the flexibility of your own car.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the suggestion of renting a car. That is really looking like the best way to maximize those couple of days. The National Trust website was very helpful as well.

Posted by
8 posts

I would definitely rent a car if you want to see Highclere. The cab ride from Newbury is pretty long and is not cheap. Also, you have to make arrangements for a pick up at Highclere with the driver as there are no cabs standing by.

Posted by
752 posts

What time are you arriving in London? If it's on Sunday morning/early afternoon at Heathrow, the traffic is fairly light, so you can pick up the rental car, drive to and see Avebury. Then spend Sunday night near Highclere and take the morning 10:30 -1 pm entry to the Castle (online bookings are open now for July). Drive up to Oxford, possibly by the backroads, and spend the night near/in Oxford. That would give you most of Tuesday to experience Oxford. Allow plenty of time for the car return at Heathrow, traffic on a weekday is very heavy. I've driven to both Avebury and Oxford and back to London, so speak from experience. If this itinerary is a little rushed, you may want to consider a day trip to Oxford while you are staying in London. www.oxfordtube.com has luxury commuter coaches every 1/2 hour in both directions--I've used this several times. Would also suggest you check out tripadvisor reviews of Highclere for more tips on your visit there. Have a great trip!

Posted by
20 posts

I should arriving in the early afternoon so your plan sounds quite good. I wasn't giving enough consideration to how much I could do on Sunday so this helps a great deal. Thanks a lot!

Posted by
2785 posts

Highclere is open the following days in July 9th- 13th, July 16th -20th, July 23rd-27th and the 30th and 31st

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the dates. Entrance has been secured for Highclere! Looking at The Carnarvon Arms, The Yew Tree or Highclere Farm B&B for lodging and will consult the RS Guide for lodging near Oxford.