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Possible plans for Bath/Cotswold/Oxford visit

My questions relate to the first part of trip and the 4 nights/5 days prior to going to Manchester. We were planning to visit the Bath/Cotswold/Oxford area. Ideally, we would prefer to stay in one spot accommodation-wise but we may have to do two. Originally, I was hoping to do only public transportation but given what I have seen posted it appears renting a car might be the best option at least of the Cotswold portion. The days would be arrive on Tuesday and depart on Saturday.
Sites areas we have on our list are:
• Bath – focus on history and Roman sites
• Cotswold – possible walks and visit a few villages
• Oxford – see university area
• Stratford on the Avon – quick trip to see Shakespeare related things
We were thinking about a base would give us access to all of the above. Oxford, Moreton in Marsh, or Bath are a possible bases.
Oxford option – Arrive in Oxford Parkway and pick up rental car (Enterprise) and then travel into Cotswold for a few days. Maybe visit Oxford and Bath via trains later in the visit. Likely drive to Stratford. Come back and travel to Manchester via Oxford Parkway.

Bath Option – arrive in Bath and stay one or two nights…probably one. Travel to Oxford and visit. Rent car late in day at Oxford Parkway and travel to Cotswold for remainder.
Bath Option without rental car – Stay in Bath and travel to Oxford, Stratford by train. Perhaps take a day tour of Cotswold out of Bath
Would it make sense to start off in Bath and stay one and then move to Cotswold? Moreton in Marsh could be another base but travel from here to Bath is very long at over two hours.

I am leaning towards the Oxford option but would appreciate any direction. The driving part is not my first choice but we are up to the challenge.

Posted by
5254 posts

You may well be aware of this from your own research, but maybe for the sake of someone else reading this, Enterprise is not based at Oxford parkway station, but some miles away at Oxford airport. I daresay they will pick you up as in their slogan. There is an alternative site in Botley to the west of Oxford where they would take you to Oxford station.

Posted by
3111 posts

I'm a little confused about how many nights you intend to stay in which location according to your different options, so I won't try to advise on that question except to say Bath is attractive and interesting but a fair distance from Stratford-upon-Avon.

In any case, your intended "Stratford on the Avon – quick trip to see Shakespeare related things" may not be so quick.

It looks like you'll be there midweek, so it may not be as crowded as I experienced on a Saturday, but the town is far from a quaint little village as it was some 50 years ago. It has big box stores, luxury car dealerships, a multi-level parking garage (right by the TI office where the HoHo bus runs), and traffic jams even though they encourage use of the park & ride lot near the Motorway. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a huge modern complex. The HoHo bus is worthwhile, in my opinion, but you need to allow a full day if you want to appreciate all the stops, two of which are outside the town (Anne Hathaway's cottage and Mary Arden's farm). You could also visit these on your own with a rental car, though navigating to the sites and parking may be a bit of a challenge.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for the replies. We would plan to stay four nights...arrive on Tuesday and leave on Friday night or more likely Saturday morning for four night maximum.

I was looking at a slight variation of the Bath first-option of maybe staying the first night (or two if we need more time) in Bath. Tour Bath Tuesday morning and Wednesday. Then perhaps pick up a car in Bath and head north to and through the Cotswolds. Stay two nights in the Cotswolds before heading to Oxford. Not sure Stratford would fit but that is the lower priority. Too much to see and not enough time. Would probably do Oxford at the end before heading out.

Has anyone ever picked up a car hire outside of Bath and then dropped it off up north around Oxford?

Posted by
7195 posts

We are planning four weeks in England and Wales in October with three nights in Bath and six nights in Chipping Campden.

One day in Bath we will visit Wells and Glasdonberry.
While in Chipping Campden, we plan to enjoy the small Costwold towns, visit Stratford on Avon, Oxford, and Blenheim Palace. From there we have a night in Warwick.