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Scenic drive from LGW to Cotswolds?

This June, my husband and I will be flying late into the London Gatwick airport and staying at a hotel on-site. Then, we will rent a car and drive to an Air BnB in Little Rissington (near Bourton-on-the-Water). Do you have any recommendations for scenic drives en route? We'll be covering so much ground, it'll be a shame not to see more of the country. We'll also be nervous drivers in the UK for the first time and more amenable to country routes anyway, so long as we're not cutting through any towns with complicated one-way street plans!

Posted by
5190 posts

It's going to be difficult to drive a route that can be considered scenic all the way from Gatwick to Bourton-on-the-Water. The easiest, most direct and fastest route will be on motorways. These are actually far better to drive on in order to acclimatise to driving in the UK. As nervous drivers it will be better for all involved to be pootling on the inside lane and allowing the local traffic to pass you rather than trying to navigate, get used to the controls and deal with potential impatient drivers behind you causing you additional stress. Country routes can often be more intimidating that motorways. Often with 60 mph speed limits, lots of blind turns, windy roads, high hedgerows reducing visibility, some very narrow roads, single carriageway in some cases, slow moving farm traffic and far more potential to take the wrong turn.

If you avoid the motorways then your next option is the A roads. The A339 and A34 are still busy roads but the scenery, particularly the A34, will consist predominantly of open countryside and you'll be travelling through the North Wessex Downs a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This would be my option particularly as it also avoids the dreaded M25.

Posted by
32239 posts

Staying in the Rissingtons is a good choice.

Take the A40 from Oxford to Burford and go north to Little Rissington.

Stop in Burford if your luggage hasn't spilled over into the passenger compartment for a leg stretch on the hill, practice parallel parking on the left side of the road, get a nice little lunch, walk over to the wool church for a great first experience.

I'd agree with cross country to the A34. Watch your speed as you approach Oxford and don't miss the A40.

You may run into a bit of slow traffic around Witney. No worry. Another lovely town once famous for wool blankets using products of all those local sheep.

Posted by
7488 posts

We stayed six nights in Chipping Campden and loved the Cotswolds. Did Rick Steves recommended drive and more.

It is out of the way, but you could drive to Bath and spend half a day there before moving up North to your BnB.