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train travel in GB

We will be traveling to Great Britain next spring and want to travel by train on the following dates. Is a BritRail GB flexible pass the most economical way to go?

Sunday April 29
Edinburgh to Durham?, then York ( 3-4 hours)

Tuesday May 1
York to Cotswolds (5-hour bus/train trip)

Thursday May 3
Cotswolds to London flat

Sunday May 6
London to Blenheim Palace and back


Dennis Schertz
Hudson WI

Posted by
8889 posts

"* Is a BritRail GB flexible pass the most economical way to go? *" - Probably not. Buying advance purchase tickets is probably a lot cheaper.
You can look up prices and buy tickets at the National Rail website:
The earlier you buy tickets the cheaper they will be. But once you buy the tickets, you have to decide on date and train and it probably will cost you money to change your mind later.

Other points:
"York to Cotswolds" - Where in the Cotswolds? The Cotswolds is a rural area with limited rail lines. Most of the places people want to see are villages with a few buses per day. You will see a lot more by car or bus tour.
"London to Blenheim Palace and back" - Blenheim is outside Oxford, which is near the Cotswolds. You are doubling back on yourself.
A suggestion: Rail York - Oxford. Visit Oxford (½ to 1 day). Pick up car to tour Cotswolds + Blenheim. Return to Oxford and train to London.
Or stay in Oxford including day bus tour Cotswolds and local bus to Blenheim and back.

Posted by
23032 posts

The two places from which I am certain you can pick up a one-day van tour of the Cotswolds are Bath and Moreton-in-Marsh. There are probably other possibilities; those are just the ones that fit in with my itinerary. Moreton-in-Marsh is a 34-37 minute train ride from Oxford. I stayed in Oxford and took a GoCotswolds! tour from Moreton. There's lots to see and do in Oxford. I didn't have time to see Moreton itself, so I have no idea whether it would be an especially nice place to stay. But if you want to do some walks from village to village instead of or in addition to a van trip, Moreton might be a better base since there are some buses to the other villages from Moreton. But with your schedule I don't think you'll have time for both, and the weather in early May might not be conducive to rural walking.

Posted by
26 posts

Chris F: We are staying in a B&B just outside of Stow-on-the-Wold and I really like your suggestion of renting a car in Oxford after getting off of the train at Oxford. Would probably make a lot more sense than relying on buses for three days. We have friends joining us in London after we leave the Costwolds, which is the reason why we were thinking of a day trip with them to Blenheim. As for the rail pass, thanks for the advice on that too. acraven: We might have to make time for some touring in Oxford as well, which we could do if we rented the car. My wife and I are big fans of the Inspector Morse and Endeavor series, so that would be nice to take a look at Oxford.

Thanks to you both.

Posted by
29654 posts

If you want to look around Oxford, I'm sorry to say that a car isn't the way to do it. Get the car either before or after.visiting Oxford.

Parking is next to impossible to find and very expensive when you do. The one way roads and closed roads are specifically designed by the local council to discourage driving. The centre is easily walkable.

If you do drive, use the Park & Ride and take the bus in. Or a short bus or walk from the station to the centre.

If you want to visit Blenheim Palace (in the village of Woodstock) and you are in Oxford there is a very easy, quite fast, bus between the two frequently.

Posted by
2135 posts

Click this link & you will get a map almost centered on Stow-on-the-Wold:>,-1.6823756,10.75z/data=!5m1!1e1

You will see Oxford at the SE corner. Just NW of Oxford is Woodstock = Blenheim Palace. You might like to get your friends to come out to Oxford by train (on a day return ticket) and then do Blenheim with them - even if it means ferrying them from the rail station - but check for buses at

From Stow, drive around these villages :> Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, Chipping Campden (visit nearby Hidcote Manor)? Broadway, Snowshill, Stanton. Near the top of the map you will see Stratford-upon-Avon > which you may also like to visit.

I would suggest train from York to Oxford. Cheapest fares about 11 weeks ahead. Pre-book with as that is who you will be doing this journey with and they don’t charge a fee for changing to another service - though you would have to pay more if price has risen. is the best site for finding the cheapest trains /schedules.