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I’m planning my sixth trip to England (arriving in London). Can you help me with the following?

  1. Am I able to take public transportation to the Cotswolds? What about if I rent a car?

  2. While in the Cotswolds, am I able to walk the trails and go to the grocery? (I read somewhere that you’re allowed to visit the grocery and hospital.)

  3. Should I consider another part of the English countryside? I’ve not visited the Cotswolds before.
    Thank you!

Posted by
4889 posts

When do you propose to travel?

At present, the advice is that public transport should only be used as an absolute necessity such as travel to work if you can’t work from home. Travelling here for a holiday isn’t essential travel, so you shouldn’t use public transport. You can hire a car.

On arrival, you must quarantine for 14 days, which means not leaving the garden of your accommodation even for exercise, unless a medical emergency, when you would call an ambulance. You would need to arrange for a supermarket to deliver your food - good luck trying to book a delivery slot! You would need to arrange an account, which others on this forum have commented is difficult without a U.K. bank account.

The overrated Cotswolds would not be my choice of area to visit, particularly in winter. When are you planning to travel?

The UK is introducing tougher restrictions this week to try to stem the rapid spread of Covid - it’s not a good time to be visiting right now.

Posted by
26079 posts

Everything Jennifer said.

About the grocery. I know of no special grocery. All shops must be visited with mask, but not during your period of quarantine. Can you give more specifics about which grocery you want to visit?

About the hospital. Which hospital? There are many in the area of the Cotswolds. I know of none which is a tourist attraction. At the moment only patients with appointents can enter hospitals and they must be masked. Emergency patients will be brought by ambulance. Even immediate family cannot visit patients and no casual visitors are admitted. Which hospital do you mean?

Posted by
4947 posts

First of all, the Cotswolds are not overrated. We spent six nights there, using Chipping Campden as a base. We spend about two days visiting the many towns and villages in the Cotswolds as well as going to Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon and Blenheim Palace.

You can't do the Cotswolds by rail. Renting a car is best. We did a four week drive tour of S. Wales and England and loved the British countryside.
There are so many great places to see in Great Britain. Some of our favorite places were Bath, Tenby (Wales), St. David's (Wales), Winchester, York, Whitby, the Yorkshire Moors, Durham and the Lake District.

Chipping Campden's Volunteer Inn is a good Bed and Breakfast. Also, it has the best pub in town and a great Indian restaurant.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi, we are looking at going in January for a birthday holiday. We love England...just haven’t been to the Cotswolds yet. So we thought about renting a cottage on air bnb.

We’re definitely up for other recommendations outside of London.

My mention to the grocery or hospital was only in reference to seeing on a blog that you’re able to go to the grocery. Hospital of course only if an emergency. Sorry for any confusion on my meaning there. ;)

Posted by
54 posts

One thing to remember is that in January it is very muddy in the UK. So a walking holiday would be quite muddy (and in my mind, unpleasant). The great British countryside is gorgeous but I would recommend visiting May-September before the mud sets in!!

Posted by
4889 posts

You cannot go to the grocery store during your 14 day quarantine period. You must stay within the confines of your property and garden. January is likely to be cold and wet, so that means within the property.

IMO the Cotswolds ARE overrated as there are many parts of the U.K. that I would prefer to visit, but others may disagree. There will be no colour in the gardens and most National Trust properties and other places of interest will be closed in January, so at that time of year, I would suggest staying in a town or city.

I hope this is a 2022 trip, as the way things are heading in the UK due to a Covid resurgence, a 2021 trip maybe miserable.

Posted by
4412 posts

First of all, the Cotswolds are not overrated.

Of course it's a very subjective thing and many things should be taken into account not least personal references. I share Jennifer's opinion however I can accept why others may differ. The Cotswolds is undoubtedly attractive however it's a region that has suffered due to its popularity. The UK is chock full of villages similar to those found in The Cotswolds but lack the hordes of tourists, coaches etc that are common there. I spend my time walking my dog through trails that incorporate small, old villages that rival any in The Cotswolds but they're not on the tourist map (thankfully) and from that perspective The Cotswolds are no different to the rural area on my doorstep so for me The Cotswolds hold no special appeal and I see no reason why other areas that aren't overrun with tourists should be overlooked for no other reason than they're not The Cotswolds.

Posted by
7635 posts

Saw on TV news this AM that new daily cases in England/(UK?) are at 'the highest levels since the outbreak' of the disease.

Planning travel for Jan. may be what some would characterize as 'optimistic', especially since there is an expectation that fall/winter with more indoor activity will cause its own spike in cases.

Be sure any reservations you might make are refundable

Posted by
19210 posts

Be sure to pay particular attention to lodging reviews by people who traveled during the winter. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a cold, damp place with inadequate heat. As far as I know, that is not a frequent issue in the UK, but I've read reports by people who were unhappy with lodgings for that reason.

Posted by
2291 posts

I share Jennifer's opinion however I can accept why others may differ.
The Cotswolds is undoubtedly attractive however it's a region that has
suffered due to its popularity. The UK is chock full of villages
similar to those found in The Cotswolds but lack the hordes of
tourists, coaches etc that are common there.

It's the same all over Europe, a guide book writer or tour company mentions one place and if it is influential enough it can quickly become the place to visit. Despite not being that special.

Germany e.g. is littered with small charming towns, but for some reason almost everyone has to visit Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, while other charming towns sees very few visitors in comparison.

Posted by
4889 posts

The leaving your accommodation for food is designed for locals returning from abroad that are quarantining and haven’t got any assistance. It’s not a provision designed for tourists from high risk areas.

Posted by
31 posts

The leaving your accommodation for food is designed for locals returning from abroad that are quarantining and haven’t got any assistance. It’s not a provision designed for tourists from high risk areas.

Please show us where this is written and not just your own opinion.

Posted by
31 posts

The hint is in the phrase "exceptional circumstances". Deciding to come on holiday to the UK is not an exceptional circumstance.
Quarantine is quarantine, not quarantine unless I want to pop to the shops.

Thank you but this is your interpretation. Nowhere in the document does it say it is only for locals and that exceptional circumstances do not include those visiting. It clearly states that the government prefers food to be delivered but if it can't be then they don't expect that person to starve. The "exceptional circumstance" is the inability to get food delivered. It is not referring to the reason for the visit. Anyone visiting the UK should do their best to arrange for food deliveries. But if it is not possible, then a visit "to the shops" to get food, or medicine, is allowed.

People need to follow the exact rules and not interpretations by posters on a travel board.

Another interesting note. Nowhere in the document is the word "quarantine" used. Quarantine is different from self-isolation. Quarantine is when a person is placed into isolation by the government. Self-isolation is when that same person is expected to isolate on their own.

Under normal travel times, January is not far off. But during Covid-19, everyday brings something different. No one can predict what will happen between now and January. The OP can plan but might want to consider fully cancelable reservations.

Posted by
3559 posts

Not so very far up thread the link to information on how to self-isolate from was posted. Sometimes these things get lost or ignored.

So I'm posting the link to this guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care again. Please read it completely in all its detail and go to the links it provides. It'd probably be good to bookmark it and check back regularly for changes.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK. Updated 15 September 2020

Posted by
232 posts

WorldTraveler, I agree with Emma. Rules are in place to try to keep the spread of COVID as minimal as possible. It's very obvious that someone choosing to travel internationally for recreation is very different from someone who is an essential worker such as a nurse or doctor or someone who has to travel to take care of business. If you are choosing to go to a restricted area for fun, then you can't just decide that it's essential for you to go grocery shopping or take a walk on trails open to the public. There's no way I'd plan an international trip anywhere until possibly later in 2021.

We really enjoyed our walking trip to the Costwolds in mid May several years ago, and even then we encountered some cold and rainy days.

Posted by
1454 posts

It might be helpful to listen and learn from our reliable UK posters....they are in the thick of it, after all.

I love the UK and have lived there and visited often.
A January trip to a country area, where you have to self quarantine for 14 days on arrival, (and they do check in the UK) in the middle of a pandemic, and Brexit....just doesn't sound like much of a holiday to me.
Just sayin'.

Posted by
4947 posts

I have lived overseas for nine years, including four in Germany. Also, since retired visited 78 foreign countries. We have been all over Germany and the UK as well as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, etc.

I agree that places like Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Brugges, the Cotswolds are usually jammed with tourists.
Also, there are other places similar to Rothenberg, for example on the Romantic Road, there is Dinkelsbuhl, which is a preserved medieval city. There are other such cites in Germany. Some of my favorites are Trier, Heidelberg, Augsburg, Bamberg, Regensberg, Triberg and Strasbourg, France (across the river from Germany).

However, I found Rothenberg to be special and would advise anyone that hasn't been there to visit that city, as well as take the Romantic Road.

As for the Cotswolds, we loved it there and based there for six nights to visit Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Stratford Upon Avon and of course the several villages, towns and small cites of the Cotswolds. True, there are other great places to visit in the UK, we especially loved York/Durham and Winchester/Salisbury. Also, the Lake District is nice for nature. Tenby, Wales is special and I don't have room for details on Scotland. Still, I would say the same, if you haven't been there, go, but don't miss out on other great places.

Posted by
5093 posts

For anybody’s future reference, in the fall of 2019, I took the train from London to Cheltenham, and stayed with a friend for a few nights. I didn’t do a Grand Tour of the Cotswolds, and didn’t arrange for a rental car, but I could get to the area by train. Once somebody’s arrived, they’d want to figure out transportation from there.

Walking two blocks from the house, I was “in the Cotswolds,” and it was very pretty, and very muddy. Everybody living in the large Cotswold region must have Wellies as standard equipment at home. They’re practical for dealing with muddy paths, but aren’t the most comfortable footwear.