I plan to visit England and want to visit Bath, Oxford and London - I want to save London for the end of my trip. My question: what's the best itinerary? If I fly into London and immediately take the train to Bath, would it be convenient after that to take a train to Oxford? Or should I do the reverse, going to Oxford first and then to Bath?
Gwen, If I remember correctly, upon arrival at Heathrow it's best to take the bus from Heathrow to Reading. From there you can catch a train to either Bath or Oxford. The bus fare is £15 one-way(?).
The train fare from Reading to Bath is as low as £10.50 and takes about an hour. The train fare from Reading to Oxford is as low as £7.20 and takes about 30 minutes.
The train fare from Bath-Oxford or Oxford-Bath is as low as £8.90 and takes about 1 1/2 hours with one station change.
The train fare from Oxford to London is as low as £16.70 and takes about 1 hour.
The train fare from Bath to London is as low as £17.80 and takes about 1 1/2 hours.
Check out www.nationalrail.co.uk for information about train travel in the UK.
Hopefully Nigel, Marco or Phillip will reply with more information.
I would suggest Bath, Oxford and then London, yes. You will get significant discounts for all three legs if you book well in advance at www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk, but these are strictly limited to specific trains and if you miss them you will have to pay full fare.
An alternative for the first leg is to get a National Express coach - check the time you will arrive at www.nationalexpress.com and you may be able to get a through coach from the airport (assuming you are at Heathrow) to Bath which means you don't have to make any changes. There are no direct trains from Heathrow to Bath, and I would suggest that you get the RailAir bus (www.railair.com) from Heathrow to Reading to get the train instead of travelling into London and retracing your steps.
If you aren't coming in to Heathrow, say so and we'll be able to suggest a route. If you have a choice I would recommend Heathrow first and then Gatwick, in terms of travel convenience to Bath.
Oxford is far easier in my opinion to get to from Heathrow than Bath, if only because there are more services and they run more frequently. There are two direct coaches every hour run by the Oxford Bus Company, and you can connect into a direct train by travelling to Slough (bus), Reading (bus), Hayes and Harlington (train or bus) if you prefer.
If you are coming into terminal 4 though bad luck. You would need to go to Heathrow Central first.
Oxford to Bath as stated is fairly easy with a single changes at Didcot on the train.