Input requested for trip to London, Stratford on Avon, Edinburgh

I am planning a trip with 3 adults to the UK. Here is what we are thinking. I know we could take bus tours to Stratford on Avon, Oxford, Highclere, Cotswalds, and Stonehenge from London, however I thought it would be easier and cheaper to stay in the area (say Stratford) and do the tours from there. Does that make sense or should we plan to do it from London? Day 1 arrive in London from New York Day 2 London Day 3 London Day 4 London Day 5 take train to Stratford on Avon and rent a car Day 6 visit Oxford, Highclere, Cotswalds, Stonehenge Day 7 visit Oxford, Highclere, Cotswalds, Stonehenge Day 8 return the car and either fly or take the train to Edinburgh Day 9 tour Edinburgh Day 10 take bus tour of the highlands from Edinburgh
Day 11 fly back to new York from Edinburgh

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

Paul, my only question would be the location you have chosen. Stratford is the northern most location of those you wish to visit. Oxford is more central, although it is on the eastern end. Somewhere on the eastern side of the Cotswolds would also work geographically. Bibury, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Chipping Norton are possibilities.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

I'm with you, in not liking the idea of staying in London and taking coach day trips to those places you named. That is, unless your idea of fun is spending hours sitting on a coach with 50 other people, traveling to and from London (in heavy traffic), with only a few hours a day actually spent "on the ground" at your destination(s). Yuck. Renting a car and exploring the area while staying there, sounds like much more fun!

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3296 posts

With your short schedule I'd definitely look into flights to Edinburgh. It 4 hour plus train ride and you can get an early flight and have more time in the city. It's worth it. PAm

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

Why would he fly INTO Edinburgh when the majority of the trip is in southern England? How does he get from the Edinburgh arrival to London and environs to the west? His plan is perfect.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

I think she was suggesting flying to Edinburgh from the south of England, which is one of his listed options.

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

Sorry, you are correct. However, while a train from Oxford to Edinburgh would take over 5 hours while a flight would take a bit over an hour, there are complications. First, no flights from Oxford. Secondly, very few from Luton and the only one I saw leaves too early to reach the airport via train. Actually there are three alternatives. First, take the train from Oxford. Secondly, stay near Heathrow the last night in the south and fly to Edinbrugh, or fly in the evening and start the next day in Edinburgh. Thirdly, return to London and train from London in the morning. When you include check in time at the airport and transport time from the Edinburgh airport into town, I'm not sure that much time is saved by flying.

Posted by Carolyn
Santee, California
15 posts

Hi Paul, I agree with the other travelers, Stratford upon Avon is pretty out of the way. A friend and I were in England last May and took the train from London to Moreton in Marsh and stayed at the Redesdale Arms and rented a car from RK Services. The B&B was very helpful and has a public bus stop right out in front to take you all over the Cotswolds. We also rented a car for 2 days to get to some of the gardens that weren't near the bus lines. The rental company delivered the car (an automatic) and picked it up so I didn't have to worry about wasting time arranging that. Driving was a cinch! There is also a train from Moreton to Salisbury (Stonehenge). We took the fast train from Moreton in Marsh (with a stop in Oxford) to York and I'm sure you can arrange to go on to Edinburgh. Don't spend a lot of time waiting around for flights or day trips from London, the countryside is too beautiful to miss. The train trip from London to Moreton is about 1 hour and the trip from Moreton to York about 3.5 hours. I envy your trip, have been there twice, 2 weeks each, and can't wait to go again. Enjoy! Have TEA!

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1357 posts

Hello Paul. It is possible to go to all of those places, but I think your trip to Great Britain would be more enjoyable if you go to less places. I recommend : delete Stratford-upon-Avon, and Stonehenge from your trip itinerary. I recommend : Day 5 : visit Oxford. And ride in a train from Oxford to Moreton in Marsh, check in at a hotel or B & B there for three nights.
Day 6 and 7 : be at the "Cotswolds" region (Gloucestershire). Rent a car at Moreton in Marsh Day 8 : Travel, via railroad trains, to Edinburgh.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
677 posts

Travelling by rail to Edinburgh will take up most of the day, unless you go back into London and take the sleeper. I would follow Pamela's advice and fly - especially take an early or late flight to maximise the "visit time" available. If you are flying, then making Stratford your base has the big advantage of being quite close to Birmingham Airport (I don't know how you feel about early starts, but if they are fine then you could get a flight that means you would be waiting for the bus into town at Edinburgh Airport by 9 O'Clock - giving you almost a whole extra day there once you've dropped your luggage at the hotel). Unfortunately, for the rest of you itinerary, Stratford is not, as others have indicated already, an ideal place. You are at the very north of the places you want to see. If you prefer a town to stay in then Oxford would be better. You could then Day 5 - train to Oxford, day in Oxford Day 6 - drive to Highclere, Stonehenge and back via south eastern Cotswolds
Day 7 - drive through the Cotswolds to Stratford and back Day 8 - (assuming you have dropped the car by now), train to Birmingham Airport, or bus to Heathrow Airport or train all the way to Edinburgh.