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Bath & Cotswolds, July/August 2018 Itinerary

As background: my husband and I have going back and forth on several different possible trips for our vacation this year. We weren't able to make plans early and the dates we ended up being free are in prime season (July 21-Aug 3) so we didn't know exactly what we could end up managing budget wise. Today we finally were able to fully commit, and based on airfare and lodging availablity and weather, we decided that a trip to England was our best option. We previously spent a week in Chipping Campden and a week in London (Chelsea) in 2012 and loved the Cotswolds, and have been eager to return.

Here's our current plan (airtravel and lodging are already booked, so hopefully they will be okay! There were not a ton of places left in our desired locations and within our budget!)

Fly Boston to Heathrow nonstop overnight on Saturday July 21. We'll immediately go on to Bath via train.

Stay in Bath four nights, July 22, 23, 24, 25. We are hoping to recover from jetlag, see the sites around town, and maybe travel via bus to Wells and Glastonbury.

On Thursday the 26th, we will pick up a car rental (also already booked) in Bath, and head not very far to a rental in Wiltshire that is (supposedly) convenient to hiking trails.

Stay in Wiltshire two nights, July 26, 27. We are hoping to visit Avebury, Stonehenge, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill. Maybe Lacock?

Then we will drive up to Windrush where we will stay for four nights, July 28, 29, 30, 31. Not sure what exactly we will visit while in the area. I am hoping to do some morning walks while my husband sleeps in, ideally out of Windrush so I don't need to drive. The rental is not right in the center of the village but supposedly has some walks right from the house, possibly along the Windrush River? (I need to get more information). Burford is a 4 mile walk from the rental. Further afield, I was thinking we might like to see the Rollright Stones and/or the Chedworth Roman Villa. We would also love to visit beautiful gardens and visit cute villages and eat delicious cakes with tea!

Finally we will drive to Oxford and drop off the rental there on Aug 1, then take the train back to London. We'll stay our final two nights at a hotel near Victoria Station. It's not ideal accommodation but it was the best I could find in our price range in the location I wanted so fingers crossed it is tolerable! :) We needed the extra $$ because I got us matinee tickets for the musical Hamilton (we are big fans and have dreamed of seeing a live production) on our last day. We won't be doing much in London other than the show-- maybe I can squeeze in a visit somewhere else near the Victoria area in the morning? Possibly the Tate Britain? Last time we visited it was being renovated and was not fully accessible.

So, now that's all laid out, I'd welcome suggestions for the following:

1. Favorite tea shops or restaurants in any of these locations. I am not much of a meat eater so vegetarian-friendly would be great!

2. Favorite gardens within comfortable driving distance of Burford (we've seen Kiftsgate and Hidcote and Sudeley Castle already).

3. Favorite walks accessible from Burford.

4. Does it make sense to drop the car in Oxford rather than back in Bath? It does cost a bit more but I thought it might be worth it to avoid having to drive the extra distance, and the train will be faster I think.

5. When departing London on the 3rd, I am currently planning to just take the tube (the express bus would be great but based on what I see online the times don't work-- only 4AM and 7AM and our flight is at 9:40). From what I can tell that means we want to take the District line from Victoria to Hammersmith and then switch to Piccadilly to Heathrow. If we leave our hotel (10 min walk from Victoria) at 5 should we be able to make it to Heathrow by 6:40? Or is there another better option?

6. Really any other advice you feel like offering! Especially anything related to traveling in this area during high season and/or driving! We are a bit nervous about driving and want very much to avoid really congested areas when possible. I know that may not be feasible though. We have previously driving in Western Ireland and it was very stressful but we are hoping we can use what we learned to make it easier this time.

(Also, I do know about Pauline's wonderful Cotswolder website and will be reading over that again soon!)


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We've been in the Cotswolds in late July/early August the last few years. It's really not bad, and there are some fun fetes and special activities on weekends... ask at the nearest tourist office.

We did a really nice circular walk from Burford to Swinbrook two years ago... took a picnic, bought drinks at the Swan in Swinbrook, and ate at the tables by the river. I think it was some variation of this walk, with the detour to the wonderful church at Swinbrook (a surprise inside) and then the pub. Several of the Mitford sisters are buried in the churchyard. I had a walk in a booklet, but it's very similar to the one in the link.

You might consider visiting Minster Lovell, which is also in this same area. And I think Chastleton House (National Trust) is just 30 minutes or so from Windrush... one of the most interesting places I've visited in the Cotswolds. Isolated setting, a small garden, and the story of the house is fascinating.

The Rollright Stones are interesting, but I don't see it as a destination... you wouldn't stay there long. If you see Avebury, not sure you need this too.

I know Pauline will have lots of ideas too...


1000+ Posts
The walk suggested by Kathy looks lovely.Swinbrook church is well worth visiting. You can also extend the walk along a footpath in the Windrush Valley to Asthall and have a quick look in St Nicholas Church with its chancel painted by the Victorians. In fact you can actually continue as far as Minster Lovell Hall.
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Don't miss the lovely small St Oswald's Church at Widford, set in farmland away from the village and with views down to the Windrush. This is all that remains of a village deserted after the Black Death. It is still occasionally used for services.
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Actually there are a lot of lovely churches and many of them deserve a quick look if you are passing. Don't miss Burford Church, one of the great wool churches.

The Rollright Stoneslack the impact of Stonehenge and Avebury but are the place of legend. They receive few visitors and you will probably be able to enjoy them by yourselves. I wouldn't make a point of visiting them unless thre are other things you are wanting to do in the area.
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Misarden Park Gardens are delightful and well off the tourist trail and are not the easiest of places to get to.
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They are about 23 miles west of Windrush. The leaflet about the gardens is here and they are open Tuesday-Sunday10-5. (The house isn't open.)There is a cafe and restaurant in the adjacent nursery, but we've not used them. Alternatively there is the Carpenter's Arms in the village which gets good reviews on Trip Advisor, but again we didn't go in there. There are also several short walks you can do from here so it would be quite easy to spend a day around here.

Of course one of the best gardens in the area are those at Blenheim Palace. I don't know if you have been there during your travels but the palace is stunning and the gardens are pretty good too.
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Thank you so much Kathy and Eleanor! All this information is so very helpful and is making me even more excited! These are all exactly the sorts of things we would enjoy. And it is reassuring to know that even in July/August it will be possible to not feel overwhelmed by crowds.

I'll have to investigate if there's some other sights up near the Rollright stones that we might also want to see...


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Stay in Wiltshire two nights, July 26, 27. We are hoping to visit Avebury, Stonehenge, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill. Maybe Lacock?
Avebury, West Kennet and Silbury Hill are all together. There is a parking lot in Avebury and the restaurant in the center of the stone circle, run by National Trust, is vegetarian-friendly. I think it used to be vegetarian and maybe now offers some non-vegetarian dishes. We've had a few meals there (I am vegetarian).

There is a very nice walk you can do from Avebury, along West Kennet stones, to the Long Barrow and by Silbury Hill and back to Avebury. I have notes about the walk on my Day Trips - Avebury page. If you want to do the longer version, message me and I will scan my hiking guide so you have the hike route.

I need to update my Day Trip for Stonehenge. There is a new visitor center now, about a mile from the stone circle. It has a good restaurant for lunch (casual). Then you take a bus to the stone circle. We got off half way, at the top of the hill, and followed a well marked trail to walk down to the stone circle. This was a very nice way to approach it.

Lacock is close to Bath. Maybe stop on your way to Wiltshire? It is cute but is a tourist draw.

Then we will drive up to Windrush where we will stay for four nights, July 28, 29, 30, 31. Not sure what exactly we will visit while in the area. I am hoping to do some morning walks while my husband sleeps in, ideally out of Windrush so I don't need to drive.
We spent two weeks in Windrush years ago. The footpaths right from the village are not great, but you will manage. There is no footpath along the river, which I was surprised at. There are some very nice lanes in the area and some footpaths, so you will be able to wander about.

The Ordnance Survey maps show all the legal footpaths. You can look at them online. http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk I have a membership so I can see the detailed maps, but maybe you can too. You will want to purchase the map for the Cotswolds when you are there.

Here is a screensnap of the map for Windrush.

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1. Favorite tea shops or restaurants in any of these locations. I am not much of a meat eater so vegetarian-friendly would be great!
There are several good tea rooms in Burford. I like Huffkins but there are others. Several restaurants too. There are a lot of vegetarians in England and restaurants always have vegetarian options. It is one of the many things I like about this country!

2. Favorite gardens within comfortable driving distance of Burford (we've seen Kiftsgate and Hidcote and Sudeley Castle already).
Look on the National Trust website. I can't think of any. But there are some National Trust houses.

3. Favorite walks accessible from Burford.
I second that walk that Kathy recommends. There is a longer version that goes north from Burford to the next village, Fulbrook (we spent two weeks there once), and then further north through a big field. I remember this as being super muddy. There is something special (in a bad way) about the mud you get in a crop field. Best would be to walk from Burford heading east on Witney Street, then you see a footpath to your left and that takes you to Swinbrook. You can keep going from Swinbrook, or turn back and you meet a path that takes you up to Fulbrook, then back to Burford.

The pub The Swan in Swinbrook is fabulous. Make a reservation if you are going. It was owned by the last Mitford sister (gone now) and the food is very, very good, plus the setting beautiful.

4. Does it make sense to drop the car in Oxford rather than back in Bath? It does cost a bit more but I thought it might be worth it to avoid having to drive the extra distance, and the train will be faster I think.
Yes, drop it in Oxford. The car rental companies are south of the train station and you can go around Oxford so that you enter near the train station and avoid the traffic. Oxford traffic coming into the center from the north is horrendous. This route that goes around Oxford goes over one of those privately owned toll bridges, which is interesting.

I know this area well. If you need any details, post and I will find them for you. I don't mind scanning a few hike descriptions if you need them. Sounds like a great trip!!
Thank you so much Pauline! This is very very helpful! Especially the info on dropping off the car in Oxford!

I was looking at some of your suggested trips and saw the one about Gifford's Circus. I see they are going to be in Barrington while we are in Windrush, right nearby. Do you still highly recommend them? It sounds like fun! I am wondering if it's feasible for us to walk over. Our apartment info says it is a .5 mile walk to the Fox Inn which I think is right where the circus performs.

It's funny you mention maps: I just this morning pulled out my Ordnance map from our last Cotswold trip. Hopefully it is still up to date (it was from 2012).

I think we will try to do one of the Avebury walks-- I will see what my husband thinks he is up for! Hopefully the weather will agree. Thank you for the link-- I hadn't been able to figure out where one parked when visiting.

I've put in a request for the early morning Inner Circle Access to Stonehenge (6:15AM) and hoping we get in. There was just one date left that worked for us!


100+ Posts
I've been to Giffords Circus three times at Barrington. Highly recommend!!! From where you will be staying, it's actually beyond the Fox Inn, in a big field up on the right. I would drive... there's plenty of parking and I'm not sure about walking on the road, especially after dark. I'd recommend going to an evening show, just in case it's warm.

We're very sorry to miss the circus this year, as it won't be anywhere nearby when we're in Chipping Campden.

One other tip... don't go anywhere near Bourton-on-the-Water. That's one place that will be crazy at that time of year.
Thank you for the encouragement Kathy! I just booked tickets to Gifford's Circus for the Sunday we are there (5:30 show, hopefully it won't be too hot). It looks wonderful!

And yes, I found Bourton-on-the-Water overwhelming when we were there for about 20 minutes on our last trip (in September, catching a bus after hiking to the Slaughters). I can't imagine it even MORE crowded....!
I am late to this thread as I have been absent for a couple of months and everyone else has pretty well covered your questions. I don't think anyone mentioned Buscot Park though? It is about 20 minutes drive from Burford and I think well worth a visit. Buscot Park. This walking site might be useful - you will find walks all over the Oxfordshire cotswolds here and Walking Britain has walks just about everywhere.
Thank you Felicity! I am still grateful for any suggestions anyone has, since we won't actually be going until this summer. I appreciate the link to the walks site and the suggestion of Buscot Park! It looks lovely!
If there's anything I'm not, it's a hiker, but I can give you a couple of ideas for your stay in Bath.

First, in Bath, if you're a Jane Austen nut, you can locate several places where she lived for varying amounts of time. There's a fairly uninspired JA Center on Gay Street, down the block from where she actually lived, but it's not going to thrill most people, I think.


Obviously you can find places referenced in the books, such as the Pump Room, the Assembly Rooms, Westgate Buildings (where Mrs. Smith of Persuasion lodged), and many others .

A bit outside Bath is the National Trust village of Lacock, which shows up in many period dramas--it stood in for Meryton in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice (the one with the wet shirt scene), and the Abbey was Hogwarts in Harry Potter.


If you're addicted to The Remains of the Day, you can visit the country house where exteriors were filmed--Dyrham Park. It's also a National Trust property and the grounds are extensive and gorgeous.


And, no, I don't plan my vacations around my favorite films--although I could do worse!
Thank you JeriF! I do love Jane Austen so I appreciate that link to where she lived in Bath. And I have definitely been known to plan my itineraries around sites from tv and movies!
Hello again, folks! We're almost ready to head out (flying on the 21st) so I wanted to test uploading photos. I am hoping to post here as we go, wifi willing. My husband and I are very excited! The itinerary is pretty much as originally posted. I guess we will need to be prepared for heat, though it doesn't sound much different than the weather here in Maine at the moment...

A more detailed itinerary:

July 21: 10PM Fly out of Logan Airport (Boston, MA, USA) to Heathrow.
July 22: Arrive Heathrow Airport, take National Express Bus to Bath (already bought the tix). I believe we will arrive in Bath around 2PM.

Staying in Bath for the nights of July 22, 23, 24, 25 in:

On one of the days we have a tour booked already on to Wells and Glastonbury, which my husband is particularly interested in seeing. The other days we will visit the Baths, the Abbey, and just walk around the town. Depending on our inclinations and the weather we might visit some of the other museums or sights. I would enjoy trying to make it out to the Prior Park Landscape Garden.

On Thursday the 26 we will pick up our rental car in Bath (at 11AM, as my husband sleeps in!) and make our way to West Overton (near Avebury).

I am currently thinking we might stop in Lacock along the way for lunch and some sight-seeing, unless it is horribly crowded. Or we might stop in Avebury to see the stones and hike around a bit.

Staying in West Overton the nights of July 26, 27 in:

I expect that the 27th (Friday) will be spent visiting the West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill, and Avebury Stones (if we don't do them the previous day), unless it's absolutely pouring. Hopefully we can do some hiking following the trails mentioned in the thread above, which I've printed out references for.

We might also try to see the Westbury or Uffington White Horse or Waylands Smithy while we are in this area.

On the morning of the 28th we will leave very, very early to drive down to Stonehenge for our early morning special access entry, allowing us to walk in among the stones. Then we'll head north to the Burford area. Depending on our energy level, we might stop along the way at Kelmscott Manor, maybe have lunch there if the timing works.

We are staying in Windrush the nights of July 28, 29, 30, 31 in:

During our time in Windrush we plan to explore Burford, hopefully do the walk from Burford to Swinbrook, and (separately) the walk at Minster Lovell. We also might drive to Belas Knap and see that, or one of the gardens mentioned in the thread above. Sunday evening we are seeing Giffords Circus at 5:30, performing only a half-mile walk from our rental.

I am curious how busy the roads may be during our visit-- both the bigger ones like the A40 and the traffic in Burford proper or other similar towns. That might affect how far afield we want to drive!

On Aug 1 we will drive to Oxford and drop off the car rental, then take the train (tix already bought) to London arriving Paddington Station around 2:30 in the afternoon.

We are staying near Victoria Aug 1 and 2 here:

I think we will probably take public transport from Paddington to Victoria and check in, then go out for the evening, possibly to the Camden Market area as it was a favorite last trip.

On Aug 2 we will see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theater at 2:30. I was considering trying to squeeze in a visit to the Tate Britain in the morning, but we'll see. I'd like to find somewhere near our hotel to have a good (but not necessarily expensive) last dinner in London.

On Friday Aug 3 we leave early and head for the airport to fly home!


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Sounds like a great trip!

If you go to see Belas Knapp, you could park in Winchcombe and follow the Cotswold Way walking trail south. It goes to Belas Knapp.

When you park in the Cotswold towns, there is usually a short term car park which may limit you to 3 hours and a long term car park which will be further away but cheaper.

I think the Burford car park, near the river, is free.

I don’t think the traffic will be bad. It is sometimes slow going on the highway through Stow on the Wold.
Thank you Pauline! That's reassuring!

Do you (or anyone) have any advice on the best (low-traffic, low-stress) way to get out of Bath, going in the direction of Lacock, starting from Windsor Bridge Road? Right now that is the part of the drive that is making me most nervous, since it will be the first of the driving (though we've both driven in Ireland before, so this won't be our first time ever on the other side!).


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Bath traffic is thick, but not fast and crazy.

Getting out of Bath - the most direct route to Lacock takes you through the center of Bath. That area can be clogged with traffic. Google maps shows an alternate route only 6 mins longer. You go across the river and left on the main road instead of right towards town. This swings you up to Lansdown and then you are going north. You go right on A420 and circle around to Lacock.

Note, before you get to the A420 junction, the road forks and you go right on Freezinghill Lane. This is a bit tricky because it is actually a right turn onto the lane. It is easy to miss. But if you miss it, keep going and you still come to the A420.

I’ve been using the app Waze on my phone. It is similar to Google maps, but better (google owns Waze). I used to use a Garmin unit but now I just use Waze.


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