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poss

driver from Southampton to Cotswolds, or...?

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Our cruise next May was chosen in large part (not real crazy about most of the actual port stops) because we were interested in spending some time in the Cotswolds, having done a one-day tour a while ago from Bath and liked the area a lot. I've found a fine-sounding small-group tour company from Chipping Campden and what looks to be pleasant accommodations there. Problem is that I'm having trouble finding a driver who can get us to Chipping (hopefully, but not necessarily with a stop or two along the way) that isn't prohibitively expensive.

 

If staying in Cotswolds doesn't work out, I was thinking maybe of New Forest. But, e.g., Four Seasons and Lime Inn are too costly, nothing else looks especially appealing, and it'd mean hiring a private driver again to see the various spread-out sites. Bath was so lovely because, among other excellent things, it had a number of group tours visiting here and there: more our style and pocket-book. But we've visited 3 or 4 times: would like to do something different.

 

Of course, then there's the whole trick of getting to Heathrow from wherever, since we can't easily manage public transportation with the luggage. Ah, if only we were eager to spend some time in London; I imagine we could pay to hop the Regent bus from Southampton to Heathrow and get a taxi or whatever to a hotel from there. Problem is: Big cities tend to overwhelm us these days, even deciding on a hotel there exhausts me.

 

Yes, I know, I know: I've gone on way too long. I also know that there are problems for which there's no good solution.

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Let's start with geography. From Southampton, you're looking at a roughly 100 mile trip each way. And, you will be paying the driver for the round-trip...it's not like they are going to be picking up a return fare in Cotswolds. So a private car will be, by definition, pricey.

 

Perhaps reading this webpage may give you some insights.

 

https://www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visiting-and-exploring/cotswolds-train-station/

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Hi, Poss:

 

Have you tried posting in the British Isles/Western Europe thread found under CC’s “Ports of Call” section under “Europe?” You may find a larger audience with the info you are looking for. Good luck.

Z and TB

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I have use Blackberry car service for at least 15 years. They are based in London but do transfer from all over England. Here is a USA number (646) 7571965. Online at Blackberrycars.com

 

 

For example: Cheltenham to/from Heathrow Airport about £115 each way in a private car. I would guess double that price to/from Southampton. They do "meet and greet" service at the airports. They have different classes of cars/vans if you have more than two people or lots of luggage.

 

J

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Why not consider self driven car hire as your way too and from the Cotswold area, also no problem then with the luggage or stops on route. Easy also to return to Heathrow then. Also allows you to stay wherever without need for taxis, as most Cotswold accommodation is remote and limiting on what you can do whilst there.

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Why not consider self driven car hire as your way too and from the Cotswold area, also no problem then with the luggage or stops on route. Easy also to return to Heathrow then. Also allows you to stay wherever without need for taxis, as most Cotswold accommodation is remote and limiting on what you can do whilst there.

 

Just the thought of a self driven car in England makes me want to shut my eyes and hide. My DH was born in London and remained in England until after he finished college so he did know how to drive in the U.K. During two trips to the West of England (one went through many other areas), he drove down the lanes that were so narrow that both sides of the car were hitting the bushes (and it was a two lane road). Between the tiny roads/lanes and many roundabouts, I found myself holding my breath too many times. This is not a place where people from countries where you drive on the other side of the street should try out their driving skills (IMHO). The last time that we visited that area, we hired a car and it was soooo much better!

 

The highways are fine - as long as you stay on them and don't get off:evilsmile:

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We have driven in the UK , but it made me very stressed out. No way I would do it again, and I don’t think Poss would be up for that either. I would look at that car service mentioned above. We hired a private car and driver from Southampton to LHR with a detour to Canterbury on the way once, and I don’t recall it being outrageously expensive.

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OK....I have suggestions Poss, but am pushed for time right now. Did you realise there's a direct train from Paddington to Moreton in Marsh, which is fairly close to Chipping Campden (where we used to own an hotel, but that's another story)? So, Heathrow Express to Paddington, then change to the train bound for Worcester, making sure it stops at Moreton in Marsh, of course ;-) Not difficult at all....and not budget busting either.

 

Back soon....

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I'm back. It's possible to arrange assistance at every station with the train company - someone would meet you in Paddington and assist you to the next train. Moreton in Marsh is a small country station and I'm thinking that the group organiser may well have facilities for meeting people there. It's very much that kind of place, with frequent arrivals for local villages. My advice would be to enquire with the group organiser and see what they can do for you, if you were to arrive by train.

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Given the OPs arrival in Southampton, I'd say a Cotswolds trip isn't feasible without renting a car and, really, driving in the UK isn't that difficult, compared to India or Thailand. There are actually major roads with dual carriageways. Yes, I write as an Englishman, but I also drive quite happily in other EU countries like Italy in my own car and also in rental cars. As the USA is such an automotive nation, I've never figured out why so many Americans get scared of driving abroad.

 

About the New Forest - there are other hotel options. Lime Wood has a sort of rustic sister called The Pig in the Forest. This mini-chain (there are also pigs in the West Country and, yes, in the Cotswolds) are incredibly popular and chic. You might also check out Chewton Glen, for years the market leader in that part of the world. Also, if you turn left out of Southampton you eventually reach Dorset - home of Thomas Hardy country, Prince Charles's burgeoning town and architectural statement of Poundbury and Britain's World Heritage Jurassic Coast. There is a Pig there, too, at Studland Bay.

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Fletcher, that discussion was a few threads ago ;) - driving isn't an option.

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Hello poss

I live – and I am sitting as I type – 5 miles south of one of the Cotswolds tourist ‘honeypots’ – Burford, the self styled ‘Gateway to The Cotswolds’.

 

I’d like to be able to help but have to admit that I’m not absolutely clear what exactly you are trying to arrange.

 

Firstly, is this a post cruise trip after disembarking at Southampton, and do you then wish to fly home from London after The Cotswolds ?

 

Second, you have chosen Chipping Campden as your base. Apart from the tour company you refer to is there any reason for choosing this location.Sure, it is a very pretty ‘Chocolate Box’ town, and the surrounding countryside is very beautiful, but it is also almost the furthest point of the Cotswolds from Southampton – almost an extra hour more than the area we are in.

 

Finally, do you have specific places, or categories you wish to visit, or do you just wish to ‘see’ the Cotswolds ? And how long do you wish to stay in the Cotswolds?

 

We use a local family driving company for all of our airport & city transfers, who are very good. They can also make available modern and comfortable Mercedes 8 seater mini vans if requested. To give you an idea of costs, they would typically charge USD140 for Southampton to Burford, and a similar amount from Burford to London Heathrow.

Burford to Chipping Campden would probably increase the cost by around USD75 each trip. This is fair value I think, and I don’t think you will get much cheaper.

 

I hope this helps.

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Have used Smith's for Airports. Based in Southampton. Would highly recommend.

Used them also for two trips and was very pleased.

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Oh, my, oh, my (seems like that should be a palindrome), I sure do appreciate the continued efforts to come to my rescue. I also fear that I am sounding negative, "dismissive" in the face of so many excellent and thoughtful suggestions. I regret that.

 

Gilly, you really are a dear-heart to be sticking in there with me, always trying to help. I may need finally to give up on the idea of cruising, or at least of trying to do things pre and post cruise (which is half the fun for me, and especially "important" when we go through the aggravation of flying some distance, which always entails, btw, having a 21/2 hour car trip to and from Miami). (cruiseluv: If you happen to be reading this: We live in SW Florida, but no non-stops were available from Regent air from Miami, except with a $1000 up-charge. No thanks.) Even five years ago — heck, probably even 3 years ago — my husband could have readily handled the train or bus changes, especially with the help with baggage. He's at the point now that he becomes kind of "rattled" (at least not a very happy camper) if things aren't pretty straight-forward. I think that the going to train stations, waiting for the train, getting off somewhere, getting another train, etc. would discombobulate him (I'm not exactly sure what the word means or how it's spelled).

 

LoonCall and Luv2Cruise: Thanks for your posts. I've seen Smith's recommended before, and clearly they're a good, solid service, and in fact I've contacted them. Problem is the cost. I.e. the charge sounds reasonable from Southampton to Heathrow or vice-versa. But just a transfer from Southampton to someplace in the Cotswolds is costly, I guess because they can't pick up a fare on the way back as they are able to do from the airport.

 

machotspur: Burford is one of the towns we visited on a Mad Max tour from Bath some years ago. SO lovely! Yes to everything in your third paragraph. And: The reason I chose Chipping Campden is that it's one of the 3 places that the touring group picks up from, and after some research (endless research: I can be a real nut-case), Chipping sounded like the most pleasant of the three. The name of the small group tour company, btw, is Cotswolds Guided tours, and if I'm remembering correctly they're based in Moreton. The place that sounded pleasant to us for a 3 night stay (so that we could spend 2 full days touring) is the WoolMarket House in Chipping. I wonder if you happen to know it? It's within our price-range and sounds very pleasant. I don't have a strong feeling about exactly which villages we'd like to see. We loved everything we saw with MadMax, and the ones that this new tour company chose (some repeats, but that's fine) sound fine and dandy (but what do I know?) And, yes, after the Cotswolds we'd need to get to London, either to fly home from Heathrow or perhaps spend 3 nights at a Marriott hotel, where we could use reward points and then fly home. Haven't been to London in ages, and the thought of a big city makes my husband fairly uneasy, but I think he'll be ok so long as we take some sort of guided tours. The 8-seater mini-van kind of thing would be terrific. But of course it'd be only the two of us, so much more expensive. When you mention the cost Southampton-Burford, do you mean per person if there were the two of us? What would they charge to London? (I haven't been able to figure out how to get from Cotswolds to London, which even saying that makes me think this whole post-cruise idea is crazy.) Do you know any good tour companies in your neck of the woods? And any not-extravagant accommodations that would have king bed and be quiet/restful? What towns would you name for a several night stay? (But, again, would only work if there were tours to the other towns.) (And of course IF we could get to London in an uncomplicated way.)

 

Whew! What a nuisance I am. I am VERY grateful to you folks (and also still to be traveling with my beloved husband).

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Oh, my, oh, my (seems like that should be a palindrome), I sure do appreciate the continued efforts to come to my rescue. I also fear that I am sounding negative, "dismissive" in the face of so many excellent and thoughtful suggestions. I regret that.

 

Gilly, you really are a dear-heart to be sticking in there with me, always trying to help. I may need finally to give up on the idea of cruising, or at least of trying to do things pre and post cruise (which is half the fun for me, and especially "important" when we go through the aggravation of flying some distance, which always entails, btw, having a 21/2 hour car trip to and from Miami). (cruiseluv: If you happen to be reading this: We live in SW Florida, but no non-stops were available from Regent air from Miami, except with a $1000 up-charge. No thanks.) Even five years ago — heck, probably even 3 years ago — my husband could have readily handled the train or bus changes, especially with the help with baggage. He's at the point now that he becomes kind of "rattled" (at least not a very happy camper) if things aren't pretty straight-forward. I think that the going to train stations, waiting for the train, getting off somewhere, getting another train, etc. would discombobulate him (I'm not exactly sure what the word means or how it's spelled).

 

LoonCall and Luv2Cruise: Thanks for your posts. I've seen Smith's recommended before, and clearly they're a good, solid service, and in fact I've contacted them. Problem is the cost. I.e. the charge sounds reasonable from Southampton to Heathrow or vice-versa. But just a transfer from Southampton to someplace in the Cotswolds is costly, I guess because they can't pick up a fare on the way back as they are able to do from the airport.

 

machotspur: Burford is one of the towns we visited on a Mad Max tour from Bath some years ago. SO lovely! Yes to everything in your third paragraph. And: The reason I chose Chipping Campden is that it's one of the 3 places that the touring group picks up from, and after some research (endless research: I can be a real nut-case), Chipping sounded like the most pleasant of the three. The name of the small group tour company, btw, is Cotswolds Guided tours, and if I'm remembering correctly they're based in Moreton. The place that sounded pleasant to us for a 3 night stay (so that we could spend 2 full days touring) is the WoolMarket House in Chipping. I wonder if you happen to know it? It's within our price-range and sounds very pleasant. I don't have a strong feeling about exactly which villages we'd like to see. We loved everything we saw with MadMax, and the ones that this new tour company chose (some repeats, but that's fine) sound fine and dandy (but what do I know?) And, yes, after the Cotswolds we'd need to get to London, either to fly home from Heathrow or perhaps spend 3 nights at a Marriott hotel, where we could use reward points and then fly home. Haven't been to London in ages, and the thought of a big city makes my husband fairly uneasy, but I think he'll be ok so long as we take some sort of guided tours. The 8-seater mini-van kind of thing would be terrific. But of course it'd be only the two of us, so much more expensive. When you mention the cost Southampton-Burford, do you mean per person if there were the two of us? What would they charge to London? (I haven't been able to figure out how to get from Cotswolds to London, which even saying that makes me think this whole post-cruise idea is crazy.) Do you know any good tour companies in your neck of the woods? And any not-extravagant accommodations that would have king bed and be quiet/restful? What towns would you name for a several night stay? (But, again, would only work if there were tours to the other towns.) (And of course IF we could get to London in an uncomplicated way.)

 

Whew! What a nuisance I am. I am VERY grateful to you folks (and also still to be traveling with my beloved husband).

 

Poss

As we grow older, we make changes to our traveling lifestyle.

It seems like only yesterday we were out camping and visiting exotic faraway places. Then we began doing land tours. Then switched to cruising. Those who know me, realize that it has become so much more difficult to do too much.

So we have learned to adapt to it. We have compromised. Now we fly only one way. Now we do only pre cruise hotels.

My suggestion is don’t try to do too much. Appreciate what you can do. Life is good!

Sheila

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OK poss - i'll try and provide some further information to help you make the right decisions for you and your husband to have an enjoyable tour.(You may wish to arm yourself with a map on England to refer to before you begin reading this !).

 

Your intention to visit the Cotswolds for a few days, followed by a few days in London, can be achieved without too much fuss, as long as you get the itinerary right. So don't worry too much - this could be a breeze.

 

First and foremost I would definitely reconsider using Chipping Campden as your base. It is a truly lovely place, but to me is not a great place to be without a car. It is isolated, with little in town to see, few restaurants etc etc. It is also one of the furthest points in the Cotswolds away from Southampton.

 

I would consider staying at one of the other towns that the tour company you refer to serves - Stow on the Wold, or Moreton in Marsh.

Stow is very touristy, but centrally located. Moreton is more of a 'proper' English small town, with a very attractive extensive high street. It also has an extremely convenient station (more of that in a minute).

 

Stow is probably 1hr 50 mins from Southampton, and Moreton 10 mins more. The likely one way cost with the company I referred to previously is around UK£150 - US$190. Stow or Moreton to London Heathrow is likely to be a similar cost. To central London add £50.

These costs are for the car, not per person, and I am always charged the same for the Mercedes 8 seater as a standard car (photo's on their website).

 

I'm not sure if you have been to Oxford before ? If not it is really easy to travel by train from Moreton in Marsh. Oxford is of course famous for the University, Inspector Morse etc and the journey by train is little more than 30 minutes. It could be a nice easy day out for you, in addition to the Cotswolds, and the train journey is very pleasant.

 

Another suggestion - Burford. I know you have been here before but you may wish to consider staying here as your base. The journey from Southampton is around 20 minutes less than Stow/Moreton and a similar reduction to London. The cost of the car is likely to be around £110/$145. There are some decent enough hotels in town and as you know the town is nice to stroll in (though busy a times !).

Of course you will have to locate another tour company in the area - Unfortunately I can't help with this.

 

Another option if you stay in Burford is to use the car company I refer to for your touring. Whilst they aren't a tour company as such I know they do tour type trips (see their website - link below). Their premises are just 5 minutes from Burford so their pricing could be better than most.

They may be able to handle everything - your transfers, trips around the Cotswolds, a day in Oxford and maybe pick you up and take you to one of the many excellent local pubs for dinner ! Also Blenheim Palace is quite nearby, which is very much an English 'jewel in the crown'.

 

It all comes down to what you would like to get out of the trip, and what feels best for you both. I'm just the information provider and have no desire to sway you in any direction.

 

In case you need it, here is the link for the car company I mention - the owners name is Ken, and he operates the business with his adult daughters Charlene & Lisa. I find them to be very nice decent people.

 

http://www.ophtaxis.co.uk/

 

Do let me know if I can help further with anything to do with your trip to the Cotswolds.

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I wasn’t planning on a trip to the Cotswolds but after reading your suggestions I just may book one!

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machotspur: You are an absolute wonder, a gem of a human being. I'm counting on you to know how much I appreciate your incredible kindness in spelling things out for me in such clear and optimistic detail.

 

 

I've been doing as much research as I can into places to stay in Moreton and Stow, since being able to do small group touring rather than bespoke touring would be more cost effective (at least I assume so). I couldn't find any place in Moreton that looked like especially pleasant accommodations. It's so often difficult to tell from descriptions by the management or by reviews on Trip Advisor, but nothing especially stood out. Old Stocks Inn in Stow had strong potential, but then I learned that there are chimes on the hour right out the door . I wouldn't especially love that even during the day (my husband often needs to rest), but I'd go screaming mad at night. Plus I read on some reviews that there's talking in the garden at night, sometimes after 10:00. (I don't even want to tell you when these old folks turn in....)

 

I know it must sound as if I'm constantly putting up road-blocks, an impossible-to-please kind of person. I regret that impression and actually I/we get great pleasure out of life. It's just that as we get older, details like the ones I mention start counting more, and I have to be a little more careful.

 

Oxford! We loved Oxford. My husband and I were both academics, spent most of our lives in and around universities. We are most "at home," I think, in university towns. We were there about 4 days about 4 years ago, and would love a chance to hop on over to say hello again. That's a good reason for finding accommodations in Moreton (I think we'd enjoy taking the train), but nothing had any real appeal.

 

Thanks ever so much for the information on your taxi company. I sent them an email today, and am looking forward to hearing back. Btw, if it happens that we do decide to stay in Burford (i.e. if Ken et. al are able to provide reasonable tours as well as transfers), is there a particular hotel you'd recommend? Somewhere nice and quiet with nice king beds like on Regent and showers as capacious as on Mariner? :D

 

Sorry for continued questions, but ever more grateful. I wish I could hug you.

Edited by poss

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Hello again poss. Thank you for your kind words - I am delighted to help in a small way if I can.

 

I think you may be approaching decision time !

 

Whilst I really do empathise with your desire to find accommodation that meets your needs, I fear that you may be in danger of talking yourself out of this trip :eek: With respect you may be trying to achieve the unachievable in trying to tick every box.

 

If I can give a final summary of the options, and my comments on each, to try and help you into one of them.

 

As previously advised I don't feel that Chipping Campden is appropriate due to distance and proximity. Stow is very well placed, but at the risk of offending the residents it would be at the bottom of my list of places to stay. It is good for a couple of hours visit but not great for a few days stay in my opinion.

 

Reading the comments you have made, Moreton is still my top recommendation (and that of another earlier poster). It meets so many of your requirements and more, so it would be a great shame if you are unable to find accommodation that meets your needs.

 

Burford is good in a number of ways but if staying here you will need to need to find another tour provider. Regarding hotels I wouldn't stay on the main street/hill if I were you - too busy. I haven't stayed here for ages but the two best bets are probably The Lamb Inn and The Bay Tree Inn, both in Sheep Street - a very nice side street close to the main street.

 

One final alternative - maybe consider staying in Oxford and either arranging Cotswold tours from there (plenty available) or getting the train to Moreton and meeting your tour group there. It is MUCH closer to Southampton & London - probably 1hr 15 mins - loads of hotels & facilities, and you can tour The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace or even London from there.

 

Hope this helps, and good luck with your decision.

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Thank you, thank you.

 

Since we're academics, and enjoyed visiting Oxford for 2 days some years ago, I'd actually like to stay in Oxford. I have found one small group touring company in Oxford that does a great-sounding full day tour to the Cotswolds (and another to Stratford and a few other places), but, alas, the fine Cotswolds tour is only on Friday, the day we fly back to the States. I am continuing to search for others.

The trick to staying in Oxford and training it down to Moreton is that we'd have to get up fairly early the morning to get to Moreton in time for the touring. Not so easy for my husband to do these days.

 

But I'll get something figured out.

 

1001 thanks! (Scheherazade is one of my husband's favorite people in the whole history of literature.)

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1001 thanks! (Scheherazade is one of my husband's favorite people in the whole history of literature.)

 

... which - to continue to borrow from the Persian tale - is why your husband chose you to be his Queen :)

 

Have a great time in Oxford/Cotswolds !

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