A trip through the beautiful English countryside is a great way to get out of the city and discover true English culture. If you want to spend some time in London and explore the sights of the area, this is the ideal itinerary for you! This week-long road trip from London will take you on a tour of some of England’s most iconic sites and beautiful small villages.
You’ll spend a few days exploring the sights of the beautiful Cotswolds, strolling through the historic cities of Bath and Oxford, seeing the ancient site of Stonehenge and ending the trip with a visit to the incredible Salisbury Cathedral. You’ll spend an unforgettable week discovering England’s fascinating history while traveling through some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery.
This trip from London can be made at any time of year, we did it in November and had a great time. Yes, it was a little cold, but nothing that a campfire in a medieval pub can’t fix! The spring and summer months will be much busier, as the warmer weather naturally attracts more tourists. No matter when you decide to go, this road is beautiful any time of year!
The beautiful manor house of the Château de Combe…
Overview of the streets of London
- Death Below
- Château de la Combe
Beautiful houses in the charming village of Biburi
Day 1 – Depart London in the morning and drive to Oxford. Spend the rest of the day visiting Oxford.
The first night is Oxford.
Day 2 – Leave Oxford and travel to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. Spend the rest of the day exploring the town.
Second night – Stratford-upon-Avon
Day 3 – Depart Stratford-upon-Avon in the morning for the first village in the Cotswolds, Stow-on-Wold. Spend some time exploring the town before continuing to Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-Water.
The third night is Bourton on the water.
Day 4 – Start the day with a trip to the village of Beebury to visit the famous Arlington Road and enjoy tea at the beautiful Swan Hotel. Continue along the Cotswolds Road to the pretty village of Castle Combe. Spend the afternoon in the village before heading to Bath.
Explore the beautiful city of Bath
Fourth Night – Bathtub
Day 5 – Spend the day checking out the highlights of Bath.
The Fifth Night – The Bathtub
Day 6 – After a morning swim, drive to Stonehenge and spend a few hours at the rocks before continuing to Salisbury. In the afternoon, visit Salisbury Cathedral and other sights.
Sixth Night – Salisbury
Day 7 – Return to London
Total trip duration / distance traveled
7.5 – 8 hours / 323 miles – delivery or pickup depending on traffic and route chosen.
London’s main attractions
- Discover the history and stunning architecture of the famous university city of Oxford.
- Visit the medieval village of Stratford-upon-Avon, known as the birthplace of Shakespeare.
- Step back in time as you wander through the fairytale villages of the Cotswolds.
- Discover the incredible Roman baths in the beautiful city of Bath.
- Admire the mysterious ancient stone circle of Stonehenge.
- Stroll through Salisbury’s majestic cathedral.
Marvel at the wonder of Stonehenge
The ultimate one-week journey from London
Car rental in London
The first thing you need to do before leaving for this trip from London is to rent a car. To reserve a car, we recommend you to quickly search on Rentalcars.com. We use this site for practically all types of car rental in all the countries we visit, because they have a great selection of providers with very good prices and no booking fees.
In the morning, take the car and begin the 1.15-hour drive from London to Oxford.
The city of Oxford is full of amazing history and many beautiful architectural monuments. It is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – Oxford University, which dates back to the 12th century. Oxford is often called the “City of Dream Towers” because of the many university towers that dominate the city’s skyline.
Besides strolling down the main street of the medieval center and doing some shopping along the way, there are a few things not to miss during your visit to Oxford!
University of Oxford
University of Oxford – A 2-hour walking tour to see the famous sights of the University of Oxford. An experienced guide will lead you around the University complex and show you one of the Harry Potter film locations, the Bodleian Library and the Divinity School. Inquire about tour prices and availability.
Radcliffe Camera – No visit to Oxford is complete without seeing this iconic round building. What was originally built in the 18th century as a library is now one of the most photographed buildings in all of Oxford. The Radcliffe Camera is only accessible by guided tour, but even if you only want to see it from the outside, it is worth a visit.
Oxford Castle and Prison – Discover the rich and fascinating history of Oxford Castle and Prison with a costumed guide. The tour includes: climbing Oxford’s oldest tower for a panoramic view from the top, descending into a 900-year-old crypt, listening to many stories from an informative guide about the crazy events that have taken place over the centuries, and much more! Find tour prices and availability.
Blenheim Palace – 20 minutes’ drive from Oxford, this magnificent country house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and stunning scenery. Blenheim Palace is known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It is conveniently located on the Oxford-Stratford-upon-Avon road, making it easy to reach.
Medieval pubs – Oxford has many great historic pubs to visit in the center of town. We had lunch at the oldest pub in Oxford, The Bear Inn. The interior is very small and cozy, but it is full of medieval charm and is definitely worth a visit for lunch or a drink. Other charming old pubs to visit are the Turf Tavern, the Eagle and Baby and the Trout Inn.
Where to stay in Oxford
The Bear and the Striped Stick – If you want to stay somewhere with a little character and history, you can’t go wrong here. Located just outside of town, this beautiful old hotel offers free parking and delicious homemade food. There is a cozy bar with a large fireplace that is perfect if you are visiting during the colder months.
Malmaison Oxford is a former Victorian prison, now a chic hotel in the heart of Oxford. This unique and chic hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms, beautiful architecture, 2 bars and breakfast included. On-site parking is available at an additional cost.
Old Parsonage Hotel – A beautiful 1660s building, just a 5-minute walk from Oxford city center. This lovely hotel has modern, old-fashioned rooms, free parking, a restaurant and bar, and an excellent breakfast (charges apply).
► View other lodging options in Oxford◄.
Oxford High Street Study.
The Bear Inn, Oxford.
Radcliffe Camera, Oxford.
Go back in time to the 16th century, when Shakespeare himself walked these same streets. Stratford-upon-Avon is a charming English market town with beautifully preserved Tudor-style architecture on the banks of the River Avon. The town is best known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, so you can naturally expect to find everything dedicated to the famous playwright.
Highlights of Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare’s Birthplace – It wouldn’t be a trip to Stratford without a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, it’s the most popular place in town! This beautiful 16th century half-timbered building is incredibly well preserved both inside and out. The house is furnished with antique furniture and objects that tell the story of Shakespeare’s childhood and family life in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage – a 20-minute walk from the center of Stratford is a charming 600-year-old cottage that once belonged to Shakespeare’s wife. It is furnished with original furniture, has a 15th century timber frame and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Come see one of Shakespeare’s plays live by the river at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The theater’s location is true to Shakespeare’s time and offers an authentic experience of seeing a play. Not only are Shakespeare’s most famous plays performed here, but there is also a rooftop restaurant where you can dine with a beautiful view of the River Avon. Click here to see plays and upcoming events.
Stratford Butterfly Farm, the largest tropical butterfly farm in the UK, is a fascinating way to mix Shakespeare’s attractions, especially for families traveling with children. Just a short walk from the city center, you can see hundreds of the world’s most beautiful butterflies, exotic birds and various insects.
Shakespeare Family Homes Tickets: If you plan to visit more than one of the homes associated with Shakespeare’s family, check out this ticket that gives you access to 5 different locations, including his birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s home.
Anna Hathaway’s house
Where to stay in Stratford-upon-Avon?
The Mercure Stratford Upon Avon Shakespeare is a beautiful 17th-century hotel with oak-beamed ceilings and comfortable rooms. It is located in the center of Stratford, within walking distance of all the city’s attractions. Breakfast is included and on-site parking is available for an additional charge.
Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel – This beautiful Tudor timber-framed manor house is a 5-minute walk from Stratford town center. It offers a spa and gym, an award-winning restaurant and Tudor-style rooms. The Manor Hotel is an excellent choice for those who appreciate comfort during their stay in Stratford. Breakfast is included in the price and parking is also available at an additional cost.
White Swan Hotel – Housed in a well-preserved historic building, this chic hotel is a beautiful blend of medieval and modern decor. It is a 10-minute walk from the city center and a free breakfast is served. There is no on-site parking, but there are plenty of facilities nearby.
View more lodging options in Stratford-upon-Avon◄►.
The villages of the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” is one of the most popular places in England, especially since you can get there from London in less than two hours. With a concentration of charming fairytale villages and lush green hills, the Cotswolds is a truly magical journey. A day trip from London to the Cotswolds is a popular way to visit the region, but to really discover its beauty, it’s well worth investing a little more time in it!
The sleepy villages and slower pace of life in the countryside are certainly a welcome contrast to the busy streets of London. This is a place where you can relax and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of traditional English villages that seem frozen in time. Strolling through the countryside, sipping a pint in a medieval pub by a crackling fire, drinking tea in the historic Tea Room – this is what you should do when you visit the Cotswolds!
Stroll through the beautiful streets of the Château de la Combe
This quintessentially English market town is just 30 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon and is the ideal place to begin a visit to the Cotswolds. The third day of the trip from London is spent exploring the three beautiful villages of the Cotswolds: Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Scotter and Bourton-on-the-Wold. These towns are very close together, so it’s easy to see them all in one day!
Take time to explore the lovely stores around Stow-on-the-Wold, stop in the market square to see the old town cross, and visit one of the many small tea stores for tea and scones. Before you continue, be sure to visit the beautiful St Edward’s Church, famous for its tree-lined doorway.
The door of St. Edward’s Church in the shape of a tree…. ….
Despite its rough name, Lower Slaughter is definitely on the list of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds. It is set around the River Eye with picturesque footbridges and pretty stone cottages. Lower Sloughter is one of the least visited places compared to the other more famous villages in the Cotswolds, but that doesn’t take away from the value of your time!
Stroll along Copse Hill Road, once called Britain’s most romantic road. It’s not hard to see why, as the scenery is so beautiful you’ll think you’ve stepped into a painting. On this walk you will see the town’s most popular landmark, the Old Mill. Make a stop at the Old Mill Museum to learn more about its ancient history, and fortify yourself with a snack and tea in the museum café.
The picturesque Old Mill, the Lower Massacre…
Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the largest and most popular towns in the Cotswolds, is sometimes called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because of the many small pedestrian bridges over the River Windrush that flows through the town. One of the best things to do in Bourton-sur-l’eau is just to walk along the river, where you will find excellent photo opportunities. The town is full of quaint cafes, tea houses, old pubs and lovely little stores, it is easy to lose track of time as you stroll through the streets.
Discover the Model Village, a miniature replica of Bourton-on-the-Water, built from traditional Cotswolds stone to the 1:9 scale of the current town! It’s a fun attraction that doesn’t take too long and appeals to all ages. Another fun attraction in Bourton-sur-l’eau is the Cotswolds Automobile Museum, which houses a large collection of classic cars, motorcycles, caravans and more! A must for any car enthusiast.
Where to stay in Bourton-sur-l’eau?
Sheep Inn – After a full day exploring the Cotswolds, you need a comfortable place to relax, and the Sheep Inn is an excellent choice. Just minutes from Bourton-sur-l’eau, this charming inn has it all. It offers free parking, spacious rooms, breakfast included and a great restaurant with delicious food!
Here you can find other accommodation options in Bourton on Water◄.
The lovely town of Bourton-sur-l’eau in the Cotswolds.
Described as one of the most beautiful villages in England, Bibury is no stranger to crowds. The charming Arlington Row is considered one of the most photographed scenes in all of England. This perfect row of stone buildings dates back to the 14th century and truly looks like a fairy tale scene. Originally used to store wool, the buildings were converted to weaver’s houses in the 17th century.
The buildings you see are actually inhabited by people now, which is important to remember as you walk around the pictures. In addition to admiring this beautiful row of houses, the charming Swan Hotel, covered in ivy and located next to the river column, is a great place for a tea break. The historic building was once an 18th-century inn and has since been converted into a hotel with a restaurant, bar and quality cafe.
Arlington Row, Bebery.
Swan Hotel, Bibury
Château de la Combe
Combe Castle, located at the southern end of the Cotswolds, is a quaint village with traditional honey-colored stone houses and a stream running through it. This village is also well photographed, and it’s not hard to see why. I really felt like I was walking on a movie set, it’s just perfect (also because it appears in several movies/series!) The château de Combe is literally frozen in time, as no new buildings have been built in the town since the 17th century.
Fall in love with the picturesque thatched cottages of the Château de Combe!
If you visit the Château de Combe in the summer, you will certainly see groups of tourists and crowds filling the small streets. But if you go there in the winter, as we did, you might be lucky enough to have this fantastic village all to yourself! Besides walking around the village and taking pictures everywhere, here are a few things you won’t want to miss. Lunch at a classic English pub at the White Hart or Castle Inn, two charming historic pubs in the town center that serve great food and beer.
Walk to the 14th-century manor house, now a luxury hotel with golf course and Michelin-starred restaurant. You can stop inside for afternoon tea or just admire the beautiful building from the outside and continue your walk. Before heading to Bath, walk down the hill from the market square until you reach the bridge. This is the perfect angle to photograph the cottages, the river and the surrounding forest, and even better if you have this magical scene all to yourself!
The fairytale village of Castle Combe…
A 30-minute drive from Combe Castle will take you to the amazing city of Bath. With a rich history dating back to Roman times, there are so many fantastic things to see and do in Bath that you can easily spend a few days here without getting bored. This trip from London includes a full day in Bath, so I recommend you don’t miss the highlights!
In addition to the incredible Roman monuments Bath is famous for, the city is also known for its Georgian architecture with many amazing structures dating back to the 18th century. Some of the main sights you will see during your visit include Pulteney Bridge, the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey, but there are many more beautiful buildings that will reveal themselves to you as you explore the city.
Pulteney Bridge, Bath.
Roman Baths – The most famous attraction that draws people to Bath is the ancient city of Roman Baths. The history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site goes back nearly 2,000 years. What started as a Roman temple eventually developed into a public bath popular with people from all over the UK and Europe.
The series of pools and bathhouses is incredibly well preserved and can be visited alone. After visiting the baths, you will enter the museum, which tells the history of the baths over the centuries and displays many fascinating Roman artifacts.
If you are embarking on a full day of sightseeing in Bath, it is worth visiting the Roman Baths in the morning to avoid long queues and crowds. During the day, especially in high season, there are many people with groups of tourists coming from London for a day trip.
Opening hours of the Roman Baths – 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Tickets for the Roman Bath – Ticket prices vary throughout the year depending on the season. Tickets usually sell out, so I recommend buying them online in advance to avoid disappointment.
Bath Abbey – Celebrate another UNESCO World Heritage Site by visiting the beautiful 1,000-year-old Bath Abbey, located right next to the Roman Baths. Although the history of this church is rooted in the past, it has undergone many changes and restorations over the years. Admission to the church is free, but if you want to climb the tower to enjoy the view of the city, it costs 8 pounds.
Pulteney Bridge – A visit to Bath would not be complete without a walk across the iconic Pulteney Bridge. This 18th century bridge is one of four remaining in the world, with stores on both sides. You may have heard of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Rialto Bridge in Venice and the Kremer Bridge in Germany. Check out the little stores on the bridge and walk along both sides of the Avon River to find the perfect angle to photograph the bridge.
Thermae Bath Spa – Just because you couldn’t bathe in the ancient Roman baths doesn’t mean you’re out of luck! Thermae Bath Spa is a modern spa powered by mineral water from the original thermal springs. You can relax in their indoor pools or in a rooftop outdoor pool with panoramic views of the city. This is the ideal way to end the day and relax after a long day of sightseeing. For more information about visiting Thermae Bath Spa, click here.
Sally Lunn Tea House – Stop for a snack and tea at the famous Sally Lunn Tea House. This is one of Bath’s oldest buildings, where the legendary Bath Bun was first made in the 15th century. Bath is full of English tea rooms par excellence, but if you’re looking for a little history, this is the perfect place to have tea!
When you are a guest at Sally Lunn, you also get access to the indoor museum, which is located under the teahouse. You can take a walk through the medieval kitchen and learn more about the history of the buildings.
Royal Moon Crescent, Bath
Royal Crescent – One of Bath’s most iconic buildings is a series of 18th-century crescent-shaped mansions. It is located on a hill 15 minutes walk from the city center. One of the mansions is furnished with antique furniture and is open to visitors as a museum. Visit the museum for a glimpse of upper class life in Bath in the 18th century. For more information, click here.
Bath Walking Tour – A guided tour of Bath’s sights is a great idea for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s fascinating history. The guide will show you the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, Bath Circus and the Crescent. The tour includes missed Roman Baths tickets and a guided tour of the baths. Click here for tickets and availability.
Where to stay in Bath
This road trip from London recommends a 2-night stay in Bath, so find a good place with a good breakfast!
Bailbrook Lodge – We stayed at this charming old country house a 5 minute drive from downtown Bath and had a great time. The breakfast was fantastic and included complimentary champagne! There is free parking on the property and we decided to leave our car there and take the bus to Bath, which was very easy to do just outside the property. We can definitely recommend this place!
Brooks Guesthouse – If you wish to stay in a more central location, closer to the action, Brooks Guesthouse is an excellent option. Bath city center is a 10-minute walk away and offers easy access to all major attractions. Parking next to the guesthouse is available at an additional cost. The rooms are nicely decorated and all reviews are positive about the breakfast, which is included in the price of the accommodation.
Bath Convent – Looking for luxury for your stay in Bath? Located 3 km from Bath city center, this beautiful estate is surrounded by lush greenery and gardens. It has a beautiful indoor pool, a sauna and a spa with beauty treatments. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. The hotel’s restaurant serves quality French dishes and seasonal dishes. Free parking is available on site. This is an excellent option if you are looking for comfort and relaxation.
Further accommodation options can be found in Bath◄►.
Beautiful Bani buildings
The prehistoric ruins of Stonehenge are probably one of the most visited attractions in Britain, visited by millions of tourists every year. The most fascinating thing about this stone circle is its mysterious nature. They are about 5,000 years old, but no one really knows how or why they were put there and arranged in a circle.
Your ticket to the stones includes a shuttle bus that will take you from the Visitor Center to the museum. The museum presents hundreds of prehistoric exhibits with history and facts from the time of Stonehenge’s construction. For the Stone Museum and Museum, please allow up to 2 hours.
Is Stonehenge worth a visit? Stonehenge is very touristy and you can expect some crowds, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing such an incredible wonder of the world. Despite the crowds, Stonehenge is such a unique and important part of British history, and on this road trip from London, it is definitely worth the detour!
Tickets cost 21.10 pounds for adults, 12.70 pounds for children.
Buy your Stonehenge ticket in advance online
The final leg of this road trip from London takes you to another historical gem. Salisbury is the closest town to Stonehenge and is 20 minutes south. The city is steeped in fascinating history and is famous for its incredible 13th-century Gothic cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral is a true work of art, both inside and out. Inside the cathedral are original Saxon documents, including one of the four original Magna Carta.
Salisbury Cathedral is the city’s main attraction and one of the most visited churches in England – the impressive Salisbury Cathedral. Built in the traditional English Gothic style, the cathedral was completed in 1258. Among its best features are the beautiful stained glass windows, England’s largest cloister dating back to the 13th century, the oldest working clock in the world and, of course, the amazing church tower!
One of the highlights of a visit to Salisbury Cathedral is a tour of the tower. If you feel like climbing the 332 steps of the medieval spiral staircase, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Salisbury and the surrounding countryside. For more information on prices and to book a tour of the tower, visit the official website.
Another highlight, of course, is the Magna Carta, which is on display in Cathedral House. This ancient document dates back to 1215 and is the basis of constitutional law in Britain. The copy you can see in Salisbury Cathedral is the best preserved of the four surviving copies in the world.
The amazing cathedral of Salisbury
I feel small next to that great cathedral.
Salisbury Museum – A fascinating museum of ancient artifacts that tell the story of the region from prehistoric times to the present. The museum is housed in the “King’s House”, a listed 13th century building that first opened in 1860. Some of the exhibits are over 2,700 years old and range from weapons to jewelry to a 4,000 year old Bronze Age skeleton that was found with gold and other interesting items in its grave.
The Salisbury Museum is located on the west side of the cathedral. For more information on planning your visit, visit the official website.
Old Sarum – Salisbury began in the Iron Age, two miles north of the present city. The history of this settlement dates back to 400 B.C. You can see the city walls, the ruins of the cathedral and the site where the castle once stood. In 1220 the whole town moved to its present location, leaving old Sarum and demolishing the cathedral when a new one was built in Salisbury.
Walking through the quiet countryside, it is hard to imagine that this was once a vibrant medieval village. A visit to this place is definitely a must during your stay in Salisbury, as it is not only rich in history, but also in natural beauty. To learn more about how to get tickets and visit Old Sarum, click here.
Medieval Pubs – Salisbury has no shortage of quaint old English pubs, full of character and old world charm. Low ceilings, oak beams, fireplaces and creek shelves on the floor – there’s nothing like a good old medieval pub to take you back in time! We stopped for lunch at the New Inn and enjoyed sitting outside in the beer garden. The characterful half-timbered building dates back to the 14th century. The food was excellent, but the best part was the view of the cathedral spires from the beer garden!
Some other Salisbury pubs worth visiting include The Ox Row Inn, The Wig and Feather, The Venison Hunchback and The Old Mill. Check out this page for a list of other pubs and restaurants in Salisbury!
Explore the medieval streets of Salisbury
Where to stay in Salisbury
The main house is a charming old Tudor building with lots of character and modern facilities, located in the center of Salisbury, within walking distance of the tourist attractions. The rooms are beautifully decorated with modern furniture and each has something different, from original fireplaces to wooden wall panels. The restaurant serves British cuisine and breakfast is included. Parking is available nearby at a cost of £6 per day.
Legacy Rose & Crown Hotel – End your trip to England in a beautiful old building in a picturesque setting. This beautiful hotel is situated on the banks of the River Avon, in a beautiful 13th-century timber-framed building, close to the city center, a 10-minute walk from the Cathedral. Some rooms have beautiful views of the river. Free parking and breakfast are available on site.
Kings Head Inn Wetherspoon – If you are looking for an economical option in the center of Salisbury, Kings Head is an excellent choice. This hotel, with excellent reviews, offers comfortable and spacious rooms, a restaurant and bar on the first floor, and attractions within walking distance, all at a reasonable price. Parking is available in the hotel parking lot.
For more information about accommodation options, visit Salisbury◄►
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