The plans that include a visit to the nearby areas of the city are also one of the best things to see or do in London if you have enough time in your visit to do so.
I invite you to read the compilation of options that I have prepared so you can choose the one that interests you the most and the one that best suits the limitations of your pocket. Different means of transportation, but the same destination, choose the one that is more interesting and more practical for your family.
Organized Excursion: the best option
The best way to ensure that an excursion to a new destination is a real success is to have a guide specialized in the history and geography of that place.
This is exactly what the Cotswolds and Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon tours offer you in one tour, as well as all the other tours that take you to the Cotswolds from London.
The tour takes place in a luxury coach that is air-conditioned to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Most include a professional guide who will accompany you at each of the stops which usually include a guided tour of the center of Oxford, entrance to Warwick Castle and entrance to the house where William Shakespearewas born .
- Prices: adults usually pay about 75 euros, children between 3 and 16 years pay about 64 and seniors have a rate of 70 euros. Take into consideration that most of these tours have free cancellation and that babies under 2 years old get on the bus for free.
- Duration: a tour like this usually lasts about 10.5 hours from the time the bus leaves the agreed departure point in central London until it returns to the same place at the end of the afternoon. The Cotswolds section of the tour usually takes about an hour.
- Advantages: this is an excellent alternative for those who are interested in getting to know the Cotswolds in a quick way. You have to keep in mind that this is an area that is characterized by its natural beauty rather than its architectural beauty.
Day trip to the Cotswolds, with stops at Blenheim Palace
If you think a guided bus tour is the best way to visit the Cotswolds, but a non-stop alternative doesn't suit you, don't worry - you can also take a tour to Bourton-on-the-Water and Burford, two of the region's most important villages.
However, the most interesting aspect of this tour is that it also includes entry to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The itinerary usually continues with a quick 45-minute stop in Bampton, the village where most of the landmarks featured in the famous television series, Downton Abbey, were filmed.
Stops in the two Cotswolds villages take 1.5 hours individually and this will be the perfect opportunity to get a close-up look at the area and have lunch before your return to central London.
- Prices: Adults usually pay approximately 98 euros, while children between 3 and 16 years of age receive a discount of just over 10%. You have to take into account that the guide will give explanations in English.
- Duration: it usually lasts about 10 or 11 hours like the rest of the tours that go to the Cotswolds and has a return the same day.
- Advantages: an activity like this usually has free cancellation of the reservation, the means of transport is almost always a coach more comfortable than a bus and even usually have free wifi on board the vehicle.
Unguided tour to the Cotswolds
This type of transfers do not have a private guide as in the previous alternative, but they are similar in that they depart from an accessible point in the center of London, usually from Victoria Station.
From here the journey begins and will take you to various villages in the region, including Burford with its medieval aesthetics and Bibury with the historic church of St Mary's.
Other small communities such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-in-the-Wold may be part of the itinerary, but it all depends on the tour you choose.
Some of these services include main meals, such as breakfast and lunch, while others may offer a typical English snack and tea at some of the end points along the route.
- Prices: the approximate rates for a tour like this will never be cheaper than a private tour and are most commonly around 150 euros per adult. Children usually have a 10% discount on these amounts depending on their ages and the company's policies.
- Duration: 10 hours and a half are also usually the duration of one of these tours, which, for many, are among the best excursions from London.
- Advantages: with a tour like this you can know in a more complete way the towns that make up the Cotswolds region, but keep in mind that the conditions of the bus are not as luxurious as the best tourist buses in London.
How to get to the Cotswolds from London by train?
Excellent mobility by public transport is one of the great strengths of the United Kingdom and specifically connecting towns and cities by train is the most suitable way for most locals and tourists looking for fun outside of London.
For this reason, taking a train from the center of this city to visit some of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds will be the third alternative in this list.
There are different routes you can take, but the most direct and convenient of all is the Great Western Railway. This route will take you from Paddington station, located in an area full of London's best museums, and then drop you off at the small railway station of Moreton-in-Marsh.
The journey itself is quite a special experience, as it takes about an hour and a half and passes through several natural sceneries worthy of a movie. If you intend to spend the night in the Cotswolds, you could also take advantage of a stop in Oxford to get to know this university town on your own terms.
My recommendation is that if you opt for this alternative, you should complete your visit with two options. The first would be to rent a car at some of the agencies near Moreton-in-Marsh railway station so you can explore the nearby villages of this northern end of the Cotswolds.
The other would be to use the local bus system on your own or pay for one of the tours that are also offered around the perimeter of the railway station.
- Prices: Train ticket prices vary greatly depending on the time of year and the time of day you plan to travel. Trains leaving London mid-morning and mid-afternoon have lower fares than those departing at the times most requested by those returning home from work. The scale of amounts can range from about 20 euros to about 40 euros depending on these conditions.
- Advantages: traveling by train is quite a pleasant experience and for most it becomes an element of entertainment on its own. The frequency of departures is all hours of the day from before dawn until 10:50 at night. So it is entirely feasible for you to go and see this part of the Cotswolds and return the same day after sunset and then join some of the best things to do in London at night.
How to get to the Cotswolds by private car?
If you don't feel uncomfortable driving the English way, i.e. with the steering wheel on the right seat and driving in the left lane, then you can rent a car for a route through the national freeways that would also take you to Moreton-in-Marsh or the neighboring community of Stow-on-the-Wold.
Keep in mind that under this formula you can take a little longer to arrive, as you become dependent on the traffic that develops every day on these highways and also adjust to the speed of your own driving.
With a private car you will live a much more intimate experience with your family and you also have the possibility of visiting a larger number of towns in a single day. This is provided you know how to locate yourself with digital geolocation tools.
The M4 and M5 freeways will take you to the most important population centers in the Cotswolds. For this reason I advise you to choose a car rental agency that is close to these roads, as leaving the center of London in the morning with a lot of traffic can delay all your tourist planning.
- Prices: it all depends on the type of vehicle chosen and the company you prefer for this service. Prices for a daily car rental in London range from 19 euros to 45 euros for a standard car without any additional luxuries. You will have to consider variants in the contract, such as the extension of the rental if you would like to stay overnight in the Cotswolds and if it is mandatory to return the vehicle at the same agency where you took it.
- Advantages: having a car at your disposal can be a good escape from the heat during a too sunny day. For this reason, this transportation alternative to go to the Cotswolds is one of the best things to do in London in summer if you are interested in leaving the city with favorable conditions.
How to get there on a private tour in a luxury car?
Exclusivity is fun and if you can afford it without breaking your budget, even more so. If this is your case, it is very likely that you are interested in the benefits offered by private tours of the Cotswolds villages in a luxury car departing from your hotel in London.
Without giving it too much thought, they are distinguished by being an excursion in which you hire a driver who takes you from your hotel to the villages that you most want to know in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It is almost always an expensive vehicle, such as a Mercedes, as it is expected that the air-conditioned seats and the comfort of the car's cabin are minimum requirements of the experience.
This is a good plan that belongs to the list of things you can do in London with children for the fact that in the privacy of a private car will not have to limit their behavior and have Wifi connectivity that allows them to entertain themselves while you enjoy the views of your surroundings.
- Prices: the rental of a service like this in which a specialist driver is included in the history of the Cotswolds usually does not fall below 600 or 700 euros.
- Disadvantages: you must take into account that it is common that the consumption of food is completely prohibited and it is a plan that can only add 4 people due to the lack of seats that are further reduced by the presence of the driver.
Getting to the Cotswolds from London using the public bus system in the UK
The last alternative available to you is to take advantage of the UK public bus system to reach other parts of the Cotswolds at a low cost. That is, without having to pay the fares of a service that is marketed from a much more touristy approach.
These buses also depart from Victoria Coach Station and depending on the destination can be a much longer or just as short a journey as the other options.
For example, the route to Moreton-in-Marsh stays between 1.5 hours, while the one that would take you to Gloucester or Cheltenham can extend to around 3.5 hours of driving.
Not to leave aside the issue that this alternative is presented as the most complicated of all if you take into consideration the fact that it is almost an obligation to stay in accommodation in the Cotswolds if you want to visit more than one village on the route.
- Prices: fares are usually very similar to those of train travel and are also adjusted according to the date chosen and the time at which the ticket is purchased. You will end up paying between about 40 or 60 euros for a round trip.
- Advantages: these buses also have air conditioning and are generally just as comfortable as the other alternatives if we leave out the luxurious bus of the first excursion. So it is a good means of transport to go to the Cotswolds if you are in London in August by the fact that it guarantees a good protection from the ambient heat during the trip.
Tips for visiting the Cotswolds with any of these means of transport
The first tip I can give you regarding using any of these transport alternatives to visit the Cotswolds from London is to assess your own needs. It is not the same to be traveling alone or as a couple as it is to be participating in a family trip with more than 10 people.
The second is the issue of staying in the area, as the Cotswolds is a fairly large geographical area that can offer you much cheaper entertainment than other countryside areas outside London for more than a day.
There are hundreds of small hotels that will allow you to extend your visit if you feel like it, something interesting if your trip to London is long enough and if you have opted for one of the public transport alternatives.
As in the rest of the country, there is a relatively high rate of rainfall, so I advise you to bring waterproof coats, even if you are visiting the area on a summer day.
Sunscreen is a must, as the Cotswolds sightseeing itinerary focuses on nature walks and street tours of the small picturesque villages in this area.
What is the tourist flow in the Cotswolds?
All tourist destinations in the UK have significant variations in visitor numbers depending on the time of year, leaving summer as the highlight for all. This is due to the arrival of millions of international tourists and the same movement of school vacations in the northern hemisphere.
However, the Cotswolds in general is a highly visited part of the country, but at the same time it is so large that it is not perceived that way.
So the chances are that no matter what time of year you visit, you will never encounter a scenario where it is impossible to enter a church or historic establishment because it is too crowded.
- Between 64 and 150 € depending on age
- Advantages: An excellent alternative for those interested in seeing a large part of the Cotswolds in one tour.
- Disadvantages: It is the most expensive option and tends to be a bit tiring.
- Between 20 to 40 € depending on the time you travel
- Advan tages: It has a wide frequency of departures and is very comfortable.
- Disadvantages: It is necessary to use another means of transportation to be able to tour the area.
- Private car
- 10 or 20 € depending on the time of year and the time chosen
- Advantages: You will be able to enjoy a much more intimate experience and you also have the possibility of touring a larger number of villages.
- Disadvantages: Driving on the left side, the experience for the driver can be somewhat uncomfortable.
- Luxury car
- Rent between 600 and 700 € includes a driver specialist in the history of the Cotswolds
- Advantages: It is a fairly exclusive and comfortable experience, where you will learn more in depth about the history of the Cotswolds.
- Disadvantages: only 4 people can join and food consumption is prohibited.
- 40 or 60 € depending on the time of year and time chosen
- Advantages: It is the cheapest alternative and offers great comfort.
- Disadvantages: You will only be able to visit one or two villages, unless you wish to spend a few nights in the area.