Driving through the scenic English countryside is a great way to escape the city and experience the true British culture. If you stay in London for a while and want to visit nearby attractions, then this is the ideal itinerary for you! The one-week road trip from London is a loop that takes you through some of England’s most iconic landmarks and the most beautiful small villages.
You will spend a few days exploring the highlights of the stunning Cotswolds region, traveling through the historic cities of Bath and Oxford, visiting the ancient stones of Stonehenge, and stopping in Salisbury to see the amazing The incredible Salisbury Cathedral, ending the journey. You will spend an unforgettable week exploring the most fascinating history of England while traveling through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK.
The road trip in London can be done at any time of the year, we did it once in November and had a great time. Yes, it’s a bit cold, but nothing can solve the raging fire inside the medieval bar! It will be busier in spring and summer, as the warmer weather will naturally attract more tourists. No matter when you choose to go, this driving route is truly beautiful in every season!
London road trip overview
- Stacked on the ground
- Down slaughter
- Burton on the Water
- Camborg Castle
first day -Leave London in the morning and drive to Oxford. For the rest of the day, admire the highlights of Oxford University.
one night -Oxford
the next day -Leave Oxford and drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown. The rest of the day is spent exploring the town.
Second night -Stratford-upon-Avon
Third day -Depart from Stratford-upon-Avon in the morning and drive to the first village in the Cotswolds, Waldstor. Spend some time inspecting the town before proceeding to the massacre and Bourton on the Water.
Third night –Burton on the Water
Fourth day – Start the day with a drive to Bibury village, visit the famous Arlington Row, and stop for tea at the lovely Swan Hotel. Continue your Cotswolds road trip to the beautiful small village of Castle Combe. Spend an afternoon in the village, then drive to Bath.
Fourth night -Bath
Fifth day -Take a day to see the highlights of Bath.
Five nights -Bath
Sixth day -Leave Bath in the morning, head to Stonehenge, stay on the rocks for a few hours before continuing to Salisbury. In the afternoon, visit Salisbury Cathedral and other attractions.
Sixth night –Salisbury
Seventh day -Drive back to London
Total driving time/distance
7.5 – 8 hours / 323 miles -Give or accept according to traffic conditions and selected driving routes
London road trip highlights
- Explore the history and amazing architecture of the famous university city of Oxford
- Visit the medieval village of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare
- Enter another era as you stroll through the fairytale Cotswold village
- Admire the incredible Roman Baths in the beautiful city of Bath
- Marvel at the mysterious ancient stone circle of Stonehenge
- Walk through the majestic Salisbury Cathedral
The ultimate one week trip from London
Rent a car in London
Before starting this road trip from London, the first thing you should do is arrange a car rental. To book a car, it is recommended that you go to Rentalcars.com for a quick search. We use this website to access almost all car rental services in every country/region we visit because they can choose from many providers with reasonable prices and no booking fees.
Pick up the car in the morning, and then start the 1:15 hour drive from London to Oxford.
The city of Oxford is full of amazing history and many beautiful buildings. It is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, dating back to Oxford University in the 12th century. Oxford University is often referred to as the “Tower of Dreams” because many of the university’s towers dominate the city’s skyline.
In addition to strolling the high streets of the medieval city center and browsing the shops along the way, Oxford has some activities worth visiting!
Highlights of Oxford University
Oxford university- Take a 2-hour guided walking tour and visit the famous sights of Oxford University. An experienced guide will take you through the university building and visit one of Harry Potter’s filming locations, the Bodleian Library and Theological Seminary. Find tour prices and availability.
Radcliffe Camera – Without seeing this iconic circular building, a visit to Oxford is incomplete. The library, originally built in the 18th century, has now become one of the most photographed buildings in Oxford. You can only enter the Radcliffe Camera with a guide, but even if you just admire it from the outside, it is worth a try.
Oxford Castle and Prison – Explore the rich and fascinating history of Oxford Castle and Prison under a guided tour led by a costume guide. The tour includes: climbing the oldest tower in Oxford, enjoying the panoramic view from the top, descending to the basement with a history of more than 900 years, and hearing many stories of crazy events that have occurred over hundreds of years from the information guide! Find tour prices and availability.
Blenheim Palace – From Oxford, it only takes 20 minutes by car to take you to this beautiful country estate, surrounded by charming gardens and beautiful scenery. Blenheim Palace is known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. From Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon, the transportation is very convenient.
Medieval Bar – Oxford has many breathtaking historical bars that can be visited in the town centre. We had lunch at The Bear Inn, the oldest bar in Oxford. The interior space is small and comfortable, but full of medieval charm, it is definitely worth having lunch or a drink here. Here are some other beautiful old bars: Turf Tavern, The Eagle and Child, The Trout Inn.
The staff of Xiong and Yishan Staff – If you want to stay somewhere with a certain character and history, you can’t go wrong here. This beautiful old hotel is located outside the city and offers free parking and delicious homemade food. There is a cozy bar with a big fireplace, which is perfect if you visit in the colder months.
Oxford Malmaison – Once a Victorian prison, it is now a gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of Oxford. This highly acclaimed unique hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms, beautiful architecture, 2 bars and breakfast. Paid parking is available on site.
Old Priest Hotel – A charming building just a 5-minute walk from Oxford city centre, its history dates back to 1660. This lovely hotel offers modern rooms in an ancient setting, free parking, a restaurant and bar, and a fine breakfast (extra charge).
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Dating back to the 16th century, Shakespeare himself roamed these streets. Stratford-upon-Avon is a charming English market town, full of well-preserved Tudor-style buildings along the banks of the Avon River. It is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, so naturally, you can expect to find all the belongings of the famous playwright in town.
Highlights of Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare’s birthplace – If you did not visit Shakespeare’s former residence, it would not be a trip to Stratford, after all, this is the most popular attraction in the town! This beautiful half-timbered 16th century building is very well preserved inside and outside. The furniture of the house is consistent with the time period, and there is a display stand showing the story of Shakespeare’s childhood and the family life of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Anne Hathaway’s cabin – Only a 20-minute walk from Stratford city centre, it is a 600-year-old lovely thatched cottage that once belonged to Shakespeare’s wife. It features original furniture and wooden frames dating back to the 15th century, surrounded by the most beautiful gardens.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Watch a play of Shakespeare live at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre by the river. The layout of the theater is consistent with Shakespeare’s time, providing a real game watching experience. In addition to showing Shakespeare’s most famous plays, there is also a rooftop restaurant where you can dine and enjoy the beautiful view of the Avon River. Click here to view upcoming dramas and events.
Stratford Butterfly Garden – The largest tropical butterfly farm in the UK is a fun way to break all the attractions of Shakespeare, especially for families traveling with children. Only a few minutes’ walk from the city center, you will be able to see hundreds of the most beautiful butterflies, exotic birds and various insects in the world.
Tickets for Shakespeare’s Family Residence: If you plan to visit more than one house related to Shakespeare’s family, please check this ticket, which allows you to enter 5 different locations, including his birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s cabin.
Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel – A beautiful 17th century inn with oak beamed ceilings and comfortable rooms. It is located in the city center, within walking distance to all the attractions around Stratford. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and parking is available on site for an additional fee.
Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel – This lovely timber-framed Tudor manor is just a 5-minute walk from Stratford city centre. The hotel has a spa and gym, an award-winning restaurant and rooms decorated in Tudor style. If you wish to have some comfortable accommodation during your stay in Stratford, the Manor Hotel will be a good choice. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and parking is also available for an extra fee.
White Swan Hotel – This highly rated hotel is housed in a well-preserved historical building that combines medieval and modern furniture. It is a 10-minute walk from the city center and includes breakfast. The hotel does not provide parking spaces, but there are many options nearby.
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The Cotswolds “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” is one of England’s most popular attractions, especially since it takes less than 2 hours to drive from London to the Cotswolds. Driving in the Cotswolds is full of charming fairytale villages and rolling green hills. It is a magical experience. A day trip from London to the Cotswolds is a popular way to visit, but to truly appreciate the beauty of this area, it is definitely worth the longer time!
In stark contrast to the bustling streets of London, the sleepy small villages and the reduced pace of life in the countryside. Here you can relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of a traditional English village that seems to have been frozen. Strolling in the countryside, to a pint in a medieval bar, sipping afternoon tea by a raging bonfire, in a historic tea room; these are must-dos when visiting the Cotswolds!
Stacked on the ground
This typical English market town is just a 30-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon, and is an ideal place to start a trip to the Cotswolds. Day 3 of the itinerary from London all involved exploring three lovely Cotswold villages: Waldstorwald Village, Lower Slaughterhouse and Bourton on the Water Village. These towns are so close to each other, you can easily see them all day long!
Spend some time browsing the cute shops around Stow-on-the-Wold, check the market square to see the cross of the ancient town, and then pop it into one of the many small tea rooms for some tea And scones. Before proceeding, be sure to visit the beautiful St. Edward’s Church, which is famous for its doorway surrounded by trees.
Despite its dazzling name, “The Lower Massacre” is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds. It follows pictures of picturesque pedestrian bridges and gorgeous little stone huts surrounding the river eye. Compared to other more popular Cotswold villages, Lower Slaughter is definitely one of the less visited towns, but it doesn’t affect your time at all!
Stroll along the “Copse Hill Road” once known as the most romantic street in Britain. It is not difficult to see why the scenery is so beautiful, as if you have stepped into a painting. Along this road, you will encounter the Old Mill, the most popular attraction in the town. Walk into the museum of the old mill to learn about its hundreds of years of history, and eat and drink tea in the museum’s cafe to cheer on.
Burton on the Water
Bourton on the Water is one of the larger and more popular towns in the Cotswolds. It is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because of its many small sky bridges crossing the Windrush River that runs through the town. One of the best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water is to walk along the river and find the perfect photo opportunity during the journey. The town is full of cute cafes, tea houses, old bars and cute little shops. It is easy to lose time when you wander the street.
Take a look at the Model Village. It is a replica of the statue of Burton on the Water. It was built with traditional Cotswold stone and its actual size is 1/9 of the actual town! This is an interesting attraction that does not take long to gain access and attracts people of all ages. Another interesting thing in Bourton-on-the-water is the Cotswolds Motoring Museum, which houses many antique cars, motorcycles, caravans and more! Any motor enthusiast must visit.
Accommodation in Bourton on the Water
Lamb Inn – After a full day of traveling in the Cotswolds, you need to find a comfortable place to rest. The Lamb Inn is a good choice. This beautiful country inn is just a short drive from Bourton on the Water and has everything you need. It has free parking, spacious rooms, breakfast included and a restaurant serving delicious cuisine!
►Browse Bourton on the Water◄ more accommodation options
It is known as one of the most beautiful villages in England and Bibury is no stranger to the crowd. The charming Arlington Row is said to be one of the most photographed scenes in England. This perfect row of stone houses dates back to the 14th century, and it really looks like a scene taken directly from a fairy tale. These buildings were originally used to store wool, but were later converted into Weaver’s cottage in the 17th century.
Today, the buildings you see are actually inhabited, and it’s important to keep this in mind when walking around and taking snapshots. In addition to admiring this row of beautiful houses, the charming ivy-covered Swan Hotel is adjacent to the Korn River and is a good place for you to have a coffee break. This historic building was once an inn in the 18th century, and later turned into a hotel with beautiful restaurants, bars and cafes.
Located at the southern end of the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is a picturesque small village with traditional honey-colored stone cottages and bubbling creeks. This is another village that has been heavily photographed. It is not difficult to see why. I really think I’m watching a movie, it’s just that Perfect (also because it has actually been shown in several movies/TV series!) Camburg Castle literally means frozen in time, because no new buildings have been constructed in the town since the 17th century.
If you visit Castle Combe in the summer, you will definitely see some tourist groups and crowds running in the side streets. However, if you go in winter like ours, then you may be lucky to be able to bring this fairytale village to yourself! In addition to strolling around the village and taking photos, here are some things you should not miss. Savour a classic British pub lunch at White Hart or Castle Inn. These two lovely historic pubs are located in the city centre and serve delicious food and light ales.
Stroll to the 14th century Manor House, which is now a luxury hotel with a golf course and Michelin-starred restaurant. You can have afternoon tea inside, or admire the beautiful building from the outside and move on. Before driving to Bath, make sure to descend from the market square until you reach the bridge. This is the ideal angle to capture the hut, the river and the surrounding woodland, if you can get to know this magical landscape for yourself, so much the better!
The amazing city of Bath can be easily reached in a 30-minute drive from Camburg Castle. The long history can be traced back to Roman times, and there are so many great attractions to see and do in Bath, so that you can easily spend a few days there without getting bored. This road trip from London itinerary includes a full-day tour of Bath, so I will recommend you the absolute highlights not to be missed!
In addition to Bath’s famous incredible Roman monuments, it is also known for its Georgian architecture with many impressive 18th-century buildings. Some of the highlights you will see during your visit are Pulteney Bridge, the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey, but as you explore the town, you will also find many other beautiful buildings.
Roman Baths – The most famous attraction that attracts people to Bath is the ancient Roman Baths. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a history of nearly 2000 years. What started as a Roman temple was eventually turned into a public bathhouse, which was popular with tourists from all over the UK and Europe.
The maintenance and preservation of the pools and bathrooms in this series is incredible and is only open to the public for viewing. After visiting the bathroom, you will arrive at the museum, which tells the story of bathing over the centuries and displays many fascinating Roman artifacts.
When you start a whole day of sightseeing in Bath, it is worthwhile to visit the Roman Baths in the morning to avoid the crowds. Throughout the day, especially during the peak season, tour groups from London day trips become very busy.
Roman Baths opening hours -9:30 am-5 pm
Tickets for the Roman Baths- The annual fare varies according to the season. Tickets are indeed sold out, so I suggest you buy online in advance to avoid disappointment.
Bath Abbey – When you visit the beautiful 1000-year-old Bath Abbey, visit another UNESCO heritage site in Bath, which is conveniently located near the Roman Baths. Although the history of this church can be traced back a long time ago, its appearance has undergone many changes and renovations over the years. Entrance to the church is free, but if you want to climb the tower to enjoy the town, it costs £8.
Pulteney Bridge – A visit to Bath will not be complete without strolling through the iconic Pulteney Bridge. This 18th-century bridge is one of the four remaining bridges in the world, flanked by shops. Others you may have heard of include Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Rialto Bridge in Venice and Krämerbrücke in Germany. Take a look at the small shops on the bridge and walk along both sides of the Avon River to find the ideal angle for shooting the bridge.
Hot spring bath – Just because you can’t bathe in the ancient Roman baths does not mean you are out of luck! Thermae Bath Spa is a modern hot spring spa center, nourished by mineral water in the original Bath hot spring. You can choose to relax in the indoor bath or the open-air rooftop bath, which overlooks the city and offers epic panoramic views. This is the ideal way to end the day and relax after a long day of sightseeing. Learn more about visiting Thermae Bath Spa here.
Sally Lunn’s teahouse – Stop for snacks and tea at the famous tea house of Sally Lunn. This is one of the oldest buildings in Bath and the birthplace of the iconic “Bath Bun” in the 15th century. Bath is full of classic English tea rooms, but if you want to taste some history with tea, then go!
If you are a client of Sally Lunn, you can also visit the in-house museum located below the tea house. You will be able to walk through the medieval kitchen and learn about the history of the building.
Royal Crescent – One of Bath’s most iconic buildings is the 18th century crescent-shaped row houses. It is located on a hill about 15 minutes from the city center. One of the town houses has been decorated with antique furniture and is open to the public as a museum. Visit the museum and get a glimpse of the upper class life in Bath in the 18th century. Find more information here.
Bath walking tour- For those who wish to learn more about the fascinating history of the town, a guided tour of the highlights of Bath is a good idea. The guide will take you through the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, Bath Circus and Crescent. This tour includes skip-the-line tickets to the Roman Baths and a guided tour of the entire baths. Click here to find tickets and availability.
On this road trip from London, it is recommended that you stay in Bath for 2 nights so that you will find a good place for a delicious breakfast!
Bellbrook Guest House – We lived in this charming old manor, 5 minutes from the center of Bath, and had a great time. The breakfast was great, including free champagne! There is free parking on site. We chose to park the car there and take a bus from outside the hotel to Bath, which is easy to do. We can definitely recommend this place!
Brooks Inn – If you want to stay closer to the center and close to activities, Brooks Inn is a good choice. It is only a 10-minute walk from Bath town centre and all major attractions are easily accessible. There are parking spaces near the hotel at an extra charge. The rooms are beautifully decorated and all reviews are positive for the breakfast included in your stay.
Bath Abbey- Seeking some luxury during your stay in Bath? This beautiful country estate is 3 km from the centre of Bath and is surrounded by lush greenery and gardens. The hotel has a beautiful indoor swimming pool, sauna and spa offering beauty treatments. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. The hotel’s restaurant serves high-quality French cuisine and seasonal dishes. Free parking spaces are available here. If you are looking for comfort and relaxation, this is a good choice.
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The prehistoric Stonehenge site is arguably one of the most visited attractions in the UK, attracting millions of tourists every year. The most fascinating thing about this circle of stones is their mysterious nature. It is estimated that they are about 5,000 years old, but no one knows how or why they are placed in a circle.
Your ticket to the stone includes a shuttle bus to and from the visitor center and museum visits. The museum has hundreds of prehistoric exhibitions showing the history and facts when Stonehenge was built. You should allow up to 2 hours to spend in the stone and museum.
Is Stonehenge worth a visit? Stonehenge is very touristy and you can expect to see some crowds, but this does not 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. This road trip from London is definitely worth a visit!
Admission ticket -Adults £21.10, children £12.70
Buy Stonehenge tickets online in advance
The last stop of this trip from London will take you into another historical treasure. Salisbury is the closest city to Stonehenge, only a 20-minute drive south. The city is full of fascinating history and is famous for the incredible 13th century Gothic cathedral, which happens to be the tallest spire in Britain! The inside and outside of Salisbury Cathedral are real works of art. Inside the cathedral, you will be able to see some original Saxon documents, including one of the four Magna Carta.
Highlights of Salisbury
Salisbury Cathedral – The spectacular Salisbury Cathedral is the main attraction of the city and one of the most visited churches in England. The cathedral was built in the traditional English Gothic style and was completed in 1258. Some of its best features include beautiful stained glass windows, the largest monastery in England dating back to the 13th century, the oldest working clock in the world, and of course the stunning spire!
One of the highlights of visiting Salisbury Cathedral is to visit the tower. If you want to venture down 332 steps along the winding medieval stairs, you can enjoy the magnificent view of Salisbury and the surrounding countryside. For more information on tower tour prices and reservations, please see the official website.
Needless to say, another highlight was seeing the Magna Carta displayed in the branch hall of the cathedral. This ancient document dates back to 1215 and marked the establishment of the British Constitution. The copy that can be seen in Salisbury Cathedral is the best preserved of the remaining four copies in the world.
Salisbury Museum – A fascinating museum full of ancient art, telling the long history of the area from prehistoric times to today. The museum is located in the “House of the King”, a protected building dating back to the 13th century, which was first opened to the public in 1860. Some of the items on display are more than 2,700 years old, ranging from weapons to jewelry, even 4,000 years old. An ancient bone in a bronze vessel, gold and other interesting objects were found in his tomb.
You can find the Salisbury Museum near the cathedral on the west side of the cathedral. For more information on planning your itinerary, please see the official website.
Old Sarum – Salisbury was once an Iron Age settlement, located 2 miles north of the current city. The site of this site dates back to 400 BC, and you can see the town’s walls, the ruins of the cathedral, and the former location of the castle. In 1220, the entire town was moved to its current location, Old Sarum was abandoned, and the new cathedral was demolished after it was built in Salisbury.
When you are strolling in a peaceful rural environment, it is hard to imagine that there used to be a busy medieval village. While in Salisbury, visiting this site is absolutely indispensable, not only for its long history, but also for its rural scenery. Find more information about getting tickets and visiting Old Salum here.
Medieval Bar – Salisbury has no shortage of quirky British pubs, full of personality and old-world charm. With low ceilings, oak beams, open flames and wicked floors, there is really nothing like an old-fashioned medieval bar that can take you back in time! We stopped for lunch at The New Inn and really enjoyed sitting outside their beer garden. The wooden structure is full of characteristics and dates back to the 14th century. The food we ate was great, but the best part was the wonderful view of the cathedral steeple from the beer garden!
Some other bars in Salisbury are also worth checking out: Ox Row Inn, The Wig and Quill, Venison Loin, The Old Mill. Please visit this website for a list of more bars and dining options in Salisbury!
Places to stay in Salisbury
Chapter House – A charming old Tudor-style building in the heart of Salisbury, with many features and modern comforts, within walking distance of the attractions. The rooms are nicely decorated with modern furnishings and each one features something different from original fireplaces to wooden wall paneling. The restaurant serves British cuisine with a breakfast included in your stay. Parking is available nearby for £6 per day.
The Legacy Rose & Crown Hotel – Finish off your England road trip in a lovely old building set in a scenic location. This beautiful hotel sits on the edge of the River Avon in a gorgeous 13th century half-timbered building. It’s located just outside of the town center, only a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral. Some of the rooms feature stunning river views. Free parking is available on site and breakfast is also included.
The Kings Head Inn Wetherspoon – If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option in the town center of Salisbury, The Kings Head makes a great choice. With excellent ratings, this hotel offers comfortable spacious rooms, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, and walking distance to attractions, all for a reasonable price. Parking is available in a car park a few minutes walk from the inn.
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Discover More England Travel Inspiration
- The Top 20 Most Beautiful English Villages
- The Perfect Day Trip Itinerary from London to Bath
- Top 10 Cotswolds Tours from London
- 10 Amazing Day Trips to the Countryside of Kent
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