So, with the weird way I plan things, my family will be flying back into Gatwick so that I can then send my wife and daughter off on a separate flight two days later.
Initially, I was just going to stay at the Gatwick Courtyard because that would be easy with the luggage and whatnot, but it would also be kind of a waste of a whole day so I started looking around at what isn't TOO far away.
I'd really like to go to Stonehenge and Bath and saw that Bristol is pretty close to those and it seems to be about a 3-4hr bus ride from Gatwick.
So, I was thinking of:
A) Land in Gatwick and hop on the bus to Bristol. Do the Stonehenge/Bath tour the next day. Take the bus back to Gatwick the next morning.
B)Rent a car instead, but still stay in Bristol and do the tour and everything the same.
C)Rent a car and just drive to those places on my own rather than taking a tour in which case I could stay in Gatwick or Bristol or pretty much anywhere else (I guess this would let me get by with only 1 day of car rental).
Please give me your suggestions on which I should do (or an option D I missed) and if you recommend a rental car what company do you recommend?
Edit... I can't believe I didn't think of this before, but if I stay after the girls leave for just a few days I can go to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. That would be pretty cool. Now I have to rethink everything.
Sounds exciting! England is one of our favorite places to visit! Whether to rent a car or take train? It depends on your ability to drive in this country, and how much of the country side you would like to see. Obviously, if you only travel by train, you'll mostly see the cities, or some towns, with a lot of walking. Some of my previous postings might be helpful:
I've been to Bristol, but not exactly a fan of this town; for one-day trip via train. I'd suggest Oxford, some 45 minutes from London. You'll have to take train from Gatwick Airport into London and then exchange there for points elsewhere, such as Oxford. Or, you might enjoy visiting Cambridge, a little further north. There are hotels at Gatwick Airport, but a bit more expensive than the Courtyard. Another option is to stay in nearby Horley, and there's a train stop there, with a number of hotels and B&B's in the small town.
I've used Hertz rental car on all my trips, but you might try any of the others to your liking. I would suggest automatic transmission if you're not familiar with driving over there. The UK is popular for stays in B&B"s (bed 'n breakfast) - my preference over hotels for experiencing England! But, you might only have one night in England?
Here's a few other suggestions: Travel Tips in UK
If you need further information, let me know.
Traffic moves slowly away from the motorways, and on the M25. The 130 mile drive to Bristol is likely to take you nearly 4 hours each way! By the sounds of it you have 2 nights but only 1 day. I assume you have the time after landing to drive to wherever and the time in the morning to drive from wherever to Gatwick. My advice, train or bus if you're going to Bristol to be in Bristol. Don't go to Bristol to pick up a bus tour to Bath and Stonehenge. You'll get very little time at either but lots, and lots of time in the bus!
If you want to do Stonehenge and the South Downs get a car, Stonehenge is a half day visit, so staying locally you could also fit in Bath, if you're driving. So drive to Bath, explore a bit in the evening and stay there for the night, look around in the morning then go to Stonehenge for the afternoon, staying in a local hotel at the end of the day.
There is however much to see when you rent a car and drive around the Kent countryside local to LGW, Hever Castle, Hampton Court Palace, Chartwell House and Chiddingstone Castle are all an easy drive. Stay at the Lingfield Country club Marriott which is both nicer and cheaper than the CY, and has free parking.
Or if it's hot, why not try Brighton? There's a regular train there from Gatwick that takes less than an hour. It's the worlds original seaside resort, the pier and Pavillions are unique places to visit and there's nothing like sitting on a deckchair on the Brighton shale, "Whippy-99" in hand to live the British seaside experience
Instead we'll spend that 1 day doing something they'd rather do. I don't know what, but maybe take my daughter to Legoland or think of something else.
And, I've pretty much decided against renting a car as I pretty much hate driving and can only imagine how awful it would be if I were to try it on the side of the road I'm not used to.
Since I'll be staying at least 4 nights now that gives me a chance to try the new "4th night free" benefit on my new Citi Prestiege card.
As brightlybob suggested, Brighton is only a few miles south of Gatwick Airport, and while it's not exactly as picturesque as the East Coast beaches of the U.S.; nevertheless, an interesting place to visit, especially if you like old books - try shopping in "The Lanes".
Another day trip from Gatwick you might consider is Canterbury, with its majestic cathedral, and the site of the first Christian settlement, and old monastery, from the 8th century, if you like these sort of things.
If you have a car and drive to Brighton, you might want to take the A27 over to Arundel - there's a wonderful castle there to visit, and the Castle Church Hotel and nearby Burpham Country Hotel.
If you do choose to stay around Gatwick, or Horley, I'd suggest eating at the pub in nearby Charlwood. You can take a taxi there, or perhaps navigate your way there - for directions, call 01293-863414