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Cyndi asked

Two weeks in Great Britain in October

Hello, I am considering joining a group of friends on part of their trip to England and Scotland in October.  I would meet them in Shrewsbury for a few days of hiking in the Shropshire Hills before heading to Edinburgh for a few more days.

I used to travel to England regularly, and I always wanted to go to the Cotswolds and never made it, so I was thinking about heading there first.  I could maybe even fly into Bristol.  From other Trippy answers, sounds like Moreton-in-Marsh would be a good base for the Cotswolds.  Then train to Shrewsbury.

There are so many interesting places to go that I'm just a bit hesitant to start in the Cotswolds, so would love to hear opinions on that, or other locations that would make more sense.  In addition, I was thinking about flying into Bristol, but it may look like public transit options from Bristol to Moreton-in-Marsh are not so good.  I had thought about Bristol as it was closer plus I'd heard it was a nice destination itself, but if it takes more time I might as well fly direct to London.

I love history, the outdoors, scenery, good food and drink, and hopefully hanging out and meeting people in the pubs in the evenings.  Thanks in advance for any comments on this possible itinerary!

The Cotswolds   Cotswold District   Moreton-in-Marsh   Shrewsbury   Edinburgh   Bristol

2 Answers
answered by
Sean from Hudson Valley

Hello Cyndi,

It sounds like you're experiencing one of travels main dilemmas; You can't do everything you want in the time you have.  I hear you, lady!   It stinks!

Indeed, Bristol is closer to Moreton-in-Marsh than London, but it's a small airport.  As a result, it's range of services is limited.  London to Moreton... is an easy route, and a relatively quick one too.  For the 'easy' factor alone, I'd pick London over Bristol any day.

Now, as to your reluctance to begin your journey in the Cotswold District, I don't get it!  Why would you be reluctant?  Because you might miss out on something else?  Well, you're right.  You will. Then again, you've missed out on the Cotwolds all this time.

Seriously, You shouldn't hesitate to begin your journey in the Cotswolds.  It's a beautiful place, filled with some great people.  If fact, of your interests that you mentioned, the Cotswolds has the first three (history, the outdoors and scenery) in spades.  At times it's like stepping into a Thomas Kinkade painting, only nicer.  There are numerous trails connecting the various towns and villages, and coach (bus) service from town to town is relatively frequent.  In a few short days it's possible to see a lot of the area.

Each town has it's own unique atmosphere and attractions.

  • Moreton-in-Marsh boasts the largest open-air market in the Cotswolds.
  • Chipping Campden is home to the wonderfully preserved High Street, and the remains of it's 14th century market.
  • Bourton-on-the-Water incredibly picturesque; with it's canals. It's also home to a delightful automobile museum.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon is well known as the home of William Shakespeare, and, depending on the day, can get quite touristy.

and the list goes on.

I don't know what you like in terms of food. Just let me say, I never went hungry.  There used to be a fine chipper in Moreton.  With any luck, he's still there.

As far as drinking and pub life are concerned, you'll be in pub nirvana. My personal favorite in Moreton is The Black Bear Inn.  Nice setting, wonderful people, and some really fine, locally brewed ales.

It may sound like I'm trying to sell you on the Cotwolds.  That's because I am. 

Here are some useful site that may help you in your planning.

I hope you get to see the Cotswolds, Cyndi.   Hoist one at the Black Bear for me.

Happy Travels

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answered first by
Mary from Leicester

Bristol is indeed a very pleasant city and certainly worth a day or so's exploration. The riverside port area has been very well-developed and there are some nice walks near the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It's a very 'buzzy' city with a large university and lots of nightlife.

Moreton-in-Marsh makes a good Cotswoldsbase for those who do not have a car because it has a railway station.

I'm not sure why you've been told that Bristol > Moreton is more difficult than London >Moreton? The journey takes around 2 hours from Bristol Temple Meads station, with one change at Didcot Parkway. It takes slightly less (around 1.5 hours) from London Paddington Station but you also have to factor in time for getting through either main London airport (I assume you aren't thinking of London Luton Airport or Stansted Airport, which are much further away from London) and getting to Paddington. 

There is a frequent, direct airport bus from Bristol Airport to Temple Meads, taking just 30 minutes:

Look at the official UK railway website for all train times, details and fares:

You won't be able to get to every Cotswolds location from Moreton without changing buses but you'll certainly be able to get to quite a few places including Stow-on-the-WoldBibury and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Relevant bus timetables here:

If it was me I'd certainly fly into Bristol and then, depending on timings, either spend a couple of nights there and then move on to Moreton or just take the train to Moreton immediately after landing at Bristol. Getting to Shrewsbury from Moreton by train is pretty straightforward. 

Whatever you decide I hope you have a super trip and that the October weather stays at least halfway-decent! :-)

Comments (2)

Thank you for your comments. I think I was looking at a website with limited options so that's why I couldn't find the Briston-Moreton transit options. Looks like I would have 3-5 nights for this section of the trip, thoughts about time distribution in Bristol vs Moreton? I also just saw that Bath and even Stonehenge are not too far away if I want to add more to my trip (and add more time for Bristol as base)...

Bath is dead easy as a daytrip by train from Bristol. Stonehenge is feasible: train to Salisbury then the hop-on bus from there to the stones. Here's the official hop-on site:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bristol (city)
  2. Clifton Suspension Bridge (attraction)
  3. Moreton-in-Marsh (city)
  4. Cotswolds (attraction)
  5. London (city)
  6. Bristol Temple Meads (attraction)
  7. Didcot Parkway (attraction)
  8. Paddington Station (attraction)
  9. London Luton Airport (attraction)
  10. Stansted Airport (attraction)
  11. Bristol Airport (attraction)
  12. Stow-on-the-Wold (city)
  13. Bibury (city)
  14. Bourton-on-the-Water (city)
  15. Shrewsbury (city)
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