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From London to Oxford advice on renting car/logistics (heading to Oxford from LON)

From London to Oxford advice on renting car/logistics (heading to Oxford from LON)

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Old Jul 11, 19, 5:53 pm
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From London to Oxford advice on renting car/logistics (heading to Oxford from LON)

We will be going to London (family of 4) late July- stay 3 nights and then go to Oxford, Warwick castle then stay outside of Birmingham (so the Oxford/Warwick is one day). We don't need a car in London but are trying to figure out where to rent a car. if we take a train to Oxford, we have to figure out luggage storage in oxford then get the car (we really need the car after then). If we rent from London, we have to figure out to avoid the congestion tax area and then what to do with the car in oxford. We'd appreciate some help!
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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:02 pm
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Could you easily get to Heathrow? Obviously there are all the major car rental companies there, and it’s a very straightforward drive to Oxford using the M40 then a short section of the A40.

Oxford has a large number of Park & Ride sites, including one - Thornhill - situated on the A40 itself.

You can leave the car there for up to 3 days, then continue your journey along the M40 to the Birmingham area.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:46 pm
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You're planning to do Oxford and Warwick Castle the same day? Too ambitious for my taste - most days the castle is closed by 1700, so you'd presumably want to get there early afternoon at the latest. Leaves precious little time to explore Oxford, and that's even without the time faff of collecting the car and driving to Oxford.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 2:56 am
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Originally Posted by rcspeirs View Post
You're planning to do Oxford and Warwick Castle the same day? Too ambitious for my taste - most days the castle is closed by 1700, so you'd presumably want to get there early afternoon at the latest. Leaves precious little time to explore Oxford, and that's even without the time faff of collecting the car and driving to Oxford.
A brilliantly British understated way of saying that it will be impossible to see Oxford and Warwick castle on a day when you are starting in London, unless you want to start very early indeed, when you won't be able to rent a car.

Onto the question in hand. Renting a car in London is not difficult. Depending upon where you rent it, you may or may not need to worry about the Congestion Charge. For example there's a large Hertz near Victoria and you wouldn't go anywhere near the Congestion Zone on your way out of London. So it depends where you are staying. And, even if you have to pay it, it's not much split between multiple people.

Personally, I think if you want to do this, I would pick the car up the night before, then leave at 6am, arriving in Oxford before the rush really starts. Accept Oxford's horrific parking problems and aim to leave by about 1pm. That should put you in Warwick in time to see the castle, with a little leeway for a) traffic, b) getting lost and c) finding Oxford more interesting than you expect.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 3:11 am
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There is left luggage offered at the tourist information centre in Oxford (see https://www.experienceoxfordshire.or...uggage-oxford/), and that's right in the middle of most of the main sites. It's a 10 minute walk basically in a straight line from the station. You could take the train to Oxford, stash bags, see a tiny fraction of the city, then get a car from Hertz or Europcar (both just the other side of the station)

That said... If you're staying on the west of London, it's probably easier to head to Heathrow, get a car, drive up the M40, stash the car at the park and ride with all your stuff in it, and bus it in and out of Oxford to sightsee

Do not try to drive into Oxford! It will only bring delay, misery, stress, and very possibly a fine - there's lots of bus only roads in the centre, and very little parking

Otherwise, it'll be a very rushed day. A tour of just the most famous / picturesque / movie-used colleges takes at least a few hours. The Ashmolean museum can take up at least half a day if you let it! Pitt Rivers and Natural History can be another 1-2 hours. Museum of the History of Science is great too, that's 30+ mins. If it's a nice day you'll want to try punting on the river, that's about an hour for a guided trip, longer if you self-drive. The Castle needs an hour, longer if you also want to climb the mound for more views. Then there's parks, shopping, food, touring lesser known colleges, seeing the expansive grounds of many colleges (not just the front quad), pubs, more pubs...
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Old Jul 12, 19, 7:28 am
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Thank you for all the replies and advice! Based on this, we are eliminating Warwick (we are going to Alnwick and Edinburgh later on in the trip). Sounds like pick up at LHR would be the easiest. We are staying at the Marriott in Kensington if that makes a difference. With 4 people, it's probably easier to cab it to the airport. Thank you!
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Old Jul 12, 19, 8:01 am
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FWIW, Warwick, Alnwick and Edinburgh are quite different castles. Warwick is the Disneyfied one (well, it's Merlin, but same difference). Alnwick rather less so, but does have the Harry Potter effect. Edinburgh, well, it's part of the city, and is much more museumy. The Northumberland coast is wonderful, though, and littered with castles - it'd be a shame to miss out on what the area has to offer. Places like Druridge Bay (for the beach), Craster (for the fish), Lindisfarne (but don't get stranded), Warkworth (for the ruined castle), Alnmouth (for just generally being lovely) and Bamburgh (more castle, of course).

Otherwise, there's plenty places to pick up a car in West Central London. As long as you can see a clear path to the A40 - or even M4 - you'll be fine. Do bear in mind that cars have manual transmission as standard here. And don't assume that a long-distance motorway is necessarily going to be quiet. While stretches of them are (the M6 past Lancaster is a joy to drive on), others are rather more congested. A Google Maps estimate isn't too far off, generally speaking, but the time may be more than you're expecting for the distance.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 12:44 pm
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How's the driving on the coast (east- Alnwick etc. up to Edinburgh (so A1068 then A 1)? We were going to try to go to Holy Island as you also suggested (if there isn't a risk of getting stuck).
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Old Jul 12, 19, 12:56 pm
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If you have time, it would be pleasant to stop in York. In fact, there are a number of very nice smaller towns in England, including Leamington Spa near Warwick/Coventry, Bath, Bristol, Winchester, and of course Cambridge. With a car, it's a shame not to spend some time enjoying a bit of this.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 1:09 pm
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After Oxford we are going to York and staying the night there. We will then head up the Northumberland coast towards Edinburgh (staying at a small town). Planning on spending time in the highlands in Scotland (which is why we need the car). Thank you- taking notes!
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Old Jul 12, 19, 5:49 pm
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You don't necessarily need a car to do the highlands, Scotrail have some very good rail rover fares which'll get you most places! eg https://www.scotrail.co.uk/tickets/c...ish-grand-tour
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Old Yesterday, 7:53 am
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OP, If you want to take the train to Oxford from Paddington, which takes an hour on a fast train, then there's branches of Europcar and Thrifty 10-15 minutes' walk from the station where you can pick up a hire car.
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Old Yesterday, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by WAStraveller View Post
How's the driving on the coast (east- Alnwick etc. up to Edinburgh (so A1068 then A 1)? We were going to try to go to Holy Island as you also suggested (if there isn't a risk of getting stuck).
It's fine. Once you get north of Morpeth, the A1 is mostly only one lane in each direction, and it can get busy but just take your time. The Northumberland Coastal Route makes a pleasant (but slow) alternative.

Holy Island is absolutely fine, as long as you check the timetable! Every year, somebody thinks they know better, and become astonished when the tide arrives at the published time and destroys their car...
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Old Yesterday, 3:37 pm
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Back on the car thing though, quite a few (Hertz for us) will deliver to your hotel. From Kensington (I am not sure but I think that's outside the congestion zone) on the west side you're well placed to hit the M4/M40 to Oxford.
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Old Yesterday, 6:27 pm
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Originally Posted by tanglin View Post
Back on the car thing though, quite a few (Hertz for us) will deliver to your hotel. From Kensington (I am not sure but I think that's outside the congestion zone) on the west side you're well placed to hit the M4/M40 to Oxford.
All of Kensington is outside the congestion zone, so the CC is irrelevant to the discussion. Much cheaper and easier renting in London than going to the airport to do so.
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