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Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

Oregon
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Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

We are visiting Oxford this summer and would enjoy visiting Stonehenge as part of our visit. We fly into Gatwick and wondering if renting a car at the airport then driving directly to Stonehenge would be a fun way to see the countryside and see Stonehenge during this trip. We would return the car in Oxford that evening, then enjoy Oxford without the rental car, and without needing to backtrack to do a day trip to Stonehenge (we are going to London for one night after Oxford). Any input/thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 03:02
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1. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

I think it depends when you arrive. If it's early morning and you're sure you will be rested enough to drive, it sounds an OK plan.

All being well, you might take 1 1/2 hrs to clear immigration, collect baggage and collect the car.

To see some countryside rather than motorways, you could follow the A272 through the South Downs National Park, then cut across to Winchester, but that's going to take you a good 3 hours to reach Stonehenge. M25-M3-A303 may be quicker, but maybe not in the morning, and certainly with more views of the back of a lorry.

Then Stonehenge to Oxford 1 1/2 hrs, 2 hrs if you're unlucky. You will need to check what time the car rental places in Oxford close.

All told, it may not leave you that much time at Stonehenge itself, and virtually no time to see Salisbury (which would be a shame, as it's a beautiful town with one of England's finest cathedrals).

So I don't think it's the worst idea, but do weigh it up against a day trip by train from London, which would give you time to do all of the above and be back in London for the evening.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 03:50
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2. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

If you fly into Gatwick from the US, jump straight into a car and spend all day driving around unfamiliar roads when jet lagged, you are dangerous.

If you are only arriving on a short haul flight, less so although you might have had to get up silly-early to catch your flight so you could still be overtired.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 04:06
U.S. expats
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3. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

Planning five hours of driving directly after an international flight does not sound like the best plan to me.

Oregon
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4. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

This is the last leg of our Europe summer trip, and we will be arriving on a short direct flight from Spain in the morning. Will immigration still take awhile, as we are traveling within Europe at that time? We will arrive on a Saturday, and I like your idea to include Salisbury (and the Cathedral). What would be the quickest route (we would eliminate the country drive, unless shorter)? And, would you recommend Salisbury first or Stonehenge? How is driving & parking in Salisbury? I will look into the latest time we can drop the rental car, but we can always keep it at the hotel parking until the next day, if needed. I would rather get into Oxford late and enjoy the day since we will be staying in Oxford proper the remainder of time until London.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 05:07
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5. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

"Will immigration still take awhile, as we are traveling within Europe at that time?"

Yes - you will have to go through immigration. There are two queues - one for UK/EU/EEA/Swiss passport holders, the other for everyone else. The UK is not part of the Schengen arrangement that applies in most of the EU countries.

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6. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

Most (not all, but exceptions are rare) rental car depots away from airports will close at lunchtime on a Saturday and not reopen until Monday. Does your hotel actually have parking? (It's not a given in historic cities)

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7. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

It is especially not a given in Oxford. If your hotel does not have parking, you will need to drop your party and luggage there, and park it in one of Oxford's five satellite parking lots, taking the bus back.

I know that Salisbury and Stonehenge may look convenient and "on the way" but really, it isn't.

If I were you, I would take a train to London, and another to Oxford. Put off tooling around in a car for a day when you aren't flying in/traveling to your next destination.

As an example, you could take the train from Gatwick to Reading, change for Oxford, and be there in 2 hours.

…nationalrail.co.uk/service/…dep

If you have 3-4 in your group, you might be able to do Groupsave. If only two, Two Together.

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8. Re: Rental Car one-way from Gatwick to Oxford

You can also get a direct coach to Oxford from both Terminals at Gatwick Airport, there is an hourly service and the journey is around 2 hours.

Sit back, relax and let a professional driver deal with the hell that is the M25 motorway. .

https://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk/gatwick/

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