This 7-day escape to beautiful southern England combines road trip adventures with luxury activities. Enjoy the history and beauty of Oxford, Bath, and Stonehenge, plus stroll opulent manor gardens and indulge in healing waters at Britain's only natural thermal spa. What's more, you'll set off on a road trip through the unspoiled Cotswolds to see the magic of the English countryside and its charming medieval villages.

Highlights

  • Enjoy boat rides in Oxford and tour the historic university 
  • Go horseback riding through the stunning Cotswolds countryside
  • Bathe in ancient thermal waters and enjoy spa treatments in Bath
  • Take a VIP tour of Stonehenge and learn the secrets to the stones

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London & Transfer to Oxford, Library Tour & Punting on the River Oxford
Day 2 Oxford to the Cotswolds, Hidcote Gardens & Horseback Ride Chipping Campden
Day 3 Free Day in Chipping Campden Chipping Campden
Day 4 Cotswolds Discovery Trail South & Transfer to Bath Bath
Day 5 Visit the Roman Baths, Thermae Spa Package Bath
Day 6 Literary Tour of Bath Bath
Day 7 Stonehenge VIP Tour & Transfer to London, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London & Transfer to Oxford, Library Tour & Punting on the River

Relax in style on a riverboat tour through Oxford
Welcome to the UK! Upon arrival in London, you'll hop a train west for the hour-long ride to Oxford, located in the south-central region of England. Oxford is the only city in the county of Oxfordshire which is known for its idyllic green countryside and abundance of medieval villages. Once here, you'll check in to your hotel. 
 
The first order of business is relaxing in style on a chauffeured punt (flat-bottomed riverboat) on the River Cherwell. You won't have a care in the world as you laze on the handcrafted wooden boat and watch the lovely Oxford scenery passing by on the banks. There's no time limit, either—you'll have the chauffeur for half an hour, then you may choose to stay on the river as long as you like, so long as you return at least a half-hour before sunset.

The relaxing trip begins when you set off at a gentle pace south from the boathouse. You'll pass several of Oxford's iconic sights, such as the Botanic Garden, the playing fields of Magdalen College School, and Christ Church (where Lewis Carroll taught his students in the mid-19th century). Finally, you'll pass the fertile gardens of St Hilda's College before heading back to the boathouse. However, if you're feeling adventurous, the chauffeur will continue south to where the Cherwell meets the Isis (Oxford's name for the River Thames). The river opens up here to additional stunning scenery. Regardless of whether you choose to continue, you'll enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch on the boat.
 
After your ride down the Cherwell, you'll head to historic Oxford University. Founded in the late 11th century, this is the second-oldest university in the world after the University of Bologna. There are dozens of buildings that comprise the university, but today you'll enjoy a 1.5-hour tour of one of the highlights: Bodleian Library. This is the main research library of Oxford University (it houses over 13 million books), and it's one of the oldest libraries in Europe. You'll visit the library's historic rooms, including the 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court, medieval Duke Humfrey's Library (the oldest reading room in the building), and Radcliffe Camera, housing the science library. Afterward, you'll have the rest of the day free. 

Day 2: Oxford to the Cotswolds, Hidcote Gardens & Horseback Ride

The Anglican church of St James, in Chipping Campden
In the morning, you'll transfer a short way north from Oxford to Chipping Campden, a picture-postcard market town in the stunning Cotswolds. This rural area of southern England encompasses six counties and enjoys Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) conservation status. The region is denoted by rolling green hills, medieval villages, and various sites of cultural and historical interest. Chipping Campden is located in the northern Cotswolds and will be your base for the next couple of days.
 
Your first excursion is to nearby Hidcote Gardens, part of a historic manor home in the village of Hidcote Bartrim. The 10 acres that comprise these public gardens were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of decorative and fine arts that originated in Britain around the turn of the 20th century. You'll enjoy a private, 2-hour stroll around the gardens to enjoy its hedges, rare trees and shrubs, and various "outdoor rooms"—sections of the garden done in different themes.
 
After your leisurely walk, it will be time to saddle up for a horseback ride around the captivating countryside. Offering this unforgettable experience is Jill Carenzaïs, a riding facility in the picturesque village of Stanton. There are many miles of paths and bridleways here, with lookout points in the hills offering magnificent views over southern England. 
 
Instructors and guides have decades of experience teaching both adults and children how to ride, so there's no need to worry if you're a novice. Beginner riders will be accompanied on treks at a quieter pace, while intermediate and advanced riders can enjoy a faster-paced trip and the challenges of several cross-country courses. This is a half-day excursion through the country, but you can also opt for a famous "pub ride" in which you stop along the way for lunch.

Day 3: Free Day in Chipping Campden

Broadway Tower, near Chipping Campden
This is a free day in Chipping Campden. Create your itinerary as you stroll the cobbled streets and admire the cottages and historic inns. Or take a walk across green fields to Broadway Tower, which sits atop Broadway Hill. The panoramic views around this 18th-century folly tower are breathtaking. 
 
Alternatively, you can drive to Broadway Tower and other lookout points in the region. Assisting you will be your own personal driver/guide. Certified by the National Tourism Board of England, they will chauffeur you around today and during your great Cotswolds adventure tomorrow. Get ready. 

Day 4: Cotswolds Discovery Trail South & Transfer to Bath

Enjoy a chauffeured ride through the Cotswolds and past Arlington Row

In the morning, you'll embark on a driving tour of one of the most beautiful parts of the UK: the Cotswolds. This is another rural area of southern England that enjoys AONB conservation status. It is known for charming cottage homes constructed of a distinct yellow limestone mined in the area for hundreds of years.
 
You'll see this incredible region on the southern-loop portion of the Cotswolds Discovery Trail. Your driver will point out the highlights and best places to stop, hike around, and take photos throughout the tour. Know that Roman Britain is a big part of this route. You'll visit landmarks like the Roman amphitheater at Cirencester and a Roman villa near Chedworth, both of which date to the 2nd century. From there, you'll head east to Bibury, a lovely Cotswolds village on the River Coln.

Then follow the river through picture-postcard villages along the Coln Valley. You'll cross Fosse Way, a Roman road built in the first century, and continue west through rolling hills to the lookout point of Painswick Beacon. A short hike to the top offers incredible 360° views. Afterward, you'll head to the nearby village of Painswick. Known as the "Queen of the Cotswolds," the traditional cottages and buildings are made of the area's iconic limestone.

​After Painswick, you'll drive south, cutting through beautiful grasslands and dodging grazing cows until you reach the market town of Minchinhampton. This hilltop village is a great place to stop and admire panoramic views that stretch to Wales. You'll then hop back in the car for the short drive south to the city of Bath, where you'll check into your hotel.

Bath is a fascinating and historically significant place in England. Its vast array of architectural treasures has earned the city Unesco World Heritage status, and it's home to the namesake Roman Baths, which date to the first century. Bath is also home to well-preserved Georgian architecture that is among the finest in the country. For example, both the Circus and Royal Crescent—rings of 18th-century townhouses—are some of Britain's grandest Georgian buildings.

Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day free to discover Bath's highlights on your own or opt for a pre-booked, organized activity. You'll certainly want to dive right into the city's rich gastronomic scene. Bath's pubs and restaurants have real appeal, and options include refined tearooms, classy restaurants, retro cafés, artisan bakeries, and a crop of quality gastropubs.

Day 5: Visit the Roman Baths, Thermae Spa Package

Roman Baths
Visit the famous Roman Baths, in Bath
Travel back to the 1st century with a visit to the Roman Baths. The site of one of the great religious spas of the ancient world, the people of Roman Britain came here to worship goddess Sulis Minerva and bathe in the natural thermal springs, which still flow today. On a 2-hour tour, you'll explore the complex, walk on the original flooring, and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva. The museum collection here includes a gilt bronze head of Goddess Minerva plus other Roman artifacts.

Entering the water in these baths is prohibited; however, you can bathe in the same thermal waters at the nearby Thermae Bath Spa. As such, you'll enjoy some real pampering with an evening spa package for two. It includes a rejuvenating spa session plus a healthy, gourmet meal at the on-site Springs Restaurant.

Day 6: Literary Tour of Bath

Historic Bath's Royal Crescent, an example of Georgian architecture

Jane Austen fans rejoice, because today you'll explore the former stomping grounds of the great writer on a 2.5-hour walking tour. Bath is synonymous with Austen, as she made her home in this city from 1801 to 1806 and even set two of her six novels here. On the tour, your guide will reveal fascinating insights about the nuances of life for women in Regency-era England, the social etiquette of the day, and the stories behind the landmark buildings.

Walking the historic streets and admiring the buildings, you'll see just how much Bath during Regency England influenced Austen's writing. During the early 19th-century, the well-heeled of British society flocked here to socialize, bathe in the Roman Baths, stroll the 18th-century Sydney Gardens, and dance and flirt at the endless balls and social engagements. You'll have a wonderful time if you're passionate about this time period and author. It brings a bygone age back to life for the 21st century. 

Day 7: Stonehenge VIP Tour & Transfer to London, Depart

The iconic sarsen stones of Stonehenge
Today you'll head to Salisbury Plain to see England's most famous archeological site from a unique perspective. This 1-hour VIP tour of mysterious Stonehenge allows you to step foot within the inner circle, where you'll be able to inspect the 5,000-year-old sarsens and bluestones that comprise this monument (but no touching). With you throughout the experience will be a knowledgeable guide who will happily answer questions and reveal many of Stonehenge's ancient secrets. 
 
Afterward, you'll transfer back to London and the airport to catch your flight home. Until next time!

More Great 7-Day England Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? Check out these other 7-day England itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and family-friendly tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of Road Trip Through Southern England  - 7 Days
Map of Road Trip Through Southern England - 7 Days