Self-Drive Holidays
13 Nights
  • Fully customisable itinerary
  • Prices from: £2015 per person
  • Best time to go: April - October
  • Transport: Rental car included (optional)


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Grand and historic, the unique academic ambience of Oxford, boasts the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Visitors can explore famous colleges such as Magdalen College, Christchurch College and New College Hall, along with the magnificent Bodleian Library.

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Known as the birthplace of Shakespeare, the lovely medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is well worth a visit. As well as the birthplace of Shakespeare, the homes of his wife and mother are nearby and delightfully quaint.

Charming Cotswolds
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Visit the North Cotswolds, home to cookie-cutter villages and beautiful landscapes. Each Cotswold village is picturesque in its own unique way and offers delightful sightseeing to idle the day away.

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As the name suggests, Bath is home to a wealth of ancient Roman baths as well as Britain’s only natural bathing thermal hot springs. The vibrant city also boasts a wide range of great places to eat and drink, as well as an impressive collection of museums.

Prehistoric Stonehenge
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Visit one of the most famous landmarks in the UK; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. The distinctive standing stone circle also has a world-class exhibition centre and Neolithic houses.

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Located on the southern edge of the South Downs National Park, the city of Winchester is famed for its medieval cathedral, castle and historic inner city. Near the city, you can also find the home of Jane Austen, the famous 19th-century English novelist.

A Historic Self-Drive Tour in England

This tour of the heart of England begins in London – Britain’s vibrant and wonderful capital city. From here, travel through quintessential English countryside to Oxford, home to prestigious Oxford University, and then to the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Travelling around the Cotswolds countryside, visit chocolate-box villages such as Moreton in Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden, Bourton-on-the-Water and the Slaughters. It will then be time to discover the fascinating historic cities of Bath and Winchester.

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Begin your holiday in the iconic city of London, a buzzing, energetic mecca of different cultures, attractions, sights and sounds. You could visit historic landmarks such as the Tower of London or St Paul’s Cathedral, watch the guards change at Buckingham Palace or take a cruise along the winding River Thames.

Onwards to another renowned city, Oxford offers a wealth of sightseeing options. Hop on and hop off a City Sightseeing Bus Tour and explore the many attractions in the city, including the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera, the various university colleges, the historic covered market and the Botanic Gardens. Harry Potter fans will enjoy exploring the many filming locations spread across the city, while history buffs will delight in Oxford’s wonderful architecture.

This tour will then take you on to historic market towns and twee villages. Discover Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Wiliam Shakespeare and home to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre. After exploring Stratford-upon-Avon, head south to the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is a captivating area to discover, with picturesque villages and historic castles dotted between a patchwork quilt of rolling green fields.

As well as quaint villages and gorgeous landscapes, the Cotswolds are also surrounded by lovely cities such as Bath, known for its Roman-built baths and stunning Georgian architecture. From Bath, your tour takes you to Salisbury and its impressive cathedral, but not before visiting the world-famous, Neolithic standing stone circle of Stonehenge. Spend your sightseeing day exploring fascinating sites near Salisbury, including the Old Sarum and historic Winchester.

Suggested Itinerary

The holiday ideas on our website are just examples of the amazing trips we offer. Think of this itinerary as a starting point which can be tailored into something completely unique to you by our award-winning specialists.

We love the opportunity to use our first-hand knowledge and experience to design and deliver the perfect, bespoke holiday experience for you.

Day 1: Arrive in London
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Arrive in London and enjoy your first evening in England’s energetic capital city. You will find endless opportunities for eating and drinking from Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional pubs to bustling, international food markets and cuisines from every country in the world.
Overnight – London

Day 2: London Sightseeing
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Today you could choose to take a sightseeing tour in order to get acquainted with this vast city and all the attractions it has to offer. Learn about the history of London with a visit to the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey or explore one of the many museums and art galleries.
Overnight – London

Day 3: London Sightseeing
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For a more extensive view of this renowned capital, take a cruise along the River Thames, a circuit on the London Eye or a trip up the dizzying heights of the Shard to enjoy stunning views of London’s well-known skyline. Perhaps, finish with tickets to a show in London’s iconic West End.
Overnight – London

Day 4: London to Oxford
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Leaving the capital behind you will head for Oxford. Named ‘the city of dreaming spires’ by poet Matthew Arnold, Oxford has a unique atmosphere which has inspired many academics. There are plenty of sights to enjoy, including Magdalen College or Christchurch College, or just soak up the relaxing atmosphere on the banks of the River Thames.
Overnight – Oxford

Day 5: Oxford Sightseeing
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Spend the day exploring Oxford. You may wish to visit the numerous Harry Potter locations throughout the city, lose yourself in the magnificent Bodleian Library, or discover the historic covered market.
Overnight – Oxford

Day 6: Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon
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Travel north from Oxford for a short journey to Stratford-upon-Avon. En-route, you may wish to visit magnificent Blenheim Palace – a grand country house and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight – Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 7: Stratford-upon-Avon Sightseeing
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Stratford-upon-Avon is most famous as the birthplace of the great playwright William Shakespeare. Today you can visit his birthplace at Anne Hathaway’s cottage or the family home of his mother at Mary Arden’s Farm. In the evening we recommend that you book tickets to a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Overnight – Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 8: Stratford-upon-Avon to the North Cotswolds
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The charming town of Warwick and its impressive castle is well worth a detour before you head south towards the Cotswolds – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Overnight – North Cotswolds

Day 9: North Cotswolds Sightseeing
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Discover the North Cotswolds, dotted with twee villages such as Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. For something grander, the spa town of Cheltenham is close by.
Overnight – North Cotswolds

Day 10: North Cotswolds to Bath
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Heading south you will skirt the edge of the Cotswolds before reaching the vibrant city of Bath. This historic city boasts numerous ancient Roman baths as well as the UK’s only natural bathing, thermal hot springs.
Overnight – Bath

Day 11: Bath Sightseeing
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Lounge your day away in one of the many baths in the city, or head back into the southern Cotswolds – more quaint villages, patchwork fields and sightseeing opportunities await. Alternatively, join a walking tour of Bath and be awed by the city’s incredible Neoclassical architecture.
Overnight – Bath

Day 12: Bath to Salisbury
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Departing Bath, head southwards towards Salisbury. Make sure to take the short but worthy detour to Stonehenge, one of the most famous Neolithic sites in the UK. The impressive standing stone circle towers over the Wiltshire countryside and is a must-see on the route.
Overnight – Salisbury

Day 13: Salisbury Sightseeing
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Spend time exploring Salisbury Cathedral, which boasts Britain’s tallest spire, before making the short journey to nearby Winchester. The medieval Winchester Castle and its gothic cathedral draw visitors from all over the world. The home of novelist Jane Austen can also be visited from the city.
Overnight – Salisbury

Day 14: Depart Salisbury
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After breakfast it’s approximately 2 hours drive back to London, where your unforgettable tour of London & The Heart of England will come to an end.

What's Included?

Your holiday includes:

  • Carefully selected en-suite accommodation for 13 nights including traditional English breakfast
  • Comprehensive information pack
  • Personalised itinerary with our recommendations for the best places to eat and drink and sightseeing suggestions
  • Map of England with our recommended driving route
  • 11 days rental of an Economy car (other vehicle categories available) including comprehensive insurance
  • London Pass which includes a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and free entry to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral and over 80 other attractions
  • Tickets for the Oxford City Sightseeing Tour
  • Tickets for the Bath City Sightseeing Tour
  • Shakespeare’s Family Homes Pass which includes entry to five historic properties in Stratford-upon-Avon including Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • 24-hour emergency contact number
  • Full financial protection

Your holiday doesn't include:

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Lunches and evening meals

Accommodation & Prices

Special Places to Stay Special Places to Stay
Special Places to Stay Special Places to Stay
Premium Premium
Premium Premium
Standard Standard

We know that after a busy day of sightseeing an exceptional place to stay makes all the difference. That’s why all of the accommodation we select is hand-picked using our first-hand knowledge of the best places to stay.

Our discerning team has a wealth of experience, and we extensively research and regularly review all of the accommodation we select for our clients.

Please choose from one of our accommodation categories below. If you wish to combine these categories or perhaps upgrade for a special occasion let us know in your enquiry.

Accommodation type
Price per person
4* Guest Houses and 3* Hotels
From £2015

A collection of quality 4* Guest Houses and 3* Hotels often located in beautiful locations which provide an excellent standard of accommodation.

Tastefully decorated and furnished, these properties are generally owned and operated by locals who have a genuine passion for their region which they are keen to share with you. Their warm hospitality is sure to be a highlight of your experience.

Boutique Guest Houses and 4* Hotels
From £3320

Our Premium category includes a unique collection of luxurious and stylish boutique Guest Houses and small 4* Hotels. These are wonderfully charming and intimate and run with great flair by their owners.

It also comprises larger 4* Hotels selected for their high standard of accommodation, exceptional service, and great location. These range from traditional luxury to contemporary Hotels.

Special Places to Stay
Exceptional Hotels and luxury Resorts
Please enquire

From award-winning luxury Hotels to unique country retreats, all of which offer exceptional accommodation with superb facilities and outstanding service.

These are truly magical places and amongst the best England has to offer. The perfect choice when you would like somewhere really special which can be a treat for the night or for your entire holiday.

Car Hire

Our packages include car rental and comprehensive insurance for the duration of your holiday. Absolute Escapes has an excellent relationship with a number of car hire operators and we are able to offer quality vehicles and great value for money.

If you plan to bring your own vehicle, we are also able to offer this itinerary without a rental car.

All our packages include:

  • Collision Damage Waiver
  • Super Damage Excess Waiver
  • Third Party Insurance
  • Theft Waiver
  • Tax
Vauxhall Corsa or similar
  • Good for 2 people
  • Maximum of 4 passengers
  • 2 large suitcases
  • Manual or automatic transmission
Ford Focus or similar
  • Good for 2 – 4 people
  • Maximum of 5 passengers
  • 2 large suitcases
  • Manual or automatic transmission
Volkswagen Passat or similar
  • Good for up to 4 people
  • Maximum of 5 passengers
  • 3 large suitcases
  • Manual or automatic transmission
VW Sharan or similar
  • Good for 5 people
  • Maximum of 7 passengers
  • 3 – 4 large suitcases
  • Manual or automatic transmission

Make an enquiry

London & The Heart of England

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