South England Road Trip: The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary
Here’s how to spend the perfect 3 days on a South England road trip so you visit some of the most iconic cities and landmarks in the country.
When thinking of epic road trips, southern England may not pop up in your mind instantly. But there really is no reason it shouldn’t make its way onto your bucket list! England is filled with adorable little villages, gorgeous historic buildings, green nature, savory foods and incredibly friendly people.
I discovered that one of the best things to do in London is to leave! While there are a lot of popular day trips from London, I thought why not make it into a few days and do some driving? Budget car rental gracefully provided me with a bad ass car, and this trip really opened my eyes to how beautiful this country is.
I didn’t quite realize how small certain cities were, so if I’d known, we could’ve squeezed a little bit more in, but this was actually perfect. However, my South England road trip was incredibly relaxing, so here’s my itinerary if you’d like a relaxed trip as well.
The Perfect 3-Day South England Road Trip
Day 1: London – Oxford
If you’re originally from a right-driving country, bring diapers, you’ll need them. This is the moment you’ll be forced to drive through central London while not being used to the other side of the road yet. We took a few wrong turns, but eventually ended up in Oxford in the early afternoon.
We parked our car at our guesthouse Newton House Guesthouse, which was only about a 10-minute walk away from the Oxford city centre. It was also totally adorable, and I never wanted to leave that bed. Ever. Check prices & availability here
Oxford is absolutely gorgeous, but also super tiny. Even though I sort of knew that, it still took me by surprise. There was this lovely, relaxed atmosphere. Since a lot of buildings are only accessible to students, I felt totally uncool.
I also felt like if only I could enter, I would find Hogwarts! The whole town felt like walking in a Harry Potter novel. You can actually do a Harry Potter-themed tour to see where they filmed scenes for the movies!
Definitely don’t miss University Church of St. Mary the Virgin for the best view over Oxford, and Christ Church University for actual Potter vibes. Stay tuned for my biggest Oxford post soon!
Day 2: Oxford – Cotswolds – Bath
Since the Cotswolds were on our way to Bath, we decided to make a little detour and drive trough the area. It turned out to be really quite pretty, but was quite dead in the winter. I actually returned in better weather, so check out my picks for the best villages in the Cotswolds and how I spent 3 days there!
The tiny roads also cost me years of my life as I pressed my fingertips into my palms and Mister nearly ran over cyclists a few times. Did I mention driving on the left side of the road makes no sense ;-)?
After passing trough he Cotswolds, we ended up in Bath. While Oxford seemed smaller, Bath was A LOT bigger than I expected!
Bath is an actual city, and considering we visited on a Saturday, it was a pretty busy one too. It really was a brilliant day trip location: it had many, many cute restaurants and amazing shopping streets.
Obviously the main reason we visited was to see the sights. Aside from the Bath Cathedral and the Crescent, the highlight of the trip was definitely the Roman Baths. I was worried it would be disappointing considering the high price, but they did a bloody great job at showing the history of the location. And they actually brought the place to life with an audio guide and exhibits. Really would recommend!
We stayed a little bit outside of Bath, halfway on the way to our next destination actually. I can’t find the property on Booking.com anymore, but I recommend staying at the nearby Watergardens, a 5-star B&B with lovely hosts.
Day 3: Bath – Stonehenge – London
On the third day we slow made our way back to London. We slept in a little, and then drove to Stonehenge. We’d heard it consistently ranked high on the most disappointing landmarks in the world, so we were prepared to hate it. It’s like £20 too (though you can get tickets for much cheaper if you book ahead). We till felt that even if we would hate it, it was still one of those legendary things you had to have seen once in your life.
Driving up to Stonehenge you really can’t picture that there will be an age old monument in the middle of… farm land, really. But alas, eventually you end up at the information centre, and take the shuttle bus to the stones.
Whether it was due to our insanely low expectations or the grandeur of the monument, I will never know, but I was actually not disappointed. It really is pretty odd to see a bunch of super tall stacked stoned rise up against the horizon. And you can get pretty close too. To think some four thousand years ago they were able to stack super heavy stoned upon each other… it was a humbling experience.
To be fair, after taking a few pictures and marveling at the stones, there’s really not that much more you can do. We went back to the information centre to find out more about Stonehenge.
I definitely recommend you visit the information center. They did a great job at visualizing and making you understand more about the history of the location and the significance of Stonehenge in history.
Back to London
After Stonehenge, it’s only an hour and a half drive back to London or so! Stonehenge will only take you an 1.5-2 hours to visit at most, so you can either go back to London and spend the rest of the day there or you can opt to visit Salisbury, the nearby town. We decided to go back home, but that’s simply us.
I hope this three day South England road trip itinerary helps you have a fun trip! You can obviously spend a lot longer in South England or fit more into your 3-days. Other fun places you could add in are Brighton, Cambridge, Dover, and Canterbury!
Would you ever do a south England road trip?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.