Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, England lies the little village of Brockhampton. For this trip to the UK we decided to explore somewhere new and we could not have picked a more perfect spot nor been so lucky with the weather.
Last year in April we went to Newcastle. We landed at Heathrow at 5am and at 2 degrees C, hammered up to Newcastle in a beautiful Renault Kadjar (first ever rental upgrade I liked) and based ourselves in Gateshead. It snowed the following day and it was cold.
What a contrast to this time. Landed at Gatwick, picked up the rental from a nearby business park (we've decided not ever to do that again. Delays the journey so will be picking up from the airport next time) and headed to what turned out to be an outstanding AirBnB property.
We stayed in a beautiful cottage with two bedrooms, one bathroom, modern kitchen, sitting room, a utility room and a front garden. The village pub was literally across the road.
In every direction there are walks through the countryside and along lanes. Ten minutes walk away is where the River Coln starts (field with sheep in it). Rapeseed fields are a common sight as are sheep and pigs and it's not uncommon to come across a field with one or more horses nosing about.
We visited many villages including Upper and Lower Slaughter, Bibury, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Water and took the wonderful National Trust property of Hidcote Gardens. Bibury and Broadway are fine examples of quaint English villages,
My biggest one-day drive was 376km. Brockhampton to Richmond (Thames) to Ampfield to Brockhampton for a catchup with relatives and friends.
The only bad part of the holiday was the car rental. Won't be hiring from them again and I'm not naming and shaming. Every company has an off day.
1) No signage where to wait for the shuttle bus
2) Had to wait ages for the shuttle bus from Gatwick
3) Got taken to a business park where their office is and then had to tool around waiting
4) Overly confusing insurance options; I know it's done on purpose by car hire companies so you end up paying for something you don't necessarily need but there we go.
5) Half tank of petrol. This annoyed me more than anything. Why not give me a rental with a full tank like every other company? A full tank means you don't have to worry about filling up. As it was, I had to fill up in the afternoon.
6) There was a dent and a scratch on the door when I returned the car; no idea how it happened. The dent was below the handle and that and the scratch came to - on the official list price for rectification - £1,000+. Fortunately, I'd taken out the insurance so it was limited to £400 which I was able to claim back from coverage bought through www.rentalcars.com. Yes, folks. I usually buy car insurance at the time of booking and take out more when I get the car. Then I can claim back anything the car rental company charges me if there is an accident. It might add to the cost of hiring but like this case shows, you can claim and avoid any extra charges. The claim I made back in Hong Kong took less than 48 hours for a full refund to be made.