|Subject: Re. Gatwick and hotels|
Gatwick is just north of Crawley, you may be able to find this on your map. Plenty of big chain hotels in the area if you can't face a long car journey after your flight.
Avoiding motorways (freeways) will not be easy and will add hours onto your journey. I suggest that you compromise and take the M23 heading north from Gatwick, then M25 west to the either the M40 or the A40 which runs parallel and is more interesting. This will take you to Oxford which is well worth stopping at for sightseeing (university colleges, river, botanical gardens and shopping) and consider an overnight stop (the Randolph Hotel is good, in the centre with old-fashioned elegance and private car parking). From Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon is an easy journey along the A34 (or continue along the M40).
I don't know what your interests are, but Worcester, Cheltenham and Gloucester are possible day trips from Stratford. You could also visit some of the many beautiful Cotswold villages between Oxford and Stratford such as Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water.
Travel time from Gatwick to Oxford is one and a half to two hours, depending on traffic - longer if travelling on friday between 16.00 and 19.00. Statford is another 45 minutes or so leisurely drive.
Enjoy your trip.