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Lake District to Heathrow - drive or train?

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I am planning a trip to the UK in late May/early June. After we (me and my husband) have visited Edinburgh we will pick up a rental car, drive around Scotland, and then drive south to the Lake District before travelling to London.

I am having difficulties with this matter: should we drive to Heathrow from the Lake District (we hope to arrive in Heathrow around 3pm), or should we return the car at either Lancaster or Preston and take the train?

From my online research it appears that Avis in Lancaster is about a 20/25 minute walk (uphill to the station). Hertz are much further, almost at M6 junction. I am not sure whether the situation is similar in Preston (i.e. the car rental drop-off locations being not too close to the train station).

In terms of journey time taking the train, say from Lancaster to London, would be around 5 hours:1 hour to drive from our accommodation in the Lakes to Lancaster, another ?20 minutes to return car, 20 min to call for a cab to take us to the station, 15 minutes' waiting at the station, around 2.5 hours on the direct train to Euston plus time for cab from Euston to our accommodation in Hammersmith. How long would the drive from the Lakes to Heathrow take - around 6 hours?

There is also the fact that we would be loading and unloading luggage 4 times if we were to take the train as opposed to twice if we simply drove to Heathrow direct and get a cab or prebooked car to pick us up there to take us to our accommodation.

The train would get us into Euston in London. Would it be easy to arrange a pre-booked cab to wait for us at Euston? It appears that we could arrange for a pre-booked cab to pick us up from Heathrow.

Please help -I would very much appreciate your advice on this matter!! Thank you!

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