18 Day UK Car trip

Feb 6th, 2007, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 223
Hi trip
I don't think you are trying to cram too much into it at all. I can understand totally where you are coming from, especially as it's your first trip to UK - you want to see as much as possible. I'm from NZ so can totally relate - it's a long way to fly there and you need to make the most of it. I've been to UK twice, the first time was with my mother and we drove from London up the east coast via York, Scottish Borders into Scotland, then down the west coast, lakes district and into wales, south england, back to London. It was a great trip. We spent 3 weeks driving around and it was awesome - we saw alot. Most recently, I was there 2 weeks ago. Many, many of the roads are very narrow and often there is nowhere at all to stop or just pull over (very frustrating if you see a great photo opportunity or want to pop into a shop). In the town centres, there are double yellow lines everywhere - another frustration. I think we found this the worst thing - not being easily able to pull off the road. But these frustrations apply whether you are driving a car or a MH. We didn't find the motorways bad at all - we did get stuck on the Birmingham ones for about 1.5 hours - but that was only because it was the day of the worst storm in Britain for 17 years and due to lorries fallen over on the motorways, the m/way we were on shut down completely and everyone had to get off. So naturally, that caused delays. It is true that there are roundabouts everywhere - but I don't think this will slow you down very much. Its also true that there are lots of ring roads diverting around larger towns and cities - they are great if you have no intention of driving into that particular city - just keep a watch on the overhead signs - or you may end up on a different motorway to somewhere else. Sometimes the motorways seem to come at you from all directions (Im not used to this and found it a little scary). I too also found that the British drivers are very courteous. You will be travelling to some very beautiful areas. The Scottish Borders is a gorgeous area - as is the troussachs (?spelling), in and around Stirling, Loch Lomond, - it really is beautiful and I don't think you should miss it. Also I think you will find it a little quieter, traffic wise, in Scotland. I don't particularly like the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh - but my roots are in Glasgow, so it's special in a different way to me. Wales is definitely worth seeing - beautiful and certainly not overrun. We were in the northern Wales area and I thought it was really lovely. Wherever you decide to visit, I am certain you will not regret it for one minute. Yes, make sure you have a decent road map (rental vehicles over there don't seem to supply them). Most of the street signs, motorway signs are good, but you will definitely need a good map. Whatever happens, have a wonderful time - all the places you intend to visit are stunning.
PS I note that you are very close to the Cotswolds but not actually going into that area. Have a look for Castle Combe on a map (it's close to both Bath and Salisbury) and would honestly be well worth the detour - typical little cotswold village with thatched roofs, little bubbly creek running through it. One of the prettiest villages - find it on 'google' and see what I mean.
amandab is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 10:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Our trip was 21 days in total including London.
zzzoz is offline  
Feb 6th, 2007, 11:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,056
I don't find your trip that unreasonable either. You are going to have a few pretty heavy driving days so I hope you'll have another driver to share the load with on those ones.

Driving in the UK gets very tiring - you are missing the point a bit with thinking it's about the road quality, the roads are fine, but it's the traffic. Anyone can just point a car down an empty road for hours on end, but when you are on our roads, you need a break every couple of hours or so. A day of driving here is exhausting, as much from the mental concentration as the physical side. If you are not used to busy multi-lane roads you will find it all a bit more stressful to start with. That's why people are saying you are being too ambitious, you don't seem to understand what is waiting for you...

However, as I said, I think your trip is doable. Just take your time on the long days, share driving if at all possible, and take plenty of little breaks.

It makes much more sense to go up one side of the country and down the other rather than zig-zagging across. So you could do Bath, then south Wales for a couple of days, then on to York (which also makes the driving a lot easier when you are still quite new here). Have you looked at www.visitBritain.com - the official tourist guide to the UK. It divides the UK up into areas for you and suggest itineraries etc according to your interests.
nona1 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 01:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 946
We did a car trip a few years ago ( with small rental car and stayed in B&B;s) which was intense for two weeks around UK and Scotland ,but we had a GREAT time and found the roads great.

It was off season in Sept and the weather was great. We started in London,stayed with a friend, went to Cottwalds and toured there several nice places , went up to Lake District ( both of these two are must sees in UK IMHO) .

We then went to Glasglo ( not worth it IMHO), looooved Edinburgh. My family is from the Isle of Skye so we could not miss that and the highlands and Loch Lomand. Great!

I did not want to miss Findhorn so we went to teh top of Scotland and down the other side as well and loooved that ...gorgeous.

We did stop in York on our way back down.

It was a lot of driving ,but not too much ( we are Americans so use to long drives to anywhere).

We are touring Europe in a Motorhome now and Loooove it as it is a great and inexpensive way to travel. ( We own the motorhome which helps too and are on a very long tour).

You might want to contact UK motorhome forums as they would have a greater understanding of your mode of travel.( I have some listed on my site).

Good luck! You will have a great time!

WTnow is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 02:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 94
Thanks for the positive posts amanda nona and WTnow.

I understand and appreciatte all the comments regarding driving in the UK but i guess I will find out more when we get into it!

I am a pretty adventurous fella and not the nervous type. I also work as a construction supervisor so am used to pretty high levels of stress! Though I understand everybody is different I think if i keep a flexible attitude and take it easy we will get through.

Anyway it will be good practice for when we go to Europe at the end of the trip and pickup our European motorhome for 8 weeks. Now that will be fun! Wrong side of the road and crazy drivers travelling at 130kms plus!

Anyway thanks for all of the comments and please if anyone else has any other great destinations to suggest please do.

Thanks again,
trip2006 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 02:39 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 353
Hi Fellow Aussies!
We are doing a very similar trip in May / June 22 nights in a hire car and B& B's or whatever we find...cabins, cheaper hotels etc...not booking ahead. We have 6 nights in London, then we are aiming for 2 nights cornwall , 3 nights cotswolds area, 2 nights southern wales, 2 nights lakes then we hope to divide the rest of our time seeing loch lomond, Edinburgh york and Norwich then leave the car and get a ferry to Netherlands. We are very flexible and have heard from Aussie friend that they found the driving great and did some fair distances on some days!
Good luck and have a great trip. The trip reports will be interesting and our plans will probably change during the adventure!
RosieinOz is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 94
I couldnt find those links on your web page you mentioned? Could you direct me to which section of your site has them please
I would be very interested in any tips or comments regarding your MH trip around Europe.

What is your intended route, what are the driving conditions like and in particular the camping sites.
trip2006 is offline  

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