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Best route from Southampton to Loch Ness (Inverness?) Train, plane?

Best route from Southampton to Loch Ness (Inverness?) Train, plane?

Dec 8th, 2011, 12:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Best route from Southampton to Loch Ness (Inverness?) Train, plane?

My family and I will be in Southampton in Sept 2012 (house swap) and have decided to run the Loch Ness marathon.


1. Best way to get up there? Train or plane?
a. Easiest way to travel, least stressful
b. Most scenic for folks not from the area?
c. Best value for the cost.

2. Worth stopping in Edinburgh for a few days? If so, we would be willing and happy to do so.

3. Rental car necessary? If so, we'd even consider renting a car in Southampton and driving up - stopping at small towns along the way (hostels or inns - cheap!). Basically, we could make this drive up to the marathon "the" vacation and reason we head out and about.

If train is the best solution, I see different types of rail passes and am not sure which to get?

hulagirl is offline  
Dec 8th, 2011, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,020
You can fly from Southampton with Flybe (www.flybe.com). There is only one flight per day, with a change of plane in Manchester.

I suggest you put in possible dates and check prices. I found a price of £63.47 including tax.
chartley is online now  
Dec 8th, 2011, 02:55 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 230
We saw the Loch Ness marathoners go by our rental cottage on Loch Ness in Sept. Lots of kilts and costumes on the runners! The route goes right up the Loch, on a very narrow road. We drove all over the area (from Edinburgh), but the roads are not for the faint of heart. Once you're in the countryside, many of them are of the pull-over-let-oncoming-cars-pass variety.
enewell is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 01:23 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
You could fly to Edinburgh from Southampton and spend a few days there before travelling to Inverness or fly to Inverness for the marathon then travel to Edinburgh for a flight to Southampton.

You could even take the coach or train to Heathrow or Gatwick respectively from Southampton.

You could travel up to London and take the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness or Edinburgh

You could even drive in in 11 hours if you wanted

In short there are plenty of ways to do it.
alanRow is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 01:34 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 18
I wouldn't mess about flying via Manchester. You can get a direct flight to Inverness from London Gatwick with either easyJet or British Airways.
Alternatively you could travel by train via Edinburgh-

www.thetrainline.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk

but it's a long journey (about 11 hours)with at least two changes of train on the way.
CaptainChas is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 02:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Congrats am a fellow marathoner(Boston 3:05) Athens many others never Loch Ness but have been throught there and
Inverness out of London several times.My ancestral clan
homeis Blair Castle in the highlans.

Easiest nice seat61.com Train have also rented a car

www.carrentals.com good to have your own xport up there

particularly cost wise with family.

Not a big fan of flying I miss too much.

When I marathon the freedom flexibility of car rental best

if I an in a rural setting viamichelin.com

So I would drive try the Castle Guest House in Edinburgh

www.booking.com londontown.com good prices.

Pace yourself wear a pulse monitor rate under 80% of max

heart rate at all times... slow and steady wins the race!
qwovadis is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 02:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1
Travelling to Gatwick from Southampton is a real pain. But there are flights to Edinburgh from Southampton so you could change there instead of in Manchester. I don't know Edinburgh well but I would recommend taking a couple of days to visit it properly on your way.

The cross-country trains from Southampton tend to be overcrowded and expensive in my experience. By far the cheapest, and probably best value, way of travelling from Southampton to Edinburgh is by coach. There are direct services every day.
waggers5 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
It's an extremely long (and largely boring) drive in either a coach or hire car from Southampton to Loch Ness. Best way is to fly on Flybe from Southampton (easiest airport in the UK to negotiate) up to either Glasgow or Edinburgh and hire a car there. www.flybe.com
Gordon_R is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 04:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,160
There's no "best" way (As a matter of interest, what's the best way from Boston to Washington?). It's not even obvious what the "best" way to Gatwick is, especially to any of us: we've no idea where you're staying, whether your car is hired or houseswapped, where your nearest station is - I'll bet it's not Southampton Central - what time you get up in the morning, how relaxed you are about non-motorway driving.... Etc, etc, etc

As you've seen there's no altogether straighforward way, but lots of alternatives.

Remember though:
- It's at least a 12 hour drive. Since the day you're driving is more or less a day when there's exactly 12 hours' daylight - and I've only ever done that route without hitting serious congestion somewhere by driving overnight - you'd probably want to make it at least a two day drive
- Inverness is west of Southampton. So you can choose whether to follow the west coast (A34, M40, M42(N) M6 Toll, M6, A74(M), M74, M73, M80, M9) or east coast (as before to M42 (n), M1, M18, A1, A68 to Edinburgh, M90, A9). Either route takes you 15-30 mins away from a huge slug of Britain's sites worth seeing: you have to judge which. Scenery actually on the road is OK, but not much more. The stuff you detour off to can be great
- It's around 16 hours, overnight, by bus. Personally, I'd rather chew my right foot off, however little it costs.
- It's also possible to take an east coast or west coach train route: again both really need two days. Scenery is also little more than OK - and there are few opportunities for detour. Best places actually on the line to get off and overnight at are York, Durham and Edinburgh on the east coast route. The west coast route (via Birmingham) has few towns (except Glasgow) on it worth visiting: you need a further detour to see Lichfield, Liverpool, and Chester. On either route, the train goes through both Oxford and Winchester - but these are more easily visited from your Southampton house with the car you've hired or swapped (or easier still by leaving the car at home and just getting the train).
- To get the cheapest train tickets, book +/- 12 weeks ahead. BUT you can't stop off on prebooked cheapo tickets. To gr from Southampton to Inverness stopping at Yprk for a couple of hours, overnighting at Edinburgh then training on to Inverness, you need separate tix (again, prebooked) to York, to Edinburgh, and to Inverness.
- One option not covered is to get a train to London, dump your bags at Euston left luggage, do whatever Londony things you want, then get the 2055 sleeper (google Caledonian sleeper: the normal websites don't really work for this service), arriving Inverness 0830
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 12:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Thanks all! flanneruk - you make good points.

I would rather avoid the overnight on a bus. Isn't that the 3rd level of hell?

Husband and I have no other plans expect "Go to London" which is his plan, not mine as I've already been there. So if we spend a week driving up the coast and a week driving down the other - that is totally fine by us. Even 3 days driving up and 3 driving down. A good way to see the country?

But I do love a sleeper train so we may look at sleeper train in one direction and car back down.

We thought it was just the USA with overpriced train fares...shocked to see them as high as they are in the UK.

Will also look at the cheaper flights too. I prefer to avoid the 3 extra hours spent in airports though. They suck enough of my life out of me when not on vacation! ;-)
Mahalo everyone!

If we WERE to drive RT there and back - other than Edinburgh - what are 2 or 3 places to stop and stay on each coast? "Don't miss" locations?

I see York and Durham on the East coast - anything else? Anything better to see with a car vs the train stop-offs listed above? We do prefer the small, historical, un-spoiled vs the big, over-populated and touristy.

Thanks again!
hulagirl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,831
and there is the overnight train - the Caledonia Sleepers that will roll you effortlessly nightly save Saturday I believe right from London Euston (I believe) to Inverness - no changing and save a night's hotel cost. Train from southhampton, spend the day in London and wake up in Inverness. Check out these sites for more on the Caledonia sleeper - www.seat61.com and http://www.scotrail.co.uk/caledoniansleeper/index.html, the official site that advertises overnight fares from 19 pounds.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 12:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
PalenQ - have been checking them out already. Think we may take that route in one direction and then drive on the return. Spend a few nights in Edinburgh and take in the sites of the smaller towns.

Interesting options!
hulagirl is offline  

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