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pritchett54 Mar 5th, 2006 08:06 AM

Driving from Edinburgh to London
My friend and I will be flying in to Edinburgh in late june and driving down to London. We plan to land on a friday morning and arrive in london on sunday night. We hope to see as much of the countryside as possible. Any suggestions on an itinerary as well as where we should stay on friday and saturday nights would be appreciated. I think we would ideally spend most of the day in Edinburgh on friday and then start driving south.

alanRow Mar 5th, 2006 08:58 AM

Personally I wouldn't drive, I'd take the train & stop at places like Berwick, Durham and York on the way south.

If driving Berwick is an hour, Durham 3 hours & York 5 hours from Edinburgh BUT you've still got at least another 5 hours of driving to reach London.

Oh and I wouldn't drive on the same day after a long flight unless I'd had a proper night's sleep first

Morgana Mar 5th, 2006 11:54 AM

Alan is quite right - you could easily do this trip by train and see some wonderful places. But equally you could drive down and see some of the more out of the way areas.
I think people have struggled to respond to your post because we don't know enough about exactly what your interests are and what you want to see. Between Edinburgh and London you could see enough to keep you occupied for weeks! So many different types of 'countryside' too - flat, hilly, moors, dales etc. And you don't have much time so you really need to narrow things down.
Let us know a bit more about what you are after and I am sure we can help!

janisj Mar 5th, 2006 12:38 PM

Are you flying in long haul?

If so, I wouldn't do this at all - I'd take the train as Morgana and alanRow suggest. You could break your journey in places like Durham, York, maybe Cambridge -- but that sort of ticket will cost more.

If you are just flying in from Ireland or the Continent - I stilll wouldn't do it unless I had 3 or 4 days. More than once I have driven from London to Edinburgh (and vice versa) in one day so it isn't simply a matter of distance.

But if you plan on ANY sightseeing/stops along the way you will be very, <b>very</b> rushed and really not have time to see much of anything.

pritchett54 Mar 5th, 2006 05:13 PM

I guess we would take a train if that made more sense. We are flying in to Edinburgh on a friday morning at around 8am. We have a train to paris on wednesday morning. So we have fri, sat, sun, mon, and tues to spend in the UK. We would like to spend 2 full days in London and see at least a part of scotland during that time. We have been discussing stopping in York and Oxford on our way to London. We would prefer to do non-tourist activities while between Edinburgh and London, but not quite sure what to do.

icithecat Mar 5th, 2006 07:35 PM

You could not pay me enough to take on your itinerary. You will only view the countryside from th M1.

Why the rush?

caroline_edinburgh Mar 6th, 2006 04:09 AM

Or the M74/M6 etc - but still no fun. Take the train.

You'll want at least one full day in Edinburgh. And will you be jetlagged ? As others have asked, where are you coming from ?

&quot;We would prefer to do non-tourist activities while between Edinburgh and London, but not quite sure what to do.&quot; Sorry, you're still not giving us anything to go on. What is your defibition of non-tourist activities ? (Going to work ? :-) ) Examples, please !

CotswoldScouser Mar 6th, 2006 07:35 AM

You can't see the countryside and visit York and Oxford in the time. But you can do some of what you're planning by car.

Like Caroline, I'm baffled about what you mean by &quot;non-tourist&quot;. Assuming you're not planning to visit Oxford to collect an honorary degree, what else are you planning to do there that isn't touristy? And what's with this anti-tourist snobbery anyway?

A bit of data.

It's 400 miles from Edinburgh to London. The first 200, it's practically impossible to avoid terrific countryside. Although the second hundred miles on the standard easterly route is pretty dull, every other route from Edinburgh to a line vetween Lancaster and York is pretty attractive. To see (and more importantly, be in) consistently attractive scenery, you need an indirect route: I'd take the M74, M6, A65, A59 to York. You won't get much change out of 5 hours. But if you leave Edinburgh around 0700, you'll be able to spend the afternoon in York

The next 200 miles are seriously dull. There are diversions to the Derbyshire Peak District or the Cotswolds, but they'll destroy your day: the only way you can get from, say, York to London and see the Peak District is to spend all day driving. Aim to leave the Chesterfield area around 1900, and you'll get to the A405/M1* junction about 2200. Leave any earlier and you'll be in nose-to-tail traffic all the way south. You can probably squeeze a visit into Chatsworth in the time.

Alternatively, early on a Sunday morning, you can drive from York to Oxford (A1, A42, M42, M40) in 3 hours. You'll see modestly pleasant scenery for much of the way: you haven't got time for any serious diversions if you want to spend any time in Oxford. Allow at least an hour from the M40, J10 to the Park+Ride and then into Oxford on the bus. Don't try driving into town. Leave after 1900 if you want to avoid nose-to-tail traffic all the way, but the roads will be busy. Allow 2 hours from central Oxford, back to the Park+Ride, and on to the M40/A405 junction*.

It's a criminal offence to drive if you haven't slept properly. If you're flying into Edinburgh overnight, collect a car late that day, drive and are involved in a serious accident, you'll spend the next few years in jail. Here. Your only serious option is to go to bed early, get up early, collect a car at 0600-0700 from the airport and then drive refreshed.

* the junction between the main motorway from where you're arriving and the highly congested middle ring road about 10 miles from central London. If you're used to navigating in London, allow about an hour from here to a central hotel. If you're not, dump the car at the most convenient airport (Luton from Chesterfield, Heathrow from Oxford) and use public transport into central London.

pritchett54 Mar 6th, 2006 07:59 AM

We are flying in from New York. Jetlag shouldnt be a problem. What i mean by non-tourist things, Is trying to see things that the typical person doesnt go see. Most people that I know, who have been to Scotland and England, simply fly in to Edinburgh and then fly to London and only see those 2 cities. We plan to stop in some of the cities and towns in between, just not sure which ones to stop in and which ones to stay in overnight.

I guess we are now leaning towards taking the train.

thursdaysd Mar 6th, 2006 08:26 AM

&quot;We are flying in from New York. Jetlag shouldnt be a problem&quot; - please, please - what's your method for avoiding jetlag? I never do the trans-Atlantic route without jetlag (and let's not talk about the trans-Pacific). And I agree about taking the train, although you could pick up a car in Durham and visit Hadrian's Wall if you want to see some countryside.

CotswoldScouser Mar 6th, 2006 08:30 AM

If you want to get trains, the simplest route follows. But I strongly disagree with most other posters. Trains in Britain at weekends aren't a painless alternative to driving: there are frequent engineering works, often announced only 4-6 weeks prior. And any journey involving Virgin Cross-Country is especially unpredictable.

If I wanted to stop off and see different places in a short time period, weekend trains are the practically the last form of transport I'd use.

But: if that's what you want, schedules at Late Friday: train to Durham. Get there before it gets dark (c2200 in late June), as the view entering the station is wonderful. Overnight there.

Midmorning Sat. Train to York (where the station has left luggage). Last train to Oxford (where the station doesn't): hotel in Oxford. York-Oxford trains are bad enough on Saturdays. Don't even think about them on Sundays.

Sunday in Oxford, possibly with a bus trip out to Woodstock (for Blenheim), though if you can bear to be on the same river as tourists, an afternoon's punting might be more fun. Quick train into London at your convenience. Even when this line is seriously messed up with engineering, the alternatives never take over two hours, but the every five minutes Oxford-London buses can be more reliable at weekends.

hopingtotravel Mar 6th, 2006 09:35 AM

What if you subtracted a day from London and spent it seeing some of the area between Edinburgh and London? The historical center of London is pretty compact. Our first 17 day trip to England and Scotland we didn't even go in to London from Heathrow and had no regrets. (Saw it on a later trip).

ed Mar 6th, 2006 10:20 AM

I also disagree about taking the train.

We have driven from London to Edinburgh and the other way several times

Going by way of York (one of our favorite cities) and by way of the Lake District.


janisj Mar 6th, 2006 03:08 PM

besides all the other issues - what makes you believe jet lag won't be a problem?? Have you flown this route before and survived w/o being tired or jet lagged?

You are highly unusual if an overnight transatlantic flight isn't exhusting.

pritchett54 Mar 6th, 2006 04:12 PM

I am sure we will be tired but I have flown trans-atlantic a couple of times and havent had much of a problem when I landed. I'm only 28 and used to not getting much sleep. I bounce back pretty well.

So I am thinking that we land in Edinburgh and spend the day there on Friday. Rent a car early saturday morning and drive south towards York. We could spend the day stopping where we please, maybe a park if there is one and stay overnight somewhere along the way. Get up early on sunday morning and drive to York, spend the day there and train it to london in the late afternoon.

Does this sound like a decent itinerary? Obviously I would prefer to spend a full week in the UK but this is all we can do.

CotswoldScouser Mar 7th, 2006 12:07 AM

I think your suggestion is excellent. Follow more or less my itinerary and overnight at Skipton.

Just make sure you CAN check your car in at York on a Sunday afternoon. I've done it in the past, but there've been a couple of posts here from people who seemed to find it a problem.

If (and I mean if: the people with a problem might just have been feckless), you may have to dump the car at Leeds airport then get a taxi into Leeds for a train. And double-check train times a day or two before starting your trip.

alanRow Mar 7th, 2006 01:10 AM

Skipton is a tadge out of the way for York unless you are coming from the direction of the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales.

I personally find the West Coast route from Edinburgh very bland compared to coming down the east coast with places like Berwick, Lindisfarne, Dustanburgh, Alnwick &amp; Durham and that's just places that are directly off the A1

wasleys Mar 7th, 2006 06:02 AM

Like alanRow I would avoid the western route to the south, especially around the Lakes and Skipton at that time of year.

The suggestion of the A1 is sound interms of locations mentioned (and will also take you close to Washington Hall if that is of interest) but runs through fairly uniform farmland through East Lothian and Northumberland.

The A68, though not a fast road, will provide a greater variety of scenery through the Borders and over Carter Bar with the chance to visit Melrose, Jedburgh and see Hadrian's Wall and other Roman sites in the Tyne Valley.

Both have good and bad points.

If heading to York consider final approach via A19 along the edge of the North York Moors (perhaps with a call at Mount Grace Priory) rather than the boring and busier A1/A64 route.


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