Driving in UK

Jul 3rd, 2008, 03:35 AM
  #1  
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Driving in UK

Hello, will driving from Gatwick to Penzance on a Sunday end of July be a complete nightmare traffic wise?
Google says it should take 5 hours.
Thanks!
carrom is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 03:56 AM
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Who knows?

On a Sunday morning, you're going against the traffic from Gatwick to the M25 and from Heathrow to Exeter, and there's usually not that much traffic on the M25. Accidents permitting, the first 250-300 miles should be fine.

From Exeter, it gets tougher to predict, since arriving and returning holiday traffic can snarl each other up at junctions, though you should be OK till Bodmin. It gets a fair bit trickier after that.

Allowing for very brief stops, and the near-certainty something will go wrong, I'd add at least another couple of hours onto the budgetted time.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:02 AM
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5 hours seems a bit optamistic to say the least the journey is 300 miles which gives you which give you an average of 60mph (unheard of on english roads) i would say between 7 and 8 hours including a stop. Sunday afternoon should not be too bad as most holidaymakers will either be coming home in the opposite direction or have left on saturday. look at this site http://www.theaa.com/travelwatch/inc...s_redirect.jsp

it may say 5 hours but!!!!!!!!!!
mrgrumpy is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:21 AM
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BTW, I absolutely wouldn't follow either the Google or the AA directions on a summer Sunday on this route.

Both involve an absurd amount of ordinary roads, which are completely unpredictable under any circumstances - and predictably prone to congestion from cross-traffic on a summer Sunday. ("traffic black spot" on the AA site means you're guaranteed to get messed up) The lengthier M23, M25 west, M4, M5, A30 offers you a great deal more certainty - if dullness.

The Google route takes you past Stonehenge. Great sight - but you'll pay for it with an AWFUL lot of sitting in queues.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:28 AM
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Yes, it will be busy.

That date is in the school holiday period so there will be more traffic than usual.

Once you get into Cornwall, the A30 is the only major road and is usually heaving.

Even though you are travelling down, not back, I think there will still be a lot of traffic.

I would say MrGrumpys prognosis of 7 hrs is more accurate.

BTW, There is an airport at Newquay so it might be possible for you to do flight and car hire instead (I know you definitely can from Stansted, not sure about the other London airports though....)
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:29 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the tips. It sounds pretty horrid considering we have to do the reverse again after 4 days (thursday). I'll try working on an alternative route. Otherwise would you have any suggestions for a place to stop mid way with a nice atmosphere good restaurant?
Thanks!
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:38 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't do it. I'd get the train from Gatwick to Reading, change to the Penzance train and hire a car at Penzance. Or if that's a prob, get a taxi at Penzance and pick up a car the following day.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:46 AM
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If you stick to the motorwways it is an 'easy' drive in the sense that the route is very, very straighforward and there is pretty much no chance of getting lost, or missing a junction. It's the volume of traffic and the possible delays that can be a pain.

Regarding the train, if you book far enough in advance and buy two singles (not a return) you could get a 1st class ticket quite cheaply (ie at no more than petrol cost) and have a really lovely relaxing trip. If you go 'economy' on the train it can be tricky to get a seat (even if you've reserved one as people often just ignore the tickets and sit down in 'em anyway!.

Have a look at the First Great Western website and see if anything is available for that day...
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:52 AM
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for flights to newquay south west air fly from gatwick daily

airsouthwest.com
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:01 AM
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PS Thetrainline.com will let you book cheap singles instead of returns (The FGW site usually redirects you to it if you go for the 'two singles may be cheaper option'). Some people complain about the booking fee, but if I'm saving £40 upward on my fare, I couldn't give a toss about that, really.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:07 AM
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If you're talking about the 27th, there are currently standard class tickets available for £47 (as two singles) and 1st class for £92 (ditto)
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:17 AM
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Gatwick? Does that mean you are arriving on a long haul flight? If so -- DO NOT try to drive to Cornwall, or even 1/2 way, that day. You will be jet lagged and the drive will be near on impossible and quite dangerous if you are exhausted.

Take the train - OR - stay nearby and don't drive at all until the next day. Even then it will be a Gawd Awful long drive. So my recommendation - take the train to Penzance and pick up a car the next day.

(If you are just flying in from the Continent, jet lag won't be a problem - but then you could probably fly into a closer airport than Gatwick)
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:28 AM
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I've checked the trains but they don't really work for us....we arrive in Gatwick from Rome at 12.30pm on sunday and have to be back at 12.30pm on thursday.
This was my planned itinerary:
Sunday drive to Port Isaac
Monday Fly to St Mary's 2 nights
Wednesday stop in Salisbury
Thursday back to Gatwick
We thought the drive would be nice and we could see some of Cornwall. I think I am underestimating the distances. And traffic. But we do like driving and we don't need a relaxing holiday.
Do you think it is do-able?
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:32 AM
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Since you're coming from Rome, and shouldn't be jet-lagged, then yes, that is doable.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #15  
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Any thoughts on Exeter as a stop over on the way or way back?
Thanks
carrom is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:03 AM
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It's a nice enough town. There are some very good guided walks, and the cathedral is worth a look round. Being a university town I would expect their to be plenty of cheap eats.
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