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M1 lunch or break advise

Old Mar 19th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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M1 lunch or break advise

My 15-year-old daughter and I will be driving from Windsor to the Fountains Abbey area Sunday morning, in a couple of weeks. The AA website suggests the M1, taking about 4 1/2 hours. Is there anyplace interesting or charming where we should stop for lunch or to stretch our legs?
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 10:29 PM
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For most practical purposes, no.

I've been driving or hitching this strip since it opened. I've yet to discover a scintilla of charm within five miles of the road, and there's nowhere really worth visiting within 10-15 minutes. So divert for, say the site of the battle of Bosworth, and by the time you've actually found it, you've probably thrown away a net of 75-minutes you could have been using to see more of the Yorkshire Dales.

There's a listing of pubs within 5 minutes of the M1 at www.offmotorway.com.

IMHO, though, the best strategy is to stock up on edible snack food at one of the two Marks and Spencers on the M1, at Toddington Services (between J11 and J12, which is quite far south) or Donnington Services at J23A, roughly midpoint (and severely trafficbound almost all day, every day).

Eating it in the car at the service area is unlovely in the extreme. But it's better than practically any other food available at any other service area. Use the service areas to stretch your legs (and expect no more) and then get on to Yorks as fast as you can.

Incidentally, there are fans of the fish + chips at Harry Ramsden's. Personally I'm not among them (they use dripping, which is very ethnically authentic, but not to my taste). But they used to have franchises at a lot of motorway service areas. I've not noticed them lately, and it's interesting that although the Ramsden site claims a lot of outlets at Moto MSAs, the Moto site now implies all the M1 Ramsden operations are now closed.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for the laugh - and info - CotswoldScouser. I can't wait for that drive.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 06:00 AM
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rickandpat,

If I was doing that journey I would avoid the M1 and use the A1. It may be a bit shorter but a bit slower, it's certainly prettier in the south than the M1. You could pop into Stamford for a break.

Michael
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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And Stamford is a very attractive town. For those who remember, it was used as a location for a TV adaptation of Middlemarch about ten years ago.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Wait a minute. You're starting from Windsor. So ignore the AA. And DON'T go via the A1 unless you want to add many hours to your journey.

Go west on the M4 to the A404. Northbound on the A404 to the M40. M40, M42 northbound, A42. Join the M1 at J23A. About 15 miles longer, but less congested, and much prettier scenery.

For just stretching your legs: M40 J7, and just park off the A329. Look out for the red kites. For something to look at: Sulgrave Manor (ancestral home of G Washington's family: we don't demonise traitors in this country), 5 miles from J11 of the M40 (the Moto at that junction has an M+S food store). For all the above, plus an outside chance of edible food and roughly halfway: Warwick, two miles off J15. Ignore the disneyfied castle, but concentrate on the city's wonderful parish church, or just walk round the town. Actually, turn off the M40 practically anywhere between J7 and J16 and there are pretty country pubs in nice villages within a couple of miles whichever way you go.

After that, all my earlier comments apply
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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CotswoldScouser,

Where do you get the idea that the A1 will add "many hours" to the trip? Here are the AA figures:

Via M1 238 miles, 4h 33m.
Via A1 234 miles, 4h 46m.

The Warwick idea is only marginally longer but is likely to be generally busier than the A1 and still ends up back on the M1, which I would avoid.

Michael
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Because I've driven them all. Frequently. And the AA isn't to be trusted.

The AA simply applies the same set speed formula to all dual carriageways. But you can't sustain the same average speed on the roundabout-ridden, frequently two-lane, A1 that you can on the nearly empty, roundabout-free, three-lane M40/M42.

Also from Windsor, to get to the A1 you've got a fair slug of M25. As unpredictable even on Sunday mornings as at practically any other time of the week.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Well, I've also driven all of them regularly for a very long time and you're wrong, except for the M25 comment which is unlikely to be an issue on a Sunday morning. You're also wrong about speeds on 2v3 lane roads as a lot depends on the amount and type of traffic, though on a Sunday there won't be much difference.

The Warwick route you promote has to negotiate the West Midlands and, depending on the exact route taken will be busy around Coventry/Leicester (and for my money the M69 would be preferable to the A42 you recommend, though neither are pleasant). The M1 then gets snarled up with Nottingham/Derby, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

By contrast the A1 (which has only a few roundabouts now) avoids large towns, has several motorway sections and runs through good countryside. It is much quieter than the M1 (until they join) and fast.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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wasleys is absolutely right. The M1 is dire, I'd take the A1 any day for a run of this sort.

And I fell about laughing when CotswoldScouser talked about the M42 being nearly empty. And the A42 is one of the most boring two lane roads I know.
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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Lots of conflicting advice here. I too have done these routes far too many times to think about, and still do them regularly as my son is at Univsersity in Egham and we live in North Yorkshire (near Fountains Abbey!!)
I have to say, that on a Sunday I don't think there will be much in it, timewise whether you choose the A1 or M1. A few years ago the A1 was a terror for roadworks, but seems much better of late. It has been upgraded for several stretches. I find both roads tedious, but that could come with familiarity.
There are many places to visit close to these routes, including some National Trust properties pretty close by.
Here are 2 suggestions VERY close to the A1 -
1) Belton House www.nationaltrust.org.uk and search for the property. Five mins drive off the A1.
2) Clumber Park - you literally drive past this Park on the A1 and it's a lovely place on a nice day to stop and picnic. Again details are on the National trust website.
If you choose the M1 then you are again very close to Hardwick Hall. You can even see it from the Motorway! This is a National Trust property too, so details as before.
Many National Trust properties have designated picnic sites, sometimes teashops and usually have nice toilets! I believe overseas visitors can buy a pass that admits them to all properties. (Fountains Abbey is NT too).
Hope this helps. Enjoy Yorkshire.
M
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Old Mar 21st, 2006, 01:35 PM
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As well as Stamford, which is a lovely little town as others have said, there is Burghley right by the A1.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 04:34 AM
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The idea that you can really do either route in around 4.5 hours, even on a Sunday, makes me fall about laughing.

And I have been held up for hours on the M25 on a Sunday.

For some reason the AA website seems to have become terrifically keen on the M1 recently, even recommending M1 then A1 as the best way to get from SE England to Edinburgh; whereas, as any ful kno, it is of course much quicker up the west coast route.
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