Tour or Drive

May 3rd, 2006, 01:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8
Tour or Drive

Next Spring, my wife and I will be visiting my daughter who will be attending college in London. We have seen London and want to tour the English and Scottish countryside with my daughter.
My question: should we rent a car and drive ourselves or should we take a guided bus tour? We have about eight days and our interests include history (Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall, etc.) and literature (Shakespeare, Austen, etc.), along with just seeing various other tourist spots.
Cisaak is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 886
It depends on how confident you are about driving in the UK. It's not as bad as people make out although fuel prices at the moment are astronomical (£1 per litre).
Roads can be horifically busy and parking is expensive and usually impossible. However, there are usually good park and ride schemes in the major tourist spots such as Bath, Oxford and Stratford. A guided bus will take you directly into these places and good tours exist but it is much better to have the car so that you can plan the journey to suit yourselves.
You could venture west out of London via Stonehendge to Bath and then to Stratford via Oxford. North again through York to Scotland. This could comfortably be achieved in 8 days and you could leave the car in Edinburgh and fly back to London on any of the budget airlines.
AR is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 02:34 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
I've seen the tours from some companies & thery aren't so much a tour but a route march where you get just about enough time to take photos & then you move on.

However 8 days isn't enough to do what you mention unless you adopt the "if it's 10am on Tuesday it's Dove Cottage" approach.

Cut back significantly on what you want to do or have a longer trip otherwise you'll look at your photos & you won't know what they are of.
alanRow is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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If there was a tour that hit all the areas you mention - in 8 days - you would barely have time to get off the bus.

But you couldn't do easily it by car either. You want Hampshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Northumberland/Cumbria, and Scotland. These are hundreds of miles apart.

- lengthen the time you can spend to 2 to 3 weeks.
- or cut your wish list back to either the South (Austen/Stonehenge/Stratford) or the North (Northern England and a bit of Scotland).
janisj is online now  
May 3rd, 2006, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Rent a car and do/see what you really want. Esp for 3 people this is an economical choice - and the fact that your daughter is a student there already - she can help make the planning efficient and give you lots of budget tips.

Driving in the UK is really no big deal - just make sure you don;t drive after drinking - or when you;re really exhausted - when muscule memory can take over and make you do exactly the wrong thing.
nytraveler is offline  
May 3rd, 2006, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,878
Maybe I should clarify what I meant -- do either of the following by car.

- lengthen the time you can spend to 2 to 3 weeks.
- or cut your wish list back to either the South or the North.

(paying for three on a rushed guided tour would be very expensive and leave you w/ little time to see/do much)
janisj is online now  

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