Help! - Advice for Road Trip in England (maybe Scotland) in August

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KitKat

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Hi
KK and +1 are going on a driving holiday in the UK in August.
Flying in and out of LHR, will be in England for 11 days
Have been to London a few times but never really ventured far from London
Appreciate some planning advice on some points below

1. Would like to visit
Edinburgh
Yorkshire (and York)
Lakes District
Oxford
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stonehenge
Bath
Port Isaac (Doc Martin tragic)

What is the best way of seeing most of these?
Break it up into north of London and then South/Southwest of London?
Start from LHR and then move north to Edinburgh? then fly back down?

2. Car Hire
Avis or Hertz?
Pick up at LHR, return at Edinburgh? return at pick up point?

3. Other suggestions for a road trip

Thanks in advance

KK
 

parsonstrish

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If you would like the name of a lovely B&B n Salisbury area, near both bath & Stonehenge, happy to share. I also have name of nice B&B n Devon. Day trip to Cornwall. When I've driven, I go south n England, over to sth west, then back up north. You can do York on way up or down to Scotland. I tend to do unnecessary miles probably.
 

RooFlyer

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Are your flights booked and are you committed to flying in or out of LHR? Expensive airport fees built into any airfare there; Manchester an alternative?

Again, if not already booked I would definitely fly into one end of the UK and out of the country entirely from the other (ie don't fly or drive back to arrival port if you can help it). You should be able to get from/to most destinations ex EDI (ie major Nth America or Europe).

Edinburgh: Had a great stay at Apex City Hotel in Grassmarket. Right in the centre of the city, and with parking (limited at their hotel, more available at sister hotel almost next door) Apex City Hotel | Contemporary Central Edinburgh Hotels | Apex Hotels Edinburgh. Not fancy, but perfectly comfortable; close to all the city sights.

Driving:
Tescos often have a petrol station attached and the price of fuel there is cheaper than 'normal' (or was 2 years ago).

TRY to ensure the hire car company gives you the size of car you book. I always ask for a small/compact and inevitably get 'upgraded' to a larger one, which is more expensive to run, more difficult to park and more $$ if its damaged.

Avoid the Birmingham Ring Road 7am-10am and 4pm-6pm at least. Horrendous traffic.

Take a GPS for navigating the old cities, but take a paper map as well. You learn much more about your surroundings with a map compared to GPS.

Overall, I think you may have a bit much in there for 11 days. 'A' roads are usually pretty good, but other roads while not bad construction-wise can be slow going with the traffic. What i'm saying if you aren't on motorways or 'A' roads don't bank on any great speeds to get from A to B.

Wow. I just looked where Port Isaac is. That's a really long drive and the roads will be slow, going west from Wiltshire. Don't know how to advise on that; if its a must see, then you'll definitely need to trim a couple of other planned places, sorry.
 

parsonstrish

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When planning trip, I initially use Breakdown cover, Insurance, Route Planner | AA & put in places I want to visit, get an idea of approximate travel distance ( easy to track back even using gps). I also think you are packing in a lot for 11days. Sometimes it is about seeing priority places & return again for next trip. Not always financially easy being so far away.
salisbury to Chagford about 2 1/2 hrs, at least by car. Chagford to pt Isaac about 1 1/2 hr by car, give or take. Of course while travelling there is always lots to stop & see along any given trip.

There are bus day trips London to Bath & Stonehenge. Whatever you decide to do will be a wonderful experience.

i have had time to avoid motorways, other main roads & take as many minor roads, takes much longer time, but I get to see lots of countryside. There is nothing like driving on B roads behind a tractor, I love it.
 

KitKat

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Thanks AFFs.
Flights fixed in and out of LHR unfortunately.
Yes, will end up culling most likely Port Isaac! another time, gotta keep +1 keen on more travel

Happy for any accommodation suggestions.
 

parsonstrish

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Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, Nr Salisbury, Stonehenge, in Wiltshire out of Salisbury, pretty drive to Bath.
Bed & Breakfast Nationwide | Welcome to Bed and Breakfast Nationwide I use this for b&b's.
to save driving, trains from London to Salisbury, may be one or two stops. Less stress than driving out of Heathrow, at least for me.
National Express Coaches // Coach, Rail & Bus Travel Throughout The UK or co.uk if you want to take bus London to Edinburgh. Or www.nationalrail if you want train trip.
 

Mwenenzi

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Pity about LHR. Far better to fly into MAN, EDI or some other airport

You have 8 places listed in 11 days. Far too many. If the 11 days includes the day of arrival & day of departure even more so. Many places on your list are north of London. I would drop all places south & west of London or within 75 miles of London. Go to these next time:-they will still be their.

If arriving at about 06:00, be very careful about driving immediately. Is high risk with ~10 hours time change. You could take a train north. Renting a car from an airport will cost a lot more than off airport. As other posts in this & other threads look a the car rental consolidators that offer all up deals including insurance. For 11 days worth hunting for the best deal.
 
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RooFlyer

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Thanks AFFs.
Flights fixed in and out of LHR unfortunately.
<snip>.

In that case I'd do the short hop from EDI to LHR by air. Trains are expensive (mostly - worth a check) and driving would be a waste of your time.
 
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Cossie

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I would narrow it down a bit, otherwise you will just be driving. 10-11 days west of London taking in Oxford, Stonehenge, Bath, Bristol and then down to Port Isaac and around Cornwall. River Cottage Canteens in Axminster, Bristol and Plymouth, Rick Stein in Padstow, if you are a foodie.

Stonehenge can easily be done on the way somewhere else, a nice market town in that area is Marlborough, north of Stonehenge

Clifton Village in Bristol is worth a look, there is a plaque to Francis Greenway on one of his few remaining building in the UK (afaik), called the Clifton Club. Of course there is a lot of Brunel's stuff in the area including one of his bridges. The Avon Gorge Hotel overlooking this bridge certainly has a nice view. I didn't stay there, so it isn't a plug for them.

Just south of Bristol is Midsomer Norton which is where the TV series get's it's name, although it isn't filmed in that area, it's all closer to Henley on Thames. Nearby is Corston which is the name given to another town in Midsomer Murders, spelt Causton as it was meant to sound more 'English'.

Don't try to take a car into Oxford unless you are staying in a hotel there. There are big car parks (free from memory) on the edge and it's easier to get a bus in and out, the locals that I was visiting said it isn't worth it as driving in the centre as it is a nightmare.

Anyway off topic I'm sorry, I did spend some time in that area last July, my Dad's family come from Midsomer Norton, so I had to go there!
 
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parsonstrish

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visitbritian.co.uk has lots of information. When renting a car, I pick car hire company, work out trains out of London, pick up car there, trains less stressful than driving out of HeathrowHeathrow
 

prozac

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Just south of Bristol is Midsomer Norton which is where the TV series get's it's name, although it isn't filmed in that area, it's all closer to Henley on Thames. Nearby is Corston which is the name given to another town in Midsomer Murders, spelt Causton as it was meant to sound more 'English'.

Don't try to take a car into Oxford unless you are staying in a hotel there. There are big car parks (free from memory) on the edge and it's easier to get a bus in and out, the locals that I was visiting said it isn't worth it as driving in the centre as it is a nightmare.

Anyway off topic I'm sorry, I did spend some time in that area last July, my Dad's family come from Midsomer Norton, so I had to go there!

Surprised you've got any left byrrul.....:rolleyes:
 

van

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We are doing Heathrow-Oxford- Northampton-Stratford-Telford-Cirencester-Ashford-Dover in & days in July. No more than 150km/day on A roads so plenty of time for sights and relatives. We arrive 0530 at Heathrow, refresh at the BA arrivals lounge and collect a Hertz small car at less than AUS$30/day. We bought an AA Motorists Guide to Britain from Travel Universe online for AUS$18 which includes Scotlans and Wales. A and B roads are good but slow and the main towns can be hectic.

Your journey in 11 days should be feasible so enjoy the trip.
 

VPS

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I think you're probably trying to fit too much in but my two cents worth - if you're flying into Heathrow then catch the tube in London and catch the train to Edinburgh it is much prettier than catching a plane - just checked and in mid August if you're not fussed about times you can get the Virgin train from Euston to Edinburgh for 21 pounds - it's about 5 1/2 hours but some of the scenery is beautiful - then you can get a one way car hire back south - I'd be inclined to drop the car off somewhere other than London because it's such a hassle driving - National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables for trains - train prices in the UK vary enormously (eg can vary by 100 pounds for same day) so maybe pick a couple of places that you can find a cheap train ticket back to London on the day you want to return and then look for car hires to there. I stayed in Keswick in the lake district recently and that was a great spot - just be aware in August it will be jam packed - it was busy enough in April. Any other questions - happy to help
 

plugster2011

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Edinburgh in August is Fringe Festival time. In my opinion it's fantastic. I went the last 2 years and if I could make it happen each year I would.

The Festival website is great for seeing what's on. Plenty of Stand up comedy and other stuff to suit all tastes.

I can also recommend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo as a great night. Unless you really just can't stand bagpipes (although there's a wide variety of performers and usually some Aussie or Kiwi performers). But I guess my far ago Scottish Heritage gives me a certain affinity. Last year I took my mum and we had dinner atop the castle beforehand and she said it was a top 5 travel highlight.

Of course both these events mean that central Edinburgh Accommodation is very expensive but since you'll have a car you can stay a bit outside of town and save some money. I stayed at the Hotel Indigo last year and was treated very well (as an IHG plat).

Have a great time.
 

Metabourke

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For an 11 day trip, I'd been inclined to reduce the number of places, or at least not places scattered the length of the country. What are your interests? History, culture, architecture, scenery, food, coast, country towns?

If you wanted to cover all those bases you could take a flight from LHR to Edinburgh and then drive down to Port Isaac with a flight back from Newquay to Gatwick. Say Edinburgh (2 nights and then pick up car) > Lake District (2 nights) > Yorkshire Dales > York & North York Moors (2 nights) > Stratford > Oxford (2 nights) > Bath (1 night) > Port Isaac (2 nights). This allows you to start with the biggest city and gradually unwind until you have a couple of days on the Cornish coast, although I wouldn't call it a relaxed journey. The drive from Cornwall to London in the peak August season might not be a pleasant experience, hence the suggestion to fly to Gatwick. A lot of travelling could be cut out, and make for a more relaxed trip by dropping Port Isaac from the itinerary. Personally, I'd also recommend skipping Stonehenge.

With 11 days and the places listed I'd suggest something like Edinburgh (2) - Lake District (2) - Yorkshire Dales - York (2) - Stratford - Oxford (2) - Bath (2) - Heathrow. You might think about the Northumberland coast too. If you are really into Shakespeare then a longer stop at Stratford might be worthwhile, but otherwise I'd suggest just a couple of hours on the way from York to Oxford.
 
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