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Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Pittsburgh...
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Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Hello!

I'm doing a trip with my partner, and we are going to be in the UK for the first half of June. Wondering whether we should travel by rail or get a car?

Here's what our itinerary looks like:

Jun 1: fly into Glasgow. (definitive)

Jun 2: Edinburgh. (flexible)

Jun 3: Get a ferry from Heysham to Isle of Man. (definitive)

Jun 7: Leave Isle of Man, back to Heysham very late at night. (definitive)

---> Jun 7 - Jun 12: (very flexible here) Depends on whether we do car hire or rail :) Would like to definitely see Stonehenge. Other spots of interest: York, Bath, Cotswolds...

Jun 13: Fly out of London. (definitive)

As you can see, we're considering a car hire between Heysham to London, so we can explore more things without being pressed for time with public transit schedules. But I'm wondering if it'll be that worthwhile, and whether rail trip would be better, adjusting our sightseeing. Also curious to hear what one would recommend actually seeing for that short time period?

Secondary question: We're assuming Glasgow - Edinburgh - Heysham is probably best done by public transit. Would a car hire be better here or should we stick with public transit?

Looking forward to any advice!

Thanks,

Stephanie and Jay.

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Cardiff, United...
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1. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

You can get from Edinburgh to Lancaster by direct train in a shade over two hours. From there you can get to Heysham easily enough.

For the remaining days, do you actually want to be based in/see London? If so, then a car has limited use or is an actual liability for most of the places you mention. Either get a train from Lancaster to London, or go to York first and take the train to London from there. The places you talk about can be done as daytrips from London, either singularly or in a rush around the countryside on a coach format. Although you are probably best not doing all of them if you want time to actually see London.

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Heysham Port has a rail station, so you'd need to check how the train services from Edinburgh/Glasgow fit with the ferry you've (presumably) booked. National Rail is the overall UK website for rail services:

http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/

Assuming that would fit, if "advance" tickets are shown as available these will be your cheapest option & can be booked now. Advance tickets are not flexible or refundable but they are as cheap as it gets; once the allocation of these is sold prices will rise. A quick glance shows singles on 3rd June at £12 for Glasgow to Heysham - a car + fuel is going to cost more than £24 (for the two of you) and probably will take at least as long when you add in time at the hire-depots.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

For the later part of your holiday, it will really depend on exactly what you want to see and do. If you're going to spend the time in York/Bath/London trains should work. If you want to explore the countryside a car would probably be easiest, though train + bus or organised excursion tours may work.

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4. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Do you have a deep interest and knowledge of Neolithic history? If yes, go to Stonehenge. Otherwise...... I am hard pushed to think of any famous sight that I have found so underwhelming.

When you come off the ferry at Heysham, York and Bath are in completely different directions. Given your limited time, I suggest you pick one or the other but not both. While a hire car gives you flexibility, neither York or Bath are especially car friendly.

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5. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

If you definitely want to see Stonehenge, you should be heading in the direction of The Cotswolds and Bath. That's also a good area for heading back to Heathrow Airport, as it is to the west of London so you don't have to go into London itself if you don't want to.

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Thank you all for your responses! So helpful!

Re: London - We'd like to stay there at the end for a bit to visit with friends, so we'd be there the night of the 11th and 12th (fly out 13th at noon). That said, I'd like to get the moving around done from June 8 AM to June 11 AM, at which point we'd head back to London and settle down. (I've been to London a couple times but my partner hasn't, so I'm still not decided on how long to be there).

It seems like there are two options:

1. Rail from Lancaster to York, overnight in York, and rail from York to London. From there maybe we could take a day trip to Stonehenge or Bath, spend the rest of our time in London.

2. Head straight to The Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge, drop off car while arriving in London, stay in London car-free for 2 nights... (I'm assuming a car hire for this route would be best, but correct me if I'm wrong)

Is one a better trip than another?

We love historic architecture, walks in the countryside, nature and hikes, and urban life. (so yea, a bit of it all... Maybe a variety of things is what we're looking for)

I should also note, we are not die-hard stuck to the previous stops. We'll definitely be in Heysham on the 7th, and need to be in London the 12th for our flight out on the 13th. Otherwise, we're open. So if there are better stops in between Heysham and London that are a must and we haven't considered, than by all means, please recommend them!

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7. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

Your posts have you arriving back in Heysham late on Saturday 7th June. Depending on how late that is you may find that the next train is on Sunday (when there are usually less trains than on other days of the week). Have a look at how it works from the station at Heysham (or taxi to Lancaster, say) on to your various options - you may need to consider accommodation at/near the port if you do decide on the train.

There does seem to be car-hire at Heysham (Europcar) - I recommend searching here & elsewhere for reviews before booking.

8. Re: Rail or Car Hire? Few days in the UK

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