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UK Vacation

Riverview, Canada
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54 posts
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UK Vacation

OK my TA friends,

I need a bit of help with my itinerary, the wife and I are going to be driving through England in June, we are renting/hiring a car in Glasgow and plan on driving to Southern England over 3-4 days, going to park it at Ashford station and take the train to Paris for 5 days and then will be driving from Ashford station back to Perth area in Scotland (planning on taking another 4 days or so)

I'm thinking of going down the East side (maybe through Jedburgh/Northumberland National Park/Newcastle Upon Tyne or Sunderland/Leeds and on to Ashford) then returning (Salisbury/Bath/Bristol or Oxford?/Birmingham/Manchester/Carlisle/Glasgow/Perth).

We are not interested in going into London this trip.

As you can probably tell, we like driving and the most scenic route the better. Only thing is that we've never been to your country and I am not sure if this is "doable" or not, but sure would like to have some input from anyone who may have been there, done that.

Any suggestions as to what to see along the way or best route to take would also be appreciated, only thing we have on our list at this time is the Salisbury area/Cathedral as well as Stonehenge, also, from what I've read, the Cotswolds area is something to see as well.

Thanks all !!!!

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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1. Re: UK Vacation

Prepare yourselves for very high fuel prices. Petrol costs about £1.40 a litre right now, with every indication that the price is going to rise. Parking isn't cheap, whether in cities and towns or at some hotels, so there's another spend to watch.

Very few Eurostar trains call at Ashford International, the new stop along the way is at Ebbsfleet. There is a large car park at the station; the rate is £8 a day.

If you haven't booked Eurostar tickets yet you should do so very soon. Tickets go on sale 120 days in advance of travel, and once inexpensive fares are sold out they do not return. www.eurostar.com

Have a look at the trip planner at www.theaa.com and www.rac.co.uk to give ideas of how long the drives will take from point to point. I strongly urge you to buy a copy of the Highway Code; it's inexpensive and on sale at most UK bookshops. If you don't want to buy a copy then have a good look at direct.gov.uk/en/…index.htm especially signs and markings.

You may want to consider parking the car outside city centres and using transport in Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bath, Bristol - all of them. Traffic can be substantial in cities, and since you'll be trying to navigate unfamiliar territory and drive on the left it's a fast route to headaches aplenty.

If you haven't got a mobile that will work in the UK then I recommend you buy an inexpensive phone in Glasgow before starting your trip. I bought mine just a few months before I set out on a road trip in Scotland, and was glad I had it to call the car hire company when a tyre blew as I was on the A9 in the great glen.

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2. Re: UK Vacation

Is there a reason you have chosen Ashford? TP has made a valid point, and as much as I would love you to visit my part of the country there are not that many Eurostar trains from Ashford these days. Have you considered the fact that you are paying 5 days car hire and paying another £11.50 per day to have it parked unused at Ashford?

Destination Expert
for Chester
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3. Re: UK Vacation

If you want a scenic drive do not con back up via Birmingham and Manchester. Drive up through the border counties of Hereford, Worcester, Shropshire and Cheshire stopping off at paces such a Hereford, Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Chester.

Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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4. Re: UK Vacation

I second chesterbuff, Worcester has a cathedral where King John is burried, an historic ceramics factory with hand painted porcelain.


Shropshire http://www.virtual-shropshire.co.uk/

Driving on the motorway will give you little in the way of views, is tedious & gets complicated in the midlands but some of the major roads if driven off peak can give you hidden gems. Rush hour is usually around 8am -9am then again 4.30 - 6pm. Avoid those times, use them for stopping for a meal break.

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5. Re: UK Vacation

if you're coming down through Jedburgh you'll pass very close to Hadrians Wall so I just suggest you detour to run parallel to the wall for a few miles before doing a U-turn and resuming your route ... Durham Cathedral is an absolute "must"

Riverview, Canada
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6. Re: UK Vacation

Thanks for the input everyone,

- The cost of petrol has been considered.

- Train ticket to Paris has already been purchased (Ashford to Paris return)

We have considered the fact that we are paying 5 car rental days for nothing, but got a real good price on our rental, so have just decided to keep it. Also will purchase a week park pass, which come to much less than 11.50 a day.

- We do have a Blackberry that will have work in UK/France.

- I do have a GPS with European maps.

- Not necessarily going into all the cities I've listed, listed them basically to outline my planned route, we have not yet decided which ones we want to go into as of yet, that's where you folks come in, to help me figure which ones are a must : )

- Will certainly look at going through Hereford, Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Chester, thanks for the suggestion chesterbuff/suebovington !

- Would it be best to come through the A68 (Jedburgh & Northumberland National Park) or maybe the coast - A1 ?

Thanks again everyone !

Much Wenlock...
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7. Re: UK Vacation

You simply must visit Bath (it is where I'm from).

Look for Park and Ride signs in the cities you visit. This is where you usually park your car for free and get a bus right into the town centre. Shrewsbury has this, as does Bath. When in Bath find a tour bus - this will take you around the town and show you the best bits! Be warned, in touristy places like Bath it can be expensive to eat and drink if these eateries are located near tourist attractions such as Bath Abbey or The Roman Baths. Also, remember that some towns do close on a Sunday. Ludlow is pretty much all open on a Sunday but Shrewsbury isn't. In my nearest town, Much Wenlock, most shops and eateries close on a Wednesday afternoon. Just bear this in mind!

Ludlow is a nice place to visit too. Check your dates against any major events happening there (Ludlow Food Festival is HUGE, and the town is full!) and as another person advised www.virtualshropshire.co.uk is a great website full of information, events etc., for Shropshire.

As for the Scottish side of things - visit Falkland Palace at Falkland, about 45 minutes from Perth. Also the pretty coastal town of Elie, on the Fife coast is very pretty. But, in Scotland it can rain for days on end and be very grey so be warned!

Hoping you have a wonderful holiday :)

London, England
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8. Re: UK Vacation

I personally prefer the A1.

When you are on the A1 there are brown tourist signs which signify the Coastal Route.

Obvious places along that stretch are Alnmouth, Bamburgh, Craster, Lindisfarne etc. The Visit North East is a good website to look at.

I've just had a few weeks up in the North East recently and I absolutely adore the Northumberland coastline - some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and never packed with tourists.

Consider Newcastle for a night - good restaurants, plus the Sage and the Baltic.

Riverview, Canada
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9. Re: UK Vacation

Thanks for your input ShropshireSophie,

We will be working our way back to Scotland from Salisbury. I am trying to figure what the best route for this will be, I keep reading how nice the Costwalds area is, but am not sure if time permits me to take that route .... as we only have 2-3 nights to do this we will be limited as to the amount of stops we can do along the way, and as we've never been to England before, I am trying to fit in the best scenery/sites along the way, and I really do not want to drive on the M5 & M6 all the way back. The route you seem to suggest takes me along the A49 for the most part ... is this a good road ?

The Scotland part of the trip we do have covered, so only worried about the England part of it.

Thanks again for all you input !!

Bath UK
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for Bath
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10. Re: UK Vacation


How many days were you allowing to get from Ashford via Salisbury to Perth?

are you overnighting in Salisbury? Bath is on the edge of the Cotswolds so you could make a small detour to look at a couple of nearby villages (Castle Coombe and Biddestone) on your way there to determine which way to "head north". I prefer the route up the Welsh border, too. Chester would be a pleasant overnight stop.

I am a big fan of viamichelin as a route-planner as their maps highlight scenic routes (online or as an atlas).

Was there a particular reason why you wanted to see Salisbury? I am just wondering whether you should travel a bit further on that first day back in the UK?