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M4 or M3 which is better??

Copenhagen, Denmark
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351 posts
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M4 or M3 which is better??

We will be renting a car to drive from London to Holsworthy via Exeter.

We have never been to this part of Britain before. As I request a route via the AA I get either the M3 in the southern part or the M4 via the northern part (via Bristol area). Which one would you choose?? It is not that important if the best route is half an hour or so longer. As tourists it will be best if we drive across memorable landscape. Which one would you choose and why?? Thank you.

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Exeter
Exeter
Devon, UK
Bristol
Bristol
England, UK
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Guildford, England
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1. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

If you take the M3 and the A303 you will drive past Stonehenge. Personally I prefer that route.

Bournemouth
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2. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

M4 only takes you as far a the M5 just past Bristol. You have then got to take the M5 south & onto the A30 past Exeter & head towards Holsworthy via A3079.

or

M3 onto A303 where it becomes the A30 north of Honiton down through Ottery St Mary. then on to M5 drop down a junction & pick up the A 30 again then the same as above.

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Bristol
Bristol
England, UK
Exeter
Exeter
Devon, UK
Honiton
Honiton
Devon, UK
Aubrey, Texas
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3. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

I used to have relatives in Devon and made the trip several times. M3-A303-A30 is prettier and takes about the same amount of time. As mentioned, A303 goes right past Stonehenge. Salisbury and it's cathedral are worth the short detour South. On the other hand, Marlborough, Avebury and its stone circle, and Bath aren't far off the M4. But I like the M3 route better. The Otter Inn just west of Honiton used to be a nice pub for lunch, but it's been years since I've been there so no telling now.

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Salisbury
Salisbury
Wiltshire, UK
Marlborough
Marlborough
Wiltshire, UK
Avebury
Avebury
Wiltshire, UK
Honiton
Honiton
Devon, UK
Devizes, United...
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4. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

Hi there

I drive down to the West Country several times a month for business and I've tried every route available. I have to say that the M3/A303/A30 route is the best way and as has been said, there's far more to look at en route and far more opportunities to pull over for a while.

Most of the entire run ( other than Exeter to Holsworthy) is on motorway and dual carriageway. There are just a few short stretches of single carriageway road on the A303 around Winterbourne Stoke, Wylye, Chicklade, and Yeovilton and then the 15 mile section across the Blackdown Hills between Ilminster and Honiton. But the lower speeds on these sections are more than compensated by the fact that this is a much shorter route than going on the M4 to Bristol then the M5 to Exeter.

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Exeter
Exeter
Devon, UK
Wylye
Wylye
Wiltshire, UK
Chicklade
Chicklade
Wiltshire, UK
Honiton
Honiton
Devon, UK
Bristol
Bristol
England, UK
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5. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

Depends on the time of year/day, M4/M5 can be very quick, but get the wrong time of day or year and its a traffic jam

England
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497 posts
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6. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

I'd use the M3 unless it was overnight, then the M4 route would be better as I consider it safer on the motorway at night - also the service areas are open 24 hours, by law.

UK
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7. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

Agree with everyone else - M3 etc daytime, but M5/M4 nighttime as there is nothing to see if its dark, and more places to stop for refuelling etc on M5/M4.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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351 posts
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8. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

Thank you all very much for your replies. We will be traveling during the daytime in the month of october. It sounds that the M3 is the winner.

Abu Dhabi, United...
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9. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

I use the M4/M5 from Heathrow and A303/M3/A30 from Gatwick. The latter is far more scenic. But don't underestimate the time it will take if you stop along the way. Holsworthy can be a long journey even from the Devon/Somerset border. Suggestion of Stonehenge to stop is good and the cafe there is OK. Honiton is also an interesting town with a history of lace-making. It also has a large Tesco supermarket.

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Somerset
Somerset
England, UK
Honiton
Honiton
Devon, UK
somewhere in the...
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10. Re: M4 or M3 which is better??

This has been an interesting discussion for me as I'm arriving in Heathrow next month about midday and driving down to Kingsbridge from the airport. Whilst I want a scenic route and want to be able to stop (aware of having travelled by plane for many hours), I don't want to be on the road for hours and hours.

I'm a sole driver (passenger not old enough to drive hire car) and I want to be sure to make the right decision.

Any suggestions/tips?

thanks

Jackie

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Kingsbridge
Kingsbridge
Devon, UK