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First trip to England, Itinerary

Jefferson, North...
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First trip to England, Itinerary

Im planning a 17 to 18 day trip for my two sisters and myself. Would a local expert check this out and tell me if it is doable?

day 1- arrive Heathrow, rent car and drive to Stow-On-Wold to cottage rented for 1 week. Do day trips from this base. Bristol,Bath,Stonehenge,potteries at Strok-on-Trent, local shopping, ect. and rest!

day 8- Drive to Hawick, Scotland about 5 hrs shop and ride awhile in the Borders. Stay within 10 miles of Edinburg.

Days 9 & 10. Tour Edinburgh.

Day 11, drive to Inverness via St. Andrews and Pitlochry. Mainly for scenery in the Highlands.

Day 12 Drive from Inverness to Oban via Lock Ness

Day 13 From Oban drive to York

Day 14 see York in am and drive to London in the afternoon.

Day 15 and 16 tour London

Day 17 depart London for return flight home.

We are in our mid to late 60's and we will tour the cities of London and Edinburgh on double decker buses that are stop and go. This works well for us.

We mainly like driving and seeing the countryside, stopping for picnics and small village shopping.

Thank you so much for your help.

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Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

There are a number of lively discussions on the forum about driving in England, Scotland and Wales, with mixed views on the subject.

Some have commented that hiring a car straight away on arrival may not be a wise idea, as jet lag could affect one's motoring skills. Worth remembering, I think.

It seems that you plan not to stay in the city centre in Edinburgh or drive there - wise, I think. Parking in the city is a pain in the neck so I've heard, and you'll be better off using local transport.

Although the drive on the M90 and A9 will take you to Pitlochry, consider getting off the motorway if possible. If you're going to drive south through the Great Glen, you can go the slightly longer way around to Inverness on the B9152 or B970. Takes more time but more to see.

On the drive south towards Oban, do consider a stop at Glencoe. There is something eerie about the place, even on a sunny day.

You've planned a fairly quick trip with a lot of driving. If you can drop the car in York without much of a penalty, you might consider taking the train from there to London. If not, do enquire if you can drop the car at a location outside the city centre and especially outside the Congestion Charging zone.

My biggest concern is that you'll not have an opportunity to see any one city or town in depth with so much time spent on the road. As well, the person driving will need to concentrate on the road rather than sightsee, whether on the motorway or B roads.

www.theaa.com has a trip planning function which you may find useful. Another handy reference:


Oregon Coast
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2. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

I'd have some concern about driving immediately after your flight, more so if you're arriving late in the day. You don't want to drive after dark anywhere, IMO! Stick to the motorway as long as possible to your first destination as they are very orderly.

Here is a TA link to some driving tips, although petrol price has come down a bit:


What time of year are you planning on visiting?

Oban to York in one day will be a *very* long day, I think.

As far as your week in Stow-on-the-Wold, just curious why visit Bristol? You can find a lot of small towns and villages that might be far more interesting than a huge city.

Picnic suggestion: Before you leave home, buy a collapsible cooler and a couple of re-freezable "blue ice" packs. You can purchase lunch supplies at grocery stores. We also take small packets of mayo (no refrigeration needed), mustard, brown sauce, plastic cutlery and a sharp knife for cheeses. The knife of course needs to go in checked luggage :-)

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3. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

Stowe-on-the-Wold to Stoke is quite a way for a day trip, particularly as places like Oxford and Stratford-on-Avon are not on your list but much closer. In Bath, condider using a park and ride service into the city centre.

Bingley, United...
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4. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

<<< First trip to England >>>

Except it isn't - you will upset folk north of the border if you refer to England

Bingley, United...
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5. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

Day 13 - drive 300+ miles - spend next day absolutely knackered and in no state to drive another 200 miles

Here's a suggestion - make your trip a linear one from Heathrow to Inverness via all the other places you mention and either fly or take the day train or sleeper train to London

I'd also seriously suggest that you spend the first day recovering from your flight rather than just throwing yourself into UK traffic

I'd also suggest staying in the outskirts of Edinburgh so that you don't spend too much time travelling to/from Edinburgh especially if you decide to have an evening meal / see a show

Kent, United Kingdom
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6. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

And day 14 - remember you will NOT need a car in London - so either travel from York to London by train (drop off car in York )- ( train is very easy trip - relaxing ) or return the car back to Heathrow before travelling into London

Hampshire, United...
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7. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

I do like Alanrow's linear idea with the train back down from Inverness. We took the night sleeper UP to Inverness, and admittedly it was very noisy; DH and I didn't get an awful lot of sleep, I'd still do it again, as there's something exciting about waking up with a complete change of scenery from when you started.

I think we could book sleeper tickets 12 weeks in advance. If you did decide to do this, do keep a careful watch on this 12 weeks, because the cheapest tickets are snapped up very quickly...

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8. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

>>>>We mainly like driving and seeing the countryside, stopping for picnics and small village shopping.<<<<

If you just want to drive around for fun, I would recommend staying at home. Driving in the UK is very different from driving in the US. Lots of traffic and lots of roundabouts. Always allow more time than you think. I suspect you may find your itinery stressful and exhausting, especially if you have no experience of driving in the UK/on the other side of the road (also note that you will get a manual car - shift stick - from the car rental place unless you ask for an automatic, and ask again for emphasis, because automatics are pretty rare here). You won't see small villages and stop for picnics. You will see motorways/traffic jams and stop for junk food at service stations.

Look for a post by MLBcruiser who recently did a driving tour of the UK that was similarly crazy. She enjoyed it and posted some helpful tips.

Days 13 and 14 are barely do-able. See posters above for advise on dumping car and taking trains.

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9. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

Way too much driving and not enough time to look and enjoy-you are going to drive near some wonderful places with no time to stop.

Seriously suggest you revisit your whole plan and think about using train more and car less.

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10. Re: First trip to England, Itinerary

Stow On The Wold is very poorly placed for day trips to most of the places you have mentioned. As Alan mentioned, why not do a linear trip fitting your sights in on the way, so you arent backtracking so much.

Oban to York in a day - break the journey so you can see something on the way, thats going to take 8 hours of driving at least.

You said "We mainly like driving and seeing the countryside, stopping for picnics and small village shopping." but as someone else mentioned, with your curremt schedule, you'll be on motorways, not driving down idyllic country lanes (if you were, double the driving time and your trip is even less realistic and more tiring)

Finally, its dangerous to yourselves and more importantly me, if you to drive a long way immediately after arrival, especially if you have never driven in the UK before, and especially if jetlagged. Why not go to London first (by train or car service), then when done in LOndon, train to Scotland, and then drive down, by which time you will have got over jetlag. Final day, stay an hour or two from heathrow, drop car off there, fly back.