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Driving the coast

We’ll be driving from London to Edinburgh in October and hope to stop along the way. Is driving along the East coast worth the time and effort? We hope to spend some time in York and the Yorkshire dales but if there’s not much along the coast, we might just beeline it north using an internal route.

Posted by
1008 posts

How long have you got for the trip? Over several days an interesting route can easily be developed. But if you are planning driving over a day or two, just take the train, ideally with a stopover.

Posted by
1193 posts

There is a scenic drive in Northumberland called Castles and Coast (I think!) but other than that I’d stick to the faster roads. Usually slower roads go through lots of towns and villages and you don’t actually see a lot, just trundle along very slowly.

Posted by
6754 posts

Sticking to the coast you would start out with a big deviation around East Anglia. You are then cutting round the coast of Lincolnshire etc up to Hull. To make it worth while you would want to be stopping off at some of the sights.

You can be straight up the A1 etc in under a day. My feeling is that to make this a worthwhile diversion you might be talking maybe 5 days to make a proper road trip out of it. Missing out a lot of the sights (and thus, arguably, much of the point of the slow route) maybe 3 days.

I think the time would be better expended in the Dales, selectively in Northumberland and selectively on the North Yorkshire Coast.

If you took the A19 up to Middlesbrough I could certainly make the case for the A roads up the scenic County Durham coast, through the Tyne Tunnel then the A and B roads up the Northumberland coast (taking in Holy Island/Lindisfarne). That segment would have at least one overnight stop, ideally two.

Maybe from the Dales head for Bridlington and Flamborough Head then up the coast, overnight maybe at Whitby or Saltburn (that sort of area), up the Durham and Northumberland coasts, maybe a 2nd overnight somewhere like Alnmouth/Seahouses.

Then (tides permitting) Lindisfarne, and north Northumberland and the Lothian coast with the next/final night somewhere like Dunbar/North Berwick/East Linton. All of which are an easy drive next morning into Edinburgh. That would be a nice mini road trip.

You would then cut round the Edinburgh South Circular to drop the car at or near the Airport, for tram in to the City.

Posted by
7026 posts

I just got back from that area, and I had a car. If I were you, I would take the train from London to Newcastle upon Tyne where you can rent a car. Then drive up along the coast going through Northumberland and then up to the Borders. Believe me, you could easily spend three days just in that area as it is incredibly beautiful.

Posted by
6754 posts

If you were at Middlesbrough for the Transporter Bridge then if you came off the A19 onto the A174 then the A1045 for the A66 into Middlesbrough you find a bit of a striking surprise- a spitfire plane on a pole just outside Thornaby.

I was there on Thursday doing a condition survey of the Spitfire. It is actually a fibre glass replica, but is to mark the role of Thornaby Aerodrome in WW2. Among other roles 608 Squadron flew from there during the hunt for the Bismarck and the Tirpitz. It is currently a registered war memorial- although it may lose that status after Thursday's visit (not my decision to take). Just up the road is a memorial to that aerodrome.

The local primary school is named after Sir Douglas Bader (WW2 flying ace)- although his actual links to the town are not at all clear to me. As far as I know he just opened the school in 1971.

Thornaby is an unexciting suburb really now, but tucked away more or less out of sight is the 12th century St Peter's Church (still in use).

Allegedly Captain Cook's mother was baptised there.

I had also completely forgotten about a terrible coach crash at Hebden (near Grassington) in the Yorkshire Dales in 1975 (the worst ever road accident in the UK) in which 33 people died- 27 of them from Thornaby. Tucked away in a side street and more visibly at the Town Hall there are memorials to that crash.

Posted by
276 posts

If you have time, are interested and it's open, Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens are worth a day.