We (4) are planning a trip June 2020. After obtaining info from books and forum this is what i have planned . Fly to London travel to Bath for 3 nights. Rent car and do Cotswolds for 2? Nights ,drive to Conwyn in North Wales and stay for 3 nights. Get rid of car and take train to York for 2 nights take train to Edinburgh and stay in area for 4 nights.we want to go to st Andrews and perhaps take a day trip into Scotland. Does this seem reasonable? I googled distance and driving time in car and it seemed reasonable to me. I thought the trAin would be good for going onward to York! Comments and suggestions for trip and car rental and train ticket purchases are welcomed. Thank You
Hello from Wisconsin,
Reasonable, yes. Would I try it? Probably not. We did Conwyn, Bath area, and then Cornwall over three weeks and we found it made for a lot of driving. And speaking of driving, when you use Google maps or similar make sure that the driving times are for when you would be driving over there. An easy mistake is to look at driving time when you are home from work at 6PM. And at that time the roads in England are empty because it is midnight. Drastically different times will be found for a drive starting at 8AM than for a midnight start.
Bath must hold some special appeal, other wise I would shift a day from Bath to the Cotswolds. Cirencester was a fine city in which to be located.
All your destinations sound fine and should be reachable by train.
Sorry I mean Conwy!
st Andrews and perhaps take a day trip into Scotland
Do you mean into the Highlands?
Two nights = one day. Are planning to fly into London and out Edinburgh?
I count 5 changes of location in 14 nights. What I don't see is drive times from on place to another. For instance Gloucester (Cotswolds) to Conwyn is nearly 4 hours, or half a day if you drive straight through. If you stop and appreciate the countryside, this could easily stretch into a full day.
I'm not sure why you want to get rid of the car in Conwyn and not take it to York and Edinburgh. Getting to St. Andrews and the Highlands will be harder without a car. We stayed in Linlithgow, just outside Edniburgh and took the 30 minute commuter train into town.
I suggest you lay out a detailed itinerary, including driving times. I'd add half again as much time to whatever Google Maps indicates, more if you plan stops along the way.
Personally, I think you'll have to spend too much time zooming past the countryside to keep your schedule. You'll see England and Scotland out of a car window. You are trying to see four distinct regions in the time that most would devote to one or maybe two.
We loved using the trains in the UK. (more than 40 trips in just over 20 years of travel) While you can't see much of the Cotswolds with trains, you could easily do a day trip to see them from either London or Bath (or Stratford-upon-Avon). Personally, I don't like Rick's idea of heading immediately to Bath upon arrival. We usually stayed in London for 2-4 days with 1 or more day trips by train (such as Windsor, Bath, etc.) then used trains to move around the country. Bath was a day trip for us. York is where we'd usually head first. It is a great city and we found 2 days to be a good amount of time to spend there. Then we'd head to Edinburgh for 1 or 2 nights. Next we'd go to Aviemore, in the Cairngorm Mountains for 1-3 days then Inverness for 2-4 days. We just didn't want to deal with driving on the 'other' side of the road, neither of us can drive a straight drive, and petrol (gas) and parking are very expensive (and sometimes parking is very inconveniently located). When you ride the train (or buses sometimes), you can enjoy the scenery, rest, and eat without having to stop anywhere!
We have done 3 weeks in the UK driving a car. We rented it at Heathrow; It worked great for us. One thing that works well is that you do not have to stay in one place and have to retrace back all the time but can drive on to the next place instead. Having a car allows you to stay outside of the bigger busier places in a B & B farmhouse; etc. June might be busy in some places like the Cotswolds so you may want to book ahead. We stayed in a loft above a carriage house in Bladon, the burial site of Winston Churchill which near Blenheim Palace. and then continued to Bath. There are more B & Bs in Great Britain than any place else, so you have a better chance of finding a wonderful place if you are driving. Most have at least 2 rooms. We stayed in several Georgian style Manor Houses in small towns. In Wales, just west of Chester on the road to Conwy we stayed in an Inn with a great Pub. Chester is a walled town with a Roman history. In Wales we slept in a different place every night and saw up to 3 Castles a day. You don't have time to do that if you keep having to drive back to Conwy. We then drove north through the Lake District and continued to Hadrian's Wall. We had called ahead and stayed in a Farmhouse. You could then continue to York or Edinburgh depending on how much time you have. Turn the car in and take the train from Edinburgh and stop at York then continue to London.
5 stays in 14 days is fine and preferable to taking a tour and getting up in early am to board bus. My question is the driving time and 4 hrs seems reasonable to go from Cotswolds to Conwy. I thought it would be better to take train to york. but I see driving from Chester may be an option. Does anyone know driving time from Conwy to york? I thought it would be best to not have to deal with car in Edinburgh, since we would book a day trip into countryside to see scotland and use public transportation in Edinburgh
Interesting idea to not stay in one place in wales. I thought it may be more relaxing to not keep relocating and use a base town somewhere in wales. Interested in Conwy, Snowdonia ,a castle or two and definitely Bodant Garden. We do not have 3 weeks so I thought we could skip lake district and head to York go to Edinburgh and fly out of Edinburgh airport
To Stevens i didn't realize Google maps was giving driving times based on when I enter search. Is there a way to get generak driving time from point to point? Obviously we will not drive during rush hour. Exactly when is rush hour in costwolds, Conwy to York?
I meant general estimate of driving time from point to point. What is a good source for that?
I recommend doing a night in Chester on the way from the Cotswolds to Conwy. It is an easier and more direct drive. I've looked into taking the train to York from Chester and it can be done with some train changes either through Manchester or Liverpool. Someone else will know more. You really don't need a car in Edinburgh; because it is actually a very walkable city. We just left our car at the Hotel.
Obviously we will not drive during rush hour. Exactly when is rush hour in costwolds, Conwy to York?
Google Maps shows ~3 hours on the M1. Personally, if I was that close to Liverpool, I'd make a day of it and drive through the home of the Beatles.
You are right about a car being an inconvenience in Edinburgh. That's why we stayed outside there and Glasgow and just took the commuter train into town. I'd rather do that than trying to hire a car for a trip to the countryside. If you were thinking of doing St. Andrews as a day trip, it is at least two hours by car. You could do one day to St. Andrews and another day up to Perth and see the Birnam Wood, where you can stand amongst oaks that were there when Shakespeare wrote about them in MacBeth. You can also see Dalguise House, the summer home of Beatrix Potter when she was a girl. The real Mr. MacGregor lived next door.
Susan, I don't know about its use in England, but in a road trip in France we used viamichelin as a driving/distance guide for all our point to point drives. It was easy to use, presented various route options, and was very accurate. Good luck to you!
Always found it more accurate than Google Maps.
Conwy to York is roughly 121 miles. I won’t guess as to time to get there because that is dependent on traffic, weather, route, if there are accidents or construction, etc. You also mention the Cotswolds which is a pretty large area, so the time to get to Conwy will depend on where in the Cotswolds you’re starting from. For example, it will take longer to get there from Cirencester than from Stratford Upon Avon. Assume you’ll be driving at 40mph for a good portion of that leg of the trip. If you happened to be near Pontcysylite aqueduct, it’s worth stopping at. Conwy, Caernarfon, and Beaumaris castles are nice to visit, and close to each other. It’s easy to spend an entire day on Anglesey if you had the time (south Stack lighthouse, ancient burial chambers and standing stones, Llynnon mill, and of course, the town with the long name; Llanfair...gogogoch. Llandudno, very near Conwy, is a nice town if you just want to walk around and has ties to Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame.
We recently drove from Stow-on-the-Wold to Conwy in one day. We decided to plot out a scenic route through Snowdonia and made a day of it. We started around 9 am and stopped for lunch at a pub just before the entrance of the park. Then we took a leisurely drive theough Snowdonia, stopping at a few different places. We arrived to Conwy at about 6 pm. It was a long day of driving, but we enjoyed it thoroughly. 4 hours sounds about right if you go direct. Have a great trip!
Thank you to everyone for responding. Lots of different suggestions and I will look at those sites mentioned for driving time estimates. Still lots of planning and accommodations to figure out! Thanks again
To gauge travel time when driving in the UK, I use www.theaa.com and click on Travel Planner. This is the equivalent of AAA in the USA.
I like your itinerary but would only stay 2 nights in Bath unless you're planning a day trip to Salisbury. I'm not a fan of the Cotswolds-I would see them on a Mad Max day tour from Bath and not plan an overnight stop in Cotswolds. Definitely fly into London and out of Edinburgh. I would consider a Rabbies Highlands day tour from Edinburgh.
Your plan basically looks good, but I agree with others that you could do it all by car. We did a similar driving trip several years ago, including Conwy to York. As I recall that drive was about half a day and not very scenic. I also recommend Chester, near Conwy. We didn't go to Liverpool.
I think you're wise to plan multiple nights in each city/town rather than checking in and out, packing and unpacking, too often.
The Abbey Guest House in York has limited free parking (let them know beforehand) and a great location on the river a short walk from most of the city's sights.
If you've never driven in the UK before, that may impact how much driving you want to attempt. My husband drove in Ireland because the public transportation is so limited, but when the weather looked bad on a later trip to Scotland and northern England, he returned the car he was planning to use to drive to St. Andrews and Alnwick Castle and instead he and our daughter took the train to St. Andrews and we dropped Alnwick from our itinerary, since we had luggage and we were not aware of anywhere we could leave it if we took public transportation to Alnwick Castle.
You might find some of the comments in this earlier post of some use:>https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/england/betwixt-bath-and-conwy-ideas
Here is another former discussion that also is likely to help you:>https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/england/best-driving-routes-cotswolds-area-to-conway-wales
Please everyone, do not add and ‘resurrect’ the old postings that I have given here.