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Help with travel times and best modes of transportation

My husband and I are planning a 16-day trip to Great Britain in May. 16 days is not nearly enough to see everything we are interested in. We have developed several possible itineraries, and we need to decide on one and start making reservations.

One of the things we want to consider in choosing an itinerary is how long we will spend in transit from one place to the next. However, I'm having trouble finding this information. I can find out how far almost any destination is from London, but that doesn't help us in planning the parts of our route that don't include London. Can anyone recommend a website or other resource that provides travel times between tourist destinations in Great Britain?


I'd be happy to hear from anyone who can tell me 1) approximate travel times between the destinations below and 2) the best mode of transportation to use:

Cotswalds to the Lake District

Lake District to Oban

Oban to Inverness

Lake District to Yorkshire

Pembrokeshire to the Cotswalds

Bath to Penzance

Penzance to Dartmoor National Park

Many thanks!

Posted by
6898 posts

Angela, I am assuming that your journey isn't in the order you are listing. For our journey, we landed at Heathrow and rented a car there. Our routing was Bath, Cotswold (with day-trips to other Cotswold locations as well as Blenheim Palace and Oxford), Keswick, York, Cambridge, Canterbury and then London for a week.

it's a 4.5hr drive from Chipping Campden in the Cotswold to Keswick in Cumbria. We did this drive in our rental car. You could spend a lot more time if you stop in Windermere and Ambelside. We chose to drive down to and visit Ambelside and Hawkeshead the next day. We returned to Keswick for a second night. The next day, we drove to York. That journey was about 4hrs according to my spreadsheet record of the trip. For public transportation, there is regular bus service between Carlisle and Lancaster which includes Keswick, Ambelside, Windermere and other locations. There is train service from Windermere to York on Virgin Trains. 3.5hrs. Great train and bus runs between London and Bath and London and York. I don't think you will find any good train service into or out of the Cotswold.

Posted by
10 posts


Thank you! That is helpful information. Not only are we not going in that order, we won't be going to all those places. We're trying to decide what to see and what to skip (this time). Knowing the distance between destinations will help us eliminate the places that take too long to get to.

Posted by
5675 posts

Angela, Check out ViaMichelin as a site that can help you judge times for travel between cities and villages. The one thing to remember is that it doesn't include time for sightseeing and lunch etc. So, I usually add about 25% to the time. For example when you drive from Oban to Inverness, viamichelin says that it will take 3 hours. They take you up the coast of Loch Linnhe, which is beautiful. You're next into Fort William, but on the way you'll pass the road to Glen Coe and so might want to take a detour. Then just past Fort William you can turn left and see the road that can take you to the Harry Potter Viaduct and the place where Prince Charlie landed in the highlands. You go left just before Spean Bridge and you'll see the Commando's Monument and I would really recommend stopping 10-15 minutes just to look at Ben Nevis and read about the Commandos from WWII. Then at Invergarry, there is lovely diversion off to the west to Glen Garry. This is a beautiful Glen. I was totally seduced and even took the wee road to the south driving out to the end of Loch Garry. The road veers around and back up to Loch Ness and Invermoriston. And if you don't take that detour, Fort Augustus at the end of Loch Ness will probably lure you to stop and check out the Caledonian Canal. You'll next drive up the north coast of Loch Ness. The traffic can be strong for the highlands. It's a beautiful drive. Just before you get to Nessie Land in Drumnadrochit you'll see Urquhart Castle. Great visitor center, nice ruined castle, beautiful loch views. Then you need work your way through the Nessie sites, and finally you have a straight shot to Inverness. Whew! I think I can't tell you about anything between Drumnadrochit because I was really tired and ready to get to Inverness. But I can tell you that there are some lovely hikes in the hills above as I did those walks on a later trip. :)

Apply this same process to all your travels. There are just so many wonderful things to see.


Posted by
5888 posts

Pam's got it right, Via Michelin should work. It also let you choose among several routes if they make sense. My only caveat is that these route-finding apps (Google Earth has another) tend to underestimate the driving time, even apart from things like lunch and other breaks. You do have to enter specific addresses or towns (not "the Cotswolds" or "Lake District" or "Yorkshire") to get a route.

If you're thinking trains or buses, you have to get into the world of timetables, and hopefully Nigel will come aboard soon with good advice. But with the kinds of places you're looking to visit, I'd recommend a car. Have fun!

Posted by
51 posts

We took the train from paddington to Banbury which is practically in the Cotswolds. We rented the car there. There is a train station in Moreton-in -the -Marsh but I don't think there is anyplace to rent a car.
It took us five hours to drive up to Keswick in pouring rain and a lunch break.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks to everyone for the input. Seems like most folks think renting a car is the way to go, regardless of destination (with the exception of London, of course).

Posted by
4684 posts

Since you want to see a lot of quite rural locations, I would definitely suggest renting a car.

Posted by
6898 posts

Angela, if you want, I have a complete Excel spreadsheet that documents our trip. It shows where we stayed each night and includes all costs for the trip. It's quite complete. Just send me a PM message with your email address and I'll send it to you.