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Self Drive Edinburgh to London

Yes I know this is a lazy way of planning a holiday, but maybe just maybe someone out there has self driven from Edinburgh to London and would like to pass on their trip itinerary to me. This will be our first trip to England and we are completing a tour of Ireland & Scotland at the end of August. From then we would like to scenic drive from Edinburgh to London to see as much of England & Wales as we can. We have eighteen days to complete this drive. If anyone has suggested routes and places to stay over an eighteen day period it would be very much appreciated,
Regards Lance

Posted by
7124 posts

Day 1 = Depart Edinburgh
Day 18 = Arrive London ??

You will be done with Scotland, so just England and Wales ?

Posted by
2940 posts

I'm going to assume you want some time in London, not just 18 days to end up there. So let's say Days 14-18 are going to be spent in London.

Day 1 Edinburgh to Hadrian's Wall near Hexham.

Day 2 LIndisfarne (Holy Island) and/or Alnwick Castle

Day 3 Durham

Day 4 York

Day 5 cross over to the western side of England, perhaps Warwick

Day 6 tour Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 7, 8 relax in the Cotswolds

Day 9 Bath

Day 10, 11 Cornwall

Day 12, 13 Salisbury & Old Sarum, Stonehenge, Avebury

Obviously this is just one of zillions of itineraries you might enjoy. It depends on your interests. Lucky you, to have so much time to explore England!

Posted by
4668 posts

What are your main interests? Are you interested in history? Ancient sites, castles, medieval towns? Are you more into nature, magnificent scenery or do you want more big cities, museums etc?

If it was me I would start with a drive from Edinburgh to Newcastle along the A1, from there I would take a trip to Hadrian's Wall. Then move onto the Lake District followed by the Yorkshire Dales before ending up in York.

From York I would head towards Wales taking in the Peak District along the way. In Wales I would hit Snowdonia and then travel south along the coastal route to Pembrokeshire before heading back towards England via the Brecon Beacons. Heading towards Gloucester rather than crossing the River Severn you can explore the Cotswolds en route to Bath.

From Bath I would head down to Cornwall and drive the coastal route through Exmoor, all the way round to Penzance and then continue hugging the coast into Dorset. Spend some time fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast. From here you could either head up to Salisbury and take in Stonehenge or go east through The New Forest and onto Portsmouth.

Depending on how much time you have left you could visit Winchester then continue on to London or carry on along the coast to Brighton, Hastings, Dover, Canterbury etc.

This is clearly a very rough route and planning it with stays etc will take some time but for me it would highlight the main national parks and areas of beauty. On the route you'll pass through many old towns and villages and encounter a great deal of castles, ancient sites etc. In the main you'll be avoiding the big cities.

One of the big considerations is the car that you'll be using. Fuel is very expensive in the UK so you would want to consider hiring the most fuel efficient one whilst at the same time considering the comfort. You'll be doing a lot of driving so the smallest, most fuel efficient car will not be the most comfortable. Also consider your confidence with driving in the UK. Some of the routes I've mentioned will take you along some very narrow roads, roads that will only allow one vehicle through so you will need to be prepared for reversing (sometimes for quite a way) until you reach a passing place.

Posted by
215 posts

My itinerary last time was:
Day 1- Edinburgh (calton hill- very jet lagged-right after a 15 hour flight)
Day 2- Edinburgh (drove to Stirling and Falkirk for Day Visit- saw Castle, cemetery, Kelpies, Wallace Monument)
Day 3- Edinburgh (royal mile- Castle, National Museum, etc)

  • in Edinburgh we stayed outside the main city in Ingliston right near the airport at a place called Norton House Hotel and Spa- this was one of the nicest places we stayed. Beautiful grounds, friendly staff, and lovely rooms. It is a bit pricey...but I liked it a lot. Also right near the airport-- but not loud at all.

Day 4- Alnwick - to see Alnwick Castle--(this was great and a must- I HIGHLY recommend it- very well kept grounds, lovely garden and place to visit).

Stayed at a place called Birchwood House in Morpeth (about 20 minutes from Alnwick) - quite nice- easy to find- large breakfast spread, friendly host.

Day 5-Visited Hadrian's Wall on way to North Lake District- Saw Castlerigg (sp may be off) stone circle, drove through Kirkstone pass to Ambleside- Lake District in Evening-- very very LONG day.
Day 6- Lake District - Ambleside/Beatrix Potter's home, Windemere, and a boat trip where we ran up on some rocks due to my friend being distracted by a swan--ok she can't really drive a boat well and didn't listen to the whole - keep 30 meters from shore thing---but we did see a swan when we were stranded and it was super emergency fellow came and fetched us- and blamed the swan...

Stayed in the "Lake House" hotel. Was clean, they also hauled our rather heavy bags upstairs for us. 2nd Bed was...uneven.....but I was so tired I really could care less.

Day 7 Drove to Wales- Llandudno- used as base (3 hour drive). visited Bodnant gardens in AM, then Conwy in afternoon.

Day 8 - Visited Caernafaron, a manor home (Rha?? something--a slate mine owner's crazy palace built off of slate money) Beaumaris Castle, Llandudno. Lots of castles...

Stayed with some chatty Welsh couple in a bed and breakfast. Probably should have gotten a had no AC and loud seagulls.

Day 9- Drove around about Snowdonia, Fairy Glen, Capel Gormon, abandoned monk chapel, some other welsh castle with a Dwollydyn? - stayed near LLanwrst on a farm. (I'm bad with Welsh spelling...).. saw a very large ill cow on a field.

The farm was interesting...

-didn't do the huts but opted for the indoors. Really quiet and very clean place. They give you a sitting room, a bathroom, and a large bedroom. They have a very happy sheep and we were able to pet it.

Day 10- North- Cotswolds- cierncester-3 hour drive.- went to a farm park and an estate owned by Henry VIII's former wife, then another small manor home.

Place we stayed at had terrible parking-- (i.e. scary nightmare parking)- had to park up on the grass and try to not hit anything. Room was literally uneven.

Day 11- South- Cotswolds-chippenham- took a break from touring to look for more luggage

Stayed at a pub/hotel place....yawn..forgettable.

Day 12- Bath- drove from chippenham to stonehenge in the AM, then back to Bath, visited abbey, baths, etc, then went to hotel to check in, then returned via taxi (to avoid the traffic and fees) to go to the spa for 3 hours.

Stayed at Brindleys- highly recommended!

Day 13-17-London- took a train to London the next day after dropping off the rental car.

I felt the area in the Lakes was a bit rushed, Cotswolds to me were very boring, Wales was interesting and I think we spent just the right amount of time there-- though we were a bit exhausted by day three and just collapsed at about 5pm from all the walking up and down hills and castle stairs. We could have probably used one more day in Bath.

I'm headed back to do a middle route of the country in about three weeks and avoid switching hotels as much...but I'm also staying a bit longer.