We want to go directly to the north of England. Should we fly into Glasgow, Edinburgh or Manchester and rent a car? Moving 4 people by car is probably cheaper than the train. Or is it best to fly into London and drive to York? Trip is the end of May.
Manchester airport certainly is closer to York, 1h 40m by direct train, or a shorter drive.
A car usually is a good value if shared by 4. But if you'll stay in York for a few nights and then want the car to get to smaller towns, you might pick it up in York, rather than having to park it there. Or stay the night in Manchester to get over jet lag.
If you stay a night or more in your flight arrival city, that also makes it easier to book nonrefundable, advance-discount train tickets, without much worrying about the flight being on time.
Or, if you have several days of train travel, the BritRail England pass has 20% discounts for 3 or more adults traveling together (price goes down to $156 per person for 3 days in a month); you haven't mentioned Scotland or Wales, so you might not need pass coverage there. More ticket options also described on this link.
fly to Manchester and take the train directly from the airport to York - takes about 90 minutes.
Book Advance tickets for less then £10 about 12 weeks before your travel dates.
You can also use the tickets if your incoming flight is delayed.
Nice that the railway is giving that 3-hour cushion for flight delays. That does make it an easier decision.
Thanks to everyone for their advice. I appreciate your help!
"a clutch in the left hand is not something natural for me."
Probably unnatural for everyone (as it's on the floor of the car), I think you mean a gear stick in the left hand.:-)