I will be driving from Bath to Leeds in early April and I wanted to know if the M highways are toll roads and if so, how much the toll is and how do you pay? I have never been to England much less driven on their roads. Any advice from seasoned travelers would be appreciated.
Hi Lori Anne,
The M highways (M stands for Motorway) are free to drive on.
The only advice I can think of to tell you is to make sure you have enough cash for gas- it's really expensive, as I'm sure you know. It costs me about $60 to fill the tank of my really small car.
As for any concerns you may have about driving on the wrong side of the road- don't worry! It's not that difficult. The only thing I found tricky when I moved back here from N. America, where I learned to drive, was negotiating roundabouts, but they are easier than they look, honest!
One other thing I would say is, allow longer for your journeys than you do in Canada, where 60 miles would mean 60 minutes driving time; in the UK, I consider 60 miles might easily take 120 minutes (not so much on Motorways, but other roads).
There is a toll road by pass around Birmingham, but you do not have to take it. You can take the regular M through the city. Check out the web page of the AA for more details.
A few comments to add to the great tips in the previous Posts.
As I recall, the Toll Road near Birmingham is the M6? I don't think the toll was too costly, and I believe that's the only toll Motorway in England?
I found the same experience as Maggie, in that driving the same distance seems to take longer in England. My driving time from North Yorkshire to Winchester was considerably longer than I estimated.
I've seen a few "tutorials" on the net regarding the protocol for Roundabouts (most of these are considerably larger than those here) and for driving on the "correct" side of the road. Google "driving in Britain" to see what turns up?
Be extremely careful with speed limits. Many smaller towns have automated devices which will provide warning if you're exceeding 30 MPH. I believe there are also speed Cameras. In many smaller towns the roads are quite narrow, so you may "scuff the tires" a bit.
from previous post...
I usually take 10 minutes or so to become thoroughly familiar with the controls of the vehicle, before ever leaving the rental lot. If you need to ask questions, that's the time to do it!
I've also rented an automatic transmission vehicle for driving in the UK. While I could probably manage a standard, it just makes it a bit easier (one less thing to think about).
Good luck and happy travels in England!