England April 2012

My husband and I recently returned from a three week trip to England. We spent five days in London and then drove around the country for 16 days. Even though we had a fabulous time and Rick Steves' England Travel Guide was invaluable, we discovered some things we had not anticipated. Although we used a GPS, maps, and an atlas, as well as Google distances and times, we found all of our driving took twice as long as we had thought. Most roads are two lane (or less) with very little leeway for oncoming traffic. We expected it would take longer than USA roads, but not twice as long. Also, if driving, be sure to factor in extra time to get lost or miss your exit on the roundabouts. My husband adapted quickly to driving on the left, but it still presented challenges with a big car. Additionally, England is a wonderful country with so many historical sights that I found I scheduled too much and did not allow enough time for touring each site. Consequently I had to eliminate stops on our trip, which was disappointing. Being history buffs it was sad not to be able to see everything (of course that's impossible). I think our next trip to England we will stay in one area for at least 5-6 days and take day trips from that central location. It was nice to get an overview of the whole country but resulted in missing out on little things. I found Rick Steves' England Guide Book absolutely invaluable. I usually plan trips using several guide books, and do occasionally find information that is not in Rick's books, but his coverage of the minute details is exceptional. (IE: location directions, costs and opening times of attractions, relationship maps, etc.) Given the opportunity I would go back to England in a heartbeat! We might wait until May, though, as April was pretty cold - the coldest April in years. I would be glad to hear from anyone who has any questions about our trip. Paula J.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1057 posts

Hi Paula - Thanks for posting. I'm interested in what you saw, particularly outside of London, and what were some of the sights you particularly liked?

Posted by Cathy
Warrenville, SC, USA
2 posts

What was your route - or highlight of your journey? I am planning a trip in Sept - trying to train only. London - York - Edinburgh - Lake District - Liverpool - Bath and back to London - 15 days - any suggestions
would be nice.

Posted by GINNY
SCAPPOOSE, OR, USA
3 posts

We have been to the UK 3 times and when we were lost have been some of the most interesting and memorable times. Taking time to VACATION along the way has finally taken hold of us.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2014 posts

Glad you pointed out something I believe many of us do far too often, over schedule our days for sight seeing. Learned long ago that if I was on the road in a foreign land, if I saw two places in one day and gave them my full attention that was a good day. The home basing concept is so beneficial
to a traveler. England is wonderful. Happy you enjoyed what you were able to see and will be heading back to explore some more.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Thanks for reporting back about your trip! When we give advice here, we try very hard to get people to scale back their plans if they are trying to do too much, or not allowing enough time for driving. It IS tempting to try to do too much, but as you found, you have to have time to make a wrong turn, stop for a snack, or just take time to see what you came to see without rushing. I try to plan one "major" thing for each half of the day. If I have time, I have smaller things in mind that I can slot in (and I often do so). Now that you know how slow it is to drive there, you can plan your time more accurately next time - and help us try to get that word out to others.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

We just returned in May from our 18th trip to England! Shows how much we too love it. We always get a car and drive through the countryside. I will have to say that the part of May we were there (May 8-23) was terribly cold too - only got warm on the last 2 days - but that's OK.