Have decided to brave the cold and sleet and roadtrip it to Scotland from Bristol UK, and expect to be on the road for about a week. Am from Oz, so left side driving is no worries. Any suggestions on what to see / do. Am lucky to have accom lined up in Edinburgh, but apart from that, am interested in el cheapo accom beyond that. Have never driven in sleet and snow before. Kinda scared about that but will drive like a granny if i have to. Anyone know a good route? Or cheap accom?
With regards to what to see, it depends on what interests you. i'll give a few ideas, but they may not be you're idea of fun. England is full of histroy so it would be a shame to drive past places and not actually see them.
The quickest route north would be to drive along the M5 motorway, and stopping off to places of interest.I've only gone as far as Doncaster, so your better to google it all.
1) if you're starting in bristol, may as well pop down to Bath. Its beautiful, and so close (should take about 30 mins south). Bath is old England and historic. Definately worth a visit.
2) Oxford is a bit of a detour but only by about hour and half.
3) Gloucestershire is beautiful (depending on time of year, check out Glastonbury Festival..one of the best and biggest in the Uk)
4) Go to a concert or something in Birmingham stadium
5) Visit Alton Towers theme park in Derbyshire (best in the UK)
6) Ramble along the peaks of the Peak District, release some of that energy from driving, and great views.
7) I'm sure liverpool is worth a visit (i've not been before)
8) And check out some medievil castles. There's plenty to choose from and a great photo to send home!
I don't have much info on accom cos i normally do the trip in one drive, but we have formula 1 motels that can range between 20-50GBP a night. they are usually located off the motorways in an industrial estate, but I've always slept well. I like the drive north, its pretty. Not sure what time of year you're planning to go, but england have been having really mild weather for winter (9 degs), too warm for sleet, obviously the further north you go, the colder it'll be.
Scotland is fantastic i loved every minitue of it. Enjoy your trip!
The lake district is great for a stop over especially if you like hill walking. Its a tough drive through there if its snowing but a really pretty place to visit. Once you get to scotland Loch Lomond is worth a visit. It is beautiful. I live not far from there and its by far my favourite place. There are 2 hostels by the loch, one at balloch and one at inversnaid, both cheap and cheerful. They are both remote but in really pretty places. Loch Lomomd is only about an hours drive from glasgow and really is worth the visit though there is not a huge amount to do but it is really scenic. Glasgow is a good night out and again there are hostels in the city which are cheap. If you are not into the hostel thing then try the holiday inn express (they usually have good deals on, and if there are a couple of you who can share it works out really reasonable). Hope this helps.
Hey! firat of all, grab yourself a UK road map, a decent one that shows you places of interest and scenic routes. To get here head north on the M6, stopping off at the Lake District if you like, tho it is kinda shitty weather for walking at the mo. The drive up through Cumbria is just as nice anyway. Once you get to Carlisle, start looking for the scenic route to Ayr. This will divert you west to the south-west tip of Scotland and then leads you north, huggin the coast for most of the journey. From Ayr, Glasgow is easily accessible, and most of the central lowlands for that matter. I've driven quite a bit in Oz and when faced with Scotland the distances seem ridiculously small.
I wouldn't worry too much about sleet either as its been a warm winter so far and the only probs we've had driving are from high winds and rain. If you do get stuck in bad conditions, then just slow down. Accom shouldn't be a problem: hostel-scotland.co.uk/ is just one website for hostels all over the country. Google 'hostels' and 'scotland' for the rest. But you already know this.
If you fancy jumpin on a boat to one of the islands (would highly recommend it) then head for Oban, where there are over 20 destinations to choose from. For full details check http://www.calmac.co.uk/ If Oban is too far North then you can sail to a couple of the southern islands (like Arran) from Ardrossan, which is about 20 miles north of Ayr.
And Edinburgh and Glasgow are both crackin nites out, with plenty to keep you occupied during the day too. Enjoy. N
Sleet and snow??? This is Scotland, not Siberia
I would agree with Wild Rover's route.
If you want inexpensive and decent accomodation, check out the Travelodge Website. They are dotted all over the UK and are quite good. If you've allocated a week for the drive, you'll have plenty of time to stop off at places. Check out msn uk directions and once you've got a route, I would suggest researching the towns etc on the way and deciding what you'd like to see.
Please feel free to ask more questions.
Above all, have a good trip!
I would suggest a look at Scottish Youth Hostel Association web site www.syha.org.uk for accommodation, you can drive easily from hostel to hostel along your chosen route,you will get lots of advice and guidance from the wardens who know all the best places to see in their areas.
Enjoy the trip.
As for islands there are quite a lot that are worth seeing, here's three -
Orkney Islands - lots of neolithic villages, stone circles and the like, it's supposed to be the largest amount of prehistoric sites in one area in Europe. Skara Brae is the most important one to visit.
Fingals cave - on the island of Staffa is a strange landscape something like the Giant's Causeway, it's kind of hard to describe but if you check google there are plenty of pictures.
Arran - this is probably your best bet in Winter as it's in the South West, personally I've never fully understood why so many people like Arran in particular but it has some nice scenery (the glen rosa valley is nice) and has the advantage of being easy to get to, easy to drive round and has plenty of places to stay. You can get a ferry from Ardrossan.
Non Island places I like are -
Durness/Cape Wrath - one of the most Northernly points in Scotland and one of the nicest. It isn't that cold compared to the rest of Scotland due to some sea current affair that I don't entirely understand.
Loch Ness/Loch Lomond - I prefer Loch Ness to Loch Lomond but Loch Lomond is a lot easier to get to from Edinburgh and Glasgow and easier to find a place to stay nearby.
St Andrews - obviously there's the golf course, but it's a nice town in its own right and it has the advantage/disadvantage of a large student population so you don't have to be cut off from the rest of humanity in comparison to some of the more remote places like Orkney/Durness etc.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 8, 2007, at 11:24 AM by BlankFrack ]
Also, as MikeyBoab said I wouldn't worry too much about snow, there is occasional snow in Scotland (and frequent snow in very high areas - though not that frequent as any skier will tell you) however it's not that common that I'd worry about it. In fact many places in central England have lower average temperatures and more snow than areas of Scotland.
Glad to hear you're taking a trip to Bonny Scotland. Thought I'd offer a few suggestions of my own.
I'm slightly biased towards Stirling so I obviously think you shoud visit there. It has a bit of everything and you pretty much have to pass through it anyway to get to anywhere North of there. If you like the cultural stuff there's a nice (if not slightly overpriced) castle but you can sit in the car park and admire the view for free. If you like walking you can walk from the town centre to the top of Dumayat (the big hill behind the city) in about 90minutes depending on how fit you're feeling. If you're not feeling so energetic you can drive to the top and just walk the last bit to the beacon.
There's a good micro brewery in Bridge of Allan (the posh spa town just a bit north) which gives free tasting tours and is worth a quick stop if you get chance. You can do it in about 30 mins including a pint in the bar!
Other than that my personal favourite places are Loch Lomond (if you have a day to spend in the area you can drive the entire length of the loch and there's a ferry ride you can take. I think it leaves from Balloch at the South but don't hold me to that) and Glen Coe (DO NOT MISS IT! It is a fab drive through the glen, even on a rainy day. If you're heading up to Fort William it's worth a slight detour through the glen.)
Well, I'll shut up now or you'll get bored. Hope this helps. Have a good trip.
P.S. In Stirling you could try Willy Wallace backpacker's hostel. It's right in the town centre and though I've never stayed there I've heard good reports.