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Old 08-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #16
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with regard to rental car, my old man rented the ford galaxy 2.0 diesel for sometthing like £1,100 for 14 days. including zero excess and all the extra insurance. was well worth it because I langga the wall whilst coming out of a tight carpark. lol. he rented from London heathrow and returned at London marble arch. though he got a discount and upgrade for being a hertz gold class and krisflyer gold or something like that.

an yes traversing london in a car can be insane. perhaps, instead of taking a flight to Edinburgh which can be expensive, why not take a train to say, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool or Sheffield or Wakefield which are all around 2h10m away by train. then rent the car there, and return to the same location n take a train back to London.
return tix for these locations can be as low as £20-£25.

moreover, I think stuckintinysg is right regarding inverness. we went to loch lomond and it was a total disaster because it was so cold n windy and rainy that we couldn't appreciate the Scottish lochs (rivers) properly. perhaps u restrict your Scotland adventure to Edinburgh.

there are also not many tolls iirc. only the Bristol bridge which is 50p and the Liverpool underground tunnel which is £1.xx. motorways are foc
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #17
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Ah ha..the toll is cheaper than S'pore ..Thanks for suggestion, hope to hear more from you both. Ok now I should plan to fly into London, head straight by train to Manchester and get the car and move on?

How far and convenient to get from Heathrow to the train station to catch a train to Manchester? Which website can I book the train tkts from?

Now, am concern where should be my overnite stops be? Say:

2N Manchester
1N Lake District
2N Edinburgh

Lol...I've got 8 more nites (including 3-4nites in London?)...where should I stay?

Should I still bother to do a day trip Bath/Salisbury? Seriously, what is there to do in Bath beside the history and spa?

Thank you...
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:38 PM   #18
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Wow so exciting! People are talking about my home country.

A few bits and bobs here and there...

(1) Petrol is currently about 136.6p per litre at Swindon. So you shouldn't be paying a lot more than that.

(2) We had a Vauxhal Vectra 1.8L, and a full tank only cost £70+. And ours was a fairly large car.

(3) Auto cars are usually a lot more expensive to rent than manual cars, sometimes as much as twice the price.

(4) Try Compare Cheap Car Hire Prices From Hertz, Thrifty Avis And Many More - Cheap Car Rental From Compare Car Hire for car rentals. Can be as much as 20 - 30% cheaper than going direct to Hertz, Avis, etc.

(5) I always drive the same day that I land. Piece of cake. Furthermore in the UK, we drive on the same side of the road as they do. So few adjustments needed, unlike driving on the Continent. Even when I travel to France, I start driving on the same day that I land. Cakies.

(6) Very useful site on getting cheap car hire, cheap car excess insurance, etc.

Cheap Car Hire: £100s off hire & insurance costs...
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:55 AM   #19
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Ah ha..the toll is cheaper than S'pore ..Thanks for suggestion, hope to hear more from you both. Ok now I should plan to fly into London, head straight by train to Manchester and get the car and move on?

How far and convenient to get from Heathrow to the train station to catch a train to Manchester? Which website can I book the train tkts from?

Now, am concern where should be my overnite stops be? Say:

2N Manchester
1N Lake District
2N Edinburgh

Lol...I've got 8 more nites (including 3-4nites in London?)...where should I stay?

Should I still bother to do a day trip Bath/Salisbury? Seriously, what is there to do in Bath beside the history and spa?

Thank you...
the train station to manchester is Euston. it is a tube from piccadilly with one transfer to the northern line either at kings cross st pancras or leicester square. it would be about 75-90 minutes comfortably. shouldnt cost more than 4 pounds.

but seriously, i think it'll be much better to hire a car right out of heathrow and drive to your first destination. like what tanchoo1 said, they drive on the same side of the road as we do, hence it is not much of a diff. plus, drivers here are so much more conscientious and courteous (MUCH MORE). (e.g. they flash the high beam to signal they are letting you to merge into the major road and not to signal their irritation)

alternatively, why not fly straight to Manchester? Emirates, SIA, Etihad and some other airlines fly there. Alternatively if its cheaper, u can try KLM to Leeds.

now, for nights to spend:
2 nights in Edinburgh and Manchester each sounds about right. Alternatively, since the man and boy are different fans, you can do 1N Manchester 1N Liverpool and visit both Anfield and Old Trafford (sorry im assuming one of them is a united and not city fan )
1 night in Lake district...hmm... perhaps you can stretch it to two. remember to drive it whilst it's still daylight; you would enjoy the view magnificently. I recommend staying in this BnB in Bowness on Windemere called Lonsdale House. Reasonable price and the owner is so warm and the room is huge and nice.
London should be a 3D2N minimum, but it'll be better if it were 4D3N imo.
1N in York/Leeds should be enough. Remember to visit Betty's Teahouse in York or Harrogate

That's about 8 to 10 days covered;
Bath is a very picturesque touristy town, Salisbury is your typical English countryside, also, stonehenge is somewehre in that area though if you ask me its not worth the 7 pounds per person to enter inside the stonehenge compound cuz u can see it from outside.

where else would i recommend?
-Cambridge or Oxford. You can do river punting in cambridge, and visit the harry potter hall in oxford (lol).
-Theme parks. they are not open in the winter though so too bad.
-The harry potter studio tour if your kids are up for that sort of thing. in greater London.
-CHester. nothing much there but i like the cobbled streets and i found it one of the nicest towns.
-Scarborough. The town of which simon and garfunkel sings of. seaside town in North Yorkshire (same county as York); but would be kind of weird to visit it in winter?
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:39 AM   #20
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You may want to check out getting an open jaw ticket - SIN-Edinburgh, London-Sin.

You can then go explore edinburgh itself first before renting a car to start driving south. you get to recover from the jet lag + explore edinburgh without having to worry about or pay for parking.

then when you reach london, you can return the car in the city and spend the last few days without having to worry about parking or driving in the city itself (which is damn sian because of the jams). I think in the big cities in europe (e.g. London), parking will cost you an arm and two legs - that is assuming you can even find the parking.... it's something I hate about driving in big cities that i'm unfamiliar with.

one way drop off for cars are not that ex, especially since it's within the same country (might not even be any additional fees). you can play around with the car rental sites to compare the prices for one way and return to same place. In any event, it's going to be a lot cheaper than taking the train with 4 people. Not to mention going one way is going to save a lot more time so that you can explore more.

For rail prices and schedules, check out National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:28 AM   #21
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If you can get open jaw ticket, you should try. Though a word of warning, open jaw is expensive and tickets up to Manchester from London is not that expensive.
Had a quick check and it costs around 25 pounds each way from London to Manchester (taking just over 2 hours) extra $100 for each person. I would say rather convenient. (Bearing in mind, you have to get your train tickets in UK early to get good prices)
If you fly from London to Manchester - BA is around 63 pounds each. 58 pounds on BMI (Cheapest if you book early enough)

Yes you may be able to find car rental that won't charge you a one way fee. You have plenty of time to do your research.

Just realised though that you are looking to go during the last 2 weeks of december which means u will run over christmas time. Great for boxing day sales, but not good as it will be dead town everywhere you go. Things will be close on christmas day or even boxing day (not in big cities, the brits been improving on that. Used to have shops close from christmas thr to 27th, stocking up on groceries way b4!!!)
So maybe schedule carefully where you would be on the 25th/26th.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #22
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Sorry, I should have made myself clearer; we did that itinerary in 21 days. So 14 days including EPL in either Manchester or Liverpool and a musical (I recommend les miserables) I suspect you'd have to confine yourself to England & perhaps wales. What we tried to do was to rent holiday inn express rooms and do a hub and spoke route everyday; e.g. We stayed in Swindon for four days; we'd go west (bath/bristol) on the first day, south (Salisbury) second etc. This cuts down the driving time and cost. It is also cheaper than if we had stayed in bath or Salisbury or Oxford itself. (Swindon is not a tourist spot) Not always possible though. (diesel is S$3/litre) but there were long driving days eg we drove all the way from Leeds in west Yorkshire to Edinburgh in scotland (over 300km) on congested motorways and sometimes poor roads) and sometimes less than an hour. We had three drivers so it was fine.

regarding musicals; book now as your two kids can get under 25 tickets for £25. Good seats.
Brilliant that you stayed in Swindon for 4 days; even though there's nothing much of interest there, it is a very convenient location for tourist attractions; furthermore it's right on the M4, so Wales in an hour, Devon in two, etc. We loved staying in Swindon. Plus rents there are lower than the surrounding towns.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:04 AM   #23
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stuckintinysg, I like your nick.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:14 PM   #24
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You guys are really great!! Thank you so much for your effort and time inputting your generous info. I'm super thankful to you pals for helping me with my itinerary.

For a start, which airport is more viable to fly in? Heathrow or Gatwick? I'm checking on Emirates and they have a flight - In Heathrow and -Out Gatwick, will there be any issue?

Unclebutcher - You mentioned that I should get a car direct from Heathrow and head straight to outskirt. But am worry about navigating out of London actually. So is it still more advisable for me to take a train from heathrow to manchester, head out to edinburgh and back to manchester to return the car? There after leave my last few days in London.
And yes, you are RIGHT!! We're talking about Man United here

stuckintinys - You mentioned that xmas over the big cities should be ok as the britons has improved. Hence can I assumed that I can safely have my share of fast food or supermarkets over xmas in London?


Tanchoo1 - thanks I'll check out the car rental sites.

Jarvis - Thanks so this site "rail prices and schedules, check out National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables" is where I should book my London-Manchester return rail ya?
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #25
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You guys are really great!! Thank you so much for your effort and time inputting your generous info. I'm super thankful to you pals for helping me with my itinerary.

For a start, which airport is more viable to fly in? Heathrow or Gatwick? I'm checking on Emirates and they have a flight - In Heathrow and -Out Gatwick, will there be any issue?

Unclebutcher - You mentioned that I should get a car direct from Heathrow and head straight to outskirt. But am worry about navigating out of London actually. So is it still more advisable for me to take a train from heathrow to manchester, head out to edinburgh and back to manchester to return the car? There after leave my last few days in London.
And yes, you are RIGHT!! We're talking about Man United here

stuckintinys - You mentioned that xmas over the big cities should be ok as the britons has improved. Hence can I assumed that I can safely have my share of fast food or supermarkets over xmas in London?


Tanchoo1 - thanks I'll check out the car rental sites.

Jarvis - Thanks so this site "rail prices and schedules, check out National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables" is where I should book my London-Manchester return rail ya?
Hi there,

Have you looked at the map? Heathrow airport is not actually in London. Driving out is easy peasy. Similarly for Gatwick. You may however wish to avoid using the M25 during the peak hour, for obvious reasons.

London will be very much alive even on Christmas day. You won't starve, that's for sure. You're talking about one of the most happening cities in the world.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:08 PM   #26
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Yeah..ok was in L.A. 2006 xmas, tokyo on xmas 2010 and taipei city xmas 2011..feels like a dead town on xmas eve, perhaps is because if its Asia or whatsever..didn't feel the mood at all
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:16 PM   #27
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Yeah..ok was in L.A. 2006 xmas, tokyo on xmas 2010 and taipei city xmas 2011..feels like a dead town on xmas eve, perhaps is because if its Asia or whatsever..didn't feel the mood at all
That's because people are celebrating Christmas with their families at home. It's like our CNY. Dead on the 1st day.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:51 PM   #28
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the train station to manchester is Euston. it is a tube from piccadilly with one transfer to the northern line either at kings cross st pancras or leicester square. it would be about 75-90 minutes comfortably. shouldnt cost more than 4 pounds.

but seriously, i think it'll be much better to hire a car right out of heathrow and drive to your first destination. like what tanchoo1 said, they drive on the same side of the road as we do, hence it is not much of a diff. plus, drivers here are so much more conscientious and courteous (MUCH MORE). (e.g. they flash the high beam to signal they are letting you to merge into the major road and not to signal their irritation)

alternatively, why not fly straight to Manchester? Emirates, SIA, Etihad and some other airlines fly there. Alternatively if its cheaper, u can try KLM to Leeds.

now, for nights to spend:
2 nights in Edinburgh and Manchester each sounds about right. Alternatively, since the man and boy are different fans, you can do 1N Manchester 1N Liverpool and visit both Anfield and Old Trafford (sorry im assuming one of them is a united and not city fan )
1 night in Lake district...hmm... perhaps you can stretch it to two. remember to drive it whilst it's still daylight; you would enjoy the view magnificently. I recommend staying in this BnB in Bowness on Windemere called Lonsdale House. Reasonable price and the owner is so warm and the room is huge and nice.
London should be a 3D2N minimum, but it'll be better if it were 4D3N imo.
1N in York/Leeds should be enough. Remember to visit Betty's Teahouse in York or Harrogate

That's about 8 to 10 days covered;
Bath is a very picturesque touristy town, Salisbury is your typical English countryside, also, stonehenge is somewehre in that area though if you ask me its not worth the 7 pounds per person to enter inside the stonehenge compound cuz u can see it from outside.

where else would i recommend?
-Cambridge or Oxford. You can do river punting in cambridge, and visit the harry potter hall in oxford (lol).
-Theme parks. they are not open in the winter though so too bad.
-The harry potter studio tour if your kids are up for that sort of thing. in greater London.
-CHester. nothing much there but i like the cobbled streets and i found it one of the nicest towns.
-Scarborough. The town of which simon and garfunkel sings of. seaside town in North Yorkshire (same county as York); but would be kind of weird to visit it in winter?
Thank you..I like your suggestion of flying into Manchester ..have just checked the price for emirates Sin-Manchester-Lon-Sin is the same as Sin-Lon-Sin
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:42 PM   #29
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stuckintinysg, I like your nick.
Haha, thanks tanchoo
Coz I am stuck in Sg. Came back only becoz of hubby's job.
I left Singapore years ago and never thought that I am back.
But we still spend quite abit of money and time travelling out of
Singapore for travels alot since we have moved back 2 years ago.
I am ready to go, but not yet though.

I love all the posts you have so meticulously posted. Really useful
for those heading there. Your patience and generous nature is great,
to share with everyone.

By the way are u still in UK or back in SG already?
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #30
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U r welcome funny clown.
Everyone is contributing great ideas.....
didn't even think about flying direct to Manchester which is brilliant.
Hopefully between the few of us, we can get your holiday sorted
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