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RVing in UK


Jim Corey

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We've had many posts about UKers coming over, now it's time to reciprocate. DW and I would like to RV from south England to Scotland. Finding RV rentals was pretty easy, but campgrounds are a bit tougher. Is there a directory or online site to aid in planning? Any help/tips appreciated.

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Just a thought, but it you want to do something sort of like caravanning, then consider renting a canal boat, at least in England and Wales (Scotland, not so much) for part of your time there. We did that twice and you will not find a better way to see the countryside.

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The company you will rent the RV from can provide you with membership information about the private clubs that it helps to be members of to get RV sites. We have done the trip twice for England, Scotland and Wales. Plan to spend at least a month or more. Also, it will save you some tax money if you pay for your RV before you leave the USA. Remember that the RVs are not very big. We always rented one that they said was for 6 people. It was just fine for the two of us. Most RVs are also standard shifts.

 

Remember to pack or buy over there all your linens towels etc. Also, pack a good piece of cookware, pan etc.

 

We only planned two dates - when we arrived and when we left. There is so much to see and do. We want to go back to Ireland next year for a month.

 

Safe Travels!

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Just a thought but can't you pick up the RV within an hour of the airport area and return there when you've finished, doing your trip as a loop, the UK is really not that large, or wide. I think that at any point in England they say you are never more than 60 miles from the coast. EG: When I took our daughter there to see her heritage that's what we did in a car, and we covered London to Northamptonshire to Stratford Upon Avon to Wales onto Cornwall via Somerset & Devon and back up to London to fly to Northern Ireland where we spent 3 days and then back to London for 3 days city exploring to fly home, all within 12 days (Aug 2011 when the riots were on). Not suggesting you do all that in that timeframe as we did but just trying to show how small the UK really is compared to how we travel here.

 

If you do get to go there do check out the SW, Cornwall (famous for our pasties and clotted cream and has Palm Trees growing!), Devon (Clotted Cream country) and Somerset (Cider/Scrumpy Country!) Cornwall is known as the "Cornish Riviera", when I was last there in 2011, I'd never ever seen the waters surrounding the cute fishing villages of yesteryear as crystal clear compared to the 25 years I'd lived there before (60's, 70's & 80's).

 

Also there are a lot of farmers that allow camping - we used to be allowed 'x' number of trailers for 'x' number of weeks per year being agricultural based - that's a fun way to truly get to meet the locals, as are the smaller village pubs to hear all the folklore, wake up to the sounds of nature, and experience often local farmer wife fare. As a little FYI, If you asked a local for directions years ago, we would have told you "turn right at the church, left at the Dog and Duck, go past the Black Swan, turn right at the Trelowarren Arms and it's next to the Red Lion. All directions involved which pubs you'd pass through the villages, never street names to turn on (LOL). Don't miss stopping at all the cute bakeries you can during your travels.

 

England is far from all Castles and Stonehenge, it's travelling just a few miles and hearing different dialects, different local dishes, different landscapes, different ways of doing things. Like all places, visiting and experiencing is totally different than living day to day there your whole life. As for the major cities, just like any country, apart from some key Cathedrals an odd Castle or specific attraction, they all end up a much of a muchness for the most part. Depends whether you are a city mouse or a country mouse type.

 

Wales is very beautiful to drive through as well, Stratford Upon Avon another. As kids "caravanning" (bumper pulls) was about all most folks could afford for holidays, and the memories were priceless. Just as in NA, if you want to see the true country, get off the main arteries (look up the old road routes, such as the A30 instead of the M4/M5 motorways) and check out the small country villages and towns.

 

As for large rigs, believe me you don't want to be driving them on the small and windy country roads, and they are the roads where you will get a true flavour of the country and say WOW what a trip. Whether you RV or drive a car, stick shifts or as brits call them "manuals" are the most common.

 

Not a cheap place to visit any more, but definitely a wonderful experience if you can spend a month plus to truly experience it. Took me about 6hrs from London to Cornwall when I used to do it by car all the time, but avoid the M25 like the plague during commuting times, it's not called the largest car park in England for nothing!

 

If you can go for longer than a month take in Ireland for a week or two, you can drive from Lands End (South End) To John O'Groats in Scotland a little over 600 miles as the crow flies and probably about 820 miles driving. There is a ferry from Stranraer Scotland as well as other ferry departure points through UK to take you to Ireland, another wonderful country to explore if you've got little time restraints, a deep wallet for their gas costs, but you're over that way anyway.

 

Hope the above might help somewhat Jim for ideas. Happy Travels, you lucky ducky :)

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FT Wannabe gave a very good response. We lived in Scotland for 4 1/2 years and I agree, absolutely do not overlook England and Wales. Scotland has it own uniqueness and beauty, but so do England and Wales. I also agree you should get to Ireland, if you can, while "across the pond". We never did while living there, and regretted it. We were able to go there in 2011 for a long weekend while visiting friends in Scotland and are making plans for an extended trip there. Hmmm, I hadn't thought of caravanning in Ireland, but now you have me thinking. :)

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Never thought of this until reading Chalkie's post Jim, but wondering if it would maybe be worth considering a caravan (bumper pull/TT) and park up somewhere nice and use the towing vehicle as your daily driver to explore say a 30/50 mile radius. That might make a good compromise if you have any concerns about parking/driving in heavy traffic areas you want to view??? For sure if you can extend your time there at leisure and the budget can stretch to match, take the time whilst you are over that side of the pond to experience Ireland as well using the Ferry's over with your RV/Caravan. You could go out of Scotland after finishing that part of the island and come back across from another ferry point in Ireland to another area in the UK to complete your trip.

 

You might also find that the caravan and tow vehicle work out a lot cheaper than the recently fairly new to the UK motorised RV's???? When we were researching doing Europe from Amsterdam down through to Italy we were shocked how much the mini motorized RV's were going to cost us, but didn't even think about looking into a rental vehicle and pulling a caravan. Going in another tangent of thought: If they are cheap enough used compared to renting for a lengthy time, might even be worth looking at buying one with a guaranteed buy back after done with. Hmmmm, now you've got me thinking Chalkie = thanks :) As a FYI: my cousin in Ireland had a beautiful motorized B series type RV and they just sold it, after 4 years and losing her husband. She lost a fortune on it from new but demand/interest was crazily high on the resale market for it. Also with such small countries, mileages are so so low on them.

 

Also if you need to buy some things, I believe if I'm not mistaken Walmart bought out ASDA over there but still kept the name (could be wrong but pretty sure that's what I heard). Main food supermarkets are ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury's, there are other higher priced and mini marts as well. A lot of expat Canadians when they go back to visit family in the UK also go to Primark to pick up stuff real cheap compared to here = clothes for themselves and kids and of course lots of British chocolates!

 

That and the PM I replied to should keep you busy researching for a little while Jim, but as I said, anything any time, just ask. You can be sure I'll be pulling on your experience for our Aus' trip that's thus far 7 years behind the goal mark which was slated for our 25th wedding anniversary but got thwarted = of course it did! That should all be changing soon as we are starting to dispose of some of our real estate here now to enjoy more of the highlight of our twilight.

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Also if you need to buy some things, I believe if I'm not mistaken Walmart bought out ASDA over there but still kept the name (could be wrong but pretty sure that's what I heard). Main food supermarkets are ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury's, there are other higher priced and mini marts as well. A lot of expat Canadians when they go back to visit family in the UK also go to Primark to pick up stuff real cheap compared to here = clothes for themselves and kids and of course lots of British chocolates!

 

This is true, Walmart did buy out ASDA. ASDA prices are pretty good as compared to other places, but you will still suffer some sticker shock when it comes to the pound to dollar exchange. Generally we found the prices at ASDA to be the same as Walmart, EXCEPT, where something might be a dollar here, there it is a pound. Also if you have a Costco membership, there are Costco's in the UK and they will honor your card there.

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Something to keep in mind when comparing prices/costs. Remember that pricing is relative to income within that country and may seem way off if you start comparing prices to income between countries.

 

What may seem expensive to folks from the USA may be 'normal' to the locals.

 

regards

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Something to keep in mind when comparing prices/costs. Remember that pricing is relative to income within that country and may seem way off if you start comparing prices to income between countries.

 

What may seem expensive to folks from the USA may be 'normal' to the locals.

 

regards

 

That actually was the point I was trying to make. However, since we do not make our currency in pounds that conversion rate can be a shocker. It works in reverse too, however. There are places where having your income in U.S. dollars lets you live like a king on a pittance.

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  • 1 month later...

It is a few years ago now but we spent 2 months touring England, Wales and Scotland and used mainly back roads that were generally quite narrow. We were using a high top Volkswaggon campervan. It was a very narrow vehicle which I was very pleased about - I most definitely would not want to be driving even a class C on those roads. You could be certain that the minute you stopped , eg to get a photo or to look at the view, other vehicles would appear and be wanting to get past you.

 

Just last year we spent 9 days in Ireland travelling in a 9 seater van driven by a local guide. No one in our party wanted to sit up front with the driver because as above we mainly traveled on minor roads that were very narrow. Very pleased that we went there but would not like to have to drive there in anything other than a small car. There seems to be a great number of quite reasonably priced bed and breakfast establishments but we saw only a handful of camping.grounds.

 

Barrie

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It has been several years since we completed that trip. However, I do remember our first trip was just a 10 day hotel stay in London and nearby area. We did the local high points in London, but remember how much we enjoyed the plays. The highlight being the performance of "Cats". Our second trip was a 30 day RV rental that included membership in a private RV clubs that permitted us to stay in private campgrounds, etc. We rented an RV that would sleep 6 for two people, still small, but OK. Do not rush your trip stay as long as you can afford. We made three trips and would like to make a trip to Ireland next year.

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Thanks all for the information. Interesting contrasts. Some say don't do it, roads are too small. Others say spend 3 months. We've done London before (yes, the theatre is great!), but will try the RV travel, unfortunately not for the 3 months. But anything is better than nothing. And as much as I enjoy B&Bs, I HATE suitcases.

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