Britrail Pass vs Car Hire
Also, if you know where you're going, and are prepared to commit to specific trains, you can often pick up advance rail tickets much cheaper than buying ad-hoc.
I like trains but driving gives you freedom. Depends what you're looking for.
Also that's USD not GBP£
I do value freedom of travel with a car - just not sure how stressful it would be driving vs train - this is my first time to GB
So long as you aren't planning to drive in London (nightmare of nightmares!) and are happy with driving on the left, I'd say you should be fine.
The motorways are fairly busy but reasonably orderly compared to a lot of places in the world and exits are all marked well in advance.
A lot of the minor country roads are very narrow and twisty but if you take it carefully, nothing too much to worry about.
One thing that got me about navigation is that road signage leaving cities will often just say "The South", "the North" etc rather than actual place names, so it pays to have a satnav or a decent sort of idea abotu which direction it is you're actually going!
As much as I love train travel, on reflection, I do think I might recommend going with the car.
A lot of the sights in the UK aren't close to train stations, for eg: castles, will often involve a bus or taxi ride from the station which can add up pretty quickly.
On top of this, the rail system is notoriously frustrating with sections closed for maintenance most weekends and passengers dumped onto rail-replacement buses.
On a train you only get to go where you're going - you miss the joys of stopping for lunch and randomly discovering a lovely little village, which is kind of what the UK excels at.
While gas is expensive distances are generally not that far and gas mileage is generally good. Just make sure you get a car with good gas mileage.
If you are not focused on spending a lot of time in one place or in major cities a car is the way to go. Camping is also an option once you have a car.
The rail network in Britain can be somewhat unreliable with delays, engineering works, etc.
Often the Britrail passes don't allow peak time travel which limits your flexibility. The upside is that you don't have to worry about purchasing individual tickets for each rail journey which can add up and end up being very costly.
With car hire you need to be careful with parking as the costs for this, particularly in London, can be astronomical and very difficult to find (to quote Paul Theroux - "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of looking for a parking space"). Also keep in mind London also has a daily congestion charge of £10 a day. There are also road works on several different motor ways which can cause severe delays. With the Olympic traffic in the capital at the moment I certainly wouldn't recommend driving in London as it is going to be chaos. That said, so will the tube and train network. The upside to car hire is that you do have the flexibility to go where you want, when you want.
The cheapest solution is if you are travelling with 4 or more people you can get group saver discounts on therail network which can work out pretty cheap.
The A-Z of London you didn't know about....
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