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driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

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driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

I will be doing a driving holiday of about 4 weeks through Britain and Ireland in their autumn and when planning the itinerary I would like to leave time for sightseeing and not just driving between towns. In general what distance would be considered a reasonable drive leaving time for sightseeing.

Cardiff, Wales
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1. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

In Britain it can take you the same amount of time to travel 30 miles as it can 100 miles - it all depends on the nature of the road, time of day, weather, scenery etc as well as how energetic you feel, how much you put your foot down etc. Many country roads bend and twist and make speed impossible, but the compesnation is that the scenery also means you want to take your time.

Your best bet is to use www.theaa.com and use the journey planner section. They base it on all these conditions and give you typical travel times.

Cardiff, Wales
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reviews: 35
2. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

I forgot to add that in my experience my upper limit on driving somewhere to go sightseeing is 2 hours (but on a motorway that can cover a lot more ground than a country road). If it is a smaller road driving can be hard work, which can take the energy out of you from sightseeing. That said if you take your time the journey itself can be enjoyable (especially in Wales ha ha!).

I hope all this is making sense!

Dublin, Ireland
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3. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

In Ireland it is a completely different story. Unlike the UK where you can generaly work out the time needed by the mileage involved, this just doesn't work in Ireland where there aren't that many motorways or bypasses and the country is more agricultural and less urbanised (it's not unusual to meet farm traffic and/or animals even on fairly 'main' roads). Distance is just not a reliable guide to time. I suggest you go to the Ireland Forums to get some more information on this as it's a regular topic of conversation. You can also check route planners such as www.rac.co.uk (go to advanced planner) and www.aaroadwatch.ie/routes to get routes and estimated travel times, although in my experience, these sites do tend to underestimate traveltime a bit. Motoring in Ireland is all about taking it easy and stopping to smell the flowers!

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4. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

Although there are good fast roads into the main parts of both countries, once you're in Scotland or Wales "proper" the roads are twisty and can be VERY hilly. The Lake District in north west England is notorious for twisty and congested roads and some of the highest in UK.

If you look at a map and it's mainly green; you're talking a long journey time as against miles travelled.

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5. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

IF you are asking because you want to book your accommodation ahead, then I would reckon on between 50-100 miles per day between 'venues' which should give you some decent time at each place, or time to stop-off en-route to see something interesting.

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6. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland


thanks for the feed back so far. My current thinking is to limit travel distances in Britain to a maximum of 200 miles per day and in Ireland 100 miles per day although current plan has an approximate distance of 151 miles in going from Limerick to Kenmare, via the Ring of Kerry. Is this a bit ambitious? I plan to get the travel section worked out before thinking about accommodation so once this is nearing completion I would welcome accommodation tips.


Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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7. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

JimCardiff mentioned the AA's route planner, which is v good; the RAC (www.rac.co.uk) offers a similar planner, which has a bit more info on it.

Motorways are good for getting from point to point, but to sightsee you'll need to get off the M roads, but once away from dual carriageways, the time taken for the trip can lengthen. Single track roads, until you get used to them, can be unnerving; it's not unusual to take about 50 minutes to go ten miles on a twisty single track road.

But having a vehicle means more chances to explore, and if you have the time, take it and enjoy the journey.

Dublin, Ireland
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8. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

Hi Bazza015 - if you haven't done so already, I suggest posting on the Irish Forums for helpful and detailed advice on the Irish bit of your itinerary

Aubrey, Texas
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9. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

It's really impossible to generalize once you're off the motorways, but I've found that in trip planning, unless I've driven a road before and know it, it works for me to assume about 50 mph over A roads and about 40 mph over B roads.

It never works out just that way, of course. Some roads will be faster, some slower. One can find oneself stuck behind an underpowered vehicle chugging along with a caravan on a main A artery, or have clear sailing for miles and miles on a curvy B in the back of beyond. And if you venture into countryside with narrow hedgerow-lined roads and blind corners, 15 mph can seem like racing speed.

Just assume it's going to take longer than you think it possibly could, schedule accordingly and sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Gateshead, United...
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10. Re: driving times between towns in Britain and Ireland

Hello Bazza

Your distance planning per day is about right certainly for england.

This is based on 40 years of driving touring holidays in every area of the U.K.

Whilst others have suggested other routing sites I have recently used Goggle maps to plan my trip to Ireland in May this year and found it excellent in that you can look at the map[ and move your route plan line about to test out distances and times

I can let you know more about Ireland after this has been completed.

Once you have firmed your ideas on areas to cover I can supply routes that I have used over the years if you wish