We had a pre-booked standard transmission Ford Mondeo 1.8LX from Hertz rentals at Heathrow airport to provide our means of transportation on this trip to England. The car worked quite well, although it was actually a bit too big for ease of use on the secondary highways of England. The narrow roads with no shoulders and limited parking in towns and villages made for a constant vigil to keep it on the straight and narrow! In the end, for 13 days of useage we paid 300 GBP (US$540) including all taxes and service charges (no extra insurance). The cost of petrol was not cheap at 88 pence/liter (US$5.80/US gallon) for the lowest grade, but that was no surprise since the cost there has always been about double that of Canada.
The map in my 'General' tip shows our route on the second driving day of our trip, leaving Bradford-on-Avon outside Bristol at about 10 AM and finishing the day just over the border in Barnstaple, Devon at about 4 PM. We tried to stay on secondary highways most of the time (thanks to the help from our detailed 'AZ Atlas of Great Britain') and found them slower but more enjoyable than the main roads. Note to North American and continental European drivers: I have spent 6 years of my life driving on the left-side of the road in Zambia and Papua New Guinea but it still takes quite an adjustment to do this in England if you are not used to it or out of practise - the traffic is non-stop!!
Driving along the back-roads of England is a real pleasure for me. Because the countryside is so varied in it's vegetation, the villages and farms are so quaint and scenic/historical attractions are liable to pop-up around any corner, it is a real visual treat! To make things even better, we had gorgeous winter weather on this leg of our trip, sunshine and about 8 C all day long. The only frustrating thing about driving in England is that it is quite difficult to find a place to pull over for a proper look if you see something that piques your interest. Not only are there no shoulders on most highways, but traffic will be upon you in a minute or two from around a corner in the road no matter how off-the-beaten track the road seems. Here, I pulled off into one of the small 'lay-bys' that are dotted here and there as we took a break near the village of Emborough, about half-way between Bradford-on-Avon and the Cheddar Gorge.
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60 St. Marys Rd, Meare, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9SR, United Kingdom
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