Top Ten Tips for Driving in the UK!

The vast majority of our guests here at adeo Travel choose a driving-tour of Britain; it is the simply the most flexible and convenient way to explore the countryside, villages and historic sites of England, Scotland and Wales at your own leisure. Driving on the “wrong” side of the road can come with its own concerns – but worry not, most of our clients tell us they get used to it remarkably quickly and with our extra tips you’ll be taking to driving on the left like a fish to water!

10. Book an Automatic Car

The vast majority of people here in Britain drive manual transmission (or stick) vehicles; for this reason automatics are more rare with rental agents and carry a supplement. We’d recommend an automatic transmission for overseas visitors – not having to change gear gives you one less thing to think about when adapting to driving on the other side. Simply request one and we’ll include it in your proposal.

9. Bring a GPS

Basic road directions to each of your overnight accommodations are included in your travel pack as standard on any adeo Travel driving tour, however using a GPS (or Sat Nav as we call it here in Britain) can give you that extra reassurance when navigating. GPS systems can be hired from the car rental desk on arrival but can be costly, so we recommend bringing your own device – just don’t forget to download maps for the UK in advance of your trip.

8. Embrace our Roundabouts

Here in Britain we share most of the same rules of the road as in North America and Australia; but one thing often noted by our clients is that we have many more roundabouts (or road-circles / rotary junctions). They may seem confusing at first but they actually work well to ensure a smooth flow of traffic; you simply have to heed or “give-way” to vehicles already on the roundabout (coming from the right). When it’s clear you can proceed on to the roundabout system and continue clockwise until you reach the exit you need. The beauty of a roundabout is that you can continue round as many times as you like until you find the right exit.

7. Stay Left, but not too much!

Here in Britain we drive on the left so don’t forget to stick to the correct side of the road! However, when you’re sat in the opposite side of the vehicle it can sometimes feel a little like you’re erring too much in to the middle of the road; obviously you don’t want to be driving towards oncoming traffic but fight the urge to hug the hedgerow or curb too much – you don’t want to scrape the left-hand wheels or clip anything in the verge.

6. Don’t go for the smallest vehicle

Our roads here in Britain can be smaller and narrower than many in other parts of the world, especially once you get off the beaten track and in to the country’s more rural areas. It can therefore be instinctive to go for an economy (smallest) class of vehicle. But we would recommend something larger like a compact model (Ford Focus or similar). We find this size of vehicle is better for touring offering greater luggage room and more power for the highways, whilst still not feeling too large to handle on our country roads.

5. Take your time

The beauty of England, Scotland and Wales is our wonderful natural landscapes; however roads that traverse rolling hills and through historic villages are inevitably slower than flat straight highways! Give yourself plenty of time to take your daily journeys so that you can travel at a comfortable pace for yourself. And of course, you’ll want to have plenty of time to make sightseeing stops en route!

4. Understand your car

When picking up your vehicle you may be eager to get on the road to start exploring, but taking your time at the rental office can save time and concern later. Make sure you fully understand the vehicle; where are the headlamp and windshield wiper controls? What type of fuel does the vehicle take? And how do you operate the Air Con? Ask lots of questions to the rental agent or if need be, take a drive around the parking lot to get used to the particular model. Either way, ensure you’re comfortable before heading out on to the open road.

3. Buy a Highway Code

The entire rules of the road in the UK can be found in one book – the Highway Code. This little book can be picked up in any bookstore here in Britain for just a couple of pounds or can be purchased in advance by ordering online or in any good bookstore in your home nation. Either skim read ahead of time or use as a handy reference during your travel just to clarify if there are any road-signs or markings that you’re not sure of.

2. Use your Road Map

GPS units are great for detailed directions when you’re in a town and searching for a particular address, but they will always give you a most direct route, the beauty of a driving-tour of Britain is taking the quieter backroads or more scenic routes. When booking a self-drive tour with adeo Travel we always provide an overview driving map in your travel pack perfect for advance planning, plotting potential sites or routes and gaining your bearings on your daily itinerary.

1. Know your speeds and Distances

Unlike pretty much the entire rest of Europe, here in Britain we measure our distances in miles, and therefore our speed limits in miles-per-hour. This will be natural for some of our overseas guests and not so for others. Speed-limits are usually clearly signed but if in doubt it is generally 30mph in

Self Drive Tour Scotland
Self Drive Tour Scotland

built-up areas, 60mph on country single-carriageway roads and 70mph on our motorways (highways).

Hopefully now any doubts you had regarding driving in Britain have now been allayed and you’re raring to go on your driving tour of the UK. However, if you do have any questions about driving, there is plenty more information on our website here or simply rest-assured that your experienced adeo Travel agent is on hand to offer their expert advice. So why not let us know which areas you want to explore and we’ll help you put together your perfect driving tour itinerary for your trip to Britain!

Check out our driving tours here.

Driving in Britain not for you? We offer a range of rail, traditional coach tour or small-group itineraries, simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise on what tour would be best for you!

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Castle Hotels “An authentic night with a difference”

Castle Hotels “An authentic night with a difference”

Celebrating something special? A wedding anniversary, honeymoon, birthday milestone, retirement, maybe celebrating your children passing their exams or just looking for a vacation with a difference? What ever your special moment, why not consider experiencing a night in a castle hotel in the UK, which could be the perfect way to mark the occasion!!

With the vast history the UK withholds, castles built in previous eras can be found sprinkled around the whole of the England, Scotland & Wales. Frozen in time, these castle hotels stand regal, often set within beautiful gardens engulfed in breath taking surroundings. Even in this day they have the most original features still intact, as you enter you feel like your back in time…hidden in the walls of legends passed this creates a truly fascinating & authentic experience!

Here at adeo Travel, we pride ourselves on presenting our guests with the most charming and original accommodation possible, and believe that a castle hotel stay can really enhance a guest experience in Britain!!

Below are some of the great Castle stays we offer here at adeo Travel, take a look at our Castle & Manors of Britain, and Castles & Manors of England/Scotland & Wales tours on the self-drive tours section of our website to find out more and submit your request now to receive your very own, tailored itinerary, customised to your needs!!

Dalhousie Castle, near Edinburgh

Dalhousie Castle is situated in the parish of Cockpen, which can be found about eight miles south of Edinburgh. Dating all the way back to the 13th century, it still demonstrates many original features with, and even the ancient vaults remain today.

Most of the present structure was built around 1450 from the red stone quarried from the opposite bank of the South Esk River, on which the Castle stands.

Renovated into a castle hotel, it now has 29 individually and charming bedrooms, all themed around famous historical figures. You will find the decoration is faithful to Scottish design fabrics such as tweed, tartan and twill. Hard not to be enchanted with the details you’d expect from a building of this age you’ll enjoy its period features including furniture, rugs and carpets which harmoniously work together to create a warm, relaxing and fabulous overnight stay.

 

Sherbrooke Castle, near Glasgow

Sherbrooke Castle, became a hotel in just before World War two. It was originally built as a home or villa for its contracter John Morrison in 1986, a respected contractor of the time, built a baronial villa for himself in Pollokshields, namely, Sherbrooke Castle, designed by Thomson and Sandilands.

 

It is a good example of the type of house built by the middle class in the rather decadent late Victorian period and has a number of unusual features. The rooms are arranged around three sides of a large hall and staircase. The external Baronialism is, in some ways, an added romantic touch.

The hotel has luxury bedrooms and suites, a lounge bar & great restaurant

At the Sherbrooke, they have combined traditional grace with modern efficiency. Prestige with convenience that is enjoyed by many a guest.

 

Augill Castle, Cumbria

Augill Castle, was originally built in 1841 as a Victorian gentleman’s country residence, has all the fairytale romance of a turreted hideaway. Augill Castle is not just a hotel, but a country house in its truest sense.

Set in the Upper Eden Valley, it stands in open country and has had little changes for centuries. Set in the dramatic back drop of the North Pennines, you will find luscious gardens opening out to views of the nearby Yorkshire Dales and the Lakeland Fells beyond.

This is a great family run hotel with a rich history and a great experience for any visitors.

 

Ruthin Castle, North Wales

Ruthin Castle, was created by Dafydd, brother of Prince Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, for King Edward I of England in 1277 who gave the fort (that was present on the site) to him in return for his treacherous help during the invasion of North Wales that year. Dafydd also had castles at Caergwle and Denbigh.

It was originally known by the Welsh name of Castell Coch yn yr Gwernfor or The Red Castle in the Great Marsh.

In the early 1960’s The Castle was purchased at auction and converted into an hotel. One of its most notable guests since was HRH Prince Charles who stayed on his way to his investiture as Prince of Wales (the 21st Prince of Wales since the new title began in 1301).

Now, Ruthin Castle is a beautiful retreat; interesting in its history and nestled in acres of parkland beside the Clwydian Range in North Wales. Here you can indulge yourself with exquisite dining,& unwind in their distinctive spa. Enjoy the renowned Medieval Feasts and luxurious accommodation!

 

Thornbury Castle, near Bath & the Cotswolds

Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, built the castle during the reign of Henry VIII, though he wasn’t able to enjoy it for long. After being betrayed to the king by a disgruntled servant, Stafford was arrested for high treason and executed on Tower Hill. Henry claimed the castle for himself, spending ten days here while on his honeymoon tour with Anne Boleyn. It remained royal property until the death of his daughter Mary I, when it was returned to the Duke’s descendants.

For two centuries, the castle was unoccupied, falling into ruin. In the 1850s, it was saved and turned into a family home. Its more recent occupants have included the Howards, the Clifford family, Kenneth Bell MBE and the Baron and Baroness of Portlethen

Today, visitors can enjoy Thornbury Castle at its best. Tudor style meets modern excellence, with comfortable four-poster beds, magnificent open fireplaces, a dungeon dining room and a grand hall for balls, feasts and parties.

 

 

So, why not take a step back in time, treat yourselves like the Royals, and enjoy an evening to remember with a night in a castle hotel! You can find these fantastic examples aswell as many more in our self-drive section of our website under Castle & Manors of all Britain, Scotland,England & Wales . Request your own personalised tailor-made self drive tour today with adeo Travel, your Britain Vacation Experts.

 

Adeo on the Road – Small-Group Familiarisation Tour

One of our packages we offer here at Adeo are small-group tours, so you can imagine my excitement and expectation when I learned that this month I would have the opportunity to go on a small-group tour myself! When enquiring, guests sometimes ask us what makes our small-group tours unique. Hopefully my personal experiences can help you out if you are stuck on deciding which type of Britain vacation is for you.

Upon my arrival in London, I looked forward to a chance to broaden my knowledge of our products (along with a chance to get out of the office!). My suitcase was then taken off my hands and loaded into the coach, as was a theme for the rest of the trip. Porterage is one of the main focal points in small-group tours; your suitcases will be handled from the moment you start the tour to the moment you leave. Please note that there are luggage restrictions, but I found these were comfortable; typically you will be allowed one suitcase and one bit of hand luggage.

Once the luggage was loaded, we made our way to into the coach wMini-Bushere I sat down in my comfortable leather seat with ample legroom – each with its own air conditioning system above keeping the coach feeling fresh at all times. There were four single seats and four double seats on each side of the bus, with seats across the back of the coach as standard – the coach seated a maximum of 18 people.

The tour driver then introduced himself formally using his microphone where his voice was projected around the coach – the speaker system loud enough so that all passengers could hear. Looking around me I noticed the general demographic of the people on the tour were those over the age of 50. Small-group tours tend to be fairly laid back, with the group rejecting the opportunity to go around one-by-one introducing themselves and choosing to get to know each other naturally as the tour progressed – a fine choice I might say! Before I knew it, conversation in the group started to flow as we all started to get to know each other. Every single passenger on the tour was a delight and an asset to the experience of the tour itself.

All of the small-group tours we offer have breakfast included and our premium tours will have three-course evening meals, both are a great chance to bond further with your fellow passengers while stuffing yourself full – it’s safe to say I may have to diet for a bit after my time on this trip!

While socialising with the other passengers, I got the feeling that many of them chose a small-group tour as their mode of travel in Britain as they found it more relaxing than driving themselves and allowed more opportunity for socialising with others that have similar interests. Small-group tours are also less regimented and offer regular comfort stops; the small size of the group meant that the itinerary was not so rigid and could be personalised slightly with de-tours if enough of the group agreed.

When it was time to depart the tour, it was fairly sad as the group went their separate ways. However, the driver guide asked for our email addresses and soon after sent a group email where people could keep in touch with each other if they hadn’t already exchanged contact details.Inside

Overall, the tour itself was a fantastic and invaluable opportunity for me to enhance my knowledge of what we are selling to our guests and I would like to thank everyone involved for the experience.

In conclusion, the expectation I had before this tour was not in vain. If you are a sociable person wanting to visit Britain without the hassle of driving, I would recommend checking out the many small-group tours we have to offer – enquire today!

There is no better time to book a small-group tour with us here at Adeo Travel – availability is high as our 2017 dates have recently been released, with some of our small-group tours offering an early-bird discount for those that pay in full before the end of November. We look forward to working with you in booking your Britain vacation!

adeo Insights – Kevin Murray’s Diary: Week 5, North Wales

It’s all very well us telling you what to see and do when you come to visit Britain but who can give you a better insight into what you can expect from an adeo tour than our guests themselves! Our guest Kevin Murray has been kind enough to allow us to publish his trip reports detailing his travels through England, Wales and Scotland this Spring.

This week Kevin and Glenys explore the Snowdonia National Park and North Wales.

Northwards once more, through tiny fishing villages and coastal holiday destinations… past the iconic Cardigan Bay. We stopped at Aberystwyth to walk the Victorian-era promenade separating the multi-hued houses from the gravelly beach. Finally, on to our B&B in the little village of Pennal, our gateway to Snowdonia National Park.

IMG_1176We entered Snowdonia in style; by steam train, chugging up to the old slate mining town of Ffestiniog, a town clinging to the side of the steep, grey mountains that provided the huge volumes of slate that gave the town its proud boast that it has “roofed the world”!

After our train returned us down the mountain, we drove right through the middle of Snowdonia National Park, stopping wherever we could to take photos – not an easy task on these narrow, shoulderless roads. We took time out from driving to explore the extraordinary Bodnant Gardens, a National Trust-owned estate garden in the heart of the beautiful Conwy Valley. Wow! How refreshing it was to be walking among the colourful azaleas, magnolias and tulips, viewing the reflections of the magnificent estate house in the tranquil ponds, and exploring the labyrinth of paths, with picture-postcard views at every turn.

IMG_1178Our next stop was Llandudno – a popular seaside resort town on the north coast of Wales, still partly locked into the thirties with its promenade, fun-pier, cable-car rides and traditional hotels. From here we drove to Caernarfon where we explored its massive Castle, discovering that its eight centuries of history were so much more than the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles and how myth, legend and reality are so intertwined in Welsh history that it is difficult to tell where the truth of a tale really lies. If only these old stones could talk! Sequestered within the castle walls was a marvelous museum which attempted – quite successfully – to untangle some of this history for us.

Llandudno - Llandudno PierBack in Llandudno we ascended the massive monolith of limestone, The Great Orme, that dominates the end of the Llandudno peninsular. Half way up the steep road we stopped to explore a Bronze Age copper mine, a 3D labyrinth of tight, dark tunnels dug some 4,000 years ago with bone and stone, following the veins of copper ore. The vast complex of kilometres of tunnels had remained undiscovered until 1987 and is still being excavated. It was mind-blowing to contemplate the working conditions of these ancient miners who were making bronze tools and weapons 2,000 years before the Romans came to Britain.

Our next stop was to be at our friend Kate’s house in a little village near Chester. On our way there we detoured to inspect another ruined medieval fort but this one, at Flint, was special. It was featured in Shakespeare’s Richard the Second and we stood on the very spot where Richard was captured, listening to an audio of the very scene. Chilling stuff!

ChesterThe ancient city of Chester itself is quite unique. Nowhere else has the same combination of an extensive Roman history, the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain, the most intact Roman city wall, the stunning Tudor buildings in the town centre and the majestic 1,000-year-old Cathedral.

You can explore North Wales with adeo Travel on our Mountains and Medieval Fortresses self-drive tour or sit back and relax on our Castles, Coasts and Celts small group tour.