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Thread: Drive & photography in UK

  1. #1

    Default Drive & photography in UK

    Has anybody driven around the UK for holidays? Is having a car a liability when you holiday in UK? I have the intention to have a car and drive to all the remote villages as well as cities in the whole UK to take pictures.

    I have taken trains and buses as a mode of transport in my previous holidays in other countries but I always have a problem in getting to hard-to-reach locations. For example, in the Romantic Road in Germany, I only could get to a few towns that are accessible by trains.

    My concern is the ease of finding a carpark each night. Do the hotels charge a lot for the carpark? I am also the only driver, not sure if it is too tiring. I will be based in either London or Cambridge or Bath.

    I will be taking a long trip in UK to really get to know the country

    thank you for any advices
    Last edited by dapier; 7th November 2010 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Hi, i've just came back from UK recently on a drive about trip. I've found that having a car is certainly more flexible in letting you chose your travel times, and letting you stop wherever you want to take photos (esp if you're going to Wales / Scotland where there are many random Scenic Spots.) I found that having a car really gives you more freedom and in the end, more 'mileage' in terms of places visited per day if you plan properly. Esp if you want to get nice shots where timing is important (e.g. you can go for sunrise/sunset etc, or wait for a specific area to be less crowded.)

    Parking didn't seem to be a problem, as there seemed to be plenty of space, didn't seem to cost much in the smaller towns too. Might be a problem in the bigger urban areas/towns where driving is not recommended(e.g. London). Other problems include unexpected traffic jams, getting lost, car problems etc, which are risks you have to consider. We had 4 photographers in that trip of mine, and having a car really helped lugging 4 tripods and dslrs around.

    hope this helps

  3. #3

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel-sg View Post
    Hi, i've just came back from UK recently on a drive about trip. I've found that having a car is certainly more flexible in letting you chose your travel times, and letting you stop wherever you want to take photos (esp if you're going to Wales / Scotland where there are many random Scenic Spots.) I found that having a car really gives you more freedom and in the end, more 'mileage' in terms of places visited per day if you plan properly. Esp if you want to get nice shots where timing is important (e.g. you can go for sunrise/sunset etc, or wait for a specific area to be less crowded.)

    Parking didn't seem to be a problem, as there seemed to be plenty of space, didn't seem to cost much in the smaller towns too. Might be a problem in the bigger urban areas/towns where driving is not recommended(e.g. London). Other problems include unexpected traffic jams, getting lost, car problems etc, which are risks you have to consider. We had 4 photographers in that trip of mine, and having a car really helped lugging 4 tripods and dslrs around.

    hope this helps

    thanks very much!!

    Another question. Do we need to get our passport stamped if we cross into France? That is, is there any border controls?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    I would recommend not getting a car during your stay in London. Parking is very expensive and hard to come by and you will spend most of the day lost or in traffic jams (or both!). The Tube (MRT) is pretty efficient when they are not on strike, but can get busy at peak hours (7-9am 5-7pm) so you may want to avoid going anywhere at these times. Taxi's are very expensive compared to SG but may be worth it for the experience of a London cabbie (get the black cabs not a normal one). Most of the tourist spots London can be walked on a dry day thus avoiding any type of transport, but be prepared for rain just in case.

    For Cambridge, I would recommend getting a car if you plan to go outside the city. Parking is much better than London, but traffic can be quite bad during peak hours. Buses are also another option , but plan your route carefully or you could end up anywhere lol. there are hundreds of lovely villages outside of Cambridge, most of which are very picturesque.

    East of Cambridge tends to be prettier than to the north west, but not by too much (http://maps.google.com.sg/maps?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wl).

    For Bath, I would also recommend getting a car as travelling around can be more difficult than Cambridge and London using public transport. Parking should be fairly reasonable and traffic bad only during peak hours. Lots of villages around bath so worth travelling out a bit to explore.

    (http://maps.google.com.sg/maps?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wl)


    *** TIP *** Hire a car with GPS (or a separate GPS unit) as it is very easy to get lost on country roads and the cities can be difficult to navigate. Just don't leave the unit in the car as you will have broken windows and not GPS when you get back. Also, don't just chuck it in the glovebox or under the seat as these are the first places they will look once they have broken your windows. To be super safe, use a cloth or tissue to wipe off the circle mark left by the GPS sucker on the windscreen as this is a tell tale sign for crooks. Of course, if the unit is built in then you have no worries.

    Finally, you will have two sets of border checks when travelling to France (by ferry or by Eurotunnel), the first one will be British customs and the second is French. I don't think they will stamp your passport as once in the EU it is OK to travel about freely (in fact there are no border checks between the mainland EU countries), however they will check your passport. Coming back, be prepared to show all your documentation you had to give to customs when you flew into the UK originally as it is treated as re-entry.

    Just remember they drive on the other side of the road in mainland Europe!

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

    Have a great trip!

    SeldomHere
    7D | 17-55 2.8 | 18-135 | 50 1.4
    5DMkII | 14 L 2.8 | 24-105 L 4 | 70-200 L 2.8 | 100 L 2.8 Macro

  5. #5

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by SeldomHere View Post
    I would recommend not getting a car during your stay in London. Parking is very expensive and hard to come by and you will spend most of the day lost or in traffic jams (or both!). The Tube (MRT) is pretty efficient when they are not on strike, but can get busy at peak hours (7-9am 5-7pm) so you may want to avoid going anywhere at these times. Taxi's are very expensive compared to SG but may be worth it for the experience of a London cabbie (get the black cabs not a normal one). Most of the tourist spots London can be walked on a dry day thus avoiding any type of transport, but be prepared for rain just in case.

    For Cambridge, I would recommend getting a car if you plan to go outside the city. Parking is much better than London, but traffic can be quite bad during peak hours. Buses are also another option , but plan your route carefully or you could end up anywhere lol. there are hundreds of lovely villages outside of Cambridge, most of which are very picturesque.

    East of Cambridge tends to be prettier than to the north west, but not by too much (http://maps.google.com.sg/maps?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wl).

    For Bath, I would also recommend getting a car as travelling around can be more difficult than Cambridge and London using public transport. Parking should be fairly reasonable and traffic bad only during peak hours. Lots of villages around bath so worth travelling out a bit to explore.

    (http://maps.google.com.sg/maps?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wl)


    *** TIP *** Hire a car with GPS (or a separate GPS unit) as it is very easy to get lost on country roads and the cities can be difficult to navigate. Just don't leave the unit in the car as you will have broken windows and not GPS when you get back. Also, don't just chuck it in the glovebox or under the seat as these are the first places they will look once they have broken your windows. To be super safe, use a cloth or tissue to wipe off the circle mark left by the GPS sucker on the windscreen as this is a tell tale sign for crooks. Of course, if the unit is built in then you have no worries.

    Finally, you will have two sets of border checks when travelling to France (by ferry or by Eurotunnel), the first one will be British customs and the second is French. I don't think they will stamp your passport as once in the EU it is OK to travel about freely (in fact there are no border checks between the mainland EU countries), however they will check your passport. Coming back, be prepared to show all your documentation you had to give to customs when you flew into the UK originally as it is treated as re-entry.

    Just remember they drive on the other side of the road in mainland Europe!

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

    Have a great trip!

    SeldomHere
    thank you very much. I appreciate your reply.

    I intend to take the trains to all the major cities or bigger towns. After I have finished these, I will get a car to finish visiting all the rest of the smaller towns/villages in UK

  6. #6

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Well... I drove around Lake District without GPS... Maybe that area is easy to drive around, parking at some areas can be a bit tight like Amberside, other than that, seems to be fine.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    as u r the only driver,i would suggest u take a public transport.if u planning to stay for quite a long period,u can try to stay at backpacker hostel(bring a lock with u if intend to share rooms,locker r provided!).also get a travel book,dk travel guides is my prefrence..
    it is cheaper when u book your coach or train in advance(u can get it as low as 1pound)

    www.megabus.com/uk
    www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx
    www.hostelworld.com

    for keeping in touch,get a t-mobile prepaid card(or pay as u go)..there only few places hv free wifi(3 years ago)u can use t-mobile to surf net(only 1pound for whole day!)..there r also other telco like vodafone,o2,orange even tesco.

    if u need to know more info,just pm me.

    hv a nice holiday
    |E8700|

  8. #8

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by dapier View Post
    Has anybody driven around the UK for holidays? Is having a car a liability when you holiday in UK? I have the intention to have a car and drive to all the remote villages as well as cities in the whole UK to take pictures.

    I have taken trains and buses as a mode of transport in my previous holidays in other countries but I always have a problem in getting to hard-to-reach locations. For example, in the Romantic Road in Germany, I only could get to a few towns that are accessible by trains.

    My concern is the ease of finding a carpark each night. Do the hotels charge a lot for the carpark? I am also the only driver, not sure if it is too tiring. I will be based in either London or Cambridge or Bath.

    I will be taking a long trip in UK to really get to know the country

    thank you for any advices

    hi, i have done a number of road trips -

    (1) if you are going alone, suggest you don't drive, it is more expensive. might as well use the money and go for a longer period and take leisurely walks - the trouble is that for the wilder parts like the coast, if you want to stay for sunset it will not be possible unless you enjoy walking in the dark for tens of km back to a warm place.

    (2) you must be rich to stay in hotels, i usually stay in hostels or B&B - if i drive i look for those that have free parking, and they usually have free parking.

    (3) i won't drive in london.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Well... I drove around Lake District without GPS... Maybe that area is easy to drive around, parking at some areas can be a bit tight like Amberside, other than that, seems to be fine.
    i think it's ambleside.

    having a gps is almost always useful, saves the trouble of having to plan beyond rough locations, and having to split hairs over how to get there.

    not that expensive either. and if you are planning to do a number of road trips, just grab a good second-hand one off ebay, and use it...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by jo2teoh View Post
    as u r the only driver,i would suggest u take a public transport.if u planning to stay for quite a long period,u can try to stay at backpacker hostel(bring a lock with u if intend to share rooms,locker r provided!).also get a travel book,dk travel guides is my prefrence..
    it is cheaper when u book your coach or train in advance(u can get it as low as 1pound)

    www.megabus.com/uk
    www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx
    www.hostelworld.com
    yes, but you will not find it easy to access places like dorset, lake district, peak district, etc... and these are beautiful, beautiful places. pity if you limit yourself with just public transport.

    i would take the trouble to find a few travelling companions to split the cost.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    suggest you use sixt, and pick up from heathrow airport.

    that's what i have done for every single road trip i made. there are reasons for doing so - congestion charge, parking overnight because the place closes earlier (heathrow airport outlets tend to have more extended hours), no need to drive in the small , congested roads of london...

    sixt is a relatively affordable company - hertz is comparatively exorbitant if you ask me.

    do take note that you *can* only drive with your singapore license for a period of one year. the rental companies will still accept your license, but you would have to convert after that year if you don't want to get into trouble with the authorities when they stop you randomly.

    lastly, one word of advice - pay the additional insurance to minimise your damages. it's a small sum to ensure minimal pain when unhappy things happen. also, if possible, do not use a singapore card for these. in my last road trip (after 5 or 6 happy ones), we picked up the car in perfect condition, drove for 6 days, came back, and there was a scratch (not deep) across the rear bumper. must have been someone who didn't know how to park, or a cyclist, or god knows what, we don't know how it happened, as nothing happened during the trip.

    sixt happily docked 500? pounds from my singapore card... and this will be converted at the usual crap rate to sgd and charged.... and then they will take a pretty damn long time to update on the progress of assessing damages... and then when it's done they REFUND you the balance, so you get hit with a double whammy conversion rate. as i had never experienced this before, i stupidly used my singapore card... end up collect pounds from everyone on the trip, while i sucked in an effective exchange rate of close to $3 at a time when the pound was going for SGD2.20 thereabouts.

    if i'm not wrong, the additional insurance limits your max damage to something like 65 pounds or less.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    hi, i have done a number of road trips -

    (1) if you are going alone, suggest you don't drive, it is more expensive. might as well use the money and go for a longer period and take leisurely walks - the trouble is that for the wilder parts like the coast, if you want to stay for sunset it will not be possible unless you enjoy walking in the dark for tens of km back to a warm place.

    (2) you must be rich to stay in hotels, i usually stay in hostels or B&B - if i drive i look for those that have free parking, and they usually have free parking.

    (3) i won't drive in london.

    It is good to hear from you there is free parking. I find parking in certain countries very expensive. I do stay in hostels or B&B as long as there are private rooms as I am worried on my camera gear.

    I am not intending to drive in London most of the time, only based there and drive out of it. I need the car to see remote villages.

    Yes I will be driving alone, damn tiring but I have the determination to see the remote villages. I missed those in all my previous trips to the mainland Europe

    As I am going for a super long trip in UK, I will be selling my 2 year old car here, I can get a brand new and same car in UK for a much lower price
    Last edited by dapier; 13th November 2010 at 10:04 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    You should stay in B&B: they are more 'home like' and provides good service and far cheaper than hotels.
    If you have time, I will strongly recommend you travel north and pay a visit to Scotland.
    In Scotland you must visit Edinburgh - castles, historical town, gardens.
    Further north: Loch Ness, Highlands, Isles of Skye, Sterling - all have beautiful landscapes, lakes, and castles for your photoshoot.
    Canon 500D Kit I / Canon 50mm f1.4 / Canon EF70-200mm F4L IS / Canon EFS 10-22mm

  14. #14

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurorasea View Post
    You should stay in B&B: they are more 'home like' and provides good service and far cheaper than hotels.
    If you have time, I will strongly recommend you travel north and pay a visit to Scotland.
    In Scotland you must visit Edinburgh - castles, historical town, gardens.
    Further north: Loch Ness, Highlands, Isles of Skye, Sterling - all have beautiful landscapes, lakes, and castles for your photoshoot.

    As long as it is comfortable, I will stay in a B&B or small family hotels.
    My aim is to visit all the villages/towns /cities in UK, all the way to the North in Scotland.
    But driving all the way up (visiting region by region along the way) is scary as I am driving alone. Over here, I even think driving to KL is too tiring. I love architecture n will definitely see all the historical places.
    Last edited by dapier; 13th November 2010 at 10:39 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i think it's ambleside.

    having a gps is almost always useful, saves the trouble of having to plan beyond rough locations, and having to split hairs over how to get there.

    not that expensive either. and if you are planning to do a number of road trips, just grab a good second-hand one off ebay, and use it...
    Ah, yes, Ambleside.. Sorry, was in a bit of hurry when I wrote that...

    Yes, GPS can be useful been looking at it for ages, but well this Lakes trip was like 2 years ago, and no, we did not have any splitting hair that trip, maybe because we were very relaxed about it.

    We did have a small little boo-boo on the location of the waterfall in Ullswater - we thot what we saw was the Aira Force, but it turns out to be High Force... Other than that, it was not that bad after all, driving with a map bought at Ambleside.

    Love the B&Bs in Lakes.

  16. #16
    Senior Member asterixsg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Hi.
    Just a thought. I dunno how viable it is, and maybe some of the more experienced folks can advise you on this.

    Looks like you are planning to spend a long time travelling in UK. Are you planning to buy a car ? If yes, have you considered buying a campervan or maybe even a long term rental ? This might save you accomodation costs and if you feel tired, you can catch a nap in it at the rest areas along motorways. I have also come across Campervan parks in most villages that I've travelled around in the UK.

    Good luck in your travels. Will look forward to your photos and experiences.
    Last edited by asterixsg; 14th November 2010 at 12:19 AM.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt....

  17. #17

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by asterixsg View Post
    Hi.
    Just a thought. I dunno how viable it is, and maybe some of the more experienced folks can advise you on this.

    Looks like you are planning to spend a long time travelling in UK. Are you planning to buy a car ? If yes, have you considered buying a campervan or maybe even a long term rental ? This might save you accomodation costs and if you feel tired, you can catch a nap in it at the rest areas along motorways. I have also come across Campervan parks in most villages that I've travelled around in the UK.

    Good luck in your travels. Will look forward to your photos and experiences.
    Yes, I am planning to explore UK in detail, after which I will go to the mainland Europe. I haven't been to the UK, but have been to about 170 other places in the mainland EU. In other places I have been in Europe, a lot of lanes in the towns and cities are very narrow and the slope steep, so camervan may be a problem. I want a small vehicle that can go fast.

    Will post pixs but will only leave in a couple of months' time because of work committments
    Last edited by dapier; 14th November 2010 at 10:19 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member asterixsg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by dapier View Post
    Yes, I am planning to explore UK in detail, after which I will go to the mainland Europe. I haven't been to the UK, but have been to about 170 other places in the mainland EU. In other places I have been in Europe, a lot of lanes in the towns and cities are very narrow and the slope steep, so camervan may be a problem. I want a small vehicle that can go fast.

    Will post pixs but will only leave in a couple of months' time because of work committments
    Cool, sounds like a plan. Small car is definitely easier to manoeuvre and will be fuel efficient too...

    I am a big fan of DK books. You might want to check this one out...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roads-Great-...9703519&sr=8-7

    I've been on some of the drives from this book.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/AA-Best-Driv...9703602&sr=8-4

    This one below is for Scotland. Haven't driven around in Scotland, except climbing Ben Nevis as part of the Three Peaks Challenge...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Drives-...9703602&sr=8-6

    The weather in UK is quite fickle as you probably already know. But your chances of good weather are higher from April to August, so don't be in a hurry to quit your job, you still have a 3-4 months to sort things out.

    All the best, mate. Enjoy your time in the UK.
    Last edited by asterixsg; 14th November 2010 at 11:08 AM.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt....

  19. #19

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Quote Originally Posted by asterixsg View Post
    Cool, sounds like a plan. Small car is definitely easier to manoeuvre and will be fuel efficient too...

    I am a big fan of DK books. You might want to check this one out...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roads-Great-...9703519&sr=8-7

    I've been on some of the drives from this book.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/AA-Best-Driv...9703602&sr=8-4

    This one below is for Scotland. Haven't driven around in Scotland, except climbing Ben Nevis as part of the Three Peaks Challenge...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Drives-...9703602&sr=8-6

    The weather in UK is quite fickle as you probably already know. But your chances of good weather are higher from April to August, so don't be in a hurry to quit your job, you still have a 3-4 months to sort things out.

    All the best, mate. Enjoy your time in the UK.
    thanks! I have read the books.

    The world is so big. Guess one will not be able to finish the world even if he /she does it full time for the next 20 years. There are so many villages/towns/cities just in Europe and the Americas. I have spent months in certain countries but only saw some parts of it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Drive & photography in UK

    Ireland and the UK have a Common Travel Area agreement. If one has an UK full driving licence, is this enough to satisfy that you are from the UK? In this sense, do we need to show our passport or fill in any form to record that we have gone into Ireland or vice versa? I am referring to entry by sea crossing or land crossing only. I do not have any passport from these countries.
    Last edited by dapier; 5th January 2011 at 11:01 PM.

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