Drive to UK best route

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19 Nov 2014 08:51 by foggysdad Star rating in Chesterfield, UK. 56 forum posts Send private message

Hi, this has probably been covered many times before....

I would like help with a good way of driving overland to the UK avoiding the majority of tolls if possible.

A dog friendly hotel on route may be good although I will probably kip in the car. To save a long thread if you pm me I live on Condado so could fetch print off or you could email me the details if its easier.

Many thanks in advance, Eddie

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24 Nov 2014 14:48 by pgm Star rating in Cheshire & LOS NARAN.... 862 forum posts Send private message

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Hi Eddie

Over resent years I have driven from the UK to Condado using all the routes I can think of.

I have driven up both sides of France on Toll Roads and none Toll Roads. In my opinion using the toll roads in France is the only realistic option.

My preferred route though France is Euro Tunnel, then Abbeville, Rouen, Le Mans, Tours, Poitiers, Bordeaux. Lots of Hotels in the outskirts of Bordeaux to stay overnight.

Then from Bordeaux to Condado Spain:

Most roads in Spain are good and avoiding Tolls is no problem, my preferred route is Bordeaux, Pau, Zaragoza, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Condado de Alhama.

The above is two full days’ long drive and 10 to 12 hours each day.

My most resent route and probabley favourite is by taking the overnight Brittney Ferry from Portsmouth to Santander or Bilbao, this saves you the drive though France and the cost of the fuel, Tunnel and tolls in France. You will probabley find the cost of the Ferry is offset by the saving of Fuel, Tolls, Euro Tunnel and Hotel particularly in the early/late summer and winter months. High summer is far more expensive using this route. It is a far more relaxing way to do this part of the trip and less wear and tear on your car, they also have pet friendly cabins and walking areas on the Ferry so taking your dog is no problem. If this route becomes your preference you can pay to join the Voyage Club currently £100 first year joining fee plus £110 per year membership, this gives you 30% discount off sailing and discounts in restaurants on the ship. Basically if you use this route more than once a year its best to be a member.

Then my route though Spain avoiding Tolls is:

Santander, Burgos, Madrid, Murcia, Condado de Alhama. The drive is about 8 to 9 hours depending on the traffic on the outskirts of Madrid but the roads are all good.

Hope this helps



This message was last edited by pgm on 24/11/2014.

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25 Nov 2014 16:08 by KJL Star rating. 56 forum posts Send private message

pgm, I broadly agree with your route but do not agree that toll roads are the only realistic option in France.

I have driven down about 10-12 times in the last 6 years and up to this year I have never used toll roads. As I am retired and time is not a problem I usually have two stops, the first between Rouen and Poitiers and the second at Lescar(Pau). Generally I cross the channel by ferry as on the two occasions I have used the tunnel there has been a delay which has negated the time saving and therefore the extra cost wasn't justified.

On my last trip this year in September/October I did decide to take the toll road from Boulogne to Abbeville and it was €8 each way well spent as the route national road is slow on that section, so in future it will become my preferred option.

For the first time this year I also decided to travel at the weekend and made my first overnight stop at Poitiers and set off early on the Sunday morning and as the weekend traffic was light ended up driving all the way to Murcia in one day arriving about 20.00. In future if I decide to do it in 2 days again next year I will make the stopover at Bordeaux.

I have also taken the Brittany ferry route to Bilbao or Santander but unless you can get a cheap off season fare deal it is not cost affective and the time you spend on the ferry you could be driving through France. It is also worth noting the discount for Voyage Club membership does not apply to the accommodation. Also, if you travel in the winter there is a likelihood the crossing could be cancelled if rough seas and high winds prevail as happened to me.

Totally agree the roads are very good in Spain and no need to consider toll roads in Spain on this route.

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25 Nov 2014 17:09 by pgm Star rating in Cheshire & LOS NARAN.... 862 forum posts Send private message

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I did say in my opinion, in relation to tolls.

Clearly if you have the time you can save the tolls but at the cost of an extra nights Hotel possibly

It is correct the voyage club discount is only on the sailing charge and not cabin and I did say it’s far more expensive in high summer.

Just to give an example comparing MY experience of driving though France and sailing to Santander.

Driving France both ways May Last year (My Costs)

£130 Euro Tunnel Return

£150 Fuel cost across France Return

£180 Tolls France Return

£120 The cost of two Hotels one each way

Total £580 approx


The drive time is about 10 hours then overnight in Hotel



Sailing to Santander

£379 Cost of Sailing and cabin return in October this year after discount applied

£525 Cost of Sailing and cabin return in May next year after discount applied

My annual membership cost is £110 so this should be split over the number of times you do the crossing each year.

The sailing time is about 24 hours so over all same amount of time used in both cases.

Delays and cancelled sailings can happen which ever crossing is used, so far I have had no issues which ever route I used.

All just my opinion, All in All it’s what ticks each person’s boxes the best.




This message was last edited by pgm on 26/11/2014.

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