How did we travel the 700 or so kilometres between Edinburgh Airport and Gatwick Airport for just £2/$3.75 NZD?? Read on to find out and what we got up to along the way ….
EDINBURGH to LONDON – DAY 1
From our Airbnb in Edinburgh (see our review here) we walked just 800m to a bus stop near the Haymarket Train Station and caught the Airlink 100 bus to Edinburgh Airport, total cost for our family was £13/$24.25 NZD. A very simple and quick trip and once at the airport we walked to the rental car area as it was from here that we were picking up our one-way relocatable rental car. This is a fantastic way to travel one way with a rental vehicle (car or camper van) without the often hefty one way fees. Originally we used the DriiveMe website to search for relocatable options (and sign up for alerts), this was a great way to see what was available to and from many different locations and also showed us which rental company had vehicles available. The one issue we found with this website was that we could only book the ’24 hour rental for £1′ but on the company’s direct website, in this case Hertz, we could book the 48 hour rental option for £2. This was a great option as it gave us twice as long to travel the distance and we could do a few things along the way.
I’m not sure if we arrived at the Edinburgh Aiport rental car centre just as a few flights had arrived but it was heaving with people and many long lines at the varies counters. The Hertz counter seemed to be unstaffed and very unorganised and it continued outside with more people and queues waiting to leave their carpark. We had a booking to collect the car at 10.00am and we didn’t pull out in the vehicle until nearly 11.20am. It wasn’t the greatest start and obviously put us a bit behind schedule for the day but we were on our way in a very comfortable Hyundai station wagon for just £2.
Another company that does relocatable cars and camper vans is TransferCar, they operate in North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and work with numerous major vehicle rental companies. This is definitely a travel option we will look into in the future.
- Pick Your Own Berries – We love ‘pick your own berries’ back in New Zealand so when we found one not too far from our intended route we just had to stop by. Border Berries was a huge farm and is one of Scotland’s last remaining outdoor berry farms. They had strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, red currants, back currants and tayberries. We sampled a few and took away a few punnets of juicy fresh strawberries and raspberries – total cost was £6.56/$12.24 NZD. A great summer snack for a road trip.
- The village of Nisbet – More family history, this time on my father’s side as ‘Nisbet’ was my maiden name. There is a ‘Nisbet House’ but after some research it appears to now be privately owned so we made a slight detour to find the small village of ‘Nisbet’, not too far from the berry farm. There wasn’t too much to see but we did find an old telephone box with a Nisbet sign, so a fun spot for a photo op for the Nisbet descendants.
- Angel of the North – This statue piece was commissioned by the Gateshead Council to have a landmark public art work for Gateshead and the North East of England. It stands 20 metres in height with a wingspan of 54 meters. Piles were drilled 33 metres down to create the anchor. The sculpture was installed in February 1998 and sees around 90,000 visitors each day. We saw glimpses of it before we arrived as it isn’t too far off the A1 and was interesting enough to stop by and see, but we wouldn’t suggest you go too far out of your way if you aren’t that worried about seeing it or not.
When we were planning our 48 hours between Edinburgh and London we saw that Leeds was around the half way mark and it just happen to work out that two thirds of our friends from Travels with our Daughter (Laura and Honor) were going to be staying with Laura’s parents in a village not too far from Leeds called Otley The timing was spot on so we looked for a night’s accommodation and found the Chevin End Guest House (read our review here). We were able to use one of the reward nights we had earned with Hotels.com and only needed to cover a very small portion of the cost. We planned some drinks and dinner and had a great catch up while the kids had a blast playing on toys that were way too small for them and trying to navigate the lawn gradients around Laura’s parent’s beautiful property.
EDINBURGH to LONDON – DAY 2
With a few diversions on day one we had travelled around 350 kms and during day two we travelled a further 400 or so back towards London and Gatwick Airport.
- The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – Located in the village of Great Missenden, this is where Roald lived from 1954 until his death in 1990 and much of his books are set in and around the village. One of our favourite authors and the visit was a nice little look into his life and works. The cost for our family of four to visit was £22/$41.05 NZD and the tickets actually last for a full year. What a fantastic idea, especially for those who may be able to visit more than once in a year. The tickets are named before being printed out so they aren’t transferable to others. This was a very cool facility and very hands on as you may expect, with booklets and activities for children to complete around the centre. Highly recommend a visit or two.
After another great day we arrived at our accommodation, Days Inn by Wyndham Sevenoaks Clacket Lane (read our review here), close to Gatwick Airport (about 25 kms away) and because it is part of the Wyndham Group, who we used so extensively throughout America, we still had some rewards points we could use for this stay, making it completely free. In the evening we caught up with our friend Natalie one last time for dinner and retrieved our larger bags that she had kindly looked after while we toured Ireland and Scotland with just our carry ons.
The following morning we quickly and easily returned the rental car to Hertz at Gatwick Airport 48 hours after picking it up in Edinburgh and continued our European adventures by flying to Portugal.
Average Daily Spend for 2 nights – $184.80 NZD ($45.20 under budget per day).