Driving in the UK is incredibly easy, as long as you can navigate the roundabouts! Drivers are polite and actually let you merge and change lanes, and if you’re from Australia or New Zealand you will feel right at home driving on the left. You don’t need an international driver’s license; your home license will work just fine.
We drove from Edinburgh to York on a frosty British day, and although we were a little scared about driving on icey roads we shouldn’t have worried. The roads are treated to prevent black ice forming.
It takes about four hours to make the trip on the A1, which is quite a scenic route. You’ll see some Scottish coastline and have the opportunity to stop off at multiple castles or cute little towns.
Days are short during winter, and the sun is usually up between 9 – 3pm. It’s a lot easier driving on country roads during the day so don’t stretch your drive out too much!
Follow the A1 from Edinburgh to York.
Instead of hiring a GPS unit we just used Google Maps on an iPhone for directions. If you’re from overseas make sure you’re using a local sim card with a decent data allowance or you’ll be charged a fortune by your home phone company.
Where To Stop
This island is connected to the mainland by a causeway which can only be driven across for part of the day. Check the tide times before you cross, otherwise you may find yourself trapped! You are rewarded with a charming little town with great scenery and views. We didn’t spend too long here, just had a short walk around the Priory and some of the streets. It is about an hour and a half from Edinburgh.
The home of Hogwarts – or at least, the Hogwarts from the first two Harry Potter movies. You’ll recognize Alnwick Castle from the scene where Harry learned to fly. There are a huge number of cafes and restaurants to eat at. The castle is closed over winter, but you can walk behind it and get a good look from the street. It is just under two hours from Edinburgh.
Approximately four hours, longer with stops.
We made the trip in a manual Toyota AYGO, which is a tiny little car. In York we switched to a Toyota Auris (similar to a Corolla).