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M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

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M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

Apologies if this has been asked, I tried to do a search and couldn't find so please let me know if I can find elsewhere.

I will be driving with my husband and in-laws from the Cotswolds to Edinburgh on a Friday in early June. It will be all of our first time in Britain/Scotland. The route appears to take us on the M6 just by the Lake District. It is obviously a long drive (6.5 hours without stops), but since we're so close, we thought it might be nice to take a 45-minute detour just to have a scenic drive into the district. Is this really feasible, and if so, any suggestions on a route?

Thank you in advance!

12 replies to this topic
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1. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

More like seven hours minimum but if you want a detour head for Kendal then up to Keswick and then back onto the motorway.

Lancaster
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2. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

Yes, come off at J36 and re-join at J40, probably add an hour onto your journey at off peak times.

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3. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

What alanwesten suggests is feasible but you need to know that in the Lakes, off the motorway, you will find single carriageway roads with lots of bends, ditches and possibly sheep, maximum 60mph speed limit. Also, Friday is usually busy on our roads, especially in the afternoon when people leave work early.

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4. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

"maximum 60mph speed limit" And you will be doing well to achieve that.

Manchester, United...
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5. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

<<we thought it might be nice to take a 45-minute detour just to have a scenic drive into the district>> I would not do a detour.

Friday is the worst day of the week for driving long-distance journeys in England; it will be stressful and tiring for the driver (who will need to concentrate all the time). Is it one or two drivers ?

Inevitably you will be taking the M5 and M6; both of those have some significant and frustrating roadworks that go on for miles and cause congestion.

I suspect that by the time you are approaching the Lake District area, you will all wish to be in Edinburgh asap.

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6. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

Just to amplify all that has been said above.

Come off the M6 at J36 on the A590, which becomes the A591. Ignore Kendal, carry on to Windermere. Here you have a choice. Stay on the A591 to Keswick, an easier drive, or take the A592 over the Kirkstone Pass, shorter and more scenic in my opinion. Rejoin the M6 at J40. Budget an extra hour over the M6, more if you stop. And, by the way, the section of the M6 that you by-pass is actually quite scenic through the Tebay Gorge.

And whatever you do, start early. I occasionally come down from the Lakes on a Friday afternoon, and in summer the M6 northbound can be jammed solid all the way from Preston to J36.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 06:06
Manchester, United...
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7. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

<<on a Friday afternoon, and in summer the M6 northbound can be jammed solid all the way from Preston to J36>.I wasn't even thinking of that section in my own reply.

M6 is often very congested between Birmingham and about Knutsford; and M5 has major roadworks approaching Birmingham area.

I agree - the earlier you leave on the Friday the better the chance of a half-decent run.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 06:14
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8. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

I'm afraid your 45 minute detour on a Friday in summer will be more like 90-120 minutes.

I would be aiming to get past Birmingham well before lunchtime. Between Birmingham and the M62 the motorway is extremely busy during the week.

The popular route as suggested above is M6 to J36/Windermere. And then you have a choice of going via Dunmail Raise/Grasmere or the Kirkstone Pass and Ullswater.

If you don't want to take that detour due to time constraints you won't be disappointed even if you stay on the M6. Once you pass J36 the motorway begins to climb higher and becomes quite twisty. The scenery also becomes more dramatic. You could, if you wish, carry on to the Keswick turnoff and do a loop of Keswick instead. On the way in via the A66 you'll get some more amazing views of the northern fells including Blencathra on your right.

Just another option.

BTW, once you're in Scotland I would recommend taking the A702 to Edinburgh rather than going via Glasgow - it's a lot more scenic.

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9. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

Although I agree with some of the others that a detour into the Lakes would be more trouble than it was worth, a section spent away from the relentless motorway on a long journey is nevertheless a good idea.

Here's a worthwhile non-Lakes suggestion, about halfway along your otherwise fairly dull journey.

Turn off the M6 at Junction 34 and turn right along the A683, through the attractive Lune Valley to the old town of Kirkby Lonsdale. Here you could park your car by the ancient Devil's Bridge and have a picnic or park in town, explore its old streets a little and stroll along the Church Brow for splendid views over the fells. There are plenty of places to eat or drink and you can return to the M6 along the A65 to Junction 36.

This is genuinely a short detour but would give you a refreshing change and give you a glimpse of a charming non-Cotswold, north country town.

Lancaster
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10. Re: M6 Detour on way to Edinburgh

Hi Dana, a lot of good posts above. It would be a shame to be so close to the Lake District and at least not pass through. I would suggest leaving M6 at J36 taking A590, A591 and A595, by way of Ambleside, Keswick and Carlisle, passing lakes of Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Thirlmere and Bassenthwaite. This detour adds an hour to the journey and is slightly shorter than the alternative Lake District diversions.

I suggest you have plan A, B and C options. Friday can be a busy day for travelling. Monitor your journey time and if making good progress, take the diversion through the Lakes. The Kirkby Lonsdale alternative would make a fabulous standby (30 minute diversion), or if lacking time, continue on up the M6. Good luck with the traffic.

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