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M4/M5 or A303?

(29 Posts)
ameliagrey Wed 03-Aug-11 20:05:57

Bling suggests that the best way to mid Devon is via the m25 then M3 and A303.

would anyone agree as I last went via M4 and M5.

mummymeister Wed 03-Aug-11 20:08:01

I always travel M4/M5 but do try if at all poss not to travel on a Saturday during school hols as it can be a nightmare. the problem with the 303 is that if there are any hold ups it is difficult to get past them. have you tried the aa website to see what they say about it?

Meglet Wed 03-Aug-11 20:09:15

I prefer the 'pretty' way on the A303, but I haven't done it during a busy period for years.

Driving past Stonehenge and through the Blackdown Hills is so holiday-ish smile.

Chipotle Wed 03-Aug-11 20:10:44

Yep that is the best way... But if at all possible avoid doing it on a Friday or Saturday. At a lot of points the A303 goes single lane and it creates terrible traffic jams. Also at the moment they are doing roundabout works at Amesbury and it frequently results in traffic chaos around there.

hocuspontas Wed 03-Aug-11 20:14:03

This year we have travelled to Exeter and back quite a few times and to date have never been held up on the A303 although we are always prepared for it! We usually travel on Saturday morning but not in the school holidays. At the back of my mind there is one horrendous trip a few years ago when the whole of the M5 from Bath to Exeter came to a standstill which is why we always go the other way! But tbh I don't think there's much in it.

littlewater Wed 03-Aug-11 20:17:36

A303 takes longer and prettier. The M5 faster, plenty of stops alone the way, the only problem is caravans. Also watch out for Holden hill ( the really steep one)

As someone that lives in Devon I always use the M5.


NevermindtheNargles Wed 03-Aug-11 20:21:45

M4/M5 - business

A303 - pleasure

NevermindtheNargles Wed 03-Aug-11 20:21:46

M4/M5 - business

A303 - pleasure

sittinginthesun Wed 03-Aug-11 20:24:10

We cane M4/5 last Friday. We were planning to come off at Exeter and pick up A303 but the queue to come off the motorway was massive.

strandednomore Wed 03-Aug-11 20:24:34

When we go down the M5 to north Devon on a Saturday in the summer we always sit in traffic for hours.
Next week, I'm getting the dd's up at 6am and setting off then (even if it is on a Monday!).
A303 can be trafficky too, but I agree it's prettier.

littlewater Wed 03-Aug-11 20:25:48

The M5 finishs at Exeter.


BerryLellow Wed 03-Aug-11 20:27:00

I lose the will to live on the A303, so stop/starty.

Agree the key with M5 is being early/overnight. Also the A30, but you might not come down that far.

Muckyhighchair Wed 03-Aug-11 20:53:05

I live in Devon

M5 a must, it then turns into the a30 heading to oakhampton (mid devon)

If you get you stuck on the a30, get off on the next junction and head the way you are going. You will crisscross cross the a30 all the way down. You can even see the a30 about 95% of the time, and the roads are fairly good and straight.

I really can't see the point in people jus sitting on the a30, get off the road and move

gallicgirl Wed 03-Aug-11 21:00:24

A303 is prettier and it's easier to make stops IMO.

It's also a lot better for fuel consumption as there is a 50mph speed limit for a good proportion of the route.

sittinginthesun Wed 03-Aug-11 21:35:03

Lw, blimey, shows how much attention I was paying! A30? it was a fast big road, DH was driving, planned to turn off at Exeter and go down the A303, saw the queue and said, no way, M5. Does that make sense?

mumofsussex Wed 03-Aug-11 21:38:25

I drove down to Teignmouth a few weeks ago and went M25/M3/A303 and it was mostly ok apart from slight delays by Stonehenge (both ways) which was probably just down to people slowing down to look.

Thandeka Wed 03-Aug-11 21:41:47

Haha bill bailey has this exact question in a show. Always makes me giggle. A303 always if Somerset bound. H always says it and satnav agrees with him!

Oblomov Wed 03-Aug-11 21:52:24

Where exactly are you going OP ? And from where ?
I live in Surrey, on M25. My best frind lives in Torquay, Devon. And I originally come from Devon, and my mum lives near Oxford. My brother lives near Bristol.
So , apart from giving you my life history ( !!) I was trying to explain that I travel alot, all over the place, on the M25, M4, M5, A303 for years.

I agree with the other posters. Whilst the A303 is prettier, and stonehenge is good, it is a truely awful road. And i nearly always get stuck behind some tractor or something, with just nowhere to pass.

The M4, M5 always 'seems' twice as quick. although its not actually. But then i actually like motorway driving. I drive reasonably fast, normally in the outside lane.

what kind of driving do you like ? if you quite enjoy motorway driving, as opposed to scenic, I would STRONGLY recommend the M4 M5.

FriskyBivalves Wed 03-Aug-11 21:59:43

I'm an M4/M5-er too. Mainly because there is a truly vile bit of the A303 where it's basically single carriageway but with one overtaking lane in the middle that each side of the road takes it in turns to use IYSWIM. what this means in practice is you always get total knob-ends doing mad fast surges to get past caravans or just generally slower movers (ie, me) as the overtaking lane is about to come to an end. I once narrowly escaped the most godawful pile-up by skin of my front bumper. Avoided it ever since. Also dangerous as you go past turn to shepton mallet and the mulberry factory shop! Terrible temptations there...

tvfriend Wed 03-Aug-11 22:04:49

A303 fan here especially if on my own with DCs as so easy to pull in for loo/snacks/DVD change etc etc but they are both very young. Did the trip last week and virtually no trouble either way- went on Monday and back on Friday. Got to get your days and timings right though...

ameliagrey Thu 04-Aug-11 08:42:18

I am heading to Honiton.

last trip I went to Sidmouth -ish area and took M25, M4, M5 and it was fine. Came off M5 at Exeter junction and travelled back east for a bit. Took 4 hrs.

Bling is suggesting M3/ A303 and saying it would take 3 hours.

The journey is not until late Sept outside of school hols, but I could travel either Friday or Saturday- or even Sunday.

Looking at map, not sure if there is a slip road off M5 near Honiton, or if the A road there goes under the motorway.

ameliagrey Thu 04-Aug-11 08:45:01

Oblomov I like motorway driving, but am unsure about which junction you can leave M5 to get to Honiton.

any ideas?

tallulah Thu 04-Aug-11 08:53:56

We always found A303 an easier journey.

Whichever way you go don't travel Friday afternoon. You won't move.

AgonyBeetle Thu 04-Aug-11 09:09:24

Another Devonian who wouldn't touch the A303 with a 10ft pole. Not for actually going a long distance, especially not in the summer, and especially not on a weekend.

The bottleneck on the m4/m5 route is the part just after you join the M5 heading southwards, around Bristol/Portishead/Gordano. The trick is to pass that bit before 8am in which case you're usually home and dry as most people leaving London or Birmingham for the Southwest won't set off till after breakfast. AFter about 9am the elevated section of the M5 onwards gets busy - especially on a summer weekend it's likely to be slow or very slow if you don't time it right. But it's still better than the A303 where for most of the journey you're travelling at the speed of the slowest vehicle anywhere on the road, which can be tractor speed if you're unlucky. The overtaking sections are pretty brief and usually also congested, which often leads to people taking silly risks with overtaking. Not fun.

For Honiton you'd leave the M5 at Junction 28 and it's a fairly straight run. If the M5 in Devon is congested you can do a parallel route along the A38, but be warned, unless the M5 is actually completely closed, the A38 is unlikely to be quicker.

[voice of experience]

ameliagrey Thu 04-Aug-11 11:29:22

Thanks AB

Last time I sailed over the M4/M5 junction around Bristol although it was only 9.30 am on a Sunday- so will pick my time.

Looks like the M4/M5 wins the vote this time.

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