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Driving to Dover from the NW - M1 or M40? Which way round the M25?!

(14 Posts)
ThereMustAndShallBeTea Sun 19-Jul-15 11:59:25

We're driving down to Dover from Cheshire in a couple of weeks to get the ferry to France.

Google maps is giving me the choice of two, which both take the same length of time (subject to traffic, obviously) but one is marginally longer than the other.

One route is M6 toll, M40, then anti-clockwise round the M25.
Other is M6 toll, M1, then clockwise round M25.

We'll be travelling during the day on a Wednesday.

I have no idea what the M1 is like or whether one way round the M25 is more problematic than the other - very grateful for any advice!

I am very sorry for this extremely dull question grin

Iwantacampervan Sun 19-Jul-15 13:16:23

I personally wouldn't do the M6 toll unless there were roadworks/delays on the other motorways - I now tend to continue on M6 and then M42 to get to M40 or M5 and M42. M40 is usually fairly quiet but I only go as far as Oxford.
I can't advise on M25 as I rarely travel on it (if I can help it!) - clockwise you'll go over the Bridge (or tunnel).

ThereMustAndShallBeTea Sun 19-Jul-15 14:08:34

Why not the toll? I have done up and down the M6 a couple of hundred times and love the M6 toll with an intense passion grin but have usually done the trip at weekends so it might not be necessary during the week.

Iwantacampervan Sun 19-Jul-15 16:22:30

I have never found the traffic bad enough on the M6 to justify the toll road and cost - however, the services are good.

mrsmortis Wed 22-Jul-15 08:47:31

All things being equal I would go south on the M25. There are too many potential issues with the Dartford Crossing...

SanityClause Wed 22-Jul-15 08:57:28

Yes, but the other way, you have to go past both Heathrow and gatwick, which can be a royal PITA, mrsmortis.

marmaladegranny Wed 22-Jul-15 09:03:14

If you do the northern bit of the M25 you have the potential hassle of Dartford Crossing but once south of there you have the option of M2 or M20 to Dover which is very useful if Operation Stack suddenly closes M20 junctions 7 - 11 - and this has happened quite a bit recently.

CMOTDibbler Wed 22-Jul-15 09:07:07

I'd do M40 and clockwise M25. The M40 is rarely really bad, and the northern section of the m25 is much better than the southern

wanderings Wed 22-Jul-15 09:07:26

Keep using Google Maps to check traffic. If you have a smartphone, get someone to keep checking while you travel. Which route is best really does depend on how the traffic is that day, and whether any accidents have happened.

Dartford Crossing southbound is not usually that bad, now the booths have gone, but check. (Northbound can be worse sometimes, as tankers and other "dangerous" vehicles sometimes need to be escorted through the tunnel, presumably while the other traffic is stopped.) Remember of course to pay the Dart charge online.

Going the other way round M25 has the disadvantage of going past Heathrow; frequently slow.

Keep checking for the dreaded "Operation Stack" on the M20; if it is on, usually the electronic signs mention it. One possible alternative is the M2 (another reason for going via Dartford), and staying on it until near Canterbury, but as always, Google Maps is your friend.

BishopBrennansArse Wed 22-Jul-15 09:11:52

I much prefer M40 to M1

RiverTam Wed 22-Jul-15 09:18:21

I would always do the toll M6 and then the M40. I wouldn't drive on the M1 unless I absolutely had to.

Addictedtomaltesers Wed 22-Jul-15 09:24:27

You will have to check on the day as there is nearly always a problem somewhere. The M25 is generally always slow anticlockwise between jct 15 at Heathrow and about junction 10. We did a similar journey last Friday and opted to go round the North of the M25 due to 2 lots of traffic jams on the south section. We still went round to the M40 tho which is only another 15 mins ish past the M1

Bunbaker Wed 22-Jul-15 09:31:49

TrafficEngland is your friend. Also I would make sure you have TA on the car radio for up to date traffic announcements.

The default position would be to go via Dartford, but be prepared to divert via Heathrow if there has been an accident. So just keep your options open.

cestlavielife Wed 22-Jul-15 15:23:54

M1, then clockwise round M25.

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