Planning my journey ahead, some advice please? (Portmouth To Alton Towers/M6 toll?)
On the 23rd of June i'll be driving from Portsmouth to Alton Towers! (can't wait!!) but i'm getting a little confused as to what to do when it comes to the M6 Toll road. Is it recommened? I don't really mind paying an extra fiver if it means i'll have a nice, smooth drive with no traffic to worry about, but it is a Sunday and i'll be setting off at 6am, so would it just be worth avoiding it? If so, is it easily avoided? I've checked out both Google Maps and RAC route planners, each of them show around a 30 minute cut if I take the toll road, how accurate could I expect that to be?
Just so you know, this will be the furthest from home I've ever driven and I've never come across a Toll before so not sure what to expect.
Any reply would be great, thanks for the help in advance =)
I use the Toll M6 occasionally, and I find it can be worth it. There is usually less traffic. As to payment, the booth is at the very end of the Toll, although there are booths at all the 'off' junctions along its length. The booths are not manned, so it is quicker to make sure you have change. There are intercom systems and it takes a few minutes for a guy to bring change to you if you forget.
As you can see from the map, Alton Towers is in the middle of nowhere. It is, however, well signposted (brown signs) whichever way you choose. The 23rd June is a Sunday so traffic will not be a major consideration unless there is a problem on the motorway. To be honest the £3.00 toll is a minor expense compared with the petrol etc so I would use the toll and exit onto the A38 (a fast dual carriageway) and onto the A50 (also dual). Only when you turn North at Uttoxeter does the road become narrow and twisty. You will drive past the famous JCB factory.
If you really wanted to avoid the toll, keep to the left hand lane of the M42 after you pass the NEC and exit at J9. Take the first exit for Minworth (an urban road). Drive past the Severn Trent works on the left, and when you get to the A38, take the 3rd exit North. This links back to the route above. One possible reason to choose this route, is that there is an Asda superstore just near that roundabout for cheap petrol and, possibly, breakfast. Just take the second exit and drive a hundred metres or so.
The shortcut on the A511 from Derby, saves about 5 miles or so, but is slower and will save you no time.
The whole journey will take about four hours and I suggest that you plan a stop at Warwick Services on the M42.
Just a small mention of the unusual junction where the M40 joins the M42 (J3a). You should spot the Playboy Bunny Signs well in advance, telling you to stay in the left lane, even though you want to go right. If you do get it wrong, and many do, you can turn round at J3 a couple of miles West.
Last edited by Santa; 06-06-13 at 08:53.
Santa, it still feels strange to go left to turn right onto the M42. I wonder who thought that one up?
The junction was designed after the M42 was opened, the 3a Number gives the clue. The M40 was extended from Oxford to link up with the M42 as an alternative to the congested M1/M6 route, and I guess that the junction was the best compromise the engineers could come up with to link a new motorway with an existing one.
The famous sign: [IMG]http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/photo/m40/t05.jp*[/IMG] (substitute g for the *)
I strongly advise having a close look at this junction on Google Maps, and also at the junction where the M6 (Toll) parts company with the M42.
I also strongly advise filling up with cheap Portsmouth petrol before you set off.
Last edited by Santa; 06-06-13 at 08:57.
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