Directions and probably not very helpful comments after landing in Heathrow
First of all: ‘Welcome to the UK!’, the land of Queen Elizabeth and Boris Johnson, the home of mad sporting pursuits such as cricket (games last up to 5 days), of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Downton Abbey….
This is your route, normally taking around 3hrs 30m (not the grey one labelled 4hr 43min!):
I’m sure you will have satnav, either in the car or on a phone. If for any reason the blue route is not the route suggested by Google or your car satnav on the day it may be because the Prince of Wales Bridge after Bristol is closed. This is highly unlikely, but worth bearing in mind. In that case, I would try getting in touch with us or try to confirm that the bridge is closed before taking an alternative route. It is much longer.
Once you have your hire car you need to set your satnav to the postal address: The Old Rectory SA67 8UL. That should be enough. The full address is:
The Old Rectory
Pembrokeshire SA67 8UL
In case you need to contact The Old Rectory, their phone number is: (+44) 01834 831444
Owners’ names: Steve and Jane
Christian’s parents’ house: 01834 831241
Christian’s mobile: +32 484 510945
In case of real emergency, you can access all emergency services by dialling ‘999’ and asking for what you need (police, ambulance etc.)
I will give directions, but I don’t know where you are exactly starting from, so probably best to follow your satnav.
You need to get onto the M4 and head west.
If you leave Heathrow from terminal 3, it will look something like this:
But from other terminals you may need to join the M25 first:
The good news is once you are on the M4 heading west, you stay on this road for almost the whole journey.
There are service stations at regular intervals on the M4:
None of them is very special, so I would just stop when you feel the need. All of them have food. Toilets are free. Fuel is expensive, so avoid filling up the cars (you shouldn’t need it if they are full to start). Better to use local filling stations in Wales.
If you would like a break from the M4, there are a few interesting places close to the road.
1. STEAM (Near Junction 16)
I’ve not been to it, but STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway looks like a really interesting place. The Great Western Railway (GWR) is a very important historic railway route in the UK. It is also the train line Marina and I take to get to my parents’ house. The modern GWR has just updated its trains with new models made by Hitachi!
2. Dyrham Park (Near Junction 18)
If you would like to visit a beautiful English country house, I can certainly recommend this stop. The house was built in the 17th century and is set in a large estate of formal parkland, lake and pastures. It has been used as a location for several films and TV series. It’s also a bit closer to the half-way point of the journey and only minutes from the M4.
Marina mentioned that you might like to visit Cardiff, the capital of Wales. For this you can leave the M4 at junction 29, then follow the A48 until you get to North Road, which you follow south into the centre. Another way is to leave at Junction 32 and follow Northern Avenue directly into the centre. There are a number of things to see but a good starting place is Cardiff Castle. There is also the National Museum quite close by and other historic civic buildings. The shopping centre is also within walking distance. There is no carpark specifically for the Castle, so you will need to choose one of the many other carparks close by. Don’t worry if it’s not right next to the Castle on the map—the centre is quite small.
Please DON’T visit St. Fagan’s Folk Museum, which is near Cardiff. We will do that together on Tuesday.