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Traveling from Holyhead to Plymouth!

  • 22-07-2019 10:33pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 22 no88y


    Hi all, my family and I are traveling from Holyhead to Plymouth next week, on Google maps it says that it will take nearly 6 and a half hours!! I checked going via Snowdonia and the journey time has reduced to just over 5 hours!! Can anybody recommend this route??
    Thanks in advance ðŸ™


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,769 ✭✭✭ my3cents


    I do Pembroke Dock to Plymouth about 6 times a year and its a 5 hour trip, no way around it. Can't see how you'd get from Holyhead to Plymouth in 5 hours. Basically you just want the fastest route to the M5. So either A5 and onto the M54 which I suspect is the shortest route or A55 to the M56 or one of the many in between routes. I really don't know the A5 and it depends when you are travelling day or night but its the route I'd go.

    Really the whole thing is one of those "if I was going to Plymouth I wouldn't start from Hollyhead type jokes".

    Give my regards to the A38 and don't forget to make a trip to Trago Mills :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 22 no88y


    my3cents wrote: »
    I do Pembroke Dock to Plymouth about 6 times a year and its a 5 hour trip, no way around it. Can't see how you'd get from Holyhead to Plymouth in 5 hours. Basically you just want the fastest route to the M5. So either A5 and onto the M54 which I suspect is the shortest route or A55 to the M56 or one of the many in between routes. I really don't know the A5 and it depends when you are travelling day or night but its the route I'd go.

    Really the whole thing is one of those "if I was going to Plymouth I wouldn't start from Hollyhead type jokes".

    Give my regards to the A38 and don't forget to make a trip to Trago Mills :)

    Basically I put into Google maps "Holyhead to Snowdonia" and it comes up with 34 minutes, then "Snowdonia to Plymouth" 4hrs 35 minutes crossing the Severn bridge, where as when I type "Holyhead to Plymouth" it comes up with 6hrs 23 minutes...
    I've done Holyhead to Northampton a good few times and have always used the same route but never through Snowdonia so am just wondering what that road/route is like.


  • Registered Users Posts: 252 ✭✭ markest


    no88y wrote:
    Basically I put into Google maps "Holyhead to Snowdonia" and it comes up with 34 minutes, then "Snowdonia to Plymouth" 4hrs 35 minutes crossing the Severn bridge, where as when I type "Holyhead to Plymouth" it comes up with 6hrs 23 minutes... I've done Holyhead to Northampton a good few times and have always used the same route but never through Snowdonia so am just wondering what that road/route is like.


    Used to do Northampton to Holyhead a lot too. Pre A55, used M54 then A5 through Snowdonia. Was fine in good weather but single carriage way so, can get stuck behind traffic, especially caravans at this time of year. I would take A55 M56 M6 nowadays.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,607 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    no88y wrote: »
    Basically I put into Google maps "Holyhead to Snowdonia" and it comes up with 34 minutes, then "Snowdonia to Plymouth" 4hrs 35 minutes crossing the Severn bridge, where as when I type "Holyhead to Plymouth" it comes up with 6hrs 23 minutes...
    The reason is that "Holyhead to Snowdonia" takes you to the entrance to the national park nearest to Holyhead, which is the Braichmelyn entrance. "Snowdonia to Plymouth", however, starts from the national park exit nearest to Plymouth, which is at Machynlleth. By adding the two times together, you fail to account for the time required to travel through the national park, from Braichmelyn to Machynlleth - a distance of 100 km, which according to Google will take you 1 hr 31 mins, presumably because of the nature of the terrain in the national park, and the narrowness of the roads.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,922 ✭✭✭✭ Alun


    Speaking as someone who's done the scenic route through the middle of Wales from Holyhead to the M4/Severn Bridge before, although it is a pretty route in places and marginally shorter, it will, depending on the date and time of day be very frustrating and quite a bit slower. I did it in an open top MX-5 mid-week in September and it was great, but on a hot weekend in August with a car full of kids it could be a less than agreeable experience.

    You would have been far better off getting the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke Dock and driving along the south coast of Wales to get to the Severn Bridge, but it's too late now!

    If you want to get an idea of a route (there are a few options) just grab and drag a point on the route via the M6/M5 to somewhere like the A470 south of Machynlleth.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,263 ✭✭✭ robyntmorton


    Also something to consider: Having witnessed it as a foot passenger, the queue to exit the port of holyhead can be horrendous, especially if you happen to get both Irish Ferries and Stena offloading together. The exit of the port is on the opposite side of the railway to the dual carriageway, and theres just a few traffic lights in the way.


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 9,289 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatInABox


    Wouldn't recommend going off the main roads, to be honest, not if you're in a hurry. The route is has some stunning scenery, but it's very twisty, very narrow in places.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,769 ✭✭✭ my3cents


    no88y wrote: »
    Basically I put into Google maps "Holyhead to Snowdonia" and it comes up with 34 minutes, then "Snowdonia to Plymouth" 4hrs 35 minutes crossing the Severn bridge, where as when I type "Holyhead to Plymouth" it comes up with 6hrs 23 minutes...
    I've done Holyhead to Northampton a good few times and have always used the same route but never through Snowdonia so am just wondering what that road/route is like.

    Once you are in Snowdonia the sensible route is via the A5 not the "scenic" route all down single track roads through Wales and over the Seven Bridge. On the map it looks a lot longer but its the quickest way to get to the M6.

    Quickest route seems to be A55 > M56 > M6 ( then obviously M4> A38) its the longest, however it should allow you to get your foot down. If you can manage a steady 70mph on the motorway then its still over 6 hours.

    (Sorry mentioned M4 in my earlier post thats the road I use from Pembroke dock should have said M6 :o)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Irish Steve


    Family live in Exeter, which is about 40 minutes short of Plymouth, we've done this journey on a regular basis for over 25 years, and everything will depend on which sailing you are on, which ship and which day you are travelling.

    If you're on the Irish Ferries cruise ship, getting out of Holyhead will indeed be slow, as Stena docks first, so the queue to get out of the port will be lengthy, albeit that with the A55 now dual, once out, you will be moving at a good speed, it used to take over an hour to cross the island.

    For what it's worth, there is not a lot of advantage to use the motorway for the whole trip, as getting to the M6 can take some time, the best route we've found over the years is to go A55 as far as Chester, (not into Chester), then head for Whitchurch, (there's a reasonable cafe there at Sainsbury's for a break if you're not on the overnight, then head for Birmingham via the M54 to the M6/M5, and then there's no choice other than to accept whatever the M5 throws at you, which on the wrong day at the wrong time will not be a lot of fun. It's a lot less stress than the M6 to Birmingham, and rarely takes longer than going Motorway all the way.

    I've done Holyhead to Exeter in under 4 hours, but that was on a night crossing into Holyhead in the middle of February with good travelling conditions, and "massaging" the needle some, but on a bad day, with the inevitable delays around Birmingham, it will be a lot longer.

    That may not be what you want to hear, but the reality is that any route into the West Country during August will be busy, with a lot of caravans on the move, which makes for a lot of bunching or worse on the motorway, and if there's any sort of incident, the queues build up very quickly.

    I've also done the various routes across Wales to the Severn crossings and then onward, if you've plenty of time to spare, and like attractive scenery, then across Snowdonia can't be beaten, but it will add at least an hour to the journey on a good day if you then go A5 to Birmingham and then take the motorway, a lot longer on a bad day, especially if you go right across Wales to the Severn crossing.

    Anything less than 5 hours 30 to Plymouth will be a bonus, but on the wrong day, it could well be closer to 8 or even longer, due to the holiday traffic.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 22 no88y


    Family live in Exeter, which is about 40 minutes short of Plymouth, we've done this journey on a regular basis for over 25 years, and everything will depend on which sailing you are on, which ship and which day you are travelling.

    If you're on the Irish Ferries cruise ship, getting out of Holyhead will indeed be slow, as Stena docks first, so the queue to get out of the port will be lengthy, albeit that with the A55 now dual, once out, you will be moving at a good speed, it used to take over an hour to cross the island.

    For what it's worth, there is not a lot of advantage to use the motorway for the whole trip, as getting to the M6 can take some time, the best route we've found over the years is to go A55 as far as Chester, (not into Chester), then head for Whitchurch, (there's a reasonable cafe there at Sainsbury's for a break if you're not on the overnight, then head for Birmingham via the M54 to the M6/M5, and then there's no choice other than to accept whatever the M5 throws at you, which on the wrong day at the wrong time will not be a lot of fun. It's a lot less stress than the M6 to Birmingham, and rarely takes longer than going Motorway all the way.

    I've done Holyhead to Exeter in under 4 hours, but that was on a night crossing into Holyhead in the middle of February with good travelling conditions, and "massaging" the needle some, but on a bad day, with the inevitable delays around Birmingham, it will be a lot longer.

    That may not be what you want to hear, but the reality is that any route into the West Country during August will be busy, with a lot of caravans on the move, which makes for a lot of bunching or worse on the motorway, and if there's any sort of incident, the queues build up very quickly.

    I've also done the various routes across Wales to the Severn crossings and then onward, if you've plenty of time to spare, and like attractive scenery, then across Snowdonia can't be beaten, but it will add at least an hour to the journey on a good day if you then go A5 to Birmingham and then take the motorway, a lot longer on a bad day, especially if you go right across Wales to the Severn crossing.

    Anything less than 5 hours 30 to Plymouth will be a bonus, but on the wrong day, it could well be closer to 8 or even longer, due to the holiday traffic.

    Thank you Steve, we're on Irish ferries and dock into Holyhead this Saturday morning at 11:30am!!!!
    Have used the Chester then Whitchurch many times (as am from Northampton but moved to Ireland in 05) and am considering this route..

    Wish me luck!!!


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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Irish Steve


    OK, 11:30 arrival is the cruise ferry, but the good news is that I have just checked, and as a result of some recent schedule changes that probably relate to the introduction this year of the WB Yeats on the France route from Dublin, Irish Ferries now gets into Holyhead first, but on a Saturday, they may also be using the drop down car decks, so the offload may be somewhat slower, though the Ulysses is not bad in that respect.

    Whitchurch seems to work better than going down the A5, but there's not a lot in it, and it's better than going all the way across to the M6 at Warrington. It may be worth listening to the car radio traffic reports, and if the M6/M5 in Birmingham is really bad, there may be a case for going cross country from the M54 to Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, to then join the M5 south of Birmingham and avoiding the M6/M5 junction area, but ideally, a GPS will make that sort of avoidance a LOT easier to do.

    The downside will be Birmingham onwards, though hopefully, most of the holiday changeover traffic will be at least a couple of hours ahead of you, but it will still be relatively slower going down the M5, and from Bristol onwards is likely to be tedious, as the caravans up the hill after Avonmouth will reduce the capacity significantly, even though it's now been upgraded to have an extra lane, there's something about the mentality of caravan draggers that means that even though they're only doing 5 mph more than the one ahead of them, they HAVE to pull out and overtake, which then means at least 2 lanes doing a lot lower speed than normal, it only takes one to then use lane 3, and what's left gets very congested and slow going, which then has a knock on effect further back. From Exeter onwards to Plymouth, the A38 is mostly 2 lane dual carriageway, with some pretty big hill climbs, that also have a bad effect on things, so all I can say is that it is likely that it will take longer than the 6 Hrs 30 that Google maps is showing me for Saturday.

    I will indeed wish you luck, we're also going to Exeter in a few weeks time, though I have to admit, I tend to go over via Rosslare- Pembroke, on the evening sailing, we usually get to Exeter about 04:30, and then coming back, we do Holyhead Dublin on the overnight, as it means getting home several hours earlier, though that's going to have changed a bit now that the new section of the M11 is open at the southern end.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ blackwhite


    Family live in Exeter, which is about 40 minutes short of Plymouth, we've done this journey on a regular basis for over 25 years, and everything will depend on which sailing you are on, which ship and which day you are travelling.

    If you're on the Irish Ferries cruise ship, getting out of Holyhead will indeed be slow, as Stena docks first, so the queue to get out of the port will be lengthy, albeit that with the A55 now dual, once out, you will be moving at a good speed, it used to take over an hour to cross the island.

    That's no longer true. Timetables have changed in the last year or so, and Irish Ferries now depart and arrive approx 20 min ahead of Stena this year. Got caught earlier in the year when we travelled with Stena and were almost 40 min getting out of Holyhead.

    Used to use the Swift, but the new earlier departure time means it's a bit too early to be getting up for :D


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Irish Steve


    blackwhite wrote: »
    That's no longer true. Timetables have changed in the last year or so, and Irish Ferries now depart and arrive approx 20 min ahead of Stena this year. Got caught earlier in the year when we travelled with Stena and were almost 40 min getting out of Holyhead.

    Used to use the Swift, but the new earlier departure time means it's a bit too early to be getting up for :D

    Spotted that and posted an according update, I suspect it's related to the introduction of the WB Yeats on the French route from Dublin, but whatever the reason, it's a welcome change, but the real improvement would be to fundamentally change the internal road layout at Holyhead, which could have been done when the HSS was scrapped, there's a whole area there that's now redundant. The road layout to get in and out of the port area is dire, and does nothing to help the flow of traffic out of the port.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ blackwhite


    Spotted that and posted an according update, I suspect it's related to the introduction of the WB Yeats on the French route from Dublin, but whatever the reason, it's a welcome change, but the real improvement would be to fundamentally change the internal road layout at Holyhead, which could have been done when the HSS was scrapped, there's a whole area there that's now redundant. The road layout to get in and out of the port area is dire, and does nothing to help the flow of traffic out of the port.

    The old HSS queuing area is currently set aside for additional customs space in case of Brexit going even more pear-shaped. In any event - all that space would do is give more space for queuing in!

    Funnelling all the traffic through the roundabout, and then straight to traffic lights 100m later is the root of a lot of the problems there.

    The road design is aimed at traffic into the town, instead of into the port. A major redesign with the dual carriageway running straight from the port roundabout, with a new bridge over the railway and a free flow merge onto the current dual carriageway is the only kind of solution that would free up the port.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,726 ✭✭✭ Marcusm


    Also something to consider: Having witnessed it as a foot passenger, the queue to exit the port of holyhead can be horrendous, especially if you happen to get both Irish Ferries and Stena offloading together. The exit of the port is on the opposite side of the railway to the dual carriageway, and theres just a few traffic lights in the way.

    Exiting the port by car is dead easy and rarely involves a delay unless you are chosen for a search. I have done it maybe 50 times over 6 years. All of the ferry types and sailings.


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