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Hi all,
I am getting my van on thursday and and doing a test run to france for the weekend of the 27th. I have only just realised that it is a bank holiday after I booked everything :?

I have a couple of questions if anyone can advise please. I know there are some requirements for france such as fire extinguisher, GB plate, spare bulbs etc. Does anyone have a full list please, or a pointer to a site which can help.

As I am travelling on the thursday is traffic likely to be a problem.
I am coming from Nottingham and taking the Eurotunnel. I have to check in by 17:28. Any advise on routes to take to avoid traffic/low bridges/narrow lanes etc please. This will be my first real trip in control of a vehicle this size so any advice would be gratefully recieved.

Thanks all,
Cheers Karl
 

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Traffic, we find is always okish on the Thurs - so you should be ok. Have a great trip in your new motorhome!! Why not "google" the information you require? Would help if I could but we need loads of advice in readiness for our trip in Dec..! Any good sites etc and hints would be greatfully accepted!! Bon Voyage!! Ana xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here is what I have found so far.
Requirements or recommended
Fire Extinguisher
Triangle, to be placed 30 mtrs behind in case of accident/breakdown
GB sticker or EU style reg plate.
Documents (license, insurance, vehicle reg docs)
Spare Bulbs
Light Adjusters
First Aid Kit

Here is a handy link for requirements
http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/overseas/compulsory_equipment.html

Note if you are going to spain, 2 triangles are recommended

Lights on or off during the day. It is confusing but this article seems to explain it best.
http://www.bonjourparis.com/publications/articles.php?articleId=1948

Don't forget to get your E111 form??? I need to look into this :?

Note it is illegal to drive in france with missing lights. Even if you have spares in the vehicle (ie just blown) you will still be fined. Best to check round the vehicle daily.

I will keep hunting, if I have missed anything or got it wrong please let me know.

Just wondering what the traffic will be like on the way back. Not too bothered however as I am not in a rush and will have my tea brewing kit to hand :D
 

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Hi Karl

I see that you live in Nottingham.
We live in Loughborough and make the journey to France 3 or 4 times a year although we use the ferry from Dover rather than Eurotunnel.

We never use the M1 heading south but always now go east for the A1.
Then it is A1, A1M, A14, M11, M25-Dartford crossing-M25 and the M20.

We found the M1 to be unpredictable as far as traffic and hold-ups were concerned and regularly do the 200 miles to Dover using our route in under 4 hours although you will no doubt want to take longer.
There is a service area at Stanstead (100 miles for us) on the M11 and Maidstone services on the M20 which is not far from the Eurotunnel.
The route is dual carriageway once you get onto the A1.

Traffic is usually heavy on the A14 but keeps moving.
The traffic builds as you approach the M25 and the M25 is always busy!
At the Dartford crossing we try to move right as we cross the river and approach the booths on the south bank.
After leaving the booths get across to the right hand lane (or next to RH lane) and STAY THERE until you have passed the A2 junction. (This prevents the madmen trying to cut across you because they've left it late!)
After the A2 the traffic eases and you have a couple of miles to the M20.

We usually stop at the Maidstone services although the area set aside for caravans/motorhomes isn't very big and cars can be a nuisance.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if there is anything else you think I may be able to help with.
Have you got a site to stay?
 

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Don't forget your high visibility jackets ! Builder's merchants do a good line of them. Even though not strictly compulsary in France (yet ?) they are a really good thing - and you never know, you might push on to Italy !

Have a good trip.

G.
 

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Hi Gillian. Thats useful information, We were held up for a long time on the M25 last September. We are travelling down from the North West, when we get to the end of the M6 would you recommend going down the M1 or carry straight on to the M14, havent looked at the map, this might be a long way round? :? :?
Cheers Sid
 

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Hi Sid

I can't advise you on the use of the A14 from the M6/M1. I can only tell you that the A14 has been upgraded in the last few years as it is a main route for freight traffic to Harwich.

One other route you might consider.
We have friends who live in Oldbury (NW Birmingham) who met us at Maidstone Services to travel to France in June last year.
They travelled south on the M5, then M42 and M40 to the M25 and anti-clockwise to the M20. They had no problems and were at the meeting point well before us. This route cuts out the Dartford crossing.

Perhaps others with more knowledge of this route may add their comments.
 

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We used to travel down the M6 to M1 onto the M25 but have found that the M42 around bermingham to M40 to M25 and travel anti clockwise is the best route, reccommended to other fellow travellers with motorhomes and they also found it far quicker and less traffic hold ups.
 

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Thanks for that reply, Deirdre.

It was just what I was hoping for. Someone with personal knowledge of the route to give a view. It's so much better than me with my hearsay opinion.

Isn't this site great for the way it can help others? :lol:
 

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ladybird said:
We used to travel down the M6 to M1 onto the M25 but have found that the M42 around bermingham to M40 to M25 and travel anti clockwise is the best route, reccommended to other fellow travellers with motorhomes and they also found it far quicker and less traffic hold ups.
:idea: Hi

I do that route quite often cos my kids live in North Wales and we live in Bracknell.

Just a thought at the moment it might pay you to come off the M40 at either A34 to Newbury or J5 High Wycombe then- M4 to J10 slip across via Bracknell to M3 and then on to the M25 to Gatwick and on to Dover or wherever.

Have a great trip - we're off in June.

This will miss out the M25 roadworks between M4 and M3 you can get held up for anything up to an hour or 2 in heavy traffic.
 

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Best to avoid the A34 from the A40 to Newbury.It can get blocked up at the slightest thing and is often very slow around Oxford. There is a hold up virually every day and a bank holiday is prime time.

The High Wycombe turn is better.

G.
 

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Hi. I am travelling to Dover early in the morning, provided we are loaded in time. Its not an area (around Birmingham) that I know too well, so it is possible to have a definative route ? IE. take the A34 or not, I must say it will make a complete change to go around London anti-clockwise.
Cheers Sid
 

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Went on the J10 once (travelling via legoland) found it quite slow alot of lights and could easily slow you down, best to keep to the motorways you will get through them eventually.
 

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Thanks Diedre, We will bear that in mind, nothing worse than stopping and starting at lights especially in the middle of the night when there is not much traffic around.
Cheers Sid
 

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A lot depends on how early in the morning you travel and what time you hit certain points along the way.

The A34 round Oxford can be awful from about 8am to about 9.15 am and blocks up quickly if there are holdups or accidents along it or at the M40 junction at any time . It can also be a fast easy road ! The M4 can block around London for long periods at that time and be very slow travelling.

Similarly the M25 if you try it at rush hour can be a car park but half and hour either way can be a fairly fast easy drive.

We join the M40 at Oxford and go to the junction with the M25 and then round the M25 until you get to the M20 and on to Dover. It is easy and, if you do not try it at rush hours, quite quick and painless. If you allow plenty of time and are prepared to stop at a supermarket car park or a service station if things look busy then you should be OK.

Hope it workd out well for you

G
 

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If you should decide to use M6, A14 it is an easy route I use regularly to go to and from Birmingham from South Essex and is never a problem other than Birmingham itself which can be bypassed using the M6 toll road. Take care to enter the A14 slip road from the M6 and not follow onto the M1 which IMHO is diabolicle at most times from north of Luton down. There is normally a small build up of traffic as you approach Cambridge but it is normally free flowing but busy.
If you are going early the M11 carries commuter traffic into East London, from about 0745 but is ok and moving until after the M25 usually. The M25 traffic, in the main, on this strech of the road from the M11 to the Dartford crossing is going in the opposite direction heading for the M1 and the M4 to M3 and Heathrow / Staines snarlup. Once past the crossing it is as an earlier poster said keep right until past the A2 junctions and on to M20.
Easy route but you do have to pay for the Dartford crossing but its only £1.
The M40 is a good road but unfortunately you cannot avoid, without using minor roads, the daily snarlup betweenthe M40/ M25 Jcn 1a/15 and M25 Jcn12 which is a carpark most times despite the variable speed limits, which incidently if you exceed or change lanes where advised not to will take your photo and send you a nice letter asking for your driving licence!!
 

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I live west of Birmingham and always use M5, M42, M40, M25 anti-clockwise, M20 etc. So long as you avoid rush hours, it's never normally a problem. I avoid the M1 like the plague and at least the M40 route does give you alternatives if a snarl up does occur.
 
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