Following on from my post two week’s ago about association football, The Sporting View is returning to safe ground. Travel. I travel a fair amount, not always through choice but I do enjoy being on the road, in the air, on the rail (is that a thing?), but never on the bus unless it’s the mega sleeper bus from Glasgow to London with John the Driver Driving.
Last year we discussed service stations at length. Tonight we are discussing WHICH IS THE BEST MOTORWAY?.
First we need to look at the criteria around what makes a good motorway. Here are some of my tips for being a good motorway;
1. You must, repeat must, be 3 lanes
2. Service stations must be regular and be of acceptable standard (see http://thesportingview.com/2013/06/)
3. The views must be pleasant
Here are a few things we don’t like;
1. A roads with (M) designations, for example; A1(M)
2. Two lanes
3. Variable speed limits
4. Short motorways, for example; M58 which has no junction 2
5. Regularly suffers from traffic sadnessSo, what are the top 3 Motorways in the UK?
Firstly, A honorable mention goes to the M3. It just missed out on a place in the top 3 due to the 2 lane section (junction 8-9).
The M6 (including the toll section)
This is a controversial choice but let’s look at the evidence. It is very long. So long that it is the longest motorway in the UK. This makes it useful and we all like useful things. It is consistently 3 lanes and even stretches to 4 lanes just north of Thelwall Viaduct and the views in the Lake District are as spectacular as they come. There is a slightly above average set of service stations. Westmorland being the obvious choice both north and southbound. The toll section, although expensive, provides some of the most pain free motoring in the UK and with Norton Canes services, you can get a good costa coffee to see you all the way to Cumbria. Sure, the M6 is busy and no more so than between junctions 15 and 21 (every day) but if you time it right you can just about miss it and it always tends to move unless there is a real problem.
Another controversial choice, it seems that motorways are a controversial subject. The M4 is 191.9 miles long meaning you can travel a fair distance. It also spans both England and Wales, travels over an excellent bridge (you have to pay travelling westbound) and features 2 of the 3 four-level stack interchanges in the UK, the other being the junction of the M25/M23. Travelling out of London, the M4 Westbound is generally the easiest option, it flows well and once past Heathrow and Slough it opens up towards Reading and the beautiful Berkshire countryside. The Motorway goes through the rolling countryside of Wiltshire then Bristol, the River Severn and then Wales where it travels all the way to Llanelli. By travelling the M4, you truly see some of the landscape which makes Britain great.
THE WINNER AND BEST MOTORWAY
There was only going to be one winner. Despite being only 89 miles long, the M40 is Britain’s best motorway. Starting from London where the A40 becomes the M40, a swift 4 lane section takes you past Beaconsfield Services, officially the best services in the UK before speeding past High Wycombe and through that bit which was on the opening titles of The Vicar of Dibley (Stokenchurch Gap) to provide one of the best vistas on the motorway network. The view travelling north out over Lindsey Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is quite simply stunning. The rolling Oxfordshire countryside offiers a gentle and soothing view, helping drivers relax before hitting the quite awful M42 or M5. Another reason the M40 is Britain’s best motorway is the quality of service station. Aside from the sublime Beaconsfield, drivers can do no wrong stopping at Warwick, Cherwell Valley or even Oxford. I had previously described Oxford as a complete dump but having recently refreshed there on a number of occasions I would now rate it as one of the top service stations in the country. Now, the M40 does have some traffic sadness, junction 10 can be a disaster zone, especially when events are taking place at Silverstone. Motorways do get busy from time to time, even the wonderful M40. If I’m going to be stuck in traffic though, I’d rather it was on the M40 than any other motorway in the UK.