surviving the M25

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London, England

surviving the M25 London Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
648 reviews
Dec 28, 2007
The M25 is a road that can strike terror into the hearts of almost any Brit. It is essentially a large motorway (that's highway, to our American visitors) that circles London. Theoretically, anyway. I've seen it described as the world's largest car park, and sometimes that's true. But it's actually quite easy to drive on - mostly because you have so many other cars with you. These are my tips for surviving unfrazzled.

Allowing enough time

The M25 can clog, rapidly and impressively. allow far too much time, especially if you are going to the airport - it's better to be bored in the airport than watch your plane take off from the comfort of a ten mile queue. There are traffic updates on many radio stations, but they are often so used to horrific traffic they barely bother to report the jams unless they are seriously horrible.

Before you get on the road

There will be three lane roundabouts. If you are not used to them, because you are from Montana, then please bear in mind that unless they are controlled by lights, the guy already on the roundabout and approaching from your right hand side has right of way, and will take it too, probably at forty miles an hour. Never undertake someone on a roundabout unless you are totally sure he's not exiting. Don't make any assumptions about anyone - especially on the Essex section, people don't indicate.


UNdertaking - passing in the left hand lane - is illegal in the UK. That means if you do it the guy won't be checking his mirrors as carefully on that side and may try to pull in. Of course, white vans ignore this rule, so always check your mirrors.

Speed cameras

There are a lot of these, especially in the section with the variable speed limit near Gatwick. There are also speed average gantries in a lot of roadworks now, which means they time you from one side to another and you can't get away with breaking for the box.


There are only three fuel stations on the M25 itself - Thurrock, South Mimms, and Clackett Lane. All three are expensive and home to some of the most depressing cafes in the UK. But if you are low on gas, and don't have a flash sat nav that tells you where the nearest one on a feeder road is, you might find yourself quite short by the time you get to the next one.

Tourist Attractions within giving up and going somewhere else distance

Lakeside and Bluewater at the Thames (East) side - shopping

Windsor Castle at the M4 side - Castle, very historic

Epping, come off at the M11 - surprisingly pretty, decent Costa Coffee

Epping Forest - woodlands

Brentwood - another country park with some woods

Leeds Castle - come off in Kent, more historic things

Waltham Abbey - come off just over the Essex Border coming clockwise - historic Abbey
sarahelaine says:
No, it's just that white is the colour of choice for small independent delivery firms, plumbers, that kind of thing. THey tend to be very, very used to the roads, know exactly where they want to go, and be driving to impossible schedules. They have a bad reputation for driving very agressively, two inches off your tail lights, or up your inside. Bit of a law to themselves.
Posted on: Dec 30, 2007
sylviandavid says:
Why do white vans ignore the rule about passing on the left? Is that a joke and I'm too blond to get it????? What do black vans do? Sylvia
Posted on: Dec 29, 2007
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