I am a 200 hours VFR pilot, not originally from the UK, and have been wondering about IFR for a while.
I would be very keen to be able to climb rapidly from Wycombe/Fairoaks, above weather (and hence in class A).
I have little interest in flying in proper IFR conditions and as such, would limit my flying to VFR Dep/Arr and potentially a layer crossing at say 3000 feet.
I am wondering if the EIR wouldn't be the best rating in my case.
I wanted to have your thoughts on when can you switch IFR after VFR take-off around London (EIR does not cover IFR departure, but can I say depart VFR from Fairoaks, fly 2 minutes and then switch to IFR / enter CAS)
Generally I want to understand if this EIR is suitable to just enjoy the Class A en-route and occasionally cross a layer.
I would counsel against the EIR for the very simple reason that once in IMC you cannot absolutely guarantee a safe route into VMC. For that reason, whilst having to take an instrument departure is optional, you absolutely need the ability to fly an instrument approach. This is a much harder thing to do than flying en-route in IMC, but you absolutely must have the ability to do it.
Here in the UK we do have another rating, the IR(R) - it requires less training and less exam load, and as such of course offers less than the full IR - specifically you can't fly in class A, and you have a higher decision height from an approach.
However, it will, much more affordably, teach you all of the fundamental skills of instrument flying, and give you permission to use them. If you need to climb into cloud and route through it, it will equip you to do so safely, and with an affordable level of training and testing. Through the extra training, and the requirement to revalidate by test every 2 years, you'll also become a better pilot.
Later on, you can always convert to the full IR - I did, and I'm glad I did, but the reality is that virtually anything you might want to do within UK airspace, you can do on an IR(R). I managed very happily for ten years on an IR(R) and got a lot of use out of it.
And yes, join PPL/IR, they're a good and helpful group of grown-up aviators promoting instrument flying for personal use.
I am Spartacus, and so is my co-pilot.