The UK is a great place for a road trip, with historic cities and towns, pretty villages, rolling countryside and spectacular coastlines. But where to go: that is the question. The good news is we’ve done the research for you so listen up as we explore some destination options to suit all tastes.
The English Riviera
Head south-west to Devon and you will find some of the country’s most treasured seaside resorts, towns like Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Along the way you could find yourself passing Stonehenge, the world-famous prehistoric site of standing stones that makes you wonder not just how they did it, but why. Stonehenge has fascinated visitors ever since the first traveler clip-clopped along on horseback, and you too will be drawn to it, so slow down, find the right exit and spend a little time there, contemplating the nature of time itself.
While you’re in the Westcountry, press on a few miles and you’re in Cornwall, which the locals consider a country of its own. This is a land of fishermen and tin miners, the place that inspired a thousand folk songs and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.
See Wonderful Wales
Want to explore the best the UK has to offer? Our advice is to find a Heathrow car hire company and rent a car for the duration of your stay. Doing this will open up the doors to so many more destination options as you’ll be able to venture beyond the borders and into beautiful Wales. This little slice of paradise features some wild, majestic countryside, plus its noble heritage of sheep farming and coal mining – and of course, it’s renowned for its singers. You haven’t truly seen the UK if you haven’t spent some time in the hills and valleys of Wales.
The eastern counties of England are known collectively as East Anglia, and with distinguished old cities like Norwich and Lincoln to explore, you can have a leisurely drive though some great countryside and out to the breezy east coast around Cromer and Sheringham.
Scotland is not that far Away
London to Scotland is eminently doable in a day, so if you want to take in the land of kilts and bagpipes, just shoot up a couple of motorways and you’re there. Meander through the peaceful hills of the Scottish Borders, taking in the genteel, Dickensian old town of Peebles, and up to historic Edinburgh or across (90 minutes will do it) to Glasgow. Once you’re in Scotland, it’s pretty small, so if you’ve got a few days you can take in some whisky distilleries, see Loch Ness and Loch Lomond or head right up north, maybe catch the Northern Lights and find yourself almost in Scandinavia.
Don’t Forget the North East
The route from the south of England to Edinburgh goes through the north-east of England, so take the opportunity to have a look at Newcastle on Tyne and historic towns like Durham, with its splendid cathedral.
Make it a Culture Tour
Once you’ve got a rental car, the world, or rather this country full of countries, is your oyster, and because it is so compact, you can enjoy the ride, safe in the knowledge that just by letting the miles roll by, you can see the sights you want.
Whatever you’re interested in, from opera to heavy metal, there are concerts all over the country. If you’re a literature buff, maybe schedule your trip to coincide with a book festival at Hay on Wye (that’s in Wales), Cheltenham in Gloucestershire (a mere morning’s spin from London) or in Shakespeare country, Stratford on Avon.
Sports fans could organise a tour of some of the great football grounds, maybe starting at Wembley and heading north to Liverpool’s Anfield and across to Old Trafford, Manchester. If it’s rugby that interests you, in just a couple of days of relaxed motoring you can see London’s Twickenham, Cardiff Arms Park in Wales and Murrayfield, just outside Edinburgh.
Music-wise, the Glastonbury festival continues to thrive and has log-since grown from its hippy roots to take in all kinds of pop and rock music. Glastonbury is in the west, in the county of Somerset, not far from Bristol.
Down south in East Sussex, Glyndebourne hosts an opera festival each year, and if you’re in the area you can take in classic seaside towns like Brighton and Eastbourne.
Touring by great restaurants can be a fun way of doing it, although you will have to do some research and make some bookings to make the most of it.
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons is a fabulous country hotel in the heart of Oxfordshire with a restaurant headed by celebrated French chef Raymond Blanc. Such is its fame and reputation, though, that you can’t just turn up and expect to get a table, so get talking to them well in advance and have your dinner date waiting like a diamond in your calendar.
Down in the south west, at Padstow in Cornwall, celebrated seafood chef Rick Stein has several restaurants, along with others in Marlborough, Winchester and Barnes in west London.
So if you’re a gastronaut, check out some British chefs and find out where they can be found. You can spend all day driving there, looking around the town and settling into a hotel for the night, then do it all over again the next day.
Or just get in your car and drive…
Looking for a big adventure? Don’t have time to plan the route? There is a lot to be said for picking a nice-looking route and seeing what you find on your journey. Stop and relax at a country pub for lunch, talk to the locals and take their advice on what to go looking for.. Motoring should be a pleasure, and with a good rental car and Google maps, you can literally explore every corner of the UK and make memories that will last a lifetime.