The British Isles seem so small that they’re unlikely to attract much attention from international travellers as premier road trip locations. But the British Isles are well worth your time – stopping in London alone on a pan-European trip is a sure way to miss out on some of the continent’s most incredible beauty and most unique areas.
Most backpackers will fly into London, so the big city will likely be the starting point of a British road trip. But don’t waste any time in getting around the rest of the south; Brighton is one of the most vibrant and colourful cities in Europe, and should be on the agenda. Take a walk along the pier and enjoy the best fish and chips around, before swinging north again and taking in some punting in Oxford or Cambridge.
The Lake District
Yes, there are lakes – but this area also holds some of Britain’s most amazing greenery. Winding and twisting through its hillside roads is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on, and the endless number of cosy pubs will await you after you’ve enjoyed a bracing countryside walk.
The Scottish Highlands
Most people who flock to Aviemore and the surrounding area do so in the winter, to take advantage of its mountains. But the Scottish Highlands will take your breath away even if you’re not barrelling down them on skis; endless hills of thistle and a few highland cows await your eyes. You might have to brave the weather – but that only adds to the charm.
One of the UK’s Areas of Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds certainly lives up to its billing. It’s the only place in the UK that you’ll see such an enchanting collection of cobbled streets, bridges and pubs. The legendary Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place nearby every March and is a must-visit – head to Oddschecker to see who’s betting what, and make up your mind about which rider deserves your stake.
One of the finest coastal drives in Europe is tucked at the tip of Northern Ireland. Giant’s Causeway is perhaps the country’s most famous landmarks, but the entire drive is worthy of the ferry over from England. There’s castles to see along the way, and plenty of places to stay.
The UK isn’t lacking in scenic roads and pretty stops, and you won’t have to travel huge distances to get to them. So your next road trip might well be more achievable than you thought.