The new normal is upon us and with it brings a recognition that some things have to change; of course, this means how we socialise – at least in the short term – but it could also mean how we choose to vacation in the future. Going abroad for our holidays, perhaps for short, week-long breaks, to places like Southern Spain and Eastern Europe may become less appealing with more restrictions, security measures and expenses.
Of course, the world is not a particularly predictable place, and anything can happen, but isn’t that all the more reason to stay in your home country and discover the joys and riches awaiting on your doorstep? In recent years more and more official road trips have been launched in Britain, with routes that take in iconic scenery and absorb the country’s rich and historical past. Below we take a look at some epic options for you Great British Road Trip.
Scotland – The North Coast 500
This road trip was launched in 2015 and is sometimes referred to as the Route 66 of Great Britain, perhaps because it is so iconic and picturesque. It starts at Inverness Castle and loops around the north coast of Scotland as the name suggests, taking in Inverness, Fairy Glen, Dunrobin Castle, and Sandwood Bay.
The landscape is epic along the way, eat your heart out everywhere else! There’s jutting mountains, vast lochs, sub-tropical gardens and huge sea caves. If natural beauty is your thing, this Great British road trip has it in abundance; and the fun doesn’t stop there. Suppose you’re into history then Inverness castle and Dunrobin Castle are not to be missed. These classic Scottish castles were pivotal strongholds in the history of Britain, and you can learn a lot by spending a relaxing day on a guided tour.
As you twist and turn along the mountain roads through the epic valleys, you will encounter highland cows, the stunning Torridon Mountains, the sea stacks at Duncansby Head, as well as many stunning beaches, landscapes, and idyllic villages. There are many lovely places to stop for the night offering refreshments and activities, set up for travelers like you.
England – Atlantic Highway
If you live in one of England’s big cities like London, Liverpool, or Manchester, it’s an excellent idea to break-out every once in a while and explore the countryside; but don’t forget your Great British Phrasebook full of very british things to say.
The Atlantic Highway route is an excellent one to explore if you want to get far away from the city and swap city streets for coastal sands and rolling hills. The route runs from Barnstable in Devon to Fraddon in Cornwall, right along the south coast of Britain. It is only 77 miles long so it can be easily completed in a day, but if you want to make a weekend of it, there are lots of detours you can take.
One site that is worth a visit is the famous Tintagel Castle which is the supposed birthplace of the legendary King Arthur. Step into the mythical story for yourself and discover a classic fairytale castle with a history that reaches deep into the past.
The Atlantic Highway is the perfect Great British Road Trip for those who love to combine nature with historical locations.
Wales – The Cambrian Way
Wales has got some of the most beautiful and iconic countryside in Britain, but so few of us get the chance to appreciate it. Taking your car or van to Wales for a weekend is an excellent idea for a short and refreshing holiday.
The Cambrian Way is another newly launched road trip that takes you from one coast to another. It’s a 185-mile trip; you can drive through Cardiff, Brecon Beacons National Park, and Snowdonia National Park – the tour ends at the seaside resort of Llandudno.
Forget about jetting off to the costa-del-sol, instead hop over the border to Wales in your minivan and spend five excellent days exploring what your country has to offer. It has a lot to offer; the spectacular Cambrian Way takes in the Brecon Beacons National Park that sits at the foothills of South Wales’ highest summits. Take in panoramic views, go on exhilarating walks, and rest up in idyllic tea rooms.
It might not be your first choice when considering a holiday but a road trip in Wales can open your eyes to the beauty and possibilities available on your doorstep.
Northern Ireland – Causeway Coastal Route
Northern Ireland has got some incredibly scenic routes for driving through that shouldn’t be overlooked if you want to explore what Great Britain has to offer. The Causeway Coastal Route is so named as it runs past the famous Giants’ Causeway.
The Causeway Coastal Route starts in bustling Belfast and ends in the historic city of Derry (Londonderry). Along the way, it takes in some incredible sights, including the notable Giants’ Causeway. Other features include sandy beaches, fishing villages, gorse-covered valleys, and clifftop pathways. The perfect way to absorb all this is from the comfort of your vehicle as you hug the Atlantic coast.
The Giants’ Causeway is not to be missed. Make sure you stop off on route to explore these iconic and legendary step on foot; and don’t forget to document them with an Instagram photo, with the sun setting on the horizon there’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity for an epic update.
After your day on the rocks settle down in a cosy B&B, local cottage, or hotel. Enjoy the friendly, welcoming atmosphere and the top-class Guinness.
England – Oxford, The Wye Valley
If you love nature, country walks, and classic British scenery, then taking a road trip through The Wye Valley is the best choice for your Great British Road Trip.
This route begins in the historic University town of Oxford; it meanders through the Cotswolds and over the border into Wales, taking in Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Ross-on-Wye: places of outstanding natural beauty. There are breathtaking views, acres of ancient woodland to explore, and wild river valleys. This is also cider country, and you are sure to encounter some fine tasting brews.
This journey can take up to five days, so it’s a good idea to plan your staycation in advance and find some lovely places to stay overnight along the way.