While there’s a certain magic wrapped up in travelling by train or plane, a good old-fashioned road trip is irreplaceable.
The United Kingdom happens to be one of the best spots for such a drive. With England, Wales and Scotland all situated on the isle, there’s plenty of culture and countryside to immerse yourself in. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll find the in-between just as thrilling.
Here are some tips on how to take the best British road trip.
Do Your Research and Get Prepared
There’s a lot to do to prepare for any road trip. Some of these things are fun: create some playlists for the drive, gather up snacks, get a back-up map. But there are a few things that require a bit more research before you pack your bags and set out on your journey.
The logistics of a road trip are incredibly important—it’s all up to you! Make sure you research where you plan to stop each night, book your hotels or campsites and determine if you need a rental car.
Another thing to examine before you leave is how to save money on your trip. Tools like My Voucher Codes can be great for finding discounts from organizations like the National Trust Membership. With free parking, discounted memberships and other benefits, you can save money before you hit the road.
Learn the Rules of the British Road
One of the most important parts of a road trip is ensuring that you know the rules of the road. If you’re not from Great Britain, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with their laws. This way, you’ll have a higher chance of smooth sailing.
As a general rule, the National Speed Limit is set between 60 and 70 miles per hour on divided highways. While many motorists drive above the speed limit, fines can be incurred. Drivers can only pass on the right side and there is no turning on red lights, which is a common practice in the U.S. Parking can be difficult—research what the colored lines mean so you know where you can and cannot park.
If you rent a car, also be sure to check if it takes diesel gas, as many European cars do.
Find the Greatest Places to Trek
While there are so many different places to drive throughout the U.K., these are some extra special spots you might consider on your travels.
In Southwest England, drivers can enjoy the Atlantic Highway. Vast ocean views, foaming waves, rolling moors and seaside towns dot the landscape here. Another great area is Yorkshire, where drivers can explore endless moors, medieval castles and beautiful English villages. A third option is Snake Pass and Cat & the Fiddle, often driven together and known for their twisty paths and exceptional scenery.
For an epic trip with high peaks and hairpin turns, traverse Wales’ Black Mountain Pass, which twists through Brecon Beacons National Park. Despite the crazy road, you’ll find quaint farmhouses and sheep along the roadside here. Another path to travel is the historic A5 in the north. It offers a peek into history with castles, aqueducts, bridges and waterfalls galore.
There are a few different can’t-miss spots in Scotland. Make sure to visit the northern coast, the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Each has very different sights to see, including gorgeous lochs, old castles, towering mountains, waterfalls and fairy pools.
Stay Flexible and Keep Your Camera Handy
Even though you can plan out every hour of your trip, things may not always go as planned. It’s important to keep an open mind on any road trip, but especially in the U.K., where you’ll encounter stunning scenery and adorable towns. If you want to stop somewhere unplanned, just do it. Don’t hesitate. You may encounter new friends or experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Additionally, keep a camera at your side. These unexpected side stops may be the most fun of all—you’ll want to be sure to capture every moment.