Tips for Road Tripping the United Kingdom
Sure, you’ve heard of road tripping the USA… Route 66 is especially famous the world over. But road trips are wonderful experiences the world over – getting off the beaten path (or rail lines) and discovering the beauty of Great Britain. Why road trip? You can see so much more, and explore to your heart’s content. Want to stay an extra day to visit that small art museum? Go ahead! Found a castle to stay in? Bravo! But where to start? Take a look…
Top 10 Tips for Road Tripping the United Kingdom
- Planning. Do your research! It’s like a mantra to me, but it’s worth every second you spend, as it decreases frustration on the road. Decide where you want to go. Figure out distances, and things you’d like to see. Look for events you’d like to attend. There are always B&Bs, but you can also scout ahead and rent a home and explore from your home base for a few days, and then move to a different home base. And of course, restaurants you’d like to dine at!
- Use a route planner to help guide your way – both beforehand, and while you are traveling. It’ll save time and a great deal of stress. And, you can ascertain different routes to make sure you visit where you want to. Want to stay on the coastal roads? Or would you prefer to delve deep into the British countryside? Maps – and route planners – can help.
- Choose your time period – often, traveling in the shoulder season will mean less crowds, more options for accommodations, and less traffic on the roads. You’ll also pay less for many things, including activities, events, accommodations, and car rentals.
- Rules of the Road. Remember which side of the road you’re driving on. Study beforehand the rules of the road, signage, and speed limits, so that you’re not surprised while driving.
- The car! While you might long for a large car or van to carry all your gear, remember that some roads might be small, and the smaller the car, the better the gas mileage. Be insured, always keep a full tank, and check your tires for full air pressure. If it’s cold out, be sure to have emergency supplies (and good walking shoes). If you’re into rugged travel, rent a campervan and avoid the costs of accommodation.
- Take the road less traveled. Take car ferries, slow roads, and discover the small villages that are the heart of the United Kingdom. While you can certainly explore the Lake District, and other tourist spots, don’t forget that islands have their own special beauty, and a road trip dream of wide-open vistas. Visit small shops and ask locals for advice on food, entertainment, music, and more. Stop at local pubs and enjoy an afternoon or evening visiting with new friends.
- Scotland! Be sure to head north, to Scotland. It’s an extraordinary place, with quite different customs and culture. The vistas are magnificent, the food is incredible, and the people, friendly.
- Northern Ireland! Take the ferry over to Northern Ireland (very close from Scotland), and explore. Listen to history, taste the food, learn the culture. The Irish are extremely friendly – and love to share stories. You’ll come back with some of your own!
- Wales! Another part of the UK, Wales is often overlooked by travelers. But the ancient culture and extremely diverse landscape can be covered quickly – leaving you time to get out and explore.
- Slow down. The UK can be driven quickly, or slowly. Take your time, learn from locals, and explore all that the UK has to offer. This will be a road trip of a lifetime!