Your Guide to Planning the Perfect UK Road Trip

Lexa Pennington's picture

The best way to explore England is via a road trip across the country. This allows for getting an authentic taste of local culture, while exploring the nation. Road tripping means you choose the route, what you want to see, and how long you stay in each place.

Here is how to design your perfect road trip around England.

Your Guide to Planning the Perfect UK Road Trip

How to Get Around

Most road trips involve a car – of course! This is one of the best ways to explore a place. You can also take a bus, train, or flight to avoid long distances one way, and then drive back. There are even car rental places that will assist you with car delivery locations, to ensure you start off on the right foot, wherever you’d like to begin your journey.

Plan For Accommodations

The largest chunk of your road trip budget will be spent on accommodations. There are many options for you to explore, to be sure you find the best places to stay within your budget.

Rent an apartment or home, and use it as a base. This way, you can explore the areas around it, and then have a home each night. By having a kitchen available, you can save money by cooking yourself, and having a refrigerator to store your food can mean better picnics (and cold packs, in your cooler!). 

If you prefer to stay in hotels, then ascertain your route, and book ahead. You can search online for deals, or use rewards clubs. 

Look into other options for accommodations, including staying in dorm rooms in the summer (very inexpensive!), hostels, campgrounds with cabins, and Airbnb.

Your Guide to Planning the Perfect UK Road Trip

When To Book Accommodations

Of course, book your first and last nights in the UK, since you’ll need to catch your flight, or be tired upon arrival. Some people find it helpful to book accommodations for the middle part of the trip, to keep on track for the journey. 

If you want to book a house or apartment and use it as a home base (or several places), book those in advance, so that you can make sure to get the home you want.

However, the whole point of a road trip is to explore! Be somewhat flexible, and serendipity will find you.

Where To Start And End

To save money on flights, book the same start and the end destination (I assume Heathrow or Gatwick). From there, you’ll start your road trip.  

Where to Stop

This one’s trickier, and your self-interest drives it. There are no genuine right or wrong answers. It’s all about the research! For example, if you are traveling to see old historic sites in the UK, you can focus on cramming as many villages, towns, and cities that have beautiful historical interests to you.

If you want to explore music in the UK, then you’ll do your research and ascertain where you’d like to stop. The same with Harry Potter film locations, castles, Downton Abbey locations, coastal towns, or whatever you love most. 

Tip: Don’t pack too much in. Cramming your schedule will make for a tired you, and an exhausting road trip. 

Are you a person that needs more details and planning? The best way you can plan strategically is to use these two layers:

The first layer is where you define the general route that will indicate significant stops and places you can spend the night before starting the road trip. Using this method, you will get a goal on where you should travel to every day.

In the second layer, you should decide on the places to make your stops, and you should also do it a day before. This kind of flexibility is essential, and ensure that the itinerary you have will assist you and not to enslave you.

What to Take

Medications, electronic devices (and plugs, and adapters), and appropriate clothing. My best tip? Pack as little as possible. While there will be space in your car for luggage, why keep hauling it around? Do laundry occasionally (easiest with a home rental) to save space. 

Bring a few snacks to get you started, but you can visit a grocery store and stock up on meal and snack essentials (and I absolutely love exploring new foods in grocery stores!). Be sure to bring a reusable water bottle, and stay hydrated.

Know The Road Rules In The UK

You should know the country’s driving basics. In the UK, a driver drives on the left side of all roads and their road signs are miles per hour to show speed while miles represent the distance. 

Your Guide to Planning the Perfect UK Road Trip

Use Ferries When Crossing Isles

When you are crossing between the UK mainland, several Scottish islands, Northern Ireland, and Ireland, you can cross using a ferry.
The advantage of using a ferry is that you can also take your car on board, to continue your road trip.

Budget for Extra Costs

You may incur some additional charges as you travel along the country. Below is a list of the things to be aware of:
* Extra car rental costs - breakdown cover, full insurance, etc.
* Gas (you might use more than you think!)
* Highway Tolls
* Entrance fees. Budget for stopping to see what you want! 
* A local sim card so that you can keep connected—especially handy for GPS



What are your best UK road trip tips?