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Great Britain

Roadtrip From London

For people who are visiting the UK for a week or two, the best thing about hiring a car in London is that you can really get to see a lot of the country. A 5 or 7 day road trip reveals a completely different side to the UK. The following places are suggestions for visits and do not include places to stay: working that out is half the fun of planning your road trip! Instead, these are some of the best parts of southern England.

Starting from London, take the one and a half hour drive to Winchester to see the college and city mill in the historic centre. From there, Salisbury is another half hour drive away, and its main attractions include the magnificent cathedral. From here, the awe inspiring Stonehenge is just another 20 minutes drive. Perhaps you’ll stop here for summer solstice.

Drive towards Avebury, an entire village surrounded by a stone circle. Built and altered over many centuries, it appears as a huge circular bank and ditch, enclosing an area of 28.5 acres. History is about as it’s then on to Bath, famous for its Roman remains, especially the baths themselves. From there, head northwards, where other stops should include Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Warwick for its castle, Blenheim Palace, a monumental country house, the university city of Oxford with its outstanding architecture, before returning to London.

Coast to Coast, Northumberland & Cumbria

Picturesque villages and idyllic countryside, with traditional pubs and tea-rooms at every turn, the Cotswolds offers a glimpse of England at its most traditionally picturesque. South of the Cotswolds lies the county of Somerset, steeped in myth and history. Begin in the North Cotswolds and take tea on the village Green. Head through the southern Cotswolds to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.

A short drive away lies Castle Combe, often called Britain’s prettiest village, with a high street dating back hundreds of years. From here, drive into Somerset and the town of Glastonbury, which is the spiritual heart of Britain; Glastonbury Abbey is said to be the final resting place of the legendary King Arthur, while the isolated hill of Glastonbury Tor is one of Britain’s holiest places.

Castles & Vineyards - Surrey and Kent

Experience the region’s rich history and beauty, with thousand-year-old castles, medieval villages and wooded hills criss-crossed with ancient drover’s trails. Spend a day taking in the castles and gardens of beautiful Kent.

Head to the 14th century Bodiam Castle or the historic town of Battle, site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, before heading west into East Sussex and the spectacular coastal landscapes at Beachy Head and Cuckmere Haven.

Lastly, head over into West Sussex, to the historic town of Arundel, dominated by the fairytale Norman castle.

Football, Theatre and the Fab Four

Experience a self-drive like no other with five days in Manchester, Liverpool, The Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and Newcastle.

Manchester
Manchester and nearby Salford have a excellent choice of attractions, museums and galleries. Manchester is a city which lies in the Industrial Revelations heartland, where old working canals now sparkle with quayside cafes and contemporary museums. Park your car and explore the city on foot, enjoy some retail therapy at one of the numerous boutiques and centres or explore a number of fascinating museums and art galleries including the Whitwork Art Gallery which was the 2015 Museum of the Year. Football fans can admire 140,000 objects at the National Football Museum or enjoy an evening show at the Royal Exchange Theatre. History buffs can immerse themselves in insightful exhibitions at the nearby Imperial War Museum North or for a large selection of restaurants pursue China town’s wide range.

Manchester – Liverpool
A short drive west of Manchester, Liverpool is officially the World Capital of Pop and Beatles Fans will be in heaven with the history present in this charming city. Stroll down Penny Lane or get your cameras ready for Strawberry Field, the children’s home made well known with John Lennon’s song Strawberry Fields Forever. Take a trip back through memory lane on guided tours of the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney or rock out at the world famous Cavern Club. Albert Dock is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and full of fascinating attractions including the Merseyside Maritime Museum here you can discover the untold story of the Titanic. Enjoy an evening at the Philharmonic Hall or dine at one of Hope Street’s renowned restaurants.

Liverpool – Lake District National Park
Drive an hour and 30 minutes up north to Lake District National Park. Along the way call in at Preston or Lancaster, and explore these charming English towns. The Lake District National Park is home to glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic associations. This magical aura has inspired generations of artists, poets and writers. The World of Beatrix Potter tells the story of the famous children’s author, or Rydal Mount and Gardens was home to 18th century poet William Wordsworth. This beautiful area is overflowing with natural beauty and history so be sure to explore it at length.

Lake District National Park – Newcastle
Today’s journey north takes in the A686, which was named ‘One of the Greatest Drives in Britain’ owing to the dramatic scenery of the Pennines encountered along this route. Hadrian’s Wall should not be missed, a perfect example of ancient Roman architecture. Stop at Vindolanda, and witness the live archaeological site or wander the museum packed full of fascinating Roman artefacts. On your way to Newcastle, take a detour along the coast to Bambrugh Castle. Sitting on an outcrop of ancient volcanic rock, it is a majestic site of power and history passed. Continue back down the coast to Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle
The day is yours to explore Newcastle, a city located on the rive Tyne. Visit the Laing Art Gallery or explore Quayside with spectacular views of the Tyne and its bridges. Grainger Town with its sweeping neoclassical thoroughfares and grand monuments is home to shopping in Newcastle. Cross the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, one of Europe’s largest galleries located in an old Baltic flour mill. Dine at the rooftop restaurant, famed for its superb food and views.

UK History, Heritage & Culture

Experience a self-drive like no other with five days in Manchester, Liverpool, The Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and Newcastle.

Manchester

Manchester and nearby Salford have a excellent choice of attractions, museums and galleries. Manchester is a city which lies in the Industrial Revelations heartland, where old working canals now sparkle with quayside cafes and contemporary museums. Park your car and explore the city on foot, enjoy some retail therapy at one of the numerous boutiques and centres or explore a number of fascinating museums and art galleries including the Whitwork Art Gallery which was the 2015 Museum of the Year. Football fans can admire 140,000 objects at the National Football Museum or enjoy an evening show at the Royal Exchange Theatre. History buffs can immerse themselves in insightful exhibitions at the nearby Imperial War Museum North or for a large selection of restaurants pursue China town’s wide range.

Manchester – Liverpool

A short drive west of Manchester, Liverpool is officially the World Capital of Pop and Beatles Fans will be in heaven with the history present in this charming city. Stroll down Penny Lane or get your cameras ready for Strawberry Field, the children’s home made well known with John Lennon’s song Strawberry Fields Forever. Take a trip back through memory lane on guided tours of the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney or rock out at the world famous Cavern Club. Albert Dock is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and full of fascinating attractions including the Merseyside Maritime Museum here you can discover the untold story of the Titanic. Enjoy an evening at the Philharmonic Hall or dine at one of Hope Street’s renowned restaurants.

Liverpool – Lake District National Park

Drive an hour and 30 minutes up north to Lake District National Park. Along the way call in at Preston or Lancaster, and explore these charming English towns. The Lake District National Park is home to glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic associations. This magical aura has inspired generations of artists, poets and writers. The World of Beatrix Potter tells the story of the famous children’s author, or Rydal Mount and Gardens was home to 18th century poet William Wordsworth. This beautiful area is overflowing with natural beauty and history so be sure to explore it at length.

Lake District National Park – Newcastle

Today’s journey north takes in the A686, which was named ‘One of the Greatest Drives in Britain’ owing to the dramatic scenery of the Pennines encountered along this route. Hadrian’s Wall should not be missed, a perfect example of ancient Roman architecture. Stop at Vindolanda, and witness the live archaeological site or wander the museum packed full of fascinating Roman artefacts. On your way to Newcastle, take a detour along the coast to Bambrugh Castle. Sitting on an outcrop of ancient volcanic rock, it is a majestic site of power and history passed. Continue back down the coast to Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle

The day is yours to explore Newcastle, a city located on the rive Tyne. Visit the Laing Art Gallery or explore Quayside with spectacular views of the Tyne and its bridges. Grainger Town with its sweeping neoclassical thoroughfares and grand monuments is home to shopping in Newcastle. Cross the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, one of Europe’s largest galleries located in an old Baltic flour mill. Dine at the rooftop restaurant, famed for its superb food and views.

Three Day English Adventure

York

Arrive in the city of York and begin your self-drive journey in the lively city with over 30 attractions to choose from! Drive to the magnificent York Minster, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in northern Europe, to admire its tennis court-sized stained glass window and discover 2000 years of history at the Undercroft; a state of the art attraction housed in chambers beneath the Minster. For unbeatable views stroll along the ancient city walls and stop off at the 14th century Monk Bar, the tallest of four gatehouses along the walls! Vikings invaded the city more than 1000 years ago and you can experience what life was like back then at Jorvik Viking Centre, discovering the sights, sounds and smells on a journey through a Viking village.

Other attractions you are able to drive to include York Castle Museum, which tells the story of York’s social and military past and York’s Chocolate Story where you can sample traditional confectionery and get a taste of York’s chocolate-making history. Travel in your hire car to Yorkshire Museum that houses Roman and Viking artefacts and the elegant Treasurer’s House that is filled with an extensive array of antique furniture, ceramics, art and textiles.

York – Hull

Depart York and commence a scenic drive to the city of Hull that should take no longer than an hour, home to a gloriously gothic 13th-century minster. With historical buildings, bustling shops and lively bars and restaurants, Yorkshire’s only waterfront city is a real hidden treasure. Jump in your rental car and visit the Old Town where you’ll find the free museums quarter. Here you will find Wilberforce House, the birthplace of William Wilberforce, a leading light of the anti-slavery movement. You can also step back in time with 200 years of transport history at the Streetlife Museum of Transport.

As well as plenty of modern bars and restaurants there are historic pubs to visit too, such as Ye Olde White Harte with its Plotting Parlour, the place where the plotting of the English Civil War allegedly took place. Afterwards, spend time at The Deep, one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, or walk along the marina enjoying the peaceful sound of the boat masts swaying in the wind. With plenty of lively restaurants and traditional pubs overlooking the stunning River Humber, it’s the perfect place to visit at sunset.

Hull – Chatsworth

Travel in your rental car from Hull to Chatsworth in the Peak District National Park; this will take about an hour and a half. Chatsworth is one of the UK’s most impressive stately homes with vast gardens and parkland rolling as far as the eye can see. Make time for Chatsworth’s grand greenery, including the enchanting gardens and famous waterworks such as the 300 year old Cascade, the Squirting Willow Tree Fountain and the impressive gravity-fed Emperor Fountain.

The Peak and Speedwell Caverns are the biggest natural caverns in Derbyshire, with the largest entrance to any cave in the British Isles. In summer, make sure you experience the eccentric Buxton Well Dressing Festival and take a stroll through the heady scented Pavilion Gardens. For something more unusual, journey underground and enter another world as you gaze at Poole’s Cavern’s striking stalactites dating back two million years. Enjoy your last night in Buxton before you drive back in comfort and style to Manchester to extend your Northern England stay.

The Great UK Road Trip

England

London is the capital of the UK, and it is perfectly possible to spend a week, or even two, without ever leaving there, enjoying all the sights and attractions it has to offer. A ride on the London Eye gives a view out over the city, where Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, and St. Paul’s Cathedral are just some of the main places to photograph and visit.

There is much more to England than just London though. Away from the capital, you can drive though rolling, green countryside, peppered with quaint villages of thatched roof cottages. Historic towns, ancient castles and mysterious stone circles all add to the sense of history, culture and heritage which makes England such an interesting place to visit.

Some of the major points of interest to be included in a self drive tour of England include Windsor for its castle, the incredible stone circle of Stonehenge, Salisbury for its magnificent cathedral, Bath for its Roman remains, the university city of Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and much further north, York. Each of these places is worth spending a half day to a full day in, and notable vibrant cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are also worth driving to in a hire car for 2 or 3 day breaks. In fact, you could spend two months in England alone and barely scratch the surface!

Wales

The mountainous country of Wales is an excellent place to spend a week exploring in a hire car. There are some incredibly attractive and awe-inspiring castles here, with perhaps the most famous being Caernarfon Castle. Outdoors enthusiasts will also enjoy the chance to spend time in pristine natural environments and Snowdonia, one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. The Brecon Beacons is also a wonderful place with the mountain scenery, waterfalls, canals and meandering streams.

Scotland

Scotland is the most northern country in the UK, and driving from London to Edinburgh takes approximately 7 hours. Edinburgh is a fine city, and the historic medieval heart has the castle, cathedral, Holyrood house and more to boast as main attractions. It is quite easy to spend 3 or 4 days here, although people on a tighter schedule may want to continue their self drive tour of the UK after 2 days. After all, there are the highlands, the lowlands, the coasts and whiskey distilleries to be visited!

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is not attached to mainland Britain, and so has to be reached by ferry or plane. It is less visited than Ireland, but has all the green countryside and stunning landscapes of its southern neighbour. Away from the cities, the countryside becomes a nature lover’s paradise. The Mourne Mountains are a great place to explore, where centuries old mountain track meander by rivers, lakes and forested areas. The mountains themselves are also very appealing for climbers. The north coast of Northern Ireland is another wonderful place to explore by hire car on a self drive tour. The coastal scenery is outstanding, and no one can fail but to be impressed by the Giants Causeway and unspoilt beaches.

An English Experience

Manchester
Begin your English self-drive journey in the city that lies in Manchester, the Industrial Revolution’s heartland, where old working canals now sparkle with quayside cafés and contemporary museums. Manchester is easy to walk around on foot and offers copious shopping opportunities from designer, boutique and department stores. There are also a number of fascinating museums and art galleries including the Whitworth Art Gallery – voted Museum of the Year 2015.

Don’t miss the Science and Industry Museum (MOSI), which takes you on a journey through Manchester’s heritage with sights, sounds and even smells. Elsewhere, art lovers will be won over by the fine art and costumes on display at Manchester Art Gallery and the stunning architecture of Manchester Town Hall.

Manchester – Chester
An hour drive in your rental car along the M56 and find yourself at the Roman city of Chester in northwest England. Enjoy the day soaking in Roman history while you stroll through Chester city walls that were first constructed by the Romans in 70 AD, and appreciate the medieval atmosphere that this town has been preserving for many years.

Chester – Lancaster
Travel an hour up north from Chester in your hire car to Lancaster on M56 and M6. The county of Lancashire is famous for its cheese, Lancaster Hotpot, the beautiful Forest of Bowland, the Pendle witches, Lancaster Castle. Lancaster Castle is known as the ‘Queen’s only castle in the north’ filled with history that dates back to 1558. Nowadays, Lancaster Castle welcomes visitors of all ages for daily tours and special events.

Lancaster – Levens Hall
Continue north on the M6 to Junction 36/A590 and follow the signs for Levens Hall and Gardens in Cumbria. With over 100 topiary pieces on show, many in the shape of chess pieces, a wander around Levens Hall is like stepping into Alice in Wonderland. The famous topiary gardens were designed by Monsieur Beaumont in 1694 and are the oldest and most extensive in world, with some designs reaching over nine metres high.

Tour the Lake District National Park by car which gives you the chance to see all of the highlights. The glistening lakes and towering mountains of England’s biggest National Park have inspired artists, poets and writers for generations. A key place to visit when traveling with children include The World of Beatrix Potter, which tells the story of Beatrix Potter, the famous children’s author and illustrator, and features the characters she created from Peter Rabbit to Jemima Puddle-Duck.

Levens Hall – Grasmere
Your next adventure will continue in a unique village known as Grasmere. Take some time to explore the charming shops, tearooms and art galleries as well as the churchyard where William Wordsworth is buried. Don’t leave without trying Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread – the 19th century recipe for this crumbly treat is still top secret. Travel onwards to Alston on the A686, named ‘One of the Greatest Drives in Britain’ owing to the dramatic scenery of the Pennines encountered along its route.

Alston – Vindolanda
Leaving Alston follow the signs for Vindolanda, the journey will take close to 2 hours. An extensive Roman museum located on a former ancient fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall, Vindolanda is a live archaeological site with excavations running in the week during certain months. Excavations aside, the museum is packed full of fascinating Roman artefacts, including Vindolanda’s precious writing tablets – the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain.

Alnwick – Durham
Departing Alnwick drive south to the city of Durham, visit Durham Cathedral and Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in the 11th century. Dominating the city’s skyline, it has starred in Harry Potter films and is one of Europe’s most impressive examples of Romanesque architecture. Make a stop at the Undercroft Restaurant beneath the cathedral before you spend the rest of the morning exploring this charming town.

Durham – York
Hop back into your rental car and depart Durham via the A1M south and an hour and a half later you fill find yourself in the city of York. Venture off to the magnificent York Minster, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, to admire its tennis court-sized stained glass window, and discover 2000 years of history at the Undercroft – a state-of-the-art attraction housed in chambers beneath the Minster. Vikings invaded the city more than 1000 years ago and you can experience what life was like back then at Jorvik Viking Centre, discovering the sights, sounds and smells on a journey through a Viking village. Only short drive away and you can refuel with afternoon tea at the immensely popular Bettys tearoom, don’t forget to try a Yorkshire Fat Rascal – a plump, fruity scone hand-decorated with a glacé cherry and almond face.

York – Chatsworth
When you have finished exploring York travel south towards Chesterfield, and arrive at Chatsworth. Chatsworth is one of the UK’s most impressive stately homes with vast gardens and parkland rolling as far as the eye can see. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, it has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family, while the house’s elaborate architecture, interiors and one of Europe’s most significant art collections have been evolving for five centuries. As you finish your stay in Chatsworth you may drive back to Manchester for your onward journey on your holiday.

One Day Drive - Windsor To Brighton

The UK is a relatively small country, and it is surprising just how many places can be reached on a day trip from London with a hire car. So, if you have visited all the great museums, ridden on the London Eye, had an adventure on the Tube, and shopped until you dropped on Oxford Street or in Mayfair, try one of these suggestions for a one day self drive day trip from London.

Windsor Castle – This magnificent building is about an hours’ drive from London. Construction first began on Windsor Castle in the 11th century, and it was expanded throughout history. Today, it is classed as a Royal Residence, but it is partly open to public. As well as the incredible sight of the castle itself, you can walk around the inside, where there are exhibitions, state apartments and churches. It is always best to phone ahead to make sure it is open however, as if the Queen is entertaining guests there, some or all of the residence may be closed to visitors.

Brighton – Act like a true Londoner, and head to the coast in your hire car when the sun comes out! It is about a 1.5 hour drive from London to Brighton, located on the south coast of England. Brighton is a popular resort town, but it also has a great arts and music scene, a hipster/Bohemian feel and a beach! When the weather is good (and yes, it can be good in the UK), Brighton beach is THE place to come to on a day trip from London.

Mountains And Beaches Of South Wales

This route begins on the east, taking in the vast, rugged landscapes of Northumbria and Hadrian’s Wall, before crossing over to the iconic landscapes of the Lake District in Cumbria.

Head from Newcastle to discover the rich history of the Northumberland coast; the dramatic ruins of Bamburgh Castle and the medieval Alnwick Castle.

Then head for the mythical island of Lindisfarne Head south through the beautiful landscapes of the Northumberland National Park and stop off at Kielder Water.

Head to the Lake District and onto the pretty town of Keswick. Discover the peaks of Scafell and Helvellyn or the tranquil waterside scenery of Windermere and Coniston.

Footsteps of the Seafaring Nations

This cruise truly covers the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles and a part of Scandinavia sailing from Barcelona to Bergen over 23 days.

Saltwater in their bones

Discover the history, culture, wildlife and people that make up some of the most adventurous and independent cultures on Earth. Nations built around and dependent upon the might of the ocean. Seafarers always look towards the horizon and this beautiful, exciting journey will allow you to do the same.

On Scenic Eclipse you’ll cruise the coast of Spain, sail out into the vast Atlantic Ocean and head west for the delights of the quirky Scilly Isles, the poetry and passion of Ireland and the rugged crags of the Scottish Isles before landing in the home of the Vikings, Norway. With plenty of opportunities to venture out via Zodiac, kayak, e-bikes, helicopter and submarine, you’ll soon feel the saltwater in your seafaring veins.

Inclusions:

  • World’s first luxury Discovery Yacht
  • 100% verandah suites
  • Butler service for all guests
  • Five dining venues, from casual to fine dining
  • Unlimited complimentary beverages
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Expert Discovery Team
  • All shore excursions
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