International holidays are always a treat but if you’re looking for something fun, affordable and lowkey, nothing beats a staycation. With so many beautiful destinations at your doorstep, why not keep things local with British road trips? To get you inspired, we’ve put together a collection of our favourite road trip ideas, from castle hopping in Wales to fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast.

1. Castle hopping in Wales

With no less than 427 castles dotted across the country, it’s no wonder Wales is nicknamed The Land of Castles. From iconic strongholds like Caernarfon to hidden gems like Picton, a castle hopping road trip around Wales is one of the best British road trips for history buffs. 

2. Puffin hunting in the Shetland Islands

Every summer, thousands of puffins descend on the Shetland Islands to breed. Visitors from around the world flock to see the adorable birds, along with other species like razorbills, guillemots, shags, kittiwakes and fulmars. The Sumburgh Cliffs on the South Mainland peninsula is one of the best places to view puffins. There’s also a good chance to spot sea mammals, including dolphins, seals, porpoise and, if you’re really lucky, orca. Insider tip: Drive up to the viewing platforms at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse for uninterrupted views over the coast.

3. Chase waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

Throw on a little TLC and set off on a waterfall chasing adventure in the Yorkshire Dales. The Ingleton Waterfall Trail takes in a series of stunning cascades, including Thornton Force which cascades 14 metres down a moss-covered limestone cliff.

4. Admire wildflowers in the Peak District

When it comes to quintessential British charm, nowhere compares to the Peak District. While it’s beautiful throughout the year, spring sees the meadows carpeted in colourful wildflowers. The walking is spectacular, with routes for every age and fitness level. And of course, there are some incredible scenic drives to discover, making it a top destination for British road trips. Snake Pass is a must, climbing almost 1700 feet above sea level. Live out your favourite Pride and Prejudice moments at Chatsworth House and stop for a cream tea in the postcard-perfect village of Edale.

5. A winter escape on the North Coast 500

Nowhere does dramatic scenery quite like Scotland. The North Coast 500 takes in some of the most stunning landscapes in the Highlands. Start in Inverness and continue on to Loch Ness, where you’ll be amazed by the ink-blue water and mist-veiled mountains. If you have time, zip across to the Isle of Skye. Stay the night in a quaint fishermen’s cottage in Ullapool and be amazed by gleaming white-sand beaches in Wester Ross. Needless to say, you’ll pass plenty of cosy pubs on this British road trips route. Be sure to warm up with haggis, neeps, tatties and a dram of single-malt whiskey.

6. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way stretches for 1500 miles along the coast from Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. It’s worth taking your time on this road trip as the scenery is stunning. Take a dip in the crystal-clear water at Port Arthur Beach and learn to surf in the laidback seaside resort of Bundoran. Spend the night in Galway and check out the thriving arts and music scene before continuing on to the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. Your last stop will be Kinsale, a picturesque town famous for its brightly painted houses, centuries-old forts and incredible food.

7. Sticky Toffee Pudding Pilgrimage in the Lake District 

The Lake District isn’t just a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also the birthplace of Britain’s favourite dessert – sticky toffee pudding. While there is some dispute over exactly where the treat was invented, Cumbria makes a pretty legitimate claim. The dessert features on menus across the county and is best enjoyed with a scoop of vanilla custard or even better, clotted cream.

The tiny village of Cartmel is a mecca for dessert lovers, with the best establishments using organic and locally sourced ingredients. Beyond sticky toffee pudding, the Lake District offers beautiful walking routes. Ideal for burning off the calories! Autumn is an especially beautiful time to plan British road trips to the Lake District. The changing of the seasons makes the landscapes glow in reds, yellows and golds.

8. Jurassic Coast

Travelling with kids? British road trips to the Jurassic Coast are a fantastic way to spend a week of the school holidays. This 95-mile stretch of Southern England will capture your imagination with long sandy beaches, towering cliffs and rolling green countryside. And of course, fossils galore. Lyme Regis is one of the best places to hunt for fossils. You’ll also find family-friendly museums and some excellent ice cream parlours.

9. Winnie the Pooh in Sussex

Another great road trip for kids, Ashdown Forest in Sussex transports you to Hundred Acre Wood. The little ones will squeal with delight as they explore the forest that captured the imagination of beloved British author, A. A. Milne. Play Pooh sticks by the river, gaze up at the towering Scots pine trees and indulge in afternoon tea at adorable Pooh Corner in Hartfield.

10. Wine tasting in Surrey

You don’t need to cross the Channel to France to enjoy award-winning wine. Vineyard hopping around Surrey is one of the top British road trips for wine lovers. The county is dotted with boutique vineyards where you can try amazing homegrown wines. Chalky soil and lashings of sunshine make the terroir virtually identical to the famous Champagne region in France. This makes for some seriously good sparkling. You can also expect to see plenty of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay on tasting menus.

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