There are many great places to enjoy road trips in the British Isles. From the north coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland to the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides as well as Fife, Stirling, the Lake District and the Cotswolds – to name but a few popular locations. There really is no need to take your car or motorhome to continental Europe. With so much to explore at home in the UK, it is surprising that more holidaymakers don’t plan for a road trip staycation. The good news is that this means there is more access to the open road, especially during off-peak holiday times.
Other than avoiding the school summer holidays, if you can, what other advice should you take on board before embarking on a UK road trip? Read on to find out what makes for a successful touring holiday in the British Isles.
Plan Ferry Crossings in Advance
Not all road trips need you to think about ferry services but some will necessarily entail taking your car over the sea. If you are in southern England, then the only destination that you’ll need to think about a ferry for is the Isle of Wight. However, this isn’t the case north of the border because roll-on-roll-off ferries are the only practical ways to get to and from many Scottish islands.
Ferry services from Oban, on the Scottish west coast, tend to get booked up in advance so plan ahead and make a reservation. Further north, from Ullapool to Stornoway, is also a popular route that can cause delays to plans unless you’ve booked. The same goes for ferries that run between Aberdeen and Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands.
Think About the Condition of Your Tyres
You should never embark on a road trip with tyres that are approaching the end of their working lives. Even if you have some tread left to spare, it is a good idea to replace them before your touring holiday starts. This is because the extra miles you will drive will tend to wear them down quicker than you might have expected.
If you need a new tyre, then have a destination in mind where you can have it fitted from a reputable dealer. For example, Fife Autocentre is a local tyre supplier and they offer professional fitting of tyres in Stirling and surrounding areas. Wherever you choose to go in the UK, it is best to turn to a proper tyre centre instead of a mechanic’s garage where only part-worn tyres may be available.
Don’t Drive Too Far in One Day
If you live in East Anglia and want to see the mountains on your road trip, then it can be tempting to drive all the way to the Lake District or Snowdonia in one day. However, stopping en route can be just as enjoyable, if not more, because you will be more rested by the time you reach your final destination.
The southern end of the Pennines in Derbyshire has plenty to offer road trippers, for example. Whether you’re driving from Scotland to the West Country or from London to the Cheviot mountains, why not break your journey for a night or two in the middle of the country? Road trips are about enjoying your location and not about completing as many miles as you can in one session, after all.
Be Prepared for Whatever the Weather May Have in Store
You don’t just need waterproofs if you’re going to be driving and stopping in places like Stirlingshire, County Conwy, Tyrone or North Yorkshire, because the weather in the British Isles is notoriously unpredictable. Take sun cream with you and make sure your vehicle’s air conditioning has recently been regassed unless you are planning on a road trip in the depths of winter.
You should also have a shovel and some de-icer in your car if you are planning on driving over high ground, such as Snake Pass in the Peak District or Cairnwell Pass on the A93 in Aberdeenshire. Make sure your fog light and full beam headlamps are in good working order before your road trip begins and take spare bulbs with you.
Take the Scenic Routes
Finally, the best advice for any road trip is to get off the motorway. Unless you have designated a particular drive as a transitional day to get you from one part of the country to another, it is so much more enjoyable taking the road less travelled and enjoying some of the scenic B-roads that the UK has to offer. The B920 and B9097 around Loch Leven near Kinross, for example, are particularly worth taking time to explore.