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Where to drive in the UK

The UK may be a small island but it’s not short of attractions. While most visitors already know world-famous capital London - home to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and countless museums and galleries - there’s so much more to see besides.


The compact size of the UK makes it ideally suited to road trips. Pick up a hire car and you can drive all the way up to the majestic Scottish Highlands in the north or down to wild, rugged Cornwall at the southernmost end of the UK. Stop off at buzzy cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff or Brighton, or soak up the scenery in the Lake District, the Cotswolds, the Jurassic Coast and Exmoor.


Ready to go? Here’s our guide to the best stop-offs to type into your sat nav.



If you’re flying into the UK, you’re most likely to land in one of London’s airports, so take the opportunity to visit the capital first. Aside from the usual landmarks, it’s also worth experiencing the atmosphere at famous street markets - Portobello, Camden, Brixton, Brick Lane and Borough Market are among the best known – and breathing in green spaces such as Hampstead Heath, Regent’s Park and hipster hangout London Fields.


From London you could choose to head north towards the Midlands and on to Newcastle, once an industrial hub but now renowned for its business and culture; Liverpool – birthplace of The Beatles and home of Liverpool FC – and Northern powerhouse city Manchester. From there, carry on northwards towards Scotland, where you’ll find Edinburgh, with its elegant Georgian buildings, castle and hill forts including Arthur’s Seat, and edgy, arty Glasgow.


Head East and you’ll find Cambridge, where you can visit its famous university and other historic buildings; the Suffolk Broads, one of Britain’s National Parks and Conservation Areas; and Constable Country, the scenic birthplace of painter John Constable.


The south of England is home to renowned coastal resorts including hip Brighton, sunny Bournemouth and Poole and, in the southwest, pretty Devon and the wild Cornish coast, while in the west you’ll find the riverside city of Bristol, refined Bath and picture-perfect Cotswold towns and villages such as Cirencester, Burford, Chipping Camden and Bibury.


Further west sits Wales, with its busy capital Cardiff, coastal Pembrokeshire and the lakes and hills of Snowdonia.


Those hoping to visit the Channel Islands – including Jersey and Guernsey – should make their way to ferry ports Poole or Portsmouth for a crossing, or of course you can fly directly into Jersey Airport.

With so much to discover, one trip to the UK is unlikely to be enough.