Planning a UK Road Trip

If you are planning a road trip in the UK there are many things to consider, first the length of your trip, second on how you will travel. Road trips in the United Kingdom can be done by car, or train. Each method of transportation comes with its own cost, some obviously more than others. With the train you don’t have to worry about gas or insurance for the vehicle and you are protected from the weather and in the UK this is ever changing.

The vital information that you need to be sure is in place before your trip begins is to familiarize yourself with all needed paperwork and emergency services. If you are not a native of the UK you will need to be sure your passport and visas are in order. Read area information to plan your trip so that you know each area you will be visiting, the attractions you do not want to miss, the cost associated with each stop so that you can insure you have enough cash, and make sure you have maps. Since the weather is always unpredictable you need to be sure you have proper clothing and a good umbrella. Choosing a season for your travel will dictate your clothing needs, and also your choice of travel.

As you choose the locations you want to visit on your road trip you will need to think about all the things you love to see, castles, countryside, famous landmarks, cities, or everything. A popular route that many take is London to Brighton, then off to Southampton, Winchester, Salisbury and of course Stonehenge. After you get all your solstice alignment in order you can head for Bath, come around to Cardiff and back to London. This trip can be completed in about a week, and offers many famous sights, and of course the stop in Cardiff allows you to say you visited Wales and offers a great stop at Cardiff Castle. You can also put Caerphilly Castle on your list of things to see, it is famous for its leaning tower, similar to the one in Pisa, Italy. One of the nice things about this trip is that it can be done at any time of the year, allowing easy scheduling for your calendar.

Another popular road trip, if you have about two weeks, is to begin in Edinburgh, where you can have some of the most amazing sites ever. Scotland is a wealth of attractions, but a few that are recommended are Falkirk Wheel, Loch Ness, Sterling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Eileen Donan, the Isle of Skye, Cragievar Castle, and last but definitely not least, Dunnottar Castle. As you depart Edinburgh, head to Fife, Sterling, Aberdeen shire (known as Castle country), Inverness, the Isle of Skye, proceed to Glasgow, closing in at Border Abbeys and of course back to Edinburgh.

This trip is better planned for the summer since many of the attractions have off season closings or reduced hours. You will find that Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh are very cultured spots, so aside from the sightseeing they also offer great entertainment, shopping and restaurants. There are many beautiful sites aside from the ones above; some very scenic choices are Grampian Mountains, and the Highland’s.

The nice thing about both of these trips is that you can take any of the mentioned travel methods, so it will work for whatever you would enjoy the most. In deciding which method of transportation you might prefer it is good to know the good and bad of each. The train is easy for you because you can sit back and relax, but the rail fares are some of the most expensive in Europe. So if cost is something you are considering, rail might not be for you. Some other issues to consider if you want to take the train, remember it is not always on time, so schedules need to be flexible, and the stations tend to be dirty as well you have no place to leave your luggage, so you will be lugging those bags everywhere you might want to go. After careful consideration, perhaps this is why the majority of the British prefer to drive a car.

Now driving a car will not be without issues, so let’s review some of the obstacles you will face using this form of transportation. First of course if you are traveling by car you can set your own schedule and as long as you allow enough time for motorway tolls, correct speed, and other drivers, you might find this much more convenient, and allows for you to make a couple of side stops if you are so inclined, or stretch out another day if you happen to love where you are. So driving in the UK can be tricky, remember to drive on the left, therefore if you are from outside the UK this can take a little getting used to. You have to be at least age seventeen, and under the age of seventy, with a valid driver’s license that has at least twelve months left before expiration, and you need to know the code of the highway.

Speed cameras have been introduced in many areas and are extremely controversial in whether they are for revenue or accident prevention, but the fines are steep so better to keep your speed under control. Another note for fines, do not get caught using a handheld cell phone while driving, the charge will be dangerous driving and involves court with a very high fine, better to use hands-free or ask someone else to make the call. Seatbelts are required in the United Kingdom, front and back seat and you will be fined if you are not wearing them. The only area of driving that can be tricky is the roundabouts. While they do have some in other countries they are quite prominent in the UK and the general rule is that as you approach you yield to traffic already in the roundabout, and the traffic coming in from the right. Study the laws and you should have no problem, especially if you are used to driving.

If you are looking for many of the attractions you will want to note that brown signs are typically used for tourist information. You will find that museums, natural attractions, English Heritage, historic buildings, National Trust properties, gardens, zoos, pubs, theaters, hotels, and restaurants all are displayed by brown signs. They are great for helping find all the sites along the road trip and might help you find some you were not even aware of. You can start your road trip without having a predetermined path, just drive, and look for the brown signs, letting it take you on an adventure that even you are not sure of. Now if you prefer to let someone else do the driving on this road trip, you can always find a car for hire. These companies allow you to plan your own route, break up the trip anyway you choose and stay overnight in as many places as you like.

So now the choices are up to you, train or car, one week or two, you do the driving or someone else can take that on for you. No matter what you decide, research where you want to go, budget the trip as meets your needs and then just enjoy everything you have planned. You can live it one day at a time, schedule or not, there are many beautiful things for you to enjoy and a road trip is just the key to allowing you to relax, and see it all.

Marcie McDonald is an insurance consultant who writes for She recommends checking here for car insurance comparison sites; the site also gives you rates from classic car insurance companies.

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