Summer Road Trip of Britain: Our Top 15 locations (2020)

Us Brits love a summer holiday. In 2019 alone, Finder.com reports that we took 72.6 million overseas trips, 1 million more than we had in 2018. That’s a lot of time lounging around on a beach.
 
But we’re much more reluctant to do so this summer. With the ever changing Coronavirus pandemic causing holiday chaos, more of us are looking to holiday at home rather than abroad. Our research shows that ‘road trip’ searches in Google Trends were up by 68% in April 2020, when compared with 2019. That’s the single biggest increase from the last five years! What’s more, searches for ‘holidays’ and ‘vacations’ are down by 50%.
 
If you’re worried about getting on an aeroplane, but still want to get away, we’ve got the perfect list for you!
 
Here at Book My Garage, we love a road trip, so we’ve put together a list of all our favourite places to visit this summer. We’ve spread our ‘location bases’ across the country, so there’s something for everyone. We’ve just got a quick safety announcement to make before we begin…
 

What to do before beginning your road trip

For many of us, our cars haven’t had an MOT test for almost 18 months. That’s a massive safety concern for every driver.
In the 6 months before the lockdown, 1.5 million cars failed their MOT with a dangerous fault. Our data suggests there are a similar amount still on our roads.
 
We recommend booking some form of car check before any sort of summer road trip. The Government is encouraging you to beat the rush and book your MOT test now.
 
If you’re MOT isn’t due  soon, consider booking our 17 point Summer Safety Check. It’s FREE for everyone, and there’s no obligation to pay for any work if issues are found. If you’re planning on driving anywhere this summer, we encourage you to have a mechanic check over your car first. Click here to find out what’s included in our free car check.
 
Always remember to check local lockdown guidance before setting off on any trips. As case numbers rise and fall across the country, the last thing we want is for you to get stuck in an unfamiliar area. You have to book in advance for many attractions, so we’ve included as many websites as we can to help you plan your trip.
 
Book a free summer safety check for your car
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 1: Aberdeen

Footdee (“Fittie”)

A former fishing village centred in the 19th Century, this has the perfect vibe for relaxing. Cottages and cobbled lanes immerse you in the cultural history of the area. It was originally designed to house an influx of fishermen, but this village is now free for you to wander at your leisure.

Aberdeen Beach

If you fancy braving the Scottish weather, check out this rugged beach where the raging North Sea meets the mainland. It even has its own promenade with restaurants, an arcade and the summer staple – ice-cream! If you’re a fan of art-deco decor, be sure to visit the 20th Century ballroom.

Johnston Gardens and Seaton Park

Outdoor space is easy to find in Aberdeen, and these are two of the best locations. Seaton Park is tranquil and secluded, while Johnston Gardens uses award winning blooms to evoke Japanese culture. It’s also worth checking out the David Welch Winter Gardens in Duthie Park.

St Machar’s Cathedral

Imposing Gothic architecture? Check. Local myths and legends? Check. Worth a visit on your summer road trip? Most definitely check. St Machar’s Cathedral is the perfect stop for anyone interested in history, religion or architecture. Is the arm of notorious Scottish rebel, William Wallace, really buried within the walls? Why not visit and see it for yourself…?

Dolphin Spotting

Got a budding David Attenborough in the family? Well, give them a memorable day out as you go dolphin spotting. Challenge them to find bottlenose, whitebeaked and risso dolphins, as well as Minke whales!
 

Day trips from Aberdeen:

Peterhead: 31.5 miles, 42 minutes one way. This busy fishing port on the North Coast has a rich sailing history to explore. It’s also home to the Castle that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
 
Cairngorms National Park: 56.2 miles, 1 hr 27 minutes one way. No road trip to Scotland is complete without a journey into the rugged Highlands. Explore this wilderness to your hearts content and discover stunning scenery and great hiking trails.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 2: Birmingham

Cadbury World

It might not be Willy Wonka’s, but this chocolate factory is still magical! Take a tour and find out about the history of chocolate and the Cadbury and Bourneville brands. What’s more, you get to watch the chocolatiers at work and taste a few samples for yourself! A must-see for any chocolate lover.

National Motorcycle Museum

Any petrolhead would be mad to leave this collection of classic motorbikes off their road trip to-do list. Even if you’re not a biker, there’s plenty to see. With over 1,000 historic and modern motorcycles to drool over, this is a perfect family day out.

Walking Tours

What better way to see the city than in the company of a local guide? There’s a range of different walking tours, or you could explore the city at your leisure. There are plenty of themed walking tours as well, from ‘Peaky Blinders’ to the supernatural!

Botanical Gardens

Tropical plant life and exotic flora and fauna await you in the suburb of Edgbaston. Why not relax among the shrubs, enjoy some sun and take a leisurely stroll to unwind and contemplate life? Plant life often announces the arrival of summer, and where better to enjoy it than amongst nature?

Jewellery Quarter

Whether you’re in the mood to buy some bling or not, here are some 200 listed buildings well worth visiting. With over 250 years of Birmingham history to look out for as well, it’s easy to get lost in this amazing quarter. Peruse the shops, museums and restaurants at your leisure.
 

Day trips from Birmingham

Stratford Upon Avon: 38.9 miles, 44 minutes one way. The birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.
 
Bletchley Park: 74.2 miles, 1 hr 24 minutes one way. The home of the WWII Enigma code breakers is of particular interest to fans of ‘The Imitation Game’. Visit to discover the true story about the heroes who helped the Allies win the Second Word War.

 

Smiling family on a summer road trip

Summer Road Trip Location Base 3: Bristol

The Clifton Suspension Bridge

This is widely considered to be Isembard Kingdom Brunel’s finest creation. Spanning a stomach lurching gorge, this Victorian engineering feat is well worth a visit on your summer road trip. Just make sure you have a head for heights!

Sample Some Local Culture

Bristol is well known for its culture, and no visit is complete without sampling some, even in 2020. Laugh, cry or think to your heart’s content and why not go hunting around the city for some famous Banksy street art?

Bristol Zoo

Who doesn’t enjoy a day out at the zoo? With over 400 species of animals set across 12 acres of land, there’s plenty to see and do. With an adrenaline filled aerial ropes course on site, there’s a chance for you and your cheeky monkeys to soar through the trees like real apes. A family treat.

Take a Harbour Tour

Bristol has plenty of maritime pedigree. Most infamously, it has significant connections to the Slave Trade. A boat trip offers a unique perspective, as well as an opportunity to learn about one of the darker sides to British Colonialism. Be sure to look out for another part of Brunel’s legacy: The SS Great Britain, the world’s first ‘great’ ocean liner.

Spend Time at a Local Brewery

The West Country is well-known for its cider production. Why not take a tour of a local brewery and learn how the master brewers make the magic happen? Remember to choose your designated driver before hand, as most tours offer a complimentary taste test at the end.
 

Day trips from Bristol

Roman Baths: 13.9 miles, 35 minutes one way. Visit a fully preserved Roman Bath which characterised their way of life. For literary fans, the town was also Jane Austen’s home for 5 years.
 
Exeter: 80.7 miles, 1 hr 38 minutes one way. The Cathedral is a main attraction, and a must see. There’s also the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery and Underground Passages to explore. This city has been expanding since the Roman era, so there’s plenty of history to soak up.
 
Cheddar Gorge: 20.2 miles, 40 minutes one way. There are plenty of options to explore the caves and natural landscape. For thrill seekers, the international centre for caving and rock climbing is well worth a visit. It’s also a great place to sample some delicious local cheeses.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 4: Dover

Dover Castle and Fan Bay Deep Shelter

The town of Dover is dripping with history. The 12th Century castle has been England’s first line of defence since the reign of Henry II. More recently, it became a command centre for the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. Just a few miles along the cliff tops lies a recently restored WWII artillery battery. Immerse yourself in history and discover the role this town played throughout the centuries.

Dover Museum

Bombed during WWII, the museum showcases the town’s connection to art and archaeology. The main highlight is the massive 3 and 1/2 thousand year old Bronze Age boat on the second floor. It also holds a variety of artefacts related to the local Kentish history.

Samphire Hoe

Eurotunnel used the chalk rubble from the Channel Tunnel to build this park in the late 20th Century. It gives a beautiful perspective of those chalk cliffs and makes for a great relaxation spot. Bring a picnic and try and spot some of the birds which call the cliffs home. You might even see a Peregrine Falcon in action – so be quick with that camera!

Roman Painted House

It’s funny what you find underneath roads isn’t it? Sometimes it’s a water pipe, sometimes it’s a 3rd Century Roman government hostel. The house’s pièce de résistance? 28 fresco panels, supposed to be the most extensive collection of Roman paintings discovered North of the Alps. You can also find out a lot more about Roman life in Britain, so, ave at it!

The White Cliffs

Of course we didn’t forget them! You can’t go on a road trip to Dover and leave without marvelling at the magnificent chalk cliffs. It’s easy to see how they inspired the wartime classic from the late Dame Vera Lynn. Wander the cliff tops and breathe in the sea air.

 

Canterbury Cathedral:
Canterbury Cathedral, a stop on our summer road trip
 

 

Day trips from Dover

Canterbury Cathedral: 17.1 miles, 29 minutes one way. Home to the Canterbury Tales and the site of Archbishop Thomas Beckett’s infamous murder.
 
Hastings and Battle: 57.7 miles total, 1 hr 36 minutes one way. A quaint seaside town and the site of the decisive Norman victory which birthed much of modern British history.
 
Margate: 22.5 miles, 38 minutes one way. Oh, we do love a day beside the seaside don’t we? And what better place to visit than Margate, a historic holiday resort since the 19th Century? The pier was destroyed in 1978, but there’s still plenty to do along the promenade!
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 5: Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat

If you want a picture of the entire city, there’s no better point from which to take it than atop Arthur’s Seat. It’s part of a large extinct volcano which once towered over the landscape. Now, it’s a lovely walk and a beautiful location for some photography – even if it does get pretty blustery at the top!

Discover the ‘Hidden City’

While there are some truly scary ghost tours in Edinburgh to leave there’s nothing like exploring the city’s buried past. The Real Mary King’s Close dates back to the 15th Century and is entirely underground! Walk through this labyrinth in the company of a local guide for a unique perspective of Edinburgh’s history.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

If you love a fairground ‘Hall of Mirrors’, this should be the first stop on your Edinburgh road trip! Located next to the castle, this is an attraction well worth visiting if you want to have your head messed with. Be prepared to experience the bonkers and always expect the unexpected…

Edinburgh Old Town

The epicentre of local culture and history. Stroll along the cobbled streets and enjoy the picturesque houses and squares. Make sure you visit the Royal Mile on your walk. Although the quirky and vibrant Fringe Festival was cancelled in 2020, there’s still plenty to see on these streets.

Palace of Holyrood

This is the beating heart of Scottish politics. A former palace for the Scottish Kings and Queens sits opposite the modern day Parliament building. Explore the Queen’s official Scottish residence at your leisure. Remember to check out all the Scottish history within its walls as well!
 

Day trips from Edinburgh

St Andrews: 51.6 miles, 1 hr 19 minutes one way.  Golf enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on the British Golf Museum, a few yards from the famous old course.
 
The Firth of Forth: 19.6 miles, 38 minutes one way. Cross the iconic red bridge or take the ferry. As the gateway to the North of Scotland, it’s unmissable!
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 6: Glasgow

Glasgow Science Centre

Rising from the ground like something from ‘Back to The Future’, this is a breathtaking homage to science. Inside, you’re spoilt for choice: there’s a planetarium, a cinema and plenty of hands-on activities for the kids. If you want a great view of the city, why not scale the 417 foot revolving tower and snap a great selfie?

The Scottish Football Museum

While the English may be the dominant home nation now there was a time where Scotland held the crown. Tour Hampden Park and see the Scottish Cup, the oldest original football association trophy. (The current FA Cup is a replica).

Clydeside Distillery

A glass of whiskey and a bar of chocolate overlooking the Clyde await at this vast distillery. As it’s one of Scotland’s most famous exports, it would seem rude not to! But remember: never drink and drive. Walk or catch the tram instead.

Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis

They’re creepy and imposing, but also well worth a visit. The Gothic-inspired Cathedral has stood on the site since 1197 and the crypts beneath the city date back to 1833. For fans of the macabre and ghastly, this duo should be high on your road trip priority list.

Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum

For your culture fix, why not take a trip into the former home of Sir Charles Rennie Mackintosh? As Scotland’s most famous architect, it’s no surprise how much of the city boasts his work. Why not go for a walk to find as many as you can? Happy hunting!
 

Day trips from Glasgow

Gretna Green: 86.9 miles, 1 hr 23 minutes one way. This town is famous for marrying English elopers throughout history. Explore the significance of these ceremonies in a replica Stuart village.
 
Galloway Forest Park: 52.8 miles, 1 hr 10 minutes one way. Reconnect with nature your way. Plenty of walks to explore and lose yourself in the forest for the day. Loch Lomand National Park lies to the north, offering the same beautiful views.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 7: Inverness

Loch Ness

You could camp here for a week and still fail to see the most elusive of legendary beasts: Nessie herself. Whether you believe the stories or not, the idyllic waters of the Loch and the ancient fortress of Urquhart Castle make a great city escape. Who knows, you might even be the person who finally sees the monster…

North Coast 500

This is as good as a driving holiday gets for petrol heads. The iconic North Coast 500 starts and finishes in Inverness – so why not go for a drive along it? This winding ribbon of road cuts right across the heart of the Highlands, which boasts some of the best scenery in Britain.

Fort George

One of the largest artillery fort in Europe, Fort George has watched over Inverness for over 200 years. Visit to learn more about the Jacobite revolts it was built to deter. You might even see a dolphin or two while you’re there!

Submerge Yourself in the History Soaked Moorlands

If you fancy a trip into the Highlands, there are plenty of locations to keep you occupied. First, why not take an audio tour around the Culloden Battlefield? This battle was fought on harsh, unforgiving moorland and ended the Jacobite revolt. Then, take a short trip down the road to Clava Cairns, a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age cemetery. Fully immerse yourself in Scottish history by visiting Cawdor Castle, the 15th Century home of the Thane of Cawdor. Yep, the very same title mentioned in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’…

Inverness Botanic Gardens

If you’re feeling green-fingered, why not take a trip to this beautiful botanic gardens? The garden explodes with colour whenever you visit, but especially in the summer, and they’re always looking for volunteers to help out! If gardening isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of hidden corners to explore. Don’t miss the cactus house!
 

Day trips from Inverness

Fort William: 66.2 miles, 1 hr 40 minutes one way. The gateway town to Ben Nevis. Explore some local history in the West Highland Museum, and sample some great whiskey at the Ben Nevis Distillery.
 
Ben Nevis: 72.2 miles, 1 hr 57 minutes one way. Any adventurous types should definitely consider climbing Britain’s highest mountain. If you’re planning to climb, always make sure you have the right equipment.
 
Isle of Skye: 106 miles, 2 hrs 22 minutes one way. This rugged island is known for its beautiful landscapes, medieval castles and fishing heritage. If you’re looking to spot some awesome Scottish wildlife on your road trip, Skye is the place to go.
Deserted highlands road:
Deserted highlands road

Summer Road Trip Location Base 8: Liverpool

The Beatles Story

Any music fan should prioritise a visit to this immersive walk through of the Fab Four’s rise to international stardom. It’s not only a great homage to the Beatles either – you immerse yourself in 1960’s Britain as you wander around. Why not include a visit to the iconic Cavern Club and a Beatles themed walking tour for the full experience?

Take a Ferry Across the Mersey

It’s possibly the best way to navigate the city. You can either choose a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ cruise or buy a combination ticket which includes entry to the nearby Spaceport and U-Boat Story. Whatever summer road trip plans you might have in Liverpool, make sure you include the Mersey in them!

British Music Experience

If you’ve ever been a fan of British music, whatever your tastes, you have to check out the BME. It combines state-of-the-art special effects and some of the most iconic memorabilia from pop music for a great experience. Sample the last 70 years of British culture and get rocking!

Radio City Tower

If you can’t get to Seattle, here’s a great alternative! It’s like the Space Needle and houses an observation deck that offers unbelievable 360 degree views of the city. Any amateur photographer will take some great shots from 138m above the ground. It’s a great way to relax and view the city from a different perspective as well – as long as you have a head for heights!

Merseyside Maritime Museum

Ahoy there! This family-friendly museum has a wealth of exhibits, including an actual life jacket from the Titanic disaster! It’s also home to the International Slavery Museum which offers an honest insight into the dark practice of slave trading.
 

Day trips from Liverpool

Portmeirion: 88 miles, 2 hrs 12 minutes one way. This beautiful village evokes the Italian spirit and is an incredible place to visit, whatever the weather.
 
Manchester: 34.3 miles, 1 hr 4 minutes one way. Particular points of interest include the Imperial War Museum North and, of course, Old Trafford football ground.
 
Buxton: 57.9 miles, 1 hr 38 minutes one way. This spa town is famous for its chalk streams and refreshing mineral water. From here, it’s just a short trip into the Peak District and Bakewell, home of the tasty afternoon treat, the Bakewell Tart.

Summer Road Trip Location Base 9: London

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

While it’s not the original theatre (that burned down), the Globe is still a great place to introduce kids to Shakespeare. While the physical building may not be open at the minute, there’s still a host of great virtual activities to complete. After all, all the world’s a stage…

Take a Walk Around the West End

London’s theatre district is world-famous and it’s easy to see why. Not only are the productions first-class, the theatres are beautiful pieces of architecture. Have a gander at the Old Vic and stroll down Drury Lane. If you meet the muffin man on your travels, be sure to place an order for us!

Churchill War Rooms

This underground bunker was where Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet helped secure an Allied victory in WWII. It’s set up exactly how it was 80 years ago, so you can see what it was like to live and work in London during the war.

Have a Picnic in Hyde Park

London isn’t all hustle and bustle – there’s plenty of outdoor space to relax and enjoy the fresh air as well. Hyde Park is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy nature. If there’s something on your mind, let it out in Speaker’s Corner. This is a great open space where you can enjoy some family time and let the kids run around.

Visit a Museum – Or Two

When it comes to stellar cultural and educational museums, London holds all the aces. Choose from the Natural History, Science, Victoria and Albert or the British Museum, to name a few. Whatever your interests are, you can learn more about them in London. What’s more, most entrance fees are completely free!
 

Day trips from London

Oxford: 56.1 miles, 1 hr 26 minutes one way. The Cathedral and University dominate this medieval city which dates back to the late 11th Century! Explore the city on foot or bicycle, as the one way system can make driving confusing.
 
Cambridge: 64 miles, 1 hr 39 minutes one way. Take a river cruise to unwind before visiting the 13th Century University and the stunning King’s College Chapel. Travelling by bike or on foot is once again recommended.
 
Winchester: 67.8 miles, 1 hr 28 minutes one way. Another fantastic old city with links to King Arthur and King Alfred the Great. Check out the replica of the Round Table in the Cathedral’s museum.
Open country road:
Open country road, perfect for a summer road trip
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 10: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Stroll Along the Quay and Quayside

Why not visit Newcastle’s bustling eatery district on your summer road trip? Head here to find your next favourite bar, pub or restaurant. There’s loads of choices, and a modern hub for art, music and culture right next door. There’s also a local market on Sundays so you can snap up some bargains. And it’s all a stone’s throw from the meandering Tyne!

Victoria Tunnels

The North East used to make most of its money from coal mining. Times may have changed but this community hasn’t forgotten its roots. The tunnel transported coal for 3,900 metres beneath the city and is now open to the public! It uses sonic and visual effects to immerse you in the mine during its heyday. Probably the closest many of us will come to actually crawling down a real mine!

Seven Stories

Kids and adults alike will love the National Centre for Children’s Books which sits at the heart of the city. There’s a range of interactive exhibits for readers of all ages to enjoy, as well as daily readings to set their imaginations free. Don’t miss it!

Marvel at the Architecture

A riverside city needs a lot of bridges to help people move around. Well, Newcastle take theirs very seriously! Did you know that the Tyne Bridge weighs over 7,000 tonnes and is often used to commemorate special events? What’s more, the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead is an integral part of the beloved Great North Run. If you’ve got a bit of spare time, why not drive out of the city and witness the beauty of the Angel of the North as well?

Day trips from Newcastle

Hadrian’s Wall: 44.5 miles, 59 minutes one way. The once impressive Roman structure may lie in ruins now, but it was the final frontier between England and the Picts of Scotland for many years. Try and see inside the fort and visitor centre as well.
 
Durham: 18.9 miles, 27 minutes one way. There’s so much to see and do in Durham: the Cathedral and Castle, to name two. It’s so close, you can easily explore as much of the city as you want in a day.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 11: Norwich

Norwich Castle

This is so much more than just an old building – this is the UK equivalent of the Smithsonian. It dates back to the Norman conquest in the mid 11th Century and houses over a million exhibits. You can even take a trip to the dungeons. With so much to explore, where do you start?

Shop Until You Drop

Norwich is a buzzing retail hub and was the first UK city to pedestrianise a street in 1967! Peruse the wealth of local businesses including Jarrods. This independent department store has plenty of choice, including a 40,000 title strong book department. Norwich is one of the top 10 places in the UK to shop – but your bank balance might not love it as much as you do!

Elm Hill

This is one of the prettiest streets in Norwich and is the perfect place to grab a social media worthy snap. On top of that, Norwich is home to 33 medieval churches and 1,500 historically important buildings. With so much choice, you can complete a different tour of the city every time you visit!

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

If modern art is your thing, this imposing museum should be high on your list. There’s over 3,700 square metres to cover, and some of the most renowned artists have work within these walls. A few noteworthy mentions include Francis Bacon, and Ancient Greek and Roman antiquities.

City of Norwich Aviation Museum

This collection of jet fighters and bombers, mostly from the late 20th Century, is a great day out. It’s mainly a tribute to British aviation, with two Hawker Hunters on display. It’s even built on an old RAF base, now home to Norwich airport.
 

Day trips from Norwich

Great Yarmouth: 21.7 miles, 34 minutes one way. Plenty to see and do here. The Time and Tide Museum and Merrivale Model Village are both worth a visit. Plus, you can round off the day with a long walk along the sandy beach.
 
Ipswich: 45 miles, 1 hr 13 minutes one way. Another incredibly culturally rich town. The 500-year-old Christchurch Museum is the stand out attraction, complete with Tudor Kitchen.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 12: Plymouth

Try Out a New Sport

The city is big on water sports, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to try one for yourself. The Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre offers a wide range of activities. Choose from sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and so much more! With such close access to the sea, it’s the perfect opportunity to unleash yourself upon the waves!

National Marine Aquarium

The largest aquarium in the UK is home to a wide range of fish, rays and sharks. You can get up close with a variety of marine life and learn more about these fantastic species’ along the way.

The Barbican

This cobbled district is one Plymouth’s most defining images. There’s a range of shops, historical buildings and restaurants to explore either on your own or with a guided tour. We reckon that the best way to enjoy the Barbican is to get some fish and chips and sit on the Mayflower Steps. Gaze at the last view the Pilgrims had as they set sail for America while you tuck into some locally sourced grub.

Plymouth Gin Distillery

Another nice adult tipple awaits at this rustic distillery, established in 1793. Choose between the Master Distiller, Taster or Gin Connoisseur tours and enjoy! Once you’ve finished, why not relax in the Cocktail Lounge and enjoy one or two more drinks? As long as you chose your designated driver before hand!

Mayflower Museum

Learn more about the fascinating story of the religious Pilgrims who founded the first English colony in North America. Set over three floors, the Mayflower Museum’s main attraction is a 1:11 scale model of the ship itself.
 

Day trips from Plymouth

Land’s End: 87.7 miles, 2 hrs 1 minute one way. Next stop, the Atlantic! This is an ideal photo opportunity, and there’s plenty to explore at the most westerly point in Britain. Check out the nearby fishing villages of St Ives and Padstow for some great seafood grub.
 
Tintagel and Merlin’s Cave: 41.5 miles, 1 hr 12 minutes one way. The mythical home of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Tintagel Castle is truly magical. The nearby sea cave was allegedly the home of the great Wizard Merlin and is well worth a visit too.
Happy couple enjoying their summer road trip:
Happy couple enjoying their summer road trip

Summer Road Trip Location Base 13: Southampton

Walk the City Walls

Southampton’s Medieval walls still stand to this day and offer a unique route around the city. They’re accessible from several places and lead you around the Old City. There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants on route, as well as the large West Quay shopping centre to help you break up your day.

SeaCity Museum

Southampton is well known for its links to the Titanic, and this modern exhibit tells the story of that fateful voyage. It’s an interactive treasure trove, offering information to people of all ages. But there’s so much more to see than just the Titanic – after all, Southampton has been a major port since the Middle Ages!

Tudor House Museum and Gardens

This timber framed building may appear unassuming, but don’t let that fool you! Inside, interactive technology brings over 800 years of history to life. Check out the nearby 12th Century King John’s Palace as well!

National Motor Museum

Located in the picturesque New Forest, Beaulieu is the UK’s largest car collection. There’s a complete history of the motor vehicle, classic and rare cars and even iconic creations from BBC’s Top Gear. If you’ve had enough of looking at cars, there’s also an Abbey and supposedly haunted stately home on site. But why would you ever get bored of looking at cars…?

Take a Trip Across the Solent to the Isle of Wight

This island may be small, but there’s plenty to see and do! The main attraction is the Needles and Alum Bay. This entertainment hub combines history, fairground fun and sweets to form the perfect day out for kids of all ages. Find out how they make the local rock sticks and bring some home with you. But don’t limit yourself to one place. You can easily cross the island in a couple of hours, so be sure to check out all the sights!
 

Day trips from Southampton

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door: 53.6 miles, 1 hr 14 minutes one way. Part of the Jurassic Coast, this popular beauty spot is great to explore as part of your summer road trip. Just watch your step as you navigate the cliffs!
 
Swanage Steam Railway: 52.5 miles, 1 hr 17 minutes one way. A great day trip for steam engine fans. Stop off at Corfe Castle and explore the beautiful Dorset countryside for the full experience.
 
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: 21.5 miles, 38 minutes. Explore some of Britain’s most famous ships all in one place. Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, floats in the harbour and the Mary Rose has been painstakingly restored on site. There’s free access for the whole year when you buy an admission ticket, so don’t worry if you can’t see it all in one day!
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 14: Swansea

Enjoy a Day at the Beach

In Swansea, you’re spoilt for choice! There’s plenty of local beaches offering great views of the sea and a relaxing day out. Choose from the Gower Peninsula, Oxwich Bay, Three Cliffs Bay or Mumbles Pier and Nature Reserve, amongst others. If you feel so inclined, you could always visit them all on your road trip!

Dylan Thomas’ Birth Place

The famous Welsh poet is revered in Swansea, his home town. While you can learn all about his work at the Dylan Thomas Centre, why not travel back in time and experience an Edwardian dinner party at his house? You can even stay the night! There are also guided tours of the city, allowing you to see Swansea through Thomas’ eyes.

National Waterfront Museum

This stunning building houses over 300 years of Welsh innovation, making it one of Swansea’s must-see attractions. The use of hi-tech displays make the region’s involvement in Britain’s industrial development come back to life. Highly educational – but also highly fun!

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Swansea is well-known as an art hub, and this gallery is the premier venue for exhibitions. With a distinctive collection of work from the last hundred years, even the least artistic among us will still have fun here.

Swansea Market

Sample the delicacies of the area within the largest indoor market in Wales. It’s a thriving hub for Welsh cuisine and culture. Sample Welsh Cakes and Laverbread (predominantly made from seaweed), if you’re feeling adventurous. Be part of the tradition which has existed in the city since 1897!
 

Day trips from Swansea

Cardiff: 42.7 miles, 59 minutes one way. There’s so much to see and do in Cardiff, it’s a weekend road trip in itself. The Millennium Stadium is a great stop for sports fans, while the Castle dominates the city and is unmissable in every sense.
 
Camarthen Castle: 28.1 miles, 40 minutes one way. First built in the early 12th Century, Welsh rebel Owain Glyndŵr famously captured it in 1405. There’s plenty of history to explore within these ruins.
 
St David’s72.5 miles, 1 hr 39 minutes one way. This is the resting place of Wales’ patron saint. Top attractions include a beautiful Cathedral and surrounding coastline to explore.
 

Summer Road Trip Location Base 15: York

York Minster

The Minster is the defining image of York. As the religious base for the UK’s other Archbishop, the Cathedral dates back to the 13th Century. The highlights include the Medieval stained glass windows which shimmer in the sunlight.

Jorvik Viking Experience

York was an important base for the Vikings during the 9th and 10th Centuries. This interactive visitor centre recreates every story from the time in incredible detail. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Viking York all in one place. Of course, it would be incomplete without documenting the battles against the Saxons – so they’re included as well!

The Shambles

Tucked away in York’s historic quarter is a fantastic example of 14th Century England. Stroll the cobbled streets and marvel at the Medieval houses. What was the Shambles originally used for? Well, it was a slaughterhouse district, hence the overhanging buildings. They stopped the meat from rotting in the sun! Another example of fantastic Medieval ingenuity for your road trip.

The National Railway Museum

All aboard! Welcome to the largest railway museum in the UK, where you can revel in your passion for trains. The highlight of the million pieces of assorted memorabilia is the only bullet train displayed outside of Japan. There’s even an outdoor miniature railway you can ride! Heaven on Earth for trainspotters of all ages.

York Ghost Tours

Prepare to be spooked! York has a rich and gruesome history, so there are plenty of tales to get your heart racing. Wander narrow passageways on a ghost hunt or jump aboard the Ghost Bus to hear dramatic re-tellings of gruesome tales. If you dare, that is…
 

Day trips from York

Scarborough: 41.5 miles, 1 hr 7 minutes one way. Another quintessentially English resort town on the North Sea coast. But, with a Japanese garden and Victorian Tramway to explore, there’s more reasons than the beach to include this on your summer road trip.
 
Whitby: 46.9 miles, 1 hr 13 minutes one way. Whitby fish and chips and rock are two holiday essentials. What’s more, you can easily explore the nearby Captain Cook museum and Whitby Abbey, the other inspiration for ‘Dracula’.
 
Wherever in the UK you end up this summer, don’t forget that Book My Garage are always with you! Our network covers the entire UK (excluding Northern Ireland), so we’re always here to help if the worst happens. Although, if you book a Summer Safety Check or a service before you leave, your car should run fine all summer long. Happy (and safe) road tripping!
Drew Hickman

Drew Hickman

Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)

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