The United Kingdom is a road trip paradise – windy roads, scenic vistas, rolling hills, majestic mountains, meandering rivers, quaint towns, castles and history galore. So I’ve put together some of my top tips for the perfect UK road tripping experience
It’s just not something we think about when we live here. When we go abroad, we take the time and effort to explore new places whereas it’s rare to do that in the country you live in.
Here are 7 of my top tips for the perfect UK road trip!
1. Do your vehicle checks
If you’re taking your own car, this is an obvious one to do before you set off. However, it’s important to make sure you take the time to check everything like tyre pressure, oil levels and fill up your car with fuel.
2. Don’t pay for a GPS
If you’re hiring a car, don’t pay for GPS! Download offline maps using Google Maps. Or even better, travel with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Google Maps are particularly handy if you find yourself accidentally taking the wrong turn. My top tip is to bring your own car phone holder so that your passenger isn’t holding the phone up giving you directions for the entire trip. Also bring a car power adapter & USB cable so your phone never goes dead.
3. Be realistic about how long you’ll drive everyday
Being ambitious is one thing, but let’s be honest, you aren’t going to drive from London to Edinburgh in a day. You’ll need to stop off for comfort breaks and a rest along the way – not only that, you’ll miss some of the beauty the UK has to offer along the way.
Also agree on who will be driving, when so that if you’re traveling with more than 1 person, you can make sure you’re all rested and take it in turns behind the wheel.
4. Be flexible & book accommodation on the way
There’s oodles of small hotels and cute B&Bs in the United Kingdom. If you keep your hotel bookings flexible, and only book a day or two in advance (or even on the day), then you can go with the flow and see where the road takes you.
5. Avoid toll roads
There aren’t too many toll roads in the UK, but every penny saved is a penny earned. So, use your favourite maps app to try to avoid unnecessary paid roads.
6. Be aware of the Congestion Charge zone & ULEZ zone in central London
I’m not going to tell you to avoid driving in central London, becasue this is one of my favourite things to do; you get to cover so much ground quickly and see the beauty of London (particularly at night) albeit, even if you are stuck in a traffic jam.
The Congestion Charging Zone operates from 7am – 10pm daily and it covers the inner city of London, ie: most of the tourist attractions and best parts of the city! If you enter the zone, even for a minute, you will be slapped with a hefty fee (£15 upwards) that is charged automatically to your car rental provider (and passed onto you). Cameras are used to track the number plate of every vehicle that enters and leaves.
The ULEZ Zone cover a much larger part of inner London and this operates 24/7. Not all vehicles need to pay this, it depends on the emissions from your car – so it’s best to check this in advance when hiring a car. The fee for this is currently £12.50/day.
Be aware that finding parking in central London also isn’t easy (or cheap!). So as much as I love driving in London, be warned that it’ll cost you at least £27.50 without paying for parking and fuel costs. My top tip is to do it all in one day!
7. UK weather can be unpredictable
Keep an eye on the daily weather forecast. As you can imagine, it changes very quickly in the UK. The ideal time for a road trip in the UK is from May to about September. There’s a good chance you’ll hit rain at some point, so just be prepared with an umbrella and poncho!