The UK’s top road trips
The AA says road trips are growing in popularity, as Brits opt for a staycation over expensive foreign flights. Their research found 45% of the drivers they surveyed said that they plan to go on a UK road trip this year, while a further 25% of drivers polled aren’t road tripping this year, but said they’d like to go on a driving holiday.
Of course, a trip across the Dorset coast would be our number one recommendation but here are the results from their report, to whet your appetite for a late-summer break.
Route: Swanage to Lyme Regis
Distance: 56 miles
Highlights: Culture and geology
Looking for stunning clifftop views? If you’re in the South, we recommend that you drive the Jurassic Coast, which is a UN World Heritage Site. The whole site stretches 95 miles from East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, and fits in over 185 million years of geological history. Take a trip to Chesil Beach – it’s a place that’s inspired several works of art. If you’ve read Ian McEwan’s breathtaking novel, or seen the film version with Saoirse Ronan, you’ll have an idea of how beautiful Chesil Beach is. If not, you’ll soon understand why so many are in awe of the place as you make your way over the pebbles. But make sure you don’t take any as a keepsake – it’s a crime. Running next to Chesil Beach is an 8-mile stretch of water known as the Fleet Lagoon. There are lots of marine animals and rare plants that call this lagoon home, including seahorses and seabirds. Further along the trip, (if the weather’s nice or you’re feeling hardy), you can stop off at West Bay – where Broadchurch was filmed – for a paddle.
Route: Norwich to Hunstanton via Cromer
Distance: 63 miles
Highlights: City and seaside in one day, and delicious seafood
In Norfolk, you can enjoy stunning sea views along roads that are almost empty. Norwich is a fine city to start in, where you’ll be treated to plenty of history and architecture. There’s enough to keep you busy for a whole day here. An 11th century cathedral stands in the middle of the city, the medieval Norwich Castle runs lots of workshops and events, and there’s also a world-famous outdoor market. No Norfolk road trip would be complete without a visit to Cromer, arguably one of Britain’s best-loved seaside towns. Cromer Pier is full of character (and local characters) and its own unique charm. If you’re salivating over some seafood, Cromer is also famous for its crab. Next, make your way along the coastal road until you reach the tranquil town of Hunstanton. This is one of the few places on the coast where you can see the sun setting over the sea. It’s the perfect place to pause and watch a sunset.
The South West
Where: Devon and Cornwall
Route: Barnstaple to Newquay
Distance: 77 miles
Highlights: Beaches and cliffs
The Atlantic Highway offers breathtaking sea views as you drive from Barnstaple to Newquay. Clocking in at 77 miles, there’s plenty to see and do as you hug the coast on this route. If the weather’s on your side, park up when you get to Bude. Here, you can swap out the pedals for some sand under your toes at a Bude-iful beach. Bude, in Cornwall, is a surfing hotspot, but if you’d rather catch some rays than a wave, the golden beaches are perfect for sunbathing. Fancy a detour? You can adjust your trip slightly to go via Dartmoor National Park, with its stunning mix of moorland, woodland, coast and rivers. Look out for the native ponies as you drive through the best of British natural beauty. This detour will add about two hours to your trip. As this is an English road trip, you can’t always rely on the weather. If you’re caught on a rainy day, why not stop off at the village of Tintagel, the rumoured birthplace of King Arthur? You’ll finish off at the pretty surfing town of Newquay. This is your chance to sit back and relax after the drive – there are plenty of tea shops overlooking the bay where you can enjoy a cuppa and watch the crashing, rolling waves of the Atlantic.
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