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Written by Savi, 41 Comments

We’ve lived in London for over 8 years now and we have a weakness for road trips – this dangerous combination has led us to make many a road trip in England 🙂 So far, we’ve written about a long weekend away in Devon, a road trip from London to Cornwall, and our favourite road trips around London.

But this summer we thought we’d tell you everything you need to know about planning an epic road trip in England – one that will take you through unending fields of flowers, quaint British villages, seaside towns, urban centres such as London, and UNESCO Heritage Sites. You can dine at English gastro pubs, try your hand at making English cheese, unwind at an English beach, marvel at intricate cathedrals, and hop on a pub crawl or food tour to taste the best that England has to offer.

Distance covered on this road trip in England : 800 miles

Time required : 2-3 weeks

 

Perfect Itinerary for a Road Trip in England
Our favourite itinerary for a road trip in England

 

I) Start in London (5 days)

Before you rent a car, get a taste of the capital by exploring it via tube.

Accommodation in London

When it comes to choosing accommodation in London, there is no dearth of hotels and apartments to suit all budgets. But if you’re travelling to London during summer months, you will struggle to get accommodation that is both affordable and central. It’s usually one or the other.

But we do have a great option for you if you are lucky enough to be travelling to London between 2 July and 23 September (exact dates vary each year). Did you know Imperial College opens its doors to guests every summer? We love their summer accommodation because of a couple of different reasons. It’s clean, well-equipped, spacious, and located in one of the nicest areas of London. It’s easy to spend your days walking around South Kensington’s alleyways but you will have a lot of London’s iconic sites at your doorstep too. This includes the V&A, Natural History Museum, The Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park! What’s more, all the other London landmarks are just a hop, skip, and jump away. This makes it our top choice for a short summer getaway in London

Summer residences at Universities provide an ideal, yet affordable stay in London

 

Spacious and clean – Imperial College’s summer accommodation is a great pick if you’re visiting during summer months

As for things to do, there’s nothing that hasn’t been said about London. On Bruised Passports alone, we’ve written a dozen articles on the ever-fascinating city. But allow us to rave a bit more 🙂 London has a bit for everyone. Of course you will want to check off primary attractions such as The Big Ben, The London Eye, or Westminster Abbey off your list. If you’re a keen shopper, you will want to hit the shopping mecca that is Oxford Street. But also make sure you experience luxurious afternoon tea in London , take an offbeat food tour, sample street art, and hit a few alternative bars in town. Check out our Guide To London for loads of offbeat and fun ideas of things to do in London.

 

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel
Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel

 

 

Counter Cafe Hackney wick
The Counter Café is our favourite breakfast haunt in London right now

 

Accommodation for the rest of the trip

There is no dearth of hotels and apartments to suit all budgets on this road trip in England. But we would suggest booking scenic cottages or quaint apartments on Air BnB for the rest of this trip for a truly English experience.

 

II) Drive to Cornwall (3 days)

It’s time to say goodbye to urbanity for a taste of the English countryside. Pick up your rental car and kick off your roadtrip. It’s only fair to start your road trip of England in a area laden with character. Cornwall is a stunning area at the south-western tip of England and the Cornish coastal road has repeatedly been adjudged as one of the most scenic drives in the world.

 

But first it’s time for a pit-stop or two along the way. Depending on the time you have at hand, spend a few hours or a couple of days in Bath and Stonehenge. Bath is a historic town, known for its historic buildings. Stonehenge, is one of the most famous pre-historic monuments in the entire world. It has a pagan air about it and is definitely worth a visit.

 

england-road-trip-Stonehenge
Stonehenge – put it on your itinerary for a road trip in England 🙂

 

There is no shortage of things to do in Cornwall. You can spend your days indulging in archetypal English delights. Don’t leave without exploring the fishing village of Cadgwith, the bustling town of St. Ives, sampling Cornish pasties, walking along the coastal route at Lizard Peninsula, and watching a play at Minack Theatre (an open-air theater overlooking the sea)

 

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Minack Theater in Cornwall is stunning

 

 

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The two of us in Cornwall

 

II) Continue onto Devon and Dorset (3 days)

The charm turns up a notch in neighbouring Devon. Here thatched cottages, picturesque farms, and holiday homes dilly dally with gorgeous coastal drives and UNESCO Heritage Sites. Devon seems to be rimmed with a halo of magic and you are bound to love every bit of it.

 

Make sure you stay in a holiday cottage or a working farm. Spend your days picnicking amidst canola fields, going for long walks in the countryside, and admiring the sylvan landscape. Don’t come away without driving along the Jurassic Coast, a natural UNESCO Heritage site. It’s littered with pebbled beaches, hidden coves, fishing villages, and the famed Durdle Door – a natural limestone arch overlooking the sea. This drive is bound to be one of the highlights of your long road trip in England.

 

Road trip London Devon
The roads you will encounter on your road trip in Devon

 

Road trip London Devon-durdle-door-at-sunset
Gorgeous sunset at Durdle Door in Dorset

 

III) Experience Brighton (2-4 days)

After spending a week in the English countryside, you’re bound to crave the hustle-bustle of cities. Brighton is the perfect pit stop on your way to London. This small city is one of the most vibrant in all of England. There is no dearth of vintage boutiques, independent cafes and eateries, street art in Brighton and there’s something for everyone.

 

Brighton’s seafront offers all the charms of an English sea-side resort – there are ice-cream vendors, carousels, casinos, and dozens of fish-n-chip takeaways. Truly as English as it gets!!

 

IV) Fall in love with Canterbury

There are a few things only a road trip in England can offer – Canterbury is one of them. Time stands still in this cathedral city, made famous by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The idyllic city is straight out of the pages of a fairy-tale. Explore the Canterbury Cathedral and go for a river tour to acquaint yourself with the city. You will fall in love.

 

 

VI) Be awed by Oxford (1 day)

Oxford is just an hour’s drive away from London. It’s home to the one of the oldest and most famed universities in the world – University of Oxford. Explore the hallowed corridors of the colleges, listen to one of the college chapel choirs, or explore Bodleian Library (perfect for bookworms!).

 

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep in order to prepare yourself for the long drive the next day.

 

Road trip London Devon-mazzard-farm-4
Countryside livin’ – yay 🙂

 

VII) Visit York and the surrounding moors (3-5 days)

A long drive will take you to the northern part of England. You could stop at a pick-your-own farm on the way. Pick your own fruit (choose from strawberries, raspberries, pears, and apples) farms lends a typical English edge to this road trip.

 

York, a quaint cathedral city, provides the perfect base to explore the area. The city itself is home to one of the prettiest cathedrals in England but the rugged countryside surrounding York acts as the proverbial cherry on top of the cake. The North York Moors national park includes wide expanses of moorland straight out of the pages of Wuthering Heights. The spa town of Harrogate is the getaway to the moors. We love the little known Ilkley Moors but there are a number of hikes and walks in the area.

 

If you love all things outdoorsy, you might want to consider camping in the neighbouring Peak District for 3-4 days. There are a variety of options – pitched tents, camping sites, caravans, and holiday homes – for keen campers.

 

Stop at a pick-your-own-fruit farm on the way :-)
Stop at a pick-your-own-fruit farm on the way 🙂

 

prettiest towns in England
England has some stunning cathedrals

 

 

VIII) Lake District National Park

We saved the best for the last – we truly did. The Lake District National Park is famous for being home to the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth. It is said to have provided inspiration for a lot of his poetry – looking around, it’s easy to see why. The entire landscape is peppered with perfect cottages, fields full of daffodils, rolling mountains, and dazzling lakes. The panoramas in The Lake District National Park will leave you hankering for more. We won’t blame you if you stay on for a week (or two) 🙂

 

Road trip London Devon
Views on a roadtrip in England

 

If you find yourself in London, the best way to explore the city is to get a  London Pass (get 6% off passes using the code JULY6 at checkout)

Planning a road trip in England? Read all our articles on England, including detailed articles on Devon, Cornwall, and London here.

41 thoughts on “The Perfect Itinerary for a Road Trip in England

  1. I absolutely agree, this Roadtrip sounds perfect. Oxford and York are my favorite cities in the UK and the Lake District is stunning. I would love to get to know Cornwall. Unfortunately I haven’t been to this part of the UK yet.

  2. What a great itinerary! A little bit of city, a little bit of country, a whole lot of English loveliness. I’m definitely tucking this away for when I move over in a few years and have the time to do this road trip right.

        1. hey we have articles on two of our favourite road trips from London – to Devon and Cornwall on the website. Check those out 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this article. It is great you have taken the time to help others. Do you have name or links to where you sleep on this trip?

    1. Hey Lisa – we slept in li’l cottages and B&Bs along the way. Unfortunately we weren’t into blogging then, so never jotted down names 🙁

  4. My mother and I are planning a 3 1/2 week holiday to England and Ireland in April next year. Your itinerary is really helpful. We will fly into London hire a car for the duration, only stay in London for two days then head down the coast as you have done and then make our way to the family in Manchester. Any ideas, hints would be appreciated.

  5. Thank you so much for finally being a tourist venturing up North, I hope you enjoyed York and the national parks! If you ever get the chance – Come up to Northumberland and visit Morpeth, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Berwick – you will not regret it, all these towns are beautiful and all contain a castle – Alniwck castle being where Harry Potter was filmed and Bamburgh constantly being voted as the uk most beautiful castles!, plus it only an hours drive from Berwick to Edinburgh so it would work out great.

    1. Sounds great Alex – we love York – will definitely try and visit Morpeth, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Berwick soon 🙂

  6. Ahhh!!! This is perfect!!! Planning on road tripping through England this November so that we can visit the Bath Christmas Market and do some other holiday shopping and your post has made us so excited for our trip! Thank you for posting! This will be so helpful!

  7. Hey Savi, can you suggest an itinerary on Scotland Ireland or may be one of them.we would ideally have 10 days. Thanks a ton

    1. Hi Tuhina,

      You should spend a few days in Edinburgh, then drive to Inverness maybe? from there you could fly to Dublin or Belfast even and rent a car again and explore Northern Ireland (if you decide to fly to Belfast) 🙂

  8. Just an update to this post. York doesn’t actually have a Cathedral, it’s a Minster. But its beautiful nonetheless!

    1. But minsters are cathedrals too, just ones that were used for teaching during Anglo-Saxon times. Quoting wikipedia “The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England, and is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe”

  9. I’d like a bit of help please. We are doing this: arrive Heathrow and get car and 3 nights in Bath. Then 2 in Oxford. Then 4 in the Lakes District and 4 in Broadway and then finishing it out w/5 in London. We’ve been to Oxford. Do you recommend we skip Oxford altogether and replace it w/York or skim a night off of Oxford and The Lakes to get 2 nights in York. This is a very helpful post! Thanks for your advice….jon

    1. Hey Jon,

      Like the sound of your itinerary. If you’ve been to Oxford already, we’d suggest skipping that and spending those 2 nights in York. York is truly magical and you’ll love it 😀

      Have a great trip!

  10. Hey Savi Vid,
    Hope you guys doing well. 🙂 Well I’m sure you guys are. Both me and my wife are such a celebrity fan of both of you. We wait to see all your posts and your write ups from all your tours.
    We would first like to inform you, that we had taken two complete holiday itinerary from your website, they being the one for Bali and the other road trip in New Zealand, we followed both the tours of yours religiously, From choosing the same hotels, the same road navigations, restaurants etc. We literally followed, stalked you guys for those two vacations of ours. and trust us, those two vacations were just breathtaking, it changed our idea of travelling. We have never been such a followers of anybody, and we are so proud of following your holidays, We recommend it to all our family members and friends all around.

    At this point We are looking to take another holiday to UK this summer, and was browsing up your itinerary. we are so happy too be following them and making sure we cover the most of it through Bruised Passports.

    Thank you so much you guys. Keep Writing and sharing the photographs. They mean so much to us. Its the time when we share and discuss about your work, makes us so happy.

    Thank You.

    Have a great day.

    1. Hey Nikhil,

      Thank you so much for your message and for trusting our itineraries 🙂 Our work here is done in that case 😀 Please do share photos from your trip to Bali and New Zealand – we’d love to see them 🙂

      Have a great trip in UK.

      Thanks once again for your love and support.

      Cheers!

  11. Hi Savi Vid,

    I will second the earlier post on being truly inspired by your holidays. We too in last 10 months first google whether you have been to a destination and then decide as it makes things so much quicker for us.

    we too followed your garden route itinerary and loved it.

    We really identify with your holiday style.

    We are planning a road trip with our parents and infant in October end-mid nov for like 17-18 days from New Delhi.

    We are torn between New Zealand or England with Scotland.

    England would suit us more in terms of flight time with an infant but we are not really sure whether this would be the best time to go, we are interested in visiting scotch distilleries in england and also follow the above mentioned itinerary by squeezing a few days or follow your new zealand road trip itinerary.

    Please make the decision for us 🙂

    1. Hey Randhir – that’s great to know. So happy to hear that you enjoy Bruised Passports SO much. Given its October/November, we’d recommend going for New Zealand as the weather in UK can get really grey and cold at that time 🙂

  12. Hi!! I was looking for some inspiration as to where to go this August with a 2-year-old and a 1-month-old baby from London with a car, and have decided to do York and Lake District after reading your post!

    Could you give me any recommendations of where to go within the Lake District? And any stops you’d suggest on our drive back or where we could stop for the night so the drive isn’t as long?

    Tx!!!

    Ps. Already followed your Cornwall road trip tips and loved that part of England!

    1. Hey Maria,

      So happy to hear our Cornwall itinerary was helpful 🙂

      Within the Lake District you could go to Ambleside, Windermere, Bowness, or Lakeside. You could also drive further up to Rydal or Grasmere. On your way back, you could break your journey at Cheshire or perhaps Stratford-upon-avon?

      Have a great trip 🙂

  13. Hi me & hubby john are planning a week road trip in UK, we fancy going to Devon we live in fleetwood, Lancashire. We welcome your ideas? Thank you.

    1. Hey Carol and John – that’s a great idea. We have detailed itineraries on Devon and Cornwall if you’re interested 🙂

  14. Hi Savi and Vid,

    Its always nice reading your posts. Very informative indeed. We are planning to take this road trip in June 2018. Please tell us how viable would it be with a 1 year infant?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Prachi – You can get a car seat for your infant. Other than that England is extremely kid-friendly, so you won’t have a problem at service stations, restaurants, or anywhere else. Have fun 🙂

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