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99 Things To Do On An English Road Trip


Posted on October 2nd, by Peter Parkorr in Britain, England, Roaming Resources. 31 comments

England! It’s an old country with lots of history. But like the rest of the world, things are changing all the time. This summer I went on a road trip with my good friend Kash, to see more of England – something I’ve wanted to do for a long while.

If you’re looking for English road trip ideas, here are 99 things to do in England that will make sure even the Queen approves of your adventure!

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It’s an epic list, so you might like to jump to specific entries about the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, York, the Cotswolds, Cambridge or the South Downs. There are other places and road trip tips sprinkled about in the list too!

You can come back here with one click of the ‘Back To Top’ button, the dark grey hovering icon with a white up arrow that will appear bottom right of your screen.

Ready to get going? The first three things on the list should not be underestimated – its not a road trip in any of the countries of Britain without these essentials.

1. Decide who is in charge of the road trip playlist

This is extremely important. It is paramount that your road trip has the right playlist. One person should take overall responsibility for the soundtrack – even if you agree everyone will do a guest spot or two. Choose the official soundologist for your journey carefully. They will need to be diplomatic or authoritarian, because there’s always one person whose musical taste puts everyone else off. Look around at the friends you’ve chosen to take the trip with. If you can’t work out who the musical lemon is, it might be you.

Here are some sounds I’ve been listening to that was put together by the guys at Hejorama if you need some inspiration:

2. Make sure you’ve packed a great British sandwich

British-Sandwiches-variety

There is no finer sandwich than a Great British Sandwich! Sandwiches were supposedly invented in 1762 by John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich. If you grew up with them, you know the love of biting slowly through soft bread and hitting your favourite filling; we eat nearly 3 billion of them every year in Britain alone. Popular varieties include ham and cheese, egg and cress, chicken salad, and the mouth-watering BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato)! Quality varies hugely across the land, so make your purchase wisely and it will be worth every penny.

3. Don’t forget the crisps!

Crisps – another part of British culture that goes well with road tripping. All the above sandwiches can be improved immeasurably by adding a layer of crisps between the bread. Crisps might be addictive and are definitely not that healthy, but the increase in pleasure you get from every bite is worth the extra workout time later…  

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Popular flavours that have stood the test of time are Salt & Vinegar and Cheese & Onion, while Prawn Cocktail and Roast Chicken have always been a bit controversial. More recently flavours like Sour Cream & Onion (Pringles) and Chilli Heatwave (Doritos) are popular, but sometimes you just have to go ultra-old school with Space Invaders, Nik Naks or Roysters T-Bone Steak.

4. Get a thrill as you approach your first destination

…and realise this roadtrip is really on!

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5. Whip the camera out as one of England’s great lakes comes into view

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An aerial view of the Lake District from the Telegraph’s travel guide

6. Hire a water craft

You might choose a kayak, canoe, stand-up-paddle board, jetski, speed boat, wakeboard, small dinghy, or maybe a pedalo?

7. Try it out on the beautiful lakes…

…like Lake Windermere, and realise what you’ve been missing out on in the city!

8. Eat fish and chips with curry sauce

Barrow on Furness is a quaint town by Lake Windermere that serves a good fish supper. And having curry sauce with your fish and chips is very nouveau English!

9. Visit the grave of England’s foremost poet

William Wordsworth lived in Grasmere from the age of 30 until his death at 80, and now lies peacefully in the village cemetery of St Oswald’s. He famously wrote;

I wandered lonely as a cloud…

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Local humour in Grasmere

10. Try the famous Grasmere gingerbread

Sold in a tiny little shop by folk dressed in period clothing, Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread is famous for a reason – it’s delicious!

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11. Drop into Beatrix Potter’s world for a surreal slice of your childhood

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Gemima Puddleduck chances her neck

12. Make an unscheduled pit stop for ice cream

From Mark at Joe’s Ices if possible! Mark has been selling ice-cream in this same spot since 1959… incredible.

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13. Learn about Wordsworth’s other hobby

You can also visit Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home where he lived from 1813 until his death in 1850, and was a very keen landscape gardener.

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14. Grab a map and take a hike for grand views over the lakes

The Lake District is famous for its walking, hiking, climbing and more. Pop into a visitor centre and get all the information you need, whether you are a beginner or experienced outdoorsman.

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Walkers on Loughrigg fell overlooking Windermere. Photo by John Morr, from the National Park website.

15. Enjoy well deserved refuelling by the waterside

Here’s the tasty grub we ate on YHA Ambleside‘s new terrace by the lake, there are other good options for eating with a view in most towns by the water.

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16. Visit Kendal for the mint-cake and find something much better

Kendal mint-cake is basically a block of sugar with mint flavouring – it used to be popular with hikers as an energy boost that was easy to carry. Most people find it just too sweet now. However, Farrer’s tea and coffee shop is as great as it looks from the outside, a place for both tea and coffee connoisseurs, trading since 1819.

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17. Drive through the stunning Yorkshire Dales

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A postcard showing some of the popular towns in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo by Alwyn Ladell

18. Pull over to take in the rolling hills properly

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19. Find yourself a tiny village pub

And enjoy the relaxing atmosphere over a decent pint.

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20. Have a chat with some of the locals

Bar staff and pub regulars will usually be quite happy to chat and will bestow upon you their local tips if you ask nicely.

21. Pop into a 400 or 500 year old theatre

Because not everywhere in the world has them! The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond is as old as the United States and older than colonial Australia! It also has carved names of playwrights whose work was shown in its early days, including ‘Shakespere’ with his surname’s original spelling.

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22. Find one of Britain’s loveliest cricket fields

We stumbled across Britain’s loveliest cricket ground for 2005, as awarded by the Wisden Cricketer (now The Cricketer) and Yorkshire Tea. Apparently the ground wasn’t aware they were in the running until they won the title, but they were very happy to also receive promotional boxes of tea which helped cover costs.

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23. Get lost taking the scenic route and not care because it’s so gorgeous

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24. Discuss in depth your favourite all-time musicians…

And if cheesy music is acceptable in any circumstances?

Of course it’s not.

25.  Have a massive cheesy song sing-along anyway

This did not happen. Honest.

26. Visit Wallace & Gromit at the Wensleydale cheese factory!

Two of Yorkshire’s most famous exports welcome you to taste more than 20 flavours of cheese made in Wensleydale.

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27. Take a real English Ale brewery tour

None of that weak fizzy lager stuff! Black Sheep and Theakston‘s breweries are both based in the North Yorkshire town of Masham. Supposedly the Black Sheep brewery was formed after a rift within the Theakston family and the departing black sheep of the family named his brewery accordingly.

28. Squeeze past oncoming vehicles on wavy single-track roads.

This really is the scenic route.

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29. Until car sickness sets in and you need a strategic photo-stop!

Click. Click. (Chunder.) Click-click.

30. Go for a run…

and realise how much harder it is when it’s hilly!

31. Have a heartfelt attempt at conversation with a farmyard animal

This is Travel Photography Etiquette 101 – it’s rude to treat locals like inanimate photo props, no matter where you are. Be polite, ask nicely, and start a conversation.

32. Visit at least one of Britain’s loveliest villages (by any measure)

It seems several English villages, especially those inside the national parks, have claims to be the nicest or prettiest or somehow best village in Britain. Either way, when you find one, they are so idyllic that it’s hard to imagine people really live in them.

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A cluster of houses just outside of Richmond below the town’s castle

33. Stop the car for just one more (picturesque) portrait of a sheep

34. Have a not-so-great British sandwich

Ok, not something you want to aim for, but it will happen, usually at a service or petrol station. Not all sandwiches are created with equal care and attention. Maybe it’s bland and tasteless. Maybe you thought it was full to the brim, but actually the ingredients have been cunningly placed in the middle of the bread, and the outer half is barren and soggy.

Whoever does this to a sandwich should be severely punished. On the plus side, you probably won’t make the same mistake, and you’ll be even more appreciative of a really great sandwich next time.

35. Take an unplanned detour to a place of natural beauty

On an English road trip, brown road signs with white lettering will direct you to nearby places of interest. It could be a beauty spot, an historical site or a host of other things. You’ll see plenty of these even on a short trip, so just pick one and follow it! Our brown-sign detours led us to Bolton Castle and the very pretty Aysgarth Falls.

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Aysgarth Falls, where Kevin Costner filmed scenes from Robin Hood duelling with Little John

There’s actually a great website paying tribute to these signs and promoting ‘brown-signing’ as a way to explore Britain.

Check out their page showing all 93 types of brown sign and what they stand for! My favourite is the humble ‘Viewing Point’.

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While we’re on the subject of brown things…

36. Learn the story of how chocolate was invented

It’s hard to imagine a world without it, but before 1847 there wasn’t a solid version of chocolate in the world. The first edible chocolate was invented by Joseph Fry in England, and the Rowntree, Terry and Cadbury families in York and the Midlands were leaders in the manufacture of this new product. A visit to York’s Chocolate Story is essential for any chocolate lover!

Here’s a simple (some say brilliant) Vine from my Chocolate Story tour, but I am also making a series of proper videos for VisitBritain too. Subscribe to my Youtube channel to see those when they are finished, as well as more from my other travels.

37. Walk the old city walls

York is a great size for sightseeing on foot, and the circular city walls are a nice way to get to and from different parts of the city. You can also walk the historic walls of lots of other towns in England, like Bristol, Chester, and Berwick-upon-Tweed, but York is the best preserved.

38. Search for England’s best burger and chips

We found ours at The Fort in York! But I wasn’t on the Man vs Food style trip this challenge would really require…

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A seriously good burger and chips (such chips!), and half price on Wednesdays.

39. Meet some of York’s infamous ducks

Or, follow them over a round-about and down the street, into oncoming traffic with your iPhone out, as Kash did. These fearless feathered flatfoots have quite the reputation for not being afraid of traffic or anything else on the roads. We actually saw them hold up an ambulance with it’s sirens blaring.

40. Get to grips with our Viking past

Every school child in the North of England must have to come to the Jorvik Viking Centre. I know I did sometime before I was 11. This was worth the re-visit as an adult, with a new understanding for the stories about our distant ancestors.

41. Take the cat trail and search for the hidden cats

York has an amusing tradition started sometime between the 17th and 19th centuries. Cat statues are dotted around the city on buildings, rooftops and other places. It’s thought this was originally to deter mice and vermin, but the tradition was reignited by architect Tom Adams when he wanted to leave his mark on the city in the 1980’s.

He began adding cat statues to each building he designed around the city. Now there are many less-permanent additions to the trail of cats around the city, and at least two cat-themed gift shops. These are perfect for buying road trip souvenirs, because frankly we all know a potential cat-lady or three. The Vine below is actually some cat enthusiasm from Cambridge, but a York cat’s feature is on it’s way…

42. Have a Sunday Roast

Another staple of the English diet is a traditional Sunday roast. You could go for a full sit-down meal, but I went for the Sunday-roast-in-a-sandwich (obviously) at The York Roast Co.

43. Climb the 275 steps of York Minster for great views

Getting to the top of the Minster shows you York from above in all directions. The views are impressive and so is climbing around inside the Minster itself. English Road Trip Ideas England-22

44. Enjoy a local pint with a platter at Trembling Madness

A great selection of Ales and food, above an intriguing alcohol shop below, with an array of strange and delicious alcohols in stock. English Road Trip Ideas England-23

45. Stroll down the Shambles with ‘yore favoryte tales of olde in minde’

Some liken it to Diagon Ally of Harry Potter fame, but I like to think of it as The Shades in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. An altogether more dark and dangerous place, which fits with the nightly Ghost Walks you can take here to learn about the areas past. English Road Trip Ideas England-21

46. Step back in time by visiting Warwick Castle and talking to the townsfolk

Before I visited Warwick Castle, I was expecting just a castle. But no! This is more of a medieval theme park for families, with the castle used as a backdrop to show how people used to live. Great for families and groups, with shows, dungeons and the castle walls to keep everyone busy, but not cheap at £21 to £28 per head. Keep your eyes peeled for voucher codes and other discounts on their own site and at places like MoneySavingExpert.

47. Get high above the landscape and enjoy more of England’s luscious green views

This shot is from the highest tower of Warwick Castle, but don’t forget to follow the brown-signs for Viewing Points on your road trip to find other places. English Road Trip Ideas England-48

48. Take a day-trip into the Cotswolds

One of Britain’s prettiest regions, the Cotswolds is famous for it’s quaint towns and villages, and there are lots of them. Get your recommendations from a guidebook, a local, staff at your hotel or hostel – you can’t really go wrong anywhere here, and everybody has their own favourites. cotswold-map

49. Choose your favourite town for a picture perfect snap

We managed to visit the lovely towns of Chipping Camden and Bourton-on-the-Water, but also had recommendations for Moreton-in-Marsh, Wootton-under-Edge and several others. English Road Trip Ideas England-26

50. Pick up sandwiches and more for a picnic

You can find local cheeses, olives, crackers, crisps and other deli items at village shops in the Cotswolds. They are more than ready for road trippers who like to build their own lunch.

51. Add some English bubbly to make it a really posh picnic

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52. Relax and cool off on a hot summer day

Dip your feet in the cool streams of somewhere like Bourton-on-the-Water, before finding a cold drink at one of the many cafes.

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Kash and another blogger enjoy the cool waters

53. Look out for Jacobian architecture and other surprises

You’ve got to wonder if structures like this were inspired by Islamic architecture or the Moors of Spain. Other examples are spread all over England, in places like Kent, Cheshire and elsewhere. IMG_20140624_164202

54. Find a life-size Lilliput Lane

Lilliput Lane models are realistic miniatures of typical English and Welsh countryside cottages, made in Cumbria since the 80’s. They are all based on real cottages and rural life, so look out for the original inspirations for these sought-after collectibles!

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An actual Lilliput Lane

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The closest I found to a real-life Lilliput Lane! In Chipping Campden

 

55. Head to Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon

One of England’s most famous sons, often called our national poet, and creator of over 3000 new words in the English language. Here you can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, the house he grew up in, and his grave.

56. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Company for last minute theatre tickets

Any theatre lover or Stratfordian will tell you this is a must-do while you’re in Stratford-upon-Avon. So do it! You can get last minute tickets and discounted concessions rates from the ticket counter some weekday mornings.

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Inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo by Stewart Hemley

 

57. Listen out for a cheap bite from bell-ringers

Stratford has a slightly odd practice on Meer Street. Both the pasty shop and the cake shop send someone ring a hand-bell outside their doors, signalling to anyone nearby that the rest of the days stock has dropped in price. A tasty pastry for just £1. It’s just a shame the cake shop rang at 4pm and the pastries at 5pm on my visit – I didn’t fancy dessert before dinner!

58. Pop into a cafe for a clotted cream scone

Most popular in Cornwall and Devon because of all the dairy farms down there, you can usually find these indulgent scones anywhere there are traditional cafes and enough old dears to keep them on the menu! They are easy to find in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Tea and scones, by Christian Kadluba on Flickr.

 

59. Have a game of croquet

Croquet (pronounced ‘crow-kay’) used to be a popular pastime for English ladies and gents. The Stratford-upon-Avon YHA (in Alveston, a couple of miles from the town centre) have a set you can use to revive the spirit of croquet in the garden of their grade-II listed mansion/hostel. You can also have a cuppa or a bite to eat at their new cafe Hemingfords too, whether you are staying there or not.

60. Treat yourself at our great restaurants

At some point on your journey you might get bored of sandwiches. Personally, I wouldn’t, but you might. England can be a foodie paradise when it wants to be, so make sure you eat somewhere with a reputation for good food to see just how well our restaurants are keeping with the times. Think locally sourced, humanely reared, fresh from the sea, and a revival of ingredients like seaweed or samphire that were all but lost a few years ago. Let’s draw the line at micro-salads though shall we?

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The food at Baraset near the Stratford upon Avon YHA was great, but Kash’s veggie option failed to impress.

 

61. Dump the car and do a day trip by public transport

It’s nice to not always have a car, which means everyone can enjoy a pint, no hassle trying to get parked in a new city, and no parking fines for whatever reason the council dream up next. Britain is getting a bit notorious for the list of things you can be fined on our roads for, often turning a cheap day into an expensive one.

Day One of this road trip cost an unexpected £30 from Manchester City Council for straying into a bus lane. And then the lovely folks at Hertz car rentals thought the stress and hardwork involved in passing on this fine to me was worth another £42. The bloody cheek!

We used GoEuro to compare the price of driving into Birmingham for a day versus catching a train or bus. For two people the costs of petrol and the day’s car hire were similar to train tickets. But when I took into account parking costs, weekend traffic in Birmingham, and the general pressure of navigating an unfamiliar city centre, accruing fines – taking the train won by a mile!

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Comparing the cost of public transport versus driving, for two people.

 

62. Try the latest mod cons to find new things you like

Start by using the popular app Foursquare to search for something in a new city. Restaurants, sights, cafes, shops – Foursquare is full of rated suggestions from other users. Foursquare screenshot food I could (and will) write a lot more about useful apps for travellers. For now, maybe avoid trying this in less metropolitan towns – I tried it in Middlesbrough, and the results consisted of KFC, Pizza Hut and Greggs. Really.

63. Visit the college of your favourite Cambridge Graduates

Whether you’re a fan of Darwin or prefer Douglas Adams, most of the Cambridge colleges allow visitors to explore their grounds. You can see where famous names went to university and admire the buildings dating back as far the 13th century.

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Borrowing a book from a 22 year old Charles Darwin, before he set off aboard The Bugle

64. Punt along the River Cam and see the College Back’s

Punting along the river in Cambridge is like taking a Gondola in Venice, all part of the experience…

65. Stay at a ‘luxury hostel’ and see how hostelling has been revolutionised

What defines a luxury hostel? The service, the facilities, design and usually a comfy private room that fits into a small budget. Don’t take my word for it though, Kash is the expert and you can download his guide to The Luxury Hostels of Europe. We stayed exclusively at luxury hostels from the YHA for this trip to see how well they had spent their cool £22million (!) on recent refurbishments. His reviews are online here, and some of the hostels will appear in his second edition of the guide. luxury hostels of europe guide budget traveller download

66. Take advantage of the kitchen and cook something wholesome

One of the biggest advantages of hostels over hotels. Cooking for yourself is a luxury when you’re travelling, and lowers your budget considerably (as well as your cholesterol).

67. Buy a book at a second-hand book sale

Great books at knockdown prices, all part of the British experience. british 2nd hand book sale

68. Hunt for treasures and knick-knacks at a local market

We found great local and flea markets along our route, perfect for unique and quirky gifts to take home. English Road Trip Ideas England-28

69. Listen to the heavenly Choral Evensong in Kings College Chapel

Here’s a cheeky sample of the Cambridge Kings College Choir, but you really had to be there, and the main event in my opinion was seeing the inside of the huge structure. They aren’t keen on photographs so only one hasty snap for me.

Kings College Chapel, Cambridge

70. Be a Nosey Parker and find the man behind this famous phrase!

Keep your eyes peeled when you visit the colleges for the statue of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury in the mid-16th century. He had a reputation for butting in on religious matters and the phrase Nosey Parker is named after him!

71. Be spoilt for choice in a fine old English sweet shop

Delight your inner child with a few sugary blasts from the past. English Road Trip Ideas England-30

72. Explore along one of Britain’s historic canals

A legacy from the industrial revolution, before our manufacturers gave way to industry in cheaper places like India. Canals in Britain are prime places for relaxing, exercising, or fishing, as well as having a limited popularity for an alternative holiday. People living in canal boat homes has also seen a revival, although whether it will continue or not isn’t clear, as explored in a great article by Roads and Kingdoms called The Boat People of Britain.

73. Visit Brighton in search of street art and quirky shops

Neither of which are hard to find in one of the UK’s coolest cities. English Road Trip Ideas England-31

74. Stroll along Brighton Pier and play the penny arcades

Seaside resorts in England are full of long-standing amusement arcades. These used to be an exciting place to let the kids loose on family holidays, before it became so cheap to fly abroad.

75. Grab an ice-cream to enjoy at the seaside

This one is non-negotiable, whatever the weather. Grin, bear it, and keep licking! Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…

76. Realise your massive error and try to outrun the vermicious seagulls

If you inadvertently become a target for large swooping gulls with a taste for Mr Whippy, it’s probably easiest to drop the ice-cream and run. brighton beach seagull

77. Try to avoid any ‘good luck offerings’ from above

Getting hit by bird-poop is another risk with the sheer number of birds about, as Kash discovered early on. He has all the luck! English Road Trip Ideas England-51

78. Listen to the street buskers

Many an English musician has sang for their dinner. Famous British celebs who have been known to busk include George Michael, Paul McCartney, Sting and KT Tunstall. If you enjoy what the busker is playing, don’t forget to reward them with a little change for their effort. Otherwise it isn’t ‘singing for their dinner’, it’s just singing.

79. Compare a historic town of the South with one from the North

There’s no shortage of historic towns in England. We enjoyed exploring Lewes, known for its pubs, art galleries and 950 year old castle. Not too dissimilar from Richmond in North Yorkshire! English Road Trip Ideas England-32

80. Enjoy another selection of local ales

With new brewers appearing every month in the UK, there really is no excuse for not trying something new and local. English Road Trip Ideas England-33

81. Rewrite the rules of camping with a luxury Camping Pod

Another budget accommodation option for your English road trip is glamping. This comes in various forms, and some YHA’s are offering Camping Pods that can sleep up to four people. Much like a wooden cabin from an eco-lodge, the pods are carpeted and come with lights and power, making for an extremely peaceful sleep.

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Watching sunset from the YHA South Downs

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My luxury accommodation for the night!

 

82. Re-live the war and survive an air raid in Newhaven

Explore Newhaven Fort along the South coast for a bit of British war-time history. There are great views of the coast and interesting displays inside, including an air raid experience in an old shelter. If you’re feeling really brave, there is a tunnel that leads down through the cliff to the beach – now sealed at the bottom, it is said to be haunted by a man who died during the construction of the fort. It’s certainly spooky, but thankfully not crammed with ghosts. Nobody else here died, as the fort was never attacked. English Road Trip Ideas England-35

83. Decide which Pier is prettiest

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The gorgeous Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne Pier or Brighton Pier? Just two of the contenders along the South coast, but unfortunately these 140 year old+ wooden structures are prone to fires. Eastbourne Pier had a fresh coat of paint that made it the nicer of the two for me, but shortly after our visit half of it was lost in a blaze! Hopefully they can restore what is left and make it usable again, especially as it’s where I found my next tip;

84. Eat fresh fish and chips on the beach

Fish and chips are at their best eaten at the seaside, preferably with a fairground carousel in earshot.

85. Buy a stick of Rock

Sticks of Rock are another very English seaside tradition. They are colourful sticks of pure sugar, with the name of the town you are visiting written through the whole thing. Anywhere you snap the stick of rock will tell you where it came from. An original holiday gift that is still endearing to this day!

Actually eating one of these though… gosh, they are cheap and sugary. May keep you awake for several days, use with caution. And the shops that still sell them are also quite likely to stock chocolate willies, which is a bit of a shame.

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Warning: Rock has the same effect on humans as cat-nip has on cats

86. Pick up a CD at a charity shop

Britain has gone charity shop mad in the last two decades! You will struggle to find a high street or shopping centre without one. And Eastbourne it seems is at the absolute pinnacle of charity shop shopping. They are a great place to find a cheap CD or two to compliment your devices’ playlist. 

I picked up the soundtrack to Trainspotting and a Lenny Kravitz album for £3.

87. Don’t leave home without a CD in the first place

No matter how prepared you are with your road trip soundtrack, if you are relying on a digital device, they are prone to mishaps. Batteries die, your software didn’t Sync to the player, and radio DJs are just not reliable saviours. In our case, we bought a 0.6metre jack to connect the car stereo to Kash’s iPhone, but it wasn’t quite long enough. Photos and Instagramming interrupted the soundtrack every 10 minutes! Boy was I pleased to find a few cheap CDs…   :)

88. Find peace and quiet near our biggest cities

Sometimes, England is surprisingly rural. Thanks to modern transport, green spaces are easy to get to. For example, we stopped overnight at the Lee Valley YHA, which is in a big nature reserve and only 30 minutes by train from central London. It was as peaceful as Yorkshire or the Cotswolds, but we could have been in the capital within 35 minutes of leaving the hostel. I went for a pleasant run along the canals with no traffic or fumes to disturb me.

89. Spend a day driving along the cliffs of the South coast

The famous white cliffs of Dover are, well, famous, but there are plenty of other places you can see the impressive chalk too. Driving along the coast here will be one of the highlights of your trip.

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Looking West along the South coast

90. Meet all eight of the Seven Sisters

The most iconic part of the South Downs is the Seven Sisters – each high point you can see along the coast from Beachy Head is a ‘sister’ (and as you may have guessed there is actually eight of them). If you have time and good weather, you can do plenty of walking here, with stunning views high above the sea.

91. Get a photo over the cliff edge

The cliffs run for miles and miles, so they are not idiot-proof like most things these days. Be careful where you stand, but getting a shot from the cliff edge is a must, on your hands and knees if necessary!

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92. If you can bear to look down…

See if you can find Wally, or anybody else, against the stones of the beach below.

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See if you can spot the one person in this shot…  It’s a long way down.

93. Have a pint with the best view from The Beachy Head pub

I’ve had worse days than this one. Food here was good as well.

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94. Get lost following the all-knowing Sat Nav

England’s roads often change quicker than your Sat Nav can keep up. It usually works out Ok after you’ve flown over a few fields, according to Tom Tom anyway. This is where a traditional road map can be a life-saver.

95. Ignore that you got lost because you used the wrong address

To be fair, Sat Nav’s are often lacking an extensive list of smaller places, so if you have access to internet on your smartphone, finding exact postcodes can also be a life-saver. (Bloody Sat Nav.)  

96. Visit the National Cider and Perry Collection

Middle farm is an homage to English brewing, with a focus on Cider. Tasting is free and can easily be way too much fun. They also stock Perry (Pear cider), Meade (honey wine), Vodka and Gin (made in England), and other alcohols.

I repeat – TASTING IS FREE. Remember who is driving!

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97. Try the Chilli Cider

Warning: this will put hairs on your chest whether you are man, woman or child. Very refreshing, very sharp. The fresh chilli flavour was so ‘green’ it would be perfect to cook with!

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98. Choose your pie wisely

You may stare longingly at Steak and Ale pies on many pub menus, before you finally decide ‘this pub…  is THE ONE’. I was not disappointed with my very tasty pie from Alfriston, but it’s not a proper pie in my book unless it has a shortcrust pastry base, as well as a top.

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A great Steak and Ale pie, but in my opinion, incomplete

99. Crash happy and tired into your final destination, already planning your next trip to visit all the places and things you missed…

In our case; the Peak District, Cornwall and Devon, Dartmoor, Oxford, Canterbury, Durham, Northumberland, my beloved Manchester, Stone Henge, Bath, Sherwood Forest, Glastonbury, WOMAD… and a thousand more. We will be back!

I have stacks of great photos and videos still to share from this trip, and I plan to publish photo essays for many of the points on this list. Bookmark the page and come back later, or subscribe to my site to receive new posts straight into your inbox.  

What are your thoughts on my English road trip ideas? Will you add any of these items to your To-Do list, or is there anything crucial you think I’ve missed? Donate your opinion in the comments below.

Peter

Our English road trip was partly sponsored by the YHA, VisitBritain and GoEuro.com. As always my opinions are unbiased and reflect my honest experience of the trip. All images are copyright Peter Parkorr 2014 unless otherwise indicated.





  • Made me quite nostalgic you did! Over 27 years since I lived in England, (‘cepting for a few months in 97/98 winter), and you’ve reminded me about all the good stuff! The Lakes was my second home, spent many summers there as a kid, since I had family in Bowness (tiny village back then, my cousin went to a school where there was only one class for all age groups, so few kids were there!) ….. oh and in later years I learned to water ski on Windermere (days before wake boards were invented! Thanks for a happy meander through your post :)

    • Glad I could take you on a trip down memory lane Linda :) I really felt I could spend a lot more time in the Lakes tbh!

  • YES YES YES! Definitely 99 Yeses!

    Glad to see Yorkshire making a strong showing on the list. So perhaps next time you’ll be checking out Hull? ;)

    • Haha, cheers Ed. Yorkshire IS great isn’t it? Erm, checking out Hull… Hmm. Yes, perhaps!

  • I did many of these things on my “Magical Mystery Tour” of England. Every day for a week, a British friend emailed me a postcode that I put into my GPS. Being an American, the codes meant nothing to me, so I had no idea where I would end up each night. At each unknown destination, she had made a reservation at an interesting place to sleep and often sent me a list of cool things to do in the area. I loved not knowing where I was going until I got there. Truly, one of the most fun weeks of my life!

    • That is great and sounds pretty unique!! You have a good friend there :)

  • Neil

    Hi Peter – many thanks for what has obviously been (& continues…) a labour of love! Thanks to your inspirational site, I’ve decided to use the 10 days holiday I have to use by the end of March hitting the road in my campervan for an English road trip. Happy trails to you mate!

    • Neil, thanks for your comment and I’m very pleased to hear that! Hope you have a great trip, a campervan will be a really fun way to do it. :) Peter

  • You just reminded me of all the reasons why I loved living in England for 8 years. It just was so interesting. I love village pubs. I lived in Wivenhoe and I had my very own special place when there. And fish and chips was GREAT too, although the owners of the chippy were Greeks hehe

    • Ah great! Yes there’s not much that beats a nice village pub on a warm day out somewhere :)

  • Great list–I pinned it so that I can come back to it again and again! I’ve only been to London, so this will be very helpful to me in the near future!

    • I hope it is! Get out there! The Republic of London is not the same as the rest of England at all :D Thanks for the pin too

  • Epic post!!! I lived in London for a few years but mostly travelled around Europe instead of England.

    • Well I know that feeling! Britain is great though, much more going on than you would think.

  • Is it wrong that I was all over all the foodie fun on this list. Sign me up for the ginger bread and scones with clotted cream anyday! And crisps (or as we Canucks like to call them: chips) are an essential part of any roadtrip kit. Never leave town without them!

    • That’s not wrong, that’s right! I really do travel for food more than I give it credit for too :)

  • An impressive list!
    And I love how deciding who is the king of the road trip playlist is the very first point, haha

    • Thanks and yes, it is very important! Otherwise you may not survive the ordeal of a bad DJ in an enclosed space, haha

  • wooow 99 things, how long did it take to write this post?
    i had a pretty good laugh though, and my favorite one is fish and chips (YUM)!
    Now i sooo want to do a road trip and eat! fish and chips please!

    • Well it took some thinking about, but I had two weeks on the road to do that! Oh fish and chips is sooo good, *but* not so healthy. :)

  • This is really an extensive list with lots of great recommendations.

  • Aha I love it! Deefinitely number one is the hardest ;) Will have to refer to this so I know how to conduct my own road trip. I hope I don’t get sick of sandwiches though!

    • You definitely should eat more than *just* sandwiches, haha! But one sandwich meal per day is totally fine :)

  • You’ve got me feeling homesick now. Do miss my village pubs. And what’s not to love about the Lake District?

    • Sorry mate. :) The Lakes are definitely a bit of a haven, especially if you’re quite sporty. Gotta get back there more!

  • Now you’ve got me craving chips and curry sauce!! Funny post – it made me think of home!

    • That’s nice! I’ve got myself permanently craving fish/chips/curry sauce too if that makes you feel better. :P

  • 99 things to do in an English Road Trip, there certainly is enough to do. I especially like seeing all the delicious food there. Fish and Chips with Curry, yum!

    • Yeah I could easily do another couple of posts this size. Some very popular sights not even listed here!

  • OMG what a fantastic post! I’m from London and haven’t done most of these things… Lots and lots of fab ideas!

    • Thanks and I hope you get out there and try some! So much to do and see in England, kinda nice to be away from the London hubub in my opinion.