Our favourite UK road trips to take this summer
With our wanderlust at fever pitch, we’re all looking forward to a holiday more than ever. But forget about passports and check-in queues; with a UK road trip, a holiday with culture, scenery and gourmet food is closer than you think.
This summer, take to the open road and explore the delights of the British Isles on a UK self-drive holiday, expertly designed by our UK travel partner, McKinlay Kidd. Whether you’d love to hike along wildflower trails in the Scottish Highlands or meander the coasts and backroads of England’s Riviera behind the wheel, they’ll use their local knowledge to personalise an itinerary tailored to you.
A lack of overseas visitors this year means that some of the UK’s most popular hotspots will be quieter than usual, so there’s never been a better time to tick your ultimate UK road trip off your bucket list. McKinlay Kidd has put together a handpicked collection of inspiring itineraries that take you beyond the main tourist hotspots. So load up the car, turn on your playlist and let us show you the hidden gems on a UK escape.
The Best of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands
This 18-night trip of a lifetime brings together two of the things McKinlay Kidd love most – epic road journeys and a kaleidoscope of islands. As one of the most extensive road trips they offer, you’ll encounter some of Scotland’s most jaw-dropping and peaceful locations, including the Isles of Skye, Harris, Lewis, Orkney and Shetland. You’ll stay in small, family-owned accommodation, and discover strange, lunar-like landscapes and Neolithic history of the northernmost isles alongside some of the world’s finest beaches. After exhilarating days exploring wild terrain, mingle with chatty locals over a dram of whisky in a local pub.
Scottish Seafood Trail
Seafood lovers are in for a treat with this week-long, self-drive itinerary, touring some of the most scenic locations on the west coast of Scotland. This holiday includes unique and authentic experiences with a focus on discovering the region’s best produce. Enjoy a hands-on seafood cookery demonstration with an expert chef and make the most of the milder weather with a boat trip out at sea with a creel fisherman, followed by an al fresco lunch on the shorefront to savour the day’s catch. Throughout your holiday, you’ll stay in small, handpicked hotels, carefully chosen for their fabulous loch-side locations and highly regarded cuisine.
Scottish Family Adventure
Whether you take the high road or the low road, you’ll start this Scottish family adventure on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, where there’s fun for kids of all ages. Go on a forest faerie hunt in magical woodland, explore the deserted landscape above the loch by 4x4 with an expert guide and take to the water on a guided canoeing quest. You’ll then head north to the Isle of Mull, where your friendly hosts will welcome you to the oldest inn on the island, which has been welcoming travellers since the 17th century. Visit the vibrant town of Tobermory – the setting for the classic kids show Balamory – and enjoy activities such as whale watching and a guided wildlife tour. For the more adventurous, a spot of wild swimming in sheltered Calgary Bay could be the perfect way to embrace summer in Scotland.
Borders & North of England Explorer
This grand tour of Northern England and Southern Scotland takes in the Lake District Fells, the rolling hills of Border Country and the wilds of Northumberland, before ending in historic York. With plenty of fascinating places to see and things to do, you’ll stay in a selection of small guest houses and four-star hotels while taking in stunning drives and sights. Visit magnificent Bamburgh Castle and the colourful fishing village of Seahouses, where you can enjoy a traditional lunch of fish and chips by the harbour. Then take a boat trip to the wildlife-rich Farne Islands, home to bird species such as puffin and razorbill as well as a colony of grey seals. A highlight of this trip is a visit to Hadrian’s Wall, where you can follow in the Romans’ footsteps and walk along world-heritage walking trails, or relax with a picnic and take in the vistas of this beautiful corner of Northumbria.
Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
The counties of Devon and Cornwall have some of the UK’s finest scenery, with dramatic fossil cliffs, windswept beaches and jewel-like harbour towns. The West Country is a delight to explore at the best of times, but with a tendency towards subtropical temperatures in the warmer months, summer is the perfect time to visit. This thoughtfully planned road trip tours some of the best spots in England’s Riviera, as well as four car-free nights on the remote Isles of Scilly – often referred to as the ‘Sunshine Isles’ – where you’ll stay in a unique castle-style hotel. Meander scenic roads and discover authentic fishing villages on the Cornish Coast, and don’t miss a visit to the Eden Project, home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world.
Great Scottish Wildlife
Think of a safari, and you’re more likely to envisage African savannahs than the untamed landscape of the Northern Highlands. But Scotland’s enchanting wildlife is arguably just as impressive, with its own Big Five to spot, as well as many native, but rare, species. On this nine-night journey, you’ll stay by Loch Earn, in the Cairngorms National Park, and on the Isle of Mull, and become immersed in both Highland and marine wildlife, with the company of expert guides along the way. Enjoy private nature walks searching for red deer and golden eagles, and sea expeditions seeking bottlenose dolphins and Minke whales. Following your wild adventures, relax by the log-burner in your cosy accommodation and tuck into the best local seafood and game, or if you’re lucky with the weather, relax in the evening sun with a glass of the amber nectar.
Wales Road Trip
Traverse the breath-taking landscapes of Wales on this eight-night itinerary, touring some of the UK’s best driving routes. Explore Brecon Beacons’ impressive passes, wend your way to the South Wales coast and see the UK’s only coastal National Park, before ending on a high in Snowdonia National Park. The accommodation is almost as much of a highlight as the scenery. You’ll stay in a country house hotel on the grounds of a Norman deer park and in a Victorian guest house, where you can enjoy a breakfast of Welsh classics in the delightfully restored sun-room – the perfect spot for planning your day’s adventures.
If you would like to start planning a tailor-made road trip to take this summer, talk to a Personal Travel Expert or take a look at our UK and Ireland holidays to view more self-drive holidays and bespoke escapes designed by our UK travel partner, McKinlay Kidd.