After I finished high school and saved some money I decided to take my car and make my dream come true…. a road trip through the UK. For over two months I drove with my best friend through England, Scotland and Ireland.
Driving from London to Scotland
The United Kingdom has a lot to offer. England, a beautiful country which landscape has more versatility than you think. Scotland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world!
So quiet and calm and so pure with its ruff mountains, lakes, ocean and its unique weather. And then, of course, Ireland, a country really different from Scotland and England even if they are so close to each other.
We started our road trip in Germany, driving through Netherlands, Belgium and France to take the ferry from Calais to Dover. It’s really easy and also not expensive to take the ferry from Calais in France to Dover in England. The ferry maybe takes two hours and you arrive in the southern part of England, not far from London.
2 Days in London
London is an amazing city that has a lot to offer. It has Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London and much more to see. “What can you do in London”? Many things! I recommend you to buy a day ticket for one of the famous tour buses in London.
These, also called “Hop on, Hop Off Busses” allow you to drive through the city the whole day. You can just sit down, relax and enjoy the beautiful sights of London. Famous bus companies for this are as an example “The Original Tour” or “Golden Tours”. You can compare the prices there and it won’t be hard to find a bus station, where you can buy a ticket for one of these bus tours.
One big station is next to the Hyde Park, after you cross the Tower Bridge. And be careful. In the winter it can be really cold and windy in London and the busses don’t have heating. This can make it really uncomfortable if you are not well prepared for the weather.
After taking a bus tour through the city there are still many things to do though. But as we went to London the weather was really cold and windy, so we stayed in coffee shops most of the time!
Peak District National Park and York
After enjoying a great time in London you should go to the Peak District National Park and the beautiful and old city of York. The Peak District is a really beautiful area. It offers breath-taking views and great activities such as cycling, walking and wildlife watching. To drive there with the car is a really nice experience and you will surely have an unforgettable day.
York is a nice city to stay for a day. It has a beautiful old town with impressive old houses. My recommendation for you is to enjoy a walk through the city wall of York. In the day you can go to its city wall and walk around its whole old town.
You will see all parts of its ancient town to take some beautiful pictures. In the evening you can enjoy good food and beer in one of Yorks pubs.
Lake District National Park
This part of England is definitely one of my absolute favourites. It offers you wide lakes, high mountains and the most beautiful roads for the car you have ever seen. My recommendation is to just drive around this amazing national park, enjoying its nature, clean air and wildlife.
The main spot in the Lake District National Park is probably Windermere. You can enjoy some relaxed time at the lake, especially when it’s sunny. It’s a cool place to take some good food and having a picnic.
The rest of the day just drive around and stop wherever you think it’s beautiful. Listen to good music and enjoy the most beautiful mountains in England.
Next Country And My Absolute Favourite: Scotland!
Scotland is probably one of the most amazing countries for a road trip! I love this country with its wide lakes and huge mountains. The weather can change every minute and the landscape is totally unique.
You will feel like you are on another planet. Also because with all its wide streets and low population you won’t see as many cars as you are used to. So let me show you why a road trip through Scotland will be one of the greatest experiences you will ever have in your life and why you shouldn’t miss it!
The Beautiful City of Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a fascinating and magic city. Not only because J.K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books here! But what can you do in Edinburgh? How is the old town of Edinburgh? I will give you a guide to the most beautiful city in the UK!
Edinburgh is really different compared to London. Edinburgh’s old town is not as big as you might think, so you also won’t need to get a bus ticket. If you are a fit person you should enjoy the day walking around the city.
Usually the best things come in the end but I have to start with my absolute favourite place in Edinburgh and no it’s not the ancient town! It’s Arthurs Seat. But what is the Arthurs Seat? It’s a mountain just next to Edinburgh’s old town. If you are in the city you can just walk there.
It maybe takes you around 3 hours until you’re back and believe me it’s really worth it. If you reach its peak you can enjoy the view over the beautiful city of Edinburgh. But be careful. When the weather is bad and it’s rainy it can be really wet there and you should wear good shoes. But don’t let this hold you away from hiking until the peak!
After you climbed the Arthurs Seat you can enjoy your lunch in the most famous part of Edinburgh. The old town. Full of medieval houses it will be a unique and magical experience to walk through the alleys of Edinburgh.
If you walk through the city there are many awesome places for you to see like:
- Edinburgh Castle
- Holyrood Palace
- Princes Street
So after discovering one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it’s time to leave and explore the most famous part of Scotland. The Scottish highlands! But why do we skip Glasgow? Glasgow is with Edinburgh the most popular city in Edinburgh.
But if you compare Glasgow to the other cities of Scotland it’s really nothing special. It’s a big city where you can find many good jobs but it doesn’t offer you anything special for travelling like most parts of Scotland. So let’s skip Glasgow and directly make our way into the highlands.
Loch Lomond is a lake located in the Loch Lomond National Park. The national park is really beautiful and you can start your first hikes here. One of many! You can also spend a relaxed day at Loch Lomond and take a tour around the lake with one of the tourist boats there.
Driving through Glencoe
If you are a fan of movies Glencoe is your place to be and you will love it. Leaving Loch Lomond and the lower highlands we are making our way up to the north now. Driving through Glencoe with your car or van is an experience you won’t forget!
So many movies were filmed here like James Bond Skyfall, Harry Potter or Braveheart. Glencoe offers the perfect landscape for epic movie scenes and trust me when I say it will look even more stunning than in the movies!
What to Do in Fort William?
After you passed Glencoe you will arrive at the biggest city in the western Highlands. Fort William. Here are many things but my two recommendations are Ben Nevis and Loch Shiel.
So why should you visit Loch Shiel? Loch Shiel was the place I was most excited about in whole Scotland because of one simple reason… Harry Potter! I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter movies and the area around Loch Shiel is the place where they shot the most parts of the landscape scenes in the movies.
Next to the lake itself Loch Shiel is also the place where the Glenfinnan Viaduct is located. So the places where the Hogwarts Train is passing by every year… Just kidding! But it’s a place where you will want to sit all day and just enjoy the stunning view over this amazing Scottish panorama.
Climbing the Ben Nevis
Climbing the Ben Nevis was so much harder than I thought and maybe the hardest and craziest day of my life! The weather forecast for the day, me and my best friend planned to go, was really bad. That’s why I wasn’t really excited to go there and first wanted to stay at home.
As we did the trip it was winter though, so it was cold and windy anyway. The day we went it started to rain really heavy in the morning. We left our hotel quite early in the morning and started to walk to the mountain…
I put the rest of the story in my Ben Nevis Guide.
West Scotland and Elian Donan Castle
After our time in Fort William, we made our way to the west… This was my favourite part of the trip! West Scotland is unbelievable beautiful! The landscape is simply stunning… the mountains, the ocean views, the whole scenery looks like from another planet!
The most famous part of West Scotland is probably the Elian Donan Castle. For me it was a must see as I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter. Many parts of the movie were filmed here. To enter the castle you need to pay though and we decided not to do this.
Still, the view on the castle and its surrounding was worth to come here and perfect for my next Instagram post!
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye was another big highlight of our road trip through the UK. I would call it the “Pearl of Scotland”. It’s super quiet there and not full of cars and tourists. I saw one tourist bus at the place of the photo above but that was basically it.
If you do a road trip through the UK and have a car you shouldn’t miss the Isle of Skye. The roads are free and offer you beautiful views over the ocean. I could drive around the island all day while listening to some music and enjoying the landscape.
We went to 2 places on the Isle of Skye and they are definitely two must-sees if you come there. The first is Portree – a beautiful, little town, where you will get a beautiful view of the ocean and mountains around it. You can make a short stop here, get some food and move on with the trip.
The other must-see is called “Man of Storr”. The picture above was taken there and you will get a nice view. The place is really famous from Instagram and Pinterest as the pictures are looking stunning but actually I was a bit disappointed. In reality, it doesn’t look as good as in the pictures at all. But as you know “the journey is the reward” and the journey was amazing!
The probably most famous place in Scotland is Loch Ness. People from all across the globe are coming to see it. The story about “Nessy” is really cool but the place itself isn’t special at all.
I guess if you go to Scotland you just have to go there otherwise everyone you will tell about your trip will be disappointed… So of course we went there and watched a beautiful sunset in a place without anyone else.
For your information: No, we didn’t see Nessy!
With The Ferry To Ireland
After Loch Ness, we were driving up to Inverness and then back to the south. Nothing special happened here but it was a cool ride with great views and good music.
Our next goal was… Ireland! We made our way until the small town of Cairnryan and took the ferry to Belfast, which was pretty expensive though. We didn’t stay in Belfast and drove directly to a place in the south, near Bray.
We stayed in a small village named Knockree, which is located in the Wicklow Mountains. It was good to relax a bit and take a rest. From there we took a bus one day, to explore the city of Dublin. I was really excited before I went to Dubin and expected a cool place full of pubs and old streets but I was wrong.
Dublin is maybe a good place to live but as a tourist, you won’t find much to see or at least I didn’t find a lot. What I found was the national museum, which was the most interesting museum I have been so far and the best thing about it was that it’s completely free!
So if you come to Dublin check out the museum, even if that’s usually not your favourite thing to do.
Cliffs Of Moher and Ring of Kerry
After a week in Knockree, we moved on with our trip and made our way to the east of Ireland to see the famous Cliffs of Moher and to drive the Ring of Kerry.
Of course, your experience of the Cliffs will be highly dependent on the weather. The day we went there it was rainy and foggy but it was cool as that gave them a misty look.
If you plan to visit the Cliff of Moher you need to expect rainy weather, I guess. The western part of Ireland seemed much likelier for the typical British weather (even if it’s not part of Great Britain). So take some umbrellas with you and maybe don’t wear your favourite, white sneakers.
The Ring of Kerry in the south of the Cliffs was a beautiful ride. The weather got better and everything reminded me of Hawaii. Maybe I’m the only one though. Anyways if you come to the Cliffs make sure to see the Ring of Kerry… Rent a car, play some good music and enjoy the view!
After that, we slept a night in the car and took the ferry back to France and after another 13 hours driving finally arrived back to Germany.
My Review of Our Road Trip Through The UK
So that was my trip through the UK. I hope you got inspired to try the same or something similar. Let’s give it a short review.
This trip was the first time away from home without my family and it was the best time I ever had!
Before the trip, I was pretty scared but as soon as I sit down in my car (that was packed with tons of stuff under the roof) and started to pick up my friend all the fear left instantly.
Visiting the UK for over 2 months completely changed my life. I fell in love with travelling and the feeling of freedom. That’s why after coming home I decided to buy a one-way ticket to Bangkok and started a completely new life!