See the highlights of Britain – England, Scotland and Wales – on this 8 day self-drive itinerary, with the option to extend in London.
Arrive at your London airport and pick up your hire car. Drive the short distance to your hotel in the Windsor area and check in. Explore Windsor, the town the Queen calls her home, on foot this afternoon. See the Guildhall where Prince Charles married his Camilla and the many lanes and picturesque pubs in this historic town. Visit Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, and admire the magnificent State Rooms, St George’s Chapel and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.
You have several routes to choose from today when you drive from Windsor to York. Explore the Cotswolds region this morning, and stop in one of the villages with the many honey-coloured cottages with thatched roofs which the area is famous for, before continuing to Stratford-upon-Avon, to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Or you can drive via Oxford, one of the most famous university cities in the world. See many of the famous colleges, such as Christ Church College which was used in some of the Harry Potter films, on a walk around the town centre. Continue to York, and check into your hotel or B&B. This evening is free to explore York on your own. The town walls and medieval lanes mean that the city is best explored on foot, and make sure to walk down the Shambles, the most famous street in York where the overhanging timber framed buildings almost touch above your head.
Overnight: York area
Drive from York to Edinburgh along the Northumbrian coast. Stop at Hadrian’s Wall to explore the Roman Built wall that was constructed 1800 years ago. Today it’s a world heritage site and you can stop for photos or to visit one of the excellent visitor centres along the wall. You may also choose to visit one of the stunning castles in the area, Alnwick or Bamburgh Castle. Alnwick Castle is famous from the Harry Potter movies and for its amazing gardens and Bamburgh Castle was once the seat of the kings of Northumbria. Or you may want to drive through the Scottish Borders region, and visit one of the ruined border abbeys, such as Jedburgh or Melrose.
Scotland’s capital city has a lot of shops, pubs and restaurants to offer the visitor, as well as a good selection of activities to choose from. You can explore the beautiful capital city of Scotland on a sightseeing tour or on foot, to see the orderly streets and mansions of the New Town, and the cobbled, medieval streets of the Old Town. Edinburgh Castle is situated high above the city on an extinct volcano, and houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland. There are ample opportunities to shop for Scottish souvenirs in one of the many shops on the Royal Mile, or try a local beer in a cosy pub.
Depart Edinburgh this morning, and head south to Liverpool or Chester. Along the way you can choose to stop in Gretna Green for some Scottish quality shopping, or make a small detour to the Lake District. The Lake District recently became a UNESCO world heritage site, due to its stunning scenery. If you are staying in Liverpool, visit the Beatles Story and in the evening you can enjoy live music at the Cavern Club. Liverpool is a vibrant city, with plenty of shopping, restaurants and bars. If you are staying in Chester, take a walk around the historic black-and-white town to see the town walls, Chester Cathedral and the Roman amphitheatre.
Overnight: Liverpool or Chester
Drive from Liverpool or Chester to Cardiff, the Welsh capital. Drive through Shropshire, an area known for its beautiful scenery and picturesque market towns, and you may choose to stop in for example Shrewsbury or Ludlow. Cross the border into Wales and stop in Hay-on-Wye, the Welsh book town, or drive along the Wye Valley and stop for photos of Tintern Abbey. On arrival in Cardiff, you may choose to visit Cardiff Castle which is located in the centre of town. Dating back to Roman times, you can explore the Norman keep as well as the extravagant castle which was extensively refurbished in the 19th century. Check into your hotel or B&B in Cardiff, a cosmopolitan city with a fully pedestrianised city centre, some of the best shopping in Britain, as well as buzzing bars and restaurants.
Drive from Cardiff to London Airport (Heathrow), via Bath where you can visit the Roman Baths, and Stonehenge. Bath is a city so beautiful and special that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a walk around the city centre to see sights such as Pulteney Bridge, a historic bridge with shops built into it, the Jane Austen Centre, and the Royal Crescent, one of the most photographed streets in England. You may also choose to visit the Roman Baths, the remarkably well preserved remains of a Roman religious spa. In the afternoon, drive to Stonehenge where an audio-guided tour will tell you the fascinating story of this iconic stone circle, built almost 5000 years ago. There are many theories as to why Stonehenge was constructed, and how the massive stones were transported from as far away as Wales. Continue to your hotel in the London Heathrow area.
Overnight: London Heathrow area
Depart London Heathrow or extend in London