Brief Roadtrip Guide to Scotland

If you Are thinking about exploring the land in the north, here’s a quick guide to get you started

Mountains, Whisky, Lochs, Castles & Whisky

You must know what Scotland is, right? It’s this huge part of the UK that is covered with incredible mountain ranges, beautiful parks and miles of scenic landscapes in all directions. No matter what you’re into there is something for you. Scotland is home to world class mountain biking, surfing, walking, climbing, golf, drinking and eating! There is history and heritage at every turn from the founding of golf at St Andrews to the Castle in Edinburgh, definitely worth exploring.

Scotland has so much to offer as a destination for a motor home or campervan road trip. The North Coast 500 is one of the most popular road trip routes in the whole of the UK.

Getting To Scotland

Scotland is so extensive and there is so much to see a motorhome or campervan is the best option to soak in what the country has to offer. There are only two main roads into Scotland, the M6 which leads into the A74M and the eventually the M74 as you get closer to Glasgow. The alternative route is up the A68 from Newcastle to Edinburgh.

There are lots of smaller roads that can take you around congested areas but for the long drive up there it’s definitely easiest to stick to the main ones. Once you land in Scotland there are many routes into the highlands. The NC500 route starts and ends at Inverness Castle

What To Do in Scotland

As previously mentioned there is a lot going on up there in Scotland so we have tried our best to pick out the best of the best places to visit in this guide. Scotland covers an area of just over 30,000 square miles, has a 2300-mile-long coastline and contains over 31,460 lochs. Of its 790 islands, 130 are inhabited. The highest point is the summit of Ben Nevis (4406ft), while the bottom of Loch Morar is 1017 feet below sea level. Here are the top 10 places we would recommend a visit too:

  • St Andrews (home of golf)
  • Edinburgh
  • Falkirk
  • Perth
  • Dundee
  • Pitlochry
  • Fort William
  • Portnahaven
  • Glasgow
  • Anstruther

In the towns above you can explore until your heart’s content, each area offers completely different things to view and experience.

The Best of The Best

The following are examples of things to to see and do at the more specific end of the scale, reasons to come to Scotland. These 5 things are what we would consider the ‘must see’s’ of the country.

1. North Coast 500 Road Trip

The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route. 

This is one road trip to remember, offering you incredible views at every stage. People travel from far and wide with every type of vehicle to experience it.

2. Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile

The stone towers and walls of Edinburgh Castle have dominated the Edinburgh skyline since the 13th century. Perched atop black basalt rock, it offers magnificent views of the city and a trip through Scotland’s tumultuous history.

Edinburgh castle has an astounding 2 million + visitors per year, showcasing just how popular it is.

3. Golf at St. Andrews

St Andrews is the home of golf as we know it today, where it all began. Founded in 1750 and recognized internationally as golf’s ruling body, St. Andrews regularly hosts the famous British Open at one of its many 18-hole courses, the most famous of which is the par-72 Old Course running alongside the rugged coast.

The game of golf was the way of life for many local people, whether as players, caddies, ball makers or club makers.

4. Riding Mountain Bikes in Fort William & walking up Ben Nevis

Fort William is most likely the most popular Mountain Bike destination in the UK, attracting visitors from across the globe to ride it’s famous world cup tracks.

Right next door you have Ben Nevis, it is the highest mountain in Scotland and the British Isles. The summit is 1,345 metres above sea level and is the highest land in any direction for 459 miles. Ben Nevis stands at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Highland region of Lochaber.

5. Exploring The Northern Highlands

The Northern Highlands was once a mountain range similar to the Alps or Rocky Mountains of today. Over hundreds of millions of years, these mountains were worn and flattened out by erosion and glaciation.

This has led to it being one of the most picturesque parts of the country. Rolling hills for miles with beautiful lochs dotted all over. Driving through the highlands is one of the most scenic drives you will ever do.

Brief Roadtrip Guide to Dorset

If you aren’t familiar with dorset on the South Coast of England, use this quick guide to get you started

Breathtaking views, exquisite coastline

Dorset is located on the south coast running from Lyme Regis all the way across to Christchurch. This beautiful stretch of coastline has so much to offer. Here you will find everything from rolling countryside and nice walks to the dramatic Jurassic Coast that attracts people from world wide. There is plenty to keep you busy and an endless number of sites to see.

A feature highlight of Dorset is Durdle Door, This area of the Jurassic coast attracts approximately 500,000 visitors every year. Each year more than 200.000 walkers use the footpath between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door!

Getting To Dorset

The best way to experience Dorset is by motorhome or campervan, and maybe a little by foot or bicycle! Some of the roads in the more rural areas and little villages can be tight, so walking or cycling could be a great way to explore local to where you stay. Your route in will be determined by where you want to start. In the holiday season Lyme Regis and Weymouth are big tourist attractions so the A35 and A37 can be quite congested. Taking a road less travelled is always exciting and might lead you to discover some hidden gems.

The A31 takes you straight across to the M3 which is the main road down into Dorset from us and the London area. You will pass through the New Forest National Park which is beautiful and home to lots of wild horses and other animals.

What To Do in Cornwall

Dorset has everyone covered from nature lovers, sea people, to even those who like to explore towns and do some shopping. It’s known for the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, a long stretch on the English Channel where the cliffs contain many fossils, and rock formations show millions of years of geological history. Two prominent natural landmarks are Durdle Door, an ancient stone arch, and the layered cliffs at nearby Lulworth Cove. The towns of Poole, Weymouth and Swanage are popular for their sandy beaches. A top 10 of the places we would recommend a visit too:

  • Jurassic Coast
  • Shaftesbury
  • Lyme Regis
  • Poole
  • Wareham
  • Christchurch
  • Weymouth
  • Kimmeridge Bay
  • Lulworth
  • Swanage

There really are and endless list of things you can do in Dorset, the area has a tonne of things to do and see. It is also a great place to stop by and see some highlights if you are on a longer trip across to Cornwall or the other way to Kent and Sussex.

The Best of The Best

The following are examples of things to to see and do at the more specific end of the scale, reasons to come to Dorset not just to have a taster of something. These sites we love and think you will too:

1. Exploring the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. It stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, a distance of about 96 miles, and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in mid-December 2001.

You can find a bunch of the attractions on the Jurassic coast website here

2. Take a dip in the blue waters off the Isle of Portland

The Isle of Portland is a tied island, 6 kilometres long by 2.7 kilometres wide, in the English Channel. Portland is 8 kilometres south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A barrier beach called Chesil Beach joins it to the mainland. 

Portland is home to some secret hidden bays that have white pebbles and turquoise blue water.

3. Old Harry Rocks, Handfast Point

Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, southern England. They mark the most eastern point of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Beautiful views and a scenic walk from Swanage. Well worth a visit by anyone passing through Dorset.

4. Visiting Highcliffe Castle and Beach

Highcliffe Castle, situated on the cliffs at Highcliffe, Dorset, was built between 1831 and 1835 by Charles Stuart. It is a beautiful building that attracts loads of people all year round.

Once you have looked around the near 200 year old building you have direct access down to the sea. There are shops, ice cream and a lovely sandy beach that stretches right down the coastline.

5. Swim in Lulworth Cove and walk to Durdle Door

Lulworth Cove is tucked away just down the coast from Durdle Door. If you’re going to visit one then it is highly recommended that you visit both! There is a great walk over the top down the scenic coast from one to the other.

Lulworth Cove is part of the 12,000 acre Lulworth Estate, which has been owned and managed by the Weld family since 1641. The village of West Lulworth is right next to the cove and has all the usual amenities.

Brief Roadtrip Guide to Wales

If you aren’t familiar with the main points of visiting Wales, use this quick guide to get you started

Mountains, Lakes, Forests, Sandy Beaches, Pretty Villages. Wales has it all!

Wales is a country on the west border of England, with its own heritage, language & culture. It is a country with less development than other parts of the UK, which is very much part of its strength and charm. With two main regions of mountains, to the south the Brecon Beacons and to the north Snowdonia, and in between huge sandy beaches, vast forests, unique landscapes, history & culture and quaint towns & villages. Wales A mecca for outdoor pursuits, world-class mountain biking, hiking, climbing, sailing, white water rafting and nearly everything else you can think of.

Wales has so much to offer as a destination for a motor home road trip, or part of a road trip adventure around the UK, it’s an absolute must on any UK roadtrip itinerary.

Getting To Wales

The best way to experience Wales is by motor home or camper van. Getting into the area is easy enough thanks to the very good road infrastructure. Depending on which direction you are heading from there is a motorway that delivers you to the area, the only one that sees regular congestion can be the M4 as this is the main route to/from London. Once you are in Wales the story is a little different, there are very few motorways to take you around the country, however the main roads are good enough to easily navigate in a motor home, the roads can become very small at times, so if you are in a large motor home make sure you plan your route.

If you are undertaking a UK road trip from Motorhome Hire Southeasts HQ in the south of England, we recommend choosing a clockwise or anti clockwise route around the entire country. Clockwise would be our recommendation so you can head from Cornwall up the M5 and into south Wales, then work your way up the country eventually leaving from the north on the M56 and heading towards Scotland via the Lake District.

What To Do in Wales

Probably the biggest reason to visit Wales is for it’s outdoor activity opportunities, and this goes hand in hand with experiencing the country in a motor home or camper van. A few activities are huge in Wales, hiking and mountain biking are probably two of the main ones. There are hiking routes all around the country, trails are well laid out and range from a few hours to weeks. Make up your own itinerary or use the vast network of trails to cross the entire country. Wales also has its fair share of surfing spots when the conditions are right. Thanks to the geography there are a few spots where you can experience white water rafting at the right time of year. Rock climbing is a growing sport in the area, there are various spots in the south near the Brecons, and many spots up north. If you have ever wanted to trampoline around a cave network or fly like a bird across a canyon then Wales is for you. As well as the endless opportunity for active pursuits in Wales, the area is often underrated for its towns and villages. While you are traveling from south to north a top 10 of towns & villages we would recommend stopping at along the way are:

  • Beddgelert
  • Tintern
  • Skenfrith
  • Porthgain
  • Little Haven
  • Pembroke
  • Dolgellau
  • Llangollen
  • Aberaeron
  • Aberaeron

The list of things you can do in Wales is endless, if you are traveling the UK by motor home the area really deserves to dedicate lots of time. If you are wanting to explore the area as a UK resident it’s worth multiple trips, and we want you to come back to Motorhome Hire Southeast time and time again for a vehicle to see the country.

The Best of The Best

You can spend weeks crossing Wales, seeing & doing everything it has to offer. Below is a few suggestions of world-class things you can do in Wales.

1. White Water Rafting at The National White Water Centre

Just one of the adrenaline fueled activities you can do when traveling around Wales. The National White Water Centre is located in Snowdonia national park, so you can visit at the top of your clockwise motor home adventure around Wales. The river has 200 days per year of reliable rough water because it is situated down stream from the Llyn Celyn reservoir, which has scheduled releases turning the river into a raging torrent.

If you have your own kayak you can just get in the water and go. If not, then The National White Water Centre has a choice of rafting options to get your adrenaline fill, from 1 hour tasters to half day safaris. There’s no particular requirements to getting involved, you just need to be confident that you are capable to paddle and potentially go for a swim!

2. Underground Trampoline fun at Bounce Below

Now this is one you may not have had on your ‘to do’ list, but now you will! This is an adventure in a disused mine, using nets and trampolines to bounce and slide your way around a cave the size of St.Pauls Cathedral. Located in Snowdonia National Park, you can take in this activity on the second half of your Wales motor home trip.

You can join in the Bounce Below experience if you are 7 years or above. The experience lasts one hour, and it’s best pre booking on-line. The same organisation operates a few other activities in the area, so after experiencing Bounce Below you can try out some of their other offerings.

3. Mountain Biking at Bike Park Wales

If high adrenaline sports is your thing and you love being in the great outdoors, then this is the one for you. Bike Park Wales in the Brecon Beacons is an off-road bike park where you can experience downhill mountain biking.

There a numerous marked trails, starting from fairly mild blue runs so that you can warm up or spend the day trying your hand at the sport, through to professional level trails that will keep you occupied no matter how high you level of riding. If you are traveling in one of our Autoroller motor homes, you may well be carrying your bikes with you on the bike rack provided. If you don’t have you bikes don’t worry, because you can hire top of range mountain bikes from the hub at Bike Park Wales.

4. Snorkelling at Porth Castell, Anglesey

Snorkeling may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Wales, and yes it’s certainly not the Red Sea. However this area in Wales does have its own unique things going for it, so if you are here and have your wetsuit (and you will need a wetsuit!), then why not give it a go.

Anglesey is an island in the far north of Wales, take the road bride to the island with the sight of Snowdonia mountain range behind you. The water will be cold, but if your lucky it may well be quite clear. Swim out just before high tide, and you’ll see an underwater garden of passages and chasms packed with marine life, Dogfish, Wrasse, Crabs, Lobsters and surprisingly colourful underwater flora.

5. Hiking and Photography in Waterfall Country

The hiking opportunities in Wales are nearly endless. One of the more unique experiences is hiking through the area known as Waterfall Country in South Wales. On the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the river of Neath passes through the forest and tumbles over a series of waterfalls creating a fairy tale scene perfect creating for slow shutter speed photographs.

There are 25 miles of marked paths around the falls. You can walk through the falls area and out into the hills to the north. Stay overnight in one of the many motor home friendly campsites in the area, then get walking in the morning, if your feeling brave wild camp up the hills and then loop back to the motor home the next day.

Brief Roadtrip Guide to Cornwall

If you aren’t familiar with the main points of visiting Cornwall, use this quick guide to get you started

Amazing Beaches & Quaint Villages

Cornwall is a county of England, located in the far south west tip of the UK mainland. The area is known best by the British as a county with unique coastscape, beautiful little villages and its own cultural heritage. On a hot Summer day, if you didn’t know better, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, such is the clear turquoise sea and fine soft sand. You can find small typically English villages, both on the coast and in land, all built on the lush undulating landscape of the county.

The Cornish have the Cornish Pasty, a dish authentically Cornish as Champagne is to the specific region of France. A hearty meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables conveniently wrapped in pastry, it’s a must to experience when visiting Cornwall.

Getting To Cornwall

The best way to experience Cornwall is by motorhome or campervan, and ideally with a bicycle. Getting in and out of the area can a little tricky, as can getting around by motorhome during the high seasons, that’s why taking a bicycle can be a huge advantage when day visiting small villages. All the roads coming into the county can get very congested during high season, so avoiding peak travel times is a wise thing to do. Coming in on the A30 is the most popular route, if you want to take your time and see some coastal scenery the A39 from the M5 is great. If you are visiting Plymouth use the A38 from the A30 or M5. Always expect heavy traffic & delays if traveling on weekends during the Summer.

The A30 stretches all the way from London and to the tip of Cornwall, so if you are coming from most places in the south and heading into the heart of Cornwall, it’s best to firstly travel midweek if possible, and then use the A30 to access most areas, take some driving nibbles and plan some driving entertainment in case you find yourself in making slow progress in the traffic.

What To Do in Cornwall

Probably the most popular activity in Cornwall is enjoying the coast in some way. There is Hiking around the entire county, the area is well-known for surfing either on the north or south depending on the direction of the weather. Enjoying and exploring the amazing beaches is popular, small sandy coves line the coast which are accessible in various ways. Visiting coastal towns and villages is a great way to spend a day, St Ives is one of the largest and has a thriving art community, many great pubs, gorgeous sandy beach where you can surf, kayak, snorkel or just enjoy the sun and scenery. Maybe the best way to get a feel for the real Cornwall is to visit the small & quaint less well-known villages. Here you can get a feel of what Cornwall was like hundreds of years ago, try fresh local catches, learn about the local traditions and take some amazing photos. A top 10 of the villages we would recommend are:

  • Mousehole
  • Cawsand and Kingsand
  • Helford Passage
  • Mullion
  • Polperro
  • Mevagissey
  • Boscastle
  • Port Isaac
  • Cadgwith
  • Gorran Haven

There really are and endless list of things you can do in Cornwall, the area excels in some activities though so if you are interested in any of the following then hiring a camper van and heading to the area on a road trip is the perfect way to spend a week or two. Hiking, kayaking, photography, painting, cycling, marine nature watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, food tasting, local pubs.

The Best of The Best

The following are examples of things to to see and do at the more specific end of the scale, reasons to come to Cornwall not just to have a taster of something, but if you already are an expert and why come to Cornwall for your specific interest or hobby than anywhere else in the world.

1. Mountain Biking at Gawton Gravity Hub

Ok so this technically isn’t in Cornwall, but it’s just near the border and if you are coming to Cornwall you will travel right past it, and if you are an mtb’er then spend a day here at the start or end of your visit to Cornwall.

Gawton is for the experienced or keen mountain biker. There are tracks here graded from blue to black, the blue being fairly easy if you already know what you are doing, through to international level difficulty downhill tracks. The vertical descent is over 500ft, so not the biggest but also not the smallest, just get in plenty of runs and practice all the different trails. There is an uplift service here, so if you bring your downhill bike book on and get in a full day of challenging riding.

2. Surfing at Fistral Beach, Newquay

Cornwall is the best well-known place in the UK for surfing. And the best known place for surfing in Cornwall is Newquay, specifically Fistral Beach. The area is known for its surfing, and as a result the scene is booming, surf shops, surf cafes and everything else related, come here if you want to immerse yourself in the scene.

This is the UK big wave spot, with swells fairly often holding swells up to 8 foot, and it does get even bigger. To get here just follow the signs for the beach, it’s best to come in through Newquay. When you need to refuel there are great places to eat, Rick Stein fish & chips, Reggae Reggae chicken restaurant, loads of surf cafs and pasty places!

3. The Eden Festival

A festival of music hosted at the Eden Project. Eden is a boutique festival, so you won’t find huge stages here, but lots of small to medium sizes stages hosting some big artists and groups but with a strong showing of unsigned talent. Eden festival is usually in June, some come here for the weekend and then see the rest of Cornwall before the crowds really descend in the Summer.

You will find a huge selection of music genres, Traditional, Reggae, Swing, Ska, Balkan, Hip Hop, Folk, Classical, Rock, Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Electro, Breaks, Dub Step, Chill Out, Psy Trance, House and Minimal, some come here and enjoy what you know or experience something new.

4. Hiking the South West Coastal Path

If you are very serious about your hiking then come to Cornwall and walk the entire South West Trail! You will be looking at 4-6 weeks to walk the entire thing, so if you have the time this is an unforgettable experience. Or break the hike up into smaller parts and come back time and time again.

Possibly one of the toughest parts and most spectacular is the walk from Westward Ho! just over in Devon, to Padstow. This is a 78 mile route which will take you from 5-7days depending on your fitness. This part of Cornwall has been shaped by the full force of the Atlantic weather, and takes you through forests, along cliffs and over hills. Not to mention small Cornish villages where you can stay the night.

5. Scuba Diving off the Scilly Isles

There’s much Snorkeling and Scuba Diving to be had directly off the Cornish mainland, however despite technically not being in Cornwall, the Scilly Isles are off the Cornish coast and deserve the mention because here you can do some of the best scuba diving in the world.

The water is crystal clear, the weather temperate, and there are countless wrecks to dive in and marine life to experience. A friendly colony or seals live on the islands and you are nearly guaranteed a close encounter. Basking Sharks are a common sight at the right time of year, and the visibility of up to 20m means you can really appreciate all there is to see.