My great British road trip has come to an end, but my enthusiasm for traveling around England and Wales has only gotten stronger since I returned home. If you’re as excited as I am and want some guidance on how to do your own trip, today I want to share my British road trip itinerary with you.
British Road Trip Itinerary
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know my road trip took my boyfriend and me to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Chester, Wales, Wiltshire, London, the Cotswolds, Nottingham, the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, Robin Hood’s Bay, and Durham. It also brought us to a lot of places that didn’t quite fit into the blog posts I published. As such, today I want to bring you a few more road trip highlights and a map of the whole itinerary.
Okay, I know Gretna Green is in Scotland but since our road trip started and ended in Scotland, I’ll sneak it in. Having read Pride and Prejudice more times than I care to admit, I was excited to stop in this border town where Lydia and Wickham were thought to have gone to elope.
Little did I know that Gretna Green wasn’t just a Pride and Prejudice thing. It was a famous place to elope for ages due to historic marriage laws in Scotland being more lax than those in England. And it’s still a popular wedding destination today. Being there felt like walking through an amusement park, what with all the nuptial paraphernalia, wedding parties, and hedgerow mazes strewn about.
The drive from the Yorkshire Dales to Chester took us through a number of exciting places. One of them was Samlesbury Hall, a 14th-century house with a gorgeous black-and-white facade and a long history of ghost stories. We stopped off for lunch and a quick self-guided tour, and I fell in love with the unique design of the place.
My boyfriend has a passion for sculpture, so on the way from Samlesbury Hall to Chester we stopped off at Crosby Beach near Liverpool to see Another Place by Antony Gormley. Made up of 100 life-size cast-iron figures spread along two miles of sand and sea, the work explores the human relationship with nature. It was amazing to see all the sculptures dotted along the beach and out in the waves.
Just south of Liverpool, another stop on our British road trip itinerary was Port Sunlight. It was originally a model village founded by William Hesketh Lever (of soap fame) in 1888 to house his factory workers. It’s now home to a museum and over 900 beautiful Grade II listed buildings. We had a good time walking around and taking in the architecture before continuing our journey south.
After visiting North Wales, we drove back into England for two days. Our first stop was Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. It features 10 museums and the first ever cast-iron bridge, which was built in 1779 and still spans the River Severn. We visited the Jackfield Tile Museum and stopped for lunch at a pretty cafe by the bridge, taking in the history and beautiful scenery around us.
From Ironbridge Gorge, our British road trip itinerary took us to Wightwick Manor. A Victorian home in the Arts and Crafts style, this house has striking half-timbered exteriors and beautiful William Morris interiors. Add to that an impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and gorgeous gardens, and we had no trouble spending the better part of a day here.
After visiting the Cotswolds, we went to London and back. On the return trip we made a detour to Wells, one of the smallest cities in England and certainly one of the prettiest. With a beautiful cathedral and picturesque streets, it was worth the extra driving to explore the city.
St Albans and Leicester
On our way north from the Cotswolds to Nottingham, we stopped for a night in St Albans and drove through Leicester to visit the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery. Some of its exhibits recently reopened after a renovation, and my boyfriend particularly wanted to see the important Arts and Crafts collection. It was as impressive as he had hoped, and we were glad to have stopped there.
Between Nottingham and the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, we couldn’t help stopping at Chatsworth House. Another place with Pride and Prejudice connections (it was used as Mr Darcy’s house, Pemberley, in the film), it’s also a stunning stately home in its own right. The interiors were as sumptuous as one would expect from such a place, and the gardens were so extensive that we spent hours exploring them.
After Robin Hood’s Bay, our British road trip itinerary took us north to Whitby. I’ve wanted to visit this seaside town since reading Dracula, which was partly set there. But when I arrived I realized the real attraction was the ruins of the abbey on top of the hill. What a sight.
Angel of the North
Speaking of sights, on the way from Durham to Scotland we stopped off at Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North. It’s Britain’s largest sculpture, and we had seen it a million times from the train but had never gotten up close. It was beautiful and imposing, and worth a special stop. Less exciting was watching people graffiti the base while we waited to take photos.
Seaton Delaval Hall
Farther north, we stopped off at Seaton Delaval Hall on our way from Durham to Scotland. An 18th-century stately home in the English Baroque style, it not only had an impressive Central Hall with a sky-high ceiling, but also beautiful gardens to wander through.
The last stop on our road trip itinerary was Warkworth Castle. It came into view as we were driving through Northumberland, and I couldn’t help asking my boyfriend to pull the camper van over so I could photograph it. Afterwards we drove past it and through the pretty village it was in, making a mental note to return as soon as possible to see more.
British Road Trip Map
And that’s pretty much how we felt about our whole road trip. From the places we spent several days in to the ones we only passed through, we fell in love with all of England and Wales. We thought four weeks would be sufficient to see everything we wanted to see, but it turned out to only be enough time to learn how much more there was to discover.
So click here for a map of our journey, and hopefully there will be more to come. The pins are listed in the order of the trip, and if you click on each one it will take you to the relevant blog post.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who left comments with recommendations for the trip. I really appreciate all your suggestions, and although I didn’t make it everywhere, I know your ideas will be good foundations for future journeys.
How about you? If you haven’t already shared, what would you include in a British road trip itinerary for England and Wales?
Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I earn a small commission when you click on them and make a purchase. It doesn’t affect the way you shop, and it’s a great way to support the A Lady in London blog.