Self drive holidays are one way to discover a destination in your own time. Spend a few nights or a couple of weeks absorbing a county’s sights, tours and attractions, as you stop off for walks, climbs and find other hidden gems!
During a UK road trip, you can drive with ease in your own vehicle, while you take in a changing landscape. With 247,100 miles of mainland road to explore and 7,723 miles of UK coastline to gaze across, the routes you can motor along are endless.
There are also self drive holiday packages that you can book in the UK. However, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own self drive holiday itinerary. Simply fill it with your favourite interests, activities, book accommodation, some excursions and you’re ready to go!
Giving yourself the freedom to design your own self drive holiday itinerary, is the perfect option for free spirits like you! Here are some of our suggested routes, activities and excursions around the UK you can choose from…
Self drive holidays in England
The Isle of Wight
After a ferry trip from Southampton, drive along quaint lanes on the east coast of the Isle of Wight and go back in time at Osbourne House – Queen Victoria’s holiday home. On the western side, follow the road to Freshwater and grab a picnic lunch with views of the Needles at Alum Bay. For a spot of shopping, pop into Brighstone, Mottistone or Cowes, before driving over Brading Downs to Ryde, for fish and chips, with a seaside view on the esplanade. With 67 miles of coastline around the island and fossils to be found on the east and west shores, the Isle of Wight may surprise you!
Self drive holidays from Great Yarmouth and across Norfolk and Suffolk
For a true seaside holiday, head east for Norfolk and Suffolk. Enjoy the sights and sounds of traditional summer attractions, long sandy beaches and walks along cliff tops, where castles overlook the North Sea. As you drive along the haunting Norfolk coastline, from Great Yarmouth to Southwold, stop at lively Lowestoft for some fresh fish and visit the miniature steam railway. For nature watchers, wander around one of Suffolk’s many nature reserves to spot wild birds and badgers. Or to meet mammals and primates head to Africa Live! See lions, the bat-eared fox and an array of domestic livestock.
The Yorkshire Dales
Pick a route to explore the Yorkshire Dales each one has its own personality! In the north, start in Grassington and roll along the hills on the Wharfedale Circuit. Drift past heather moorlands, barns and dry stone walls, before stopping off at Bolton Abbey to go wild swimming. Or, start in the South at the spa town of Ilkley. From the edge of the Yorkshire National Park, weave your way north to Hawes, England’s highest market town to rest. Then go horse riding one afternoon uphill and down dale. When wet, nip down the road to Wensleydale. A place for foodies to dine and learn how its famous cheese is made. The west is home to the three peaks and full of charming cottages to stay in.
When planning a self drive break don’t just map out your route ahead of time book your cottage in advance too. Then before you leave, Free Spirit will cover you for curtailment and cancellation, in the unlikely event that you need to cut your trip short.
Self drive holidays in Ireland
From lively Liverpool to Belfast, take the ferry and begin your self driving holiday in Game of Thrones territory. Bite into the ultimate Belfast Breakfast (Ulster fry) before roaming along the Causeway Coastal Route. Gaze at gentle glens and geological wonder – The Giant’s Causeway! Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, be blown away by the area’s volcanic history or silently stroll down way-marked coastal trails, taking in spectacular scenery. Plan your self driving holiday to include historic castles and your choice of water sports, golf or galleries, before resting in Ballintoy Harbour.
Northern Ireland has lots to offer for all ages and so does Free Spirit Travel Insurance! Book a trip for all the family. Everyone will be insured to have a great time, without added anxiety because our policy has no upper age limit. Plus, if you become ill far from home, Free Spirit can provide you with medical travel insurance in the UK, which includes the additional expenses for someone to stay and escort you home later than planned.
Self drive holidays in Scotland
The Scottish Highlands
Drive up to Loch Lomond, which is part of The Trossachs National Park in Southern Scotland, where red deer roam free amongst oak woodlands in the shade of the Ben Lomond Mountain. Cameras at the ready! To get back to nature, camp in the stillness of the park and take up one of the many water activities the next day, such as paddleboarding. Then for the next leg of your journey, motor across Rannoch Moor and take a pit stop at the Secret Valley at Glencoe – a glen formed by volcanic eruptions, then shaped by ice age glaciers. Then to really feel surrounded by history, stay in the hunting grounds of Fort William – the path to Ben Nevis.
The Road to the Isles
After your hike to Ben Nevis, take the ‘Road to the Isles’ from Fort William to Mallaig. A beautiful trip for avid photographers and walkers alike! This winding road will come to an end in the small fishing port of Mallaig but will greet you with the gateway to the Isle of Skye. Once you have rested at your cottage, take one of the many boat trips to the Inner Hebrides, which include the scenic islands of Mull and Lona.
The Outer Hebrides
A chain of 12 inhabited islands and 150 miles makes The Outer Hebrides a unique self driving holiday. As each island is connected by causeways, bridges or ferry, your vehicle is welcome to explore this remote wonder in the Western Isles. Here, you can follow the journey of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Start on the Island of Erisky and find rare flowers, before visiting 20 different locations to absorb dramatic scenery, beaches, Bens and Lochs. For foodies, take your taste buds on a self-guided eat and drink trail, to tuck into the wild food of the west.
Whichever trail you choose, a self drive holiday across Scotland can bring challenges such as single-track roads. Therefore, it is wise to recap on how to drive along them! As well as this, make sure you have the correct breakdown cover for your planned route. For instance, your car insurance may only cover you if you breakdown 12 miles from home. Not ideal if you break down in the Outer Hebrides, many miles from home.
Self drive holidays in Wales
The Coastal Way
A 180-mile adventure! The Coastal Way weaves itself in and out of deep blue seas and majestic mountains from Llŷn to Pembrokeshire. Rolling along the entire length of Cardigan, stop to sample and learn about Welsh tipples at the odd distillery, brewery or vineyard. Or for something a little more active, give golf a go. When you reach Pembrokshire, stay in Fishguard and feast upon Welsh rabbit, while listening to traditional folk music next to a roaring fire.
The Cambrian Way
Named by Visit Wales in 2017, The Cambrian Way runs from north to south coast for 185 miles and will take you on a ride-along Wales’ backbone! Set off from Cardiff and trundle through the hills. Hidden within, you’ll find lavender fields, where you can source natural scented oils and discover a 12th-century garden called Plas Brondanw. On your journey, follow any of the roads, to find the entrance to the mountains – Betws –y-Coed. Or take up the challenge and hike through Snowdonia. You will have reached the end of your journey at Llandudno, a Victorian seaside town.
The North Wales Way
Survey North Wales and its coastline, on an old trading route to Anglesey. Start at Magical Mold and take photographs of enchanted castles on your way to Anglesey, such as Conwy Castle (a World Heritage Site), Penrhyn and Caernarfon. For the adventurers among you, Snowdonia is also the UK’s outdoor activity capital, which offers many sports such as inland surfing, mountain biking and more!
When booking any outdoor activity, transport or accommodation, which is not part of a package trip, remember that Free Spirit UK Travel Insurance will provide you with End Supplier Failure. This is invaluable if your travel provider goes out of business.
UK Holiday Insurance for Self Drive Holidays
Have we inspired you to hit the road and drive 500 miles to a new destination? We hope you have a good road trip, wherever you choose to roam. Just don’t forget your UK holiday insurance.
Self drive holidays can also be planned to fit around an event in your calendar, such as a family get-together. However, always remember that the price of your policy is always based upon the total cost of your trip.