Absolute Escapes February 7 2023

There’s nothing quite like jumping in your car and taking to the open road.

The joy of a road trip is not always about where you end up at the end of the day, but the freedom to explore on your way. To stumble upon unexpected gems, to pull over at will, to follow a road that you hadn’t spotted on the map, and let’s not kid ourselves – to have full control over the soundtrack to your holiday.

For years and years, films have reflected the sense that road trips bring adventure, reconnection, and an opportunity to explore the world around us. From the quest for freedom in Into the Wild to the self-discovery on show in Little Miss Sunshine, to the re-connecting of a family in Robin Williams’ RV – there is something exhilarating and opportunistic about the prospect of getting in the car and ending up somewhere completely new.

At Absolute Escapes, we are passionate about taking the stress out of a self-drive holiday by meticulously planning the logistics of the trip. But the best bit is, we won’t just slam an itinerary on your table and say ‘pick this one’. Instead, we’ll work with you to design a bespoke trip which suits your timeframe, interests, accommodation preferences, and priorities.

With decades of experience designing self-drive holidays, we think we’ve got some pretty good ideas about how to plan an unforgettable UK road trip.


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Take the scenic route

Scotland, England and Wales are filled with scenic roads that have become landmarks, and there is no lack of bucket list roads to drive across the UK.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • The Rest and Be Thankful to the west of Loch Lomond
  • The winding passes of the Lake District (Wrynose, Honister, Kirkstone and Hardknott to name a few)
  • The road to Applecross (known as Bealach na Bà in Gaelic) on the North Coast 500
  • Cheddar Gorge in Somerset
  • The Black Mountain Pass in the Brecon Beacons
  • The Atlantic Highway that takes you from Devon into Cornwall

My advice, if you’ve got a choice; always take the scenic route.


Find your pace

It’s often hard to know how much to pack into a road trip. If you try to fit in too much, it may not feel like a holiday at all. But go at too leisurely a pace and you may feel like you could have made more use of your time to see your favourite spots.

There’s a fine balance to be found, and that’s why we’ve created a range of road trip itinerary ideas from our years of experience. You can either keep these packaged as we’ve presented them, or we can tailor them to better suit your needs.

The holiday ideas on our website are a great starting point for a carefully-crafted itinerary which we have found to be perfectly paced.


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Include rest days or limited mileage days

I promise you’ll thank me for this one.

The open road is fantastic, but long driving days can leave you very tired. This is why my next tip for a perfect UK road trip is to incorporate non-driving days. In many ways, this is highly subjective, but I think it can benefit everyone to have a day off from behind the steering wheel.

This is part of the reason why Absolute Escapes build in a lot of multi-night stays into our itineraries, although I hasten to add that there’s often so much great stuff to see in certain places that we don’t want you to move on too quickly!

A great example of this is our Highlights of England trip. Our base itinerary gives you two nights in every location, providing a nicely-paced element which allows the driver time to relax and enjoy their incredible surroundings.


Plan and prioritise

Every good trip involves preparation. For some people, the build-up is half the enjoyment.

That might be deciding which whisky distilleries you want to tour as you embark on a Speyside Malt Whisky Trail, or pre-booking the archaeological wonders you are going to visit in Shetland and Orkney.

One of the main benefits of booking your trip through Absolute Escapes is that, while we provide plenty of sightseeing recommendations – we leave your free time up to you.

When I took my campervan around the UK for three months I completely bypassed Stonehenge – even though it was just 30 minutes away from the main road I had been driving on – because I was too focused on the day’s destination.

Moral of the story; don’t be me!

Hand in hand with planning comes prioritising, and it is unlikely that you are going to be able to see everything when you embark on your self-drive trip. So, my advice to combat this is to be open and honest with a member of our team when we are in the planning stage of your trip.

If you let us know your priorities, we will work with you to shape your itinerary around them. They can be as big or small as you wish; it might be that you want to stay in a spa hotel at some point, you’ve heard great things about a specific restaurant, or you have friends based in a location who you’d like to visit.

All requests are welcome, and we will prioritise your priorities!


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Be spontaneous

I’m following my top tip of planning and prioritising with its old nemesis – spontaneity.

This is one to remember when you actually embark on your trip. For all the planning that will go into your trip and all the information we will equip you with ahead of your holiday, there are going to be things that surprise you. Be that spotting some wildlife by the side of the road, taking a wrong turn that leads somewhere beautiful, pulling over at an unexpected viewpoint, or chatting with a local after asking them for directions.

All of these experiences will add to your trip and become anecdotes that you will always look back on. Embrace them.


And if 5 tips weren’t enough…

In light of my more thought-out tips, please find my list of quickfire recommendations for when you actually take to the road:

  • Always have snacks
  • Download offline maps
  • Don’t risk running out of petrol – always keep above a quarter of a tank
  • Carefully curate your road trip playlist


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What comes next?

We would love to hear from you! If reading this has given you a nudge to start planning that trip you’ve always wanted, then please do get in touch.

The holiday ideas on our website are just examples of the amazing trips we offer, created uniquely for you by our award-winning specialists.

Laura Kirkhouse

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