Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is thought that ‘staycations’ are going to be big news for at least this year, and depending on how things pan out, perhaps for the next couple of years. More and more people will shun holidays abroad for ones in the UK, preferring to stay home and explore all the incredible things that Great Britain has to offer. We have an array of historic cities bursting to the seams with culture and fun attractions, thousands of miles of glorious golden sandy beaches and dramatic, rocky coastline, towering mountain ranges, and plenty of lush green countryside that is just crying out to be explored.
But what is the best way to see this country? Sure, you can book a static caravan or a hotel or bed and breakfast, but that can limit you. We think that one of the best ways to really get the best out of a British holiday is to do it yourself in a motorhome or campervan. You are not bound by times to be back at your accommodation, set meal times, or stuck in one place. You can go wherever your heart takes you, staying for as long or as little as you like, and can park up pretty much anywhere.
In this post, we look at some tips and tricks to help you get the very best out of a British motor home holiday.
Choose the right vehicle
If you are planning to drive a long distance and eat and sleep in your vehicle, it is imperative that you choose the right one, especially if you are going with friends or family. The last thing you want to be doing is cooped up in something too small and completely impractical, or even worse, sitting at the side of a motorway waiting for the recovery services to come and pick you up when you have broken down. No, you want something practical and reliable.
What is practical for one traveller is not going to be the same for the next. It depends on the size of your party, what you need to take with you where you are going and how long you are planning to be travelling for.
For example, if there are only one or two of you going on a short weekend break, and intending to eat at local restaurants and park up at a campsite with shower and toilet facilities, something like a VW Transporter may be more than enough. Ignore the 5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About New Vw Transporter and do your research. However, if you are a family of four with young children, it is not going to be the best choice of vehicle. You need something bigger, perhaps with an onboard toilet and cooking facilities. In that case, a fully-equipped motorhome with all the mod-cons may be the best option.
Choose your destination
This is going to one of the most challenging decisions of your British road trip. We are so blessed to have some fantastic things to see and do – where do you start and where do you end?
Some of the most popular road trip routes include:
The Yorkshire circuit: The A and B roads in Yorkshire connect some of the most beautiful villages, waterfalls, and lush green backdrops in the UK, often moving through dales and moors, once a backdrop to the Battle of the Roses.
Start off on the A59 from Harrogate and head towards the historic market town of Grassington before hitting Aysgarth Falls, a beautiful place for a slow summer stroll. Visit the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre at Hawes before looping back to your starting point and checking out the super spooky Jervaulx Abbey – complete with excellent tea rooms if you need a bit of a pit stop.
The Atlantic Highway: This 275 km road is all about the big views – and we mean big! Squeezed between fields bursting with barley and bays and beaches, the A39 from Bridgewater to Bude twists and turns along the Devon and Cornwall coasts. Stop off at Exmoor National Park for a hike across windswept moors before driving south from Barnstaple through to the seaside towns of Bude and Newquay – surfer and seafood paradise – and ending at the iconic Land’s End.
Food and drink
This is something that you need to think about well in advance. There is no point in planning to eat at cafes and restaurants for every meal if you are going to be driving through remote moorlands or mountain passes, where you might be lucky to pass a petrol station or the odd roadside food wagon once in a while. If you are planning on taking the roads less travelled, or want to save yourself some cash, bringing food to prepare and eat in your vehicle is a good idea.
If your campervan has a fridge, you can take all sorts of things, space dependent. You may be lucky enough to have a stovetop or even a small oven in your van, which makes preparing a meal much more straightforward. If you are doing things on a more basic level, think about the sort of things that you might have while camping. Take a cool box with you with some pre-prepared and frozen meals, which can just be heathen up over a camping stove once defrosted. Alternatively, a few tins of beans and packets of noodles will take up little space, are easy to cook with limited facilities, and are cheap as well. When you are passing by large supermarkets or markets, think about what you might need for the next few days and pick them up while you are there.
You might be full of intentions to stop off in locations and go for long walks and explore. However, think about what you re going to do if it is pouring down with rain and you don’t fancy getting cold and wet, or what you will do in the evenings. Depending on where you are parked up for the night, you might have issues with internet connectivity, so don’t rely on that for entertainment.
Why not pack some board games or learn some traditional card games? Or, perhaps take a journal and start a travel blog to share with family and friends when you get home.
Don’t forget the music as well. The last thing you want is to be out on the road for hours and not have your favourite music to sing along to. Some excellent road trip songs for a really good singalong include:
- Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
- Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
- Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd.
- Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
- Life Is a Highway by Tom Cochrane
Map it out
Google Maps is a great tool for making sure that you don’t get lost on your UK road trip. It is continuously and automatically updated, unlike traditional GPS devices, so there are no nasty surprises when an unexpected roundabout appears in front of you. It can also give you ideas for alternative routes, and if there are any traffic problems, you know in advance and can adjust your course accordingly.
However, there is a lot to be said for a traditional paper map as well. They never run out of power or data; it doesn’t matter if there is no signal, and it can be pretty exciting to follow an old style A-Z map.
Check your vehicle is roadworthy
Before you head out on your road trip, and in any appropriate places along the way, give your car a check over to make sure it is safe. Tires should have a minimum 1.6mm tread depth and no bulges or splits. If you see any of these, have them replaced immediately. You should also check all of the lights on your car, make sure that your washer fluid is topped up, that the oil is at the correct level and of course, you have enough fuel. This leads us to our next point.
Don’t pass the fuel stations
It would be pretty embarrassing to have to phone the breakdown service because you have run out of fuel in the middle of the mountains or in the moors, wouldn’t it? Avoid this situation by keeping an eye on your fuel levels and paying attention to where the nearest fuel station is to top up.
A road trip in the UK can be an experience like no other. You will soon realise that you don’t need to travel abroad to immerse yourself in incredible culture and history, taste good food and meet interesting people – we have all of those right here on our doorstep.