As the summertime traffic grinds to a halt in our big cities, many of the UK’s smaller towns offer an alternative road trip destination. Check out three of our favourites…
Scotland - Dumfries
Drivers heading north along the M6 towards Glasgow or Edinburgh generally pass through the fringes of Dumfries & Galloway county. But a left-turn at Gretna or Lockerbie can provide a rewarding diversion at the old market town of Dumfries.
Known locally as “The Queen of the South”, Dumfries boasts strong literary traditions – former residents include J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, and Scotland’s favourite poet, Robert Burns. And today, the town remains a thriving creative hub, with the celebrated “Art Trail” linking a remarkable variety of local studios and galleries.
Dumfries has a wealth of fascinating spots to explore, from the working farmer’s market, to the sandstone bridges spanning the River Nith. Or if you’ve the urge to stretch your legs after a long drive, the surrounding hills and forests offer a world of wild walks.
England - Hunstanton
Norfolk’s location means it’s not really on the way to anywhere else, so its roads rarely get jammed up with through-traffic. And anyone driving here from London will definitely enjoy the road space, even at the height of the holiday season.
This rural region boasts countless pretty villages that are a delight to explore by car, and whether you’re here for a day out or an extended holiday, the town of Hunstanton is a must-see destination. This charming seaside resort first came to prominence back in the 1840’s, and many of the original Victorian features remain today.
The streets come alive in summer as tourists arrive from miles around, while visitors seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the seafront can find peace and quiet in Old Hunstanton, with its stone cottages and leafy lanes. Yet what makes this town truly unique is that its location on the lower lip of The Wash makes it the only west-facing resort on the east coast – so you can sit back, relax, and watch the sun set over the sea.
Wales – Llangollen
The Horseshoe Pass on the A542 is one of Wales’ great driving routes – offering magnificent views as the road cleaves the Llantysilio mountains. Once it’s topped out at 1,368 feet, the road snakes its way down to the town of Llangollen – a destination well worth the challenging drive.
Squeezed between the River Dee and the Berwyn mountain range, Llangollen boasts a heritage railway that attracts visitors from around the world – steam enthusiasts who come to ride the rails through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Walkers can make the sharp ascent to the ruined castle of Dinas Bran, which still stands guard over the town below. And if you’ve a good head for heights, step out across the mighty Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which spans 307 metres across the Dee Valley as it carries the Llangollen Canal 38 metres above the river below. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the aqueduct is always buzzing with tourists, but stroll just a few minutes along the towpath either side, and you’ll soon have the place to yourself.