I am almost too embarrassed to admit that I’ve travelled to the furthest part of the globe from the UK but I hadn’t ventured to Scotland until recently.
Well, I guess that’s not completely true; I did a weekend break to Edinburgh after winning the trip in a raffle. Still, it seems to me that when people talk about the “real” Scotland, they always seem to refer to the diverse natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands, and so with this in mind, I decided to plan a great British road trip and check out this area of Scotland for myself.
Of course, it’s a long drive from England to the Scottish Highlands (this is where hubby comes in handy), and so I included stops during the drive “up North” and also on the return journey back “down South” to break up the time spent on the road.
Why choose a British road trip?
I have made road trips through Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland, Europe and the UK, and I love the freedom of adventure that driving gives you. You can stop whenever you want, take photos, stretch your legs, and visit the restrooms (this one is essential!), and if you suddenly see somewhere interesting, you can explore it without any one else’s time constraints.
Road trips make you feel like you are having lots of exciting mini-breaks. For a person like me that gets stir crazy being in one place for too long and has FOMO (fear of missing out), I enjoy packing my things up every few days and heading off to see the next new thing. If I ever get regressed (don’t laugh, I’ve thought about it), I’m sure I would be living a nomadic, gipsy life in a forest somewhere and foraging for berries and hugging trees.
British road trip travel tips
Anyway, back to the topic at hand! I have detailed the best places to stay during a British road trip, the best landmark destinations to visit on a British road trip and the driving routes and times between locations to help you enjoy the perfect British road trip. This interactive Google map will also help you follow my route or plan your own British road trip itinerary.
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UK British Road Trip Map
The United Kingdom 14-Day British Road Trip Itinerary
2 nights in the Lake District – England
4 nights in the Trossachs National Park – Scotland
1 night in Fort Augustus – Scotland
3 nights in the Isle of Skye – Scotland
2 nights in Pitlochry – Scotland
2 nights in Harrogate – England
Drive to the Lake District
We left home early on a bright September morning (that’s around 9 am for us!) for the first part of our British road trip from Surrey to Windermere in the Lake District. We knew the drive would take around 5 hours with good driving conditions, so I planned our first stop at the Trentham Monkey Forest in Stoke on Trent.
I had never heard of this place before, but when I realised it was a sanctuary for 140 Barbary macaques, I knew I would love it.
The great news is that Trentham’s monkeys roam freely, though exterior fencing contains them within the forest. Let’s face it – monkeys on the loose on the M6 would probably not be the best thing! It was gratifying to wander around and see them in a natural setting, and we stayed for feeding time and a talk by the keepers before continuing our drive to Lake Windermere.
Angie’s Hot Tip – If you are a tourist driving in the United Kingdom, this post on useful tips for driving in Scotland may make your British road trip even more enjoyable.
Trentham Monkey Forest to Lake Windermere via M6 – 2hrs 45 mins
Lake District – 2 Nights
The Lake District in Cumbria offers natural beauty in abundance and is the perfect place to stop on a trip to the North of England and beyond.
A Unesco World Heritage Site and England’s largest National Park, the Lake District has so much to offer from huge mountains, quintessential English villages, lush green valleys, and of course, sixteen world-renowned lakes.
The Lake District’s largest lake is Windermere. Scenic lake cruises, kayaking, walking and hiking, is a must here. The circular walking route of Lake Windermere is great fun.
Throughout the Lake District, hiking trails cater for all abilities. From visitors who want to enjoy a gentle stroll around the lakes to advanced hikes that scale iconic landmarks such as Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.
We arrived at The Belsfield Hotel at Bowness-on-Windermere for our two-night stay. The Laura Ashley Group own this chic hotel and not surprisingly the design is beautiful. It also happens to be one of the most prestigious hotels in the Lake District with unrivalled views across Lake Windermere – I was going to enjoy this!
Luxury Accommodation in Bowness
I had booked into a classic double room as I knew we wouldn’t spend much time in it, but there are larger, grander rooms to choose from.
The rest of the hotel was fabulous, with views over the lake from every turn. The outside terrace was a hit with guests, a great spot to watch the sun go down. The indoor lounge area was cosy and the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail before dinner (well, it would be rude not to).
The only thing that I didn’t like was that our weekend stay coincided with a wedding function, and to say the hotel was overtaken with wedding guests was an understatement. It became noisy and chaotic and not the peaceful boutique experience we were expecting. Check before you book to see if any functions are being held during your stay to avoid noisy disruptions on your trip.
Where to Dine and Stay in Lake Windermere
As we were tired and didn’t fancy anything too formal tonight, we headed into town and enjoyed dinner at Baha Restaurant. Bowness town is really charming, and its cobbled streets are home to dozens of restaurants and cafes. For a small Cumbrian town, I was surprised to see such a choice of modern eateries.
If you are looking for a more traditional place to eat then The Hole in T Wall is the oldest pub in Bowness and was even frequented by Charles Dickens.
Alternative places to stay in Bowness-on-Windermere
If you want to have a more exclusive stay in the Lake District, you may enjoy the many Lake District cottages with hot tubs scattered around the area.
Lakeside Cruise and Walk
After a hearty breakfast, we decided to take a cruise across the lake – the number one thing to do in the Lake District. Hop on a Windermere Lake Cruise from the pier at Bowness – just below the hotel. To make sure of a seat pre-book, especially in the height of summer.
Cruise and Walk Lake Windermere
We opted for the walker’s ticket, which allowed us to cruise from Bowness to Ambleside, disembark and then walk four miles along the western shore to Ferry House pier. Make sure you have the ferry timetable so that you can plan the timings of your return trip to Bowness Pier.
Points to explore during the lakeside walk include Wray Castle, a Gothic revival castle complete with a superb little cafe where we stopped for a spot of lunch. The next stop on the walking route is Claife Viewing Station to admire the view of Lake Windermere. Check out the coloured glass viewing panels that supposedly recreate the lake’s colours through the seasons – an interesting idea, but I’m not so sure it worked for me.
At the end of the walk, we caught a ferry back from Ferry House Pier to Bowness – it was a great day out and a fabulous way to see the best of Lake Windermere by water and land.
Angie’s Hot Tip – Hill Top, the former house of Beatrix Potter, is a 2.5-mile walk from Ferry House Pier ( or hop on the Mountain Goat Bus ). You could include a visit either at the end of your walk or make the whole trip in reverse, starting in Bowness and sailing to Ferry House.
Drive to The Trossachs National Park
Crossing the Border from England to Scotland
After a breakfast fit for a king (and Queen!), we set off for the next location on our British road trip itinerary, Arrochar, in the Trossachs National Park. It would be another long drive, and so to break things up, we stopped at Gretna Green, the location for eloping couples to wed. Please don’t get too excited; we made our vows 30 years ago, however, we had now crossed the border into SCOTLAND!
Lake Windermere to Gretna Green via M6 – 1hrs 45mins
Gretna Green in Scotland is a location that English couples under the age of 21, and without their parent’s blessing, could marry. They would elope and seal the deal in the blacksmith’s barn over the anvil. Confused? Check out the Gretna Green official website for more on the history and folklore surrounding this Scottish landmark.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to be fair, it is quite a magnet for tourists. It seemed our friends from the USA were here in their masses. A quick wander around the small museum, a photo of our hands on the blacksmith’s anvil (obviously had to get that one) and then a stock-up of Scottish produce (not sure we needed quite so much shortbread and fudge!), and we were off to our forest cabin at Arrochar in the Trossachs National Park.
Gretna Green to Arrochar in the Trossachs National park via A74 & M8 – 2 hrs 30 mins
Arrochar, Trossachs National Park – 4 Nights
The Trossachs National Park, often referred to as “the Highlands in miniature“, is an area of incredible beauty with lowland landscapes in the south and huge mountains in the north ( 21 mountains all above 3,000ft ). The park has 22 large lochs (water bodies), including the famous Loch Lomond and woodland, scrub and forest covering every part of the area.
The Trossachs also lay claim to one of the UK’s largest National Nature Reserves – The Great Trossachs Forest, and 50% of Scotland’s population lives within an hour’s drive of the National Park!
In this area, you will also find Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The park was established along with 5 others in 1953 – the year of Elizabeth ll’s coronation. It holds some of Scotland’s best-loved locations, from the magnificent Loch Lomond to the rolling Trossachs mountains.
For the next 4 nights, our home was at Ardgarten Hot Tub Forest Lodges in Arrochar, with unparalleled views of Loch Long. This is a perfect base to explore the surrounding towns, including Inveraray and its castle, Oban and its distillery and Luss with its charming village and boat rides.
Angie’s Hot Tip – Make sure you stock up on provisions before you arrive at Arrochar. There are a couple of small convenience shops nearby, but they only stock the basics. The nearest is Braeside grocery and newsagent, a 10-minute drive from the lodge.
Exploring the Local Area
Did I mention it rains a lot in Scotland, and in September when we travelled, there was a lot of it. Of course, it didn’t come as a shock, and I had already packed everything in my wardrobe to keep me warm and dry, and so we were ready for any eventuality.
Unfortunately, as we pulled back the curtains on that first morning, we couldn’t even see Loch Long, just swathes of grey fog slowly moving across the landscape and the tops of a few mountains in the distance. Not ones to be deterred from getting out (after already having wallowed in the hot tub for about 2 hours!), we took a trail that started near our lodge and headed into the unknown (actually the Argyll Forest) to see what we could find.
After what seemed like a rather wet couple of hours, we had seen a river, a waterfall, lots and lots of woodlands and a fairy house – I kid you not – check out the photos, and finally decided to head back to the lodge because if we got any muddier, we might get mistaken for bog monsters by the locals.
Angie’s Hot Tip – Check out The Village Inn in Arrochar for a real taste of Scotland. Haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) topped off with whisky sauce is delicious.
Inveraray – St Conan’s Kirk – Oban
Arrochar to Inveraray – 30 minutes
Hurray – there were blue skies this morning, and after a quick dip in the hot tub, we were in the car and on our way to the town of Inveraray. For a small town, there are many things to do in Inveraray, including exploring a castle, hiking up a hill, taking part in a whisky tasting, visiting a prison museum and generally soaking up the beautiful surroundings of this lochside setting.
Love the sound of Inveraray? Read more about it in my post – 7 Great Things to Do in Inveraray: The Quaint Scottish Town on Loch Fyne
Inveraray to St Conan’s Kirk – 25 minutes
After a morning wandering around Inveraray, we were back on the road and heading for Oban. Thirty minutes into the journey, we happened upon an eerie Gothic-looking church, and of course, I had to have a closer look. It turns out that it was called St. Conan’s Kirk and was voted one of the top 10 buildings in Scotland of the last 100 years.
The minute I walked through the doors, I felt the building had a really spiritual vibe, and I was amazed at all the different styles of architecture used in its design. Gothic, Norman, Saxon and Celtic decorations all shared the same space making it a unique place to visit.
We got lucky as there were only a few other people there when we visited, and so we got to enjoy St Conan’s peacefulness and its beautiful views across Loch Awe.
Back in the car, and after a cup of tea from my flask and a shortbread biscuit (yes, we still had some left), we continued to Oban.
St Conan’s Kirk to Connel Bridge – 25 minutes
Almost in Oban, we spotted The Falls of Lora located near Connel Bridge. They are a spectacular sight as they form a tidal rapid, which occurs naturally when the tidal level in the Firth of Lorn drops below the water level in Loch Etive.
We stopped at the car park viewpoint in Connel village to get the falls’ best views and were amazed to see kayakers riding the rapids. Afterwards, we found out that the falls are a popular destination for kayakers and divers – who would have imagined all that going on under a bridge!
Connel Bridge to Oban – 10 minutes
Finally, we arrived in the coastal town of Oban. Known as the departure point to catch ferries to some of the beautiful outlying Scottish Hebridean islands as well as the home of the famous whisky distillery, and that was where we were heading.
Want to find out more about the Scottish Islands? Read about them in my post: The Best and Most Beautiful Scottish Islands you must visit in Scotland
Oban distillery has been producing whisky since the 18th century and running tours to give visitors a peek into how this spirit is made. Make sure you have pre-booked your spot onto the tour, as they fill up very quickly.
Let me say that I am not a whisky drinker (or wasn’t until I went to Scotland) but still found the tour fascinating. We both learnt so much about the process of making whisky and now know all about “fairy tears” and whisky taxes which is useful should we ever start up a distillery in the garden shed!
After the tour, we had a walk along the vast sandy beach, not what I was expecting in Scotland. No chance of taking our coats and scarves off in September though, this was just a time for us to soak up the scenery before finishing off with dinner. We ate in Coasters, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it – there are other better restaurants in Oban to select.
Oban to our lodge in Arrochar via A85 & A83 – 1hr 30 minutes
Day Trip to the Village of Luss
Our last day in the Trossachs was a dry one, and we set off to explore the village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain. We particularly wanted to go for a cruise across the loch and arrived mid-morning to buy our tickets from the boat pier. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea, so our timed tickets weren’t until 4 pm. We were leaving the area the next day to head to Fort Augustus – home of Loch Ness – so it was today or never!
Arrochar to Luss – 20 minutes
The village of Luss is a popular place for tourists and has charming 18th century stone houses, lovely Scottish artisan craft shops, a historic church and plenty of cafes and coffee shops – what more could you want. Luss also has several walks to allow the visitor to explore the area – a favourite is the Heritage Trail, a one hour walk around the town.
I found out from the Luss Visitor Centre that fairies were living in Luss (they get everywhere) and that the Loch Lomond fairy trail would take us through the woods to see their homes. I didn’t need to be told twice, and with hubby in tow, we set off to find some pixie magic.
As the day went by, the clouds came in, and by 4 pm, it was looking pretty grim. We boarded our boat and set off for a cold and bumpy ninety-minute ride. It was not the leisurely cruise I was looking forward to, but at least we can say we cruised Loch Lomond!
Drive to Fort Augustus
Up early, we packed up our stuff, ready to head to our next destination, Loch Ness in Fort Augustus. The thought of cruising on the loch and listening to stories about Nessie the Loch Ness monster probably got me a little more excited than it should but having grown up hearing about this fictional (or should I say factual) creature, I couldn’t wait to get there! But there were plenty of other things in Scotland that I wanted to see on the route.
Arrochar to Falls of Falloch – 25 minutes
As soon as I hear mention of a waterfall, I have to check it out; it doesn’t matter where I am in the world; they seem to call to me. Some of the best waterfalls in the UK can be found in Scotland, like the 30ft Falls of Falloch. Approached by the A82 near the village of Crianlarich, a woodland track leads from the car park to the falls and the River Falloch.
A funky viewing platform allows you to view the waterfall in all its glory and is a great structure to see in its own right – not something you would expect to see in a woodland glen!
Falls of Falloch to Glencoe – 50 minutes
Scotland’s landscape seems to get better and better the further north you go (though it is all stunning). After passing through the Bridge of Orchy with its one hotel and white-washed houses and positioned on the famous Scottish walking route – the West Highland Way – we arrived at the magnificent mountain range of Glencoe.
Glencoe is predominately a ski and outdoor pursuits area. As we were driving through, it reminded me of the dramatic landscape in Iceland and Norway; foreboding and mighty. We pulled in to Glencoe Mountain Resort to buy some tickets for the chair lift; however, when I saw how high it went, I got cold feet, and so we popped into the restaurant instead to warm up and grab some lunch!
Angie’s Hot Tip – If you love outdoor activities, then it may be worth adding a night to your British road trip itinerary and spending longer in Glencoe to really see it at its best.
Glencoe to Fort William – 40 minutes
Not to give up on the chance to get an amazing view across the Scottish mountain range, we headed to Fort William and the Nevis Range Mountain Gondola. The 650m high enclosed gondola is the only one of its kind in the UK, so it was only right that we tried it out. Built to transport skiers to the top of Aonach Mòr, the 8th highest mountain in Britain, it is now one of the most popular things to do in Fort William – after visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct and waiting for that magical opportunity to catch the Harry Potter train of course!
We stepped aboard and luckily had the gondola to ourselves. I think the grey skies and threat of rain had put many visitors off, but I can imagine it gets swamped on warm sunny days. It takes 15 minutes to get to the top, and then you are rewarded with views towards Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.
Angie’s Hot Tip – There is a big drop in temperature from the bottom to the top of Aonach Mor, so make sure to wrap up warm.
Fort William to Fort Augustus – 45 minutes
Back in the car and aware that time was getting on, we decided only to have one quick stop on the route to Fort Augustus, and that would be to look at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. Three 17ft bronze figures are depicted in full uniforms and dedicated to WW2 service members that lost their lives. If you have the time, it is worth stopping, a small car park is located along the B8004, and the views alone are incredible.
Fort Augustus – 1 Night
Arriving in Fort Augustus, the rain had stopped, and the sun was shining – our luck had changed! We were staying here for one night in the award-winning boutique hotel The Lovat but before we settled in for our stay, we had arranged a rib cruise with the company Cruise Loch Ness.
There are two ways to view Loch Ness – a fast rib cruise or a scenic cruise – we opted for the 90-minute rib cruise to Urquhart Castle which was an informative ride telling us about the loch, the landscape, the castle and of course, the monster!
Is the Loch Ness Monster Real?
Because we were on the last cruise of the day, we got the rib to ourselves, which was fantastic. However, our captain told us many stories about the Loch Ness monster but never quite confirmed a sighting of his own, so we still don’t know the truth! A cruise is the most popular thing to do in Loch Ness, and I would definitely recommend it.
Angie’s Hot Tip – If you suffer from a bad back, then don’t take the rib – it jolts you about a fair bit, and I felt quite tender afterwards. The scenic cruise may be more suitable.
Love the sound of Fort Augustus and Loch Ness? Find out more in my post: Loch Ness Scotland: Is It Really Home To A Monster?
Back on dry land and feeling a little like we had been through a washing machine, we strolled back to the hotel through the pretty town of Fort Augustus. It is full of Scottish craft shops, delicatessens and a few traditional-looking pubs, The Lock Inn and The Bothy, all scattered around the Caledonian Canal, which runs through the town. The picturesque Scottish scenery all around is just wonderful.
Luxury Accommodation in Fort Augustus
Back at our family-run hotel, The Lovat, we checked into our Double Garden Room – accommodation within the courtyard. The design was beautiful, with muted colours echoing the Scottish landscape – green and heather tones and we were pleased we had chosen this hotel.
As well as being the only four-star hotel in Fort Augustus, the restaurant is run by a head chef who has worked in several Michelin restaurants. Our taste buds were tingling, waiting to sample our evening fayre, and we weren’t disappointed – the food was superb.
Drive to the Isle of Skye
After a hearty Scottish breakfast at the hotel, we packed up and headed into town to grab some provisions for the drive (shortbread obviously, Scotch eggs and Highland coffee). This part of our British road trip would take us to the furthest location on our Scottish trip itinerary – the Inner Hebridean island of Skye.
Fort Augustus to Rogie Falls via A82 – 1 Hour
By now, you will have realised that I like to make a few diversions when I am heading to my next overnight stop on a British road trip, and Rogie Falls ( yes, it’s a waterfall) was one such place. A series of forest walks, a suspension bridge, a waterfall, and the chance to view salmon in the summer months make this one of the best places to visit in Contin, near Ullapool. There is a small car park just off the A835.
We were lucky that Rogie Falls wasn’t very busy when we arrived. It was lovely to be at one with nature and wander around the woodland area taking in the beautiful Scottish scenery and viewing the falls from the bridge suspended across Black Water River.
Rogie Falls to Eilean Donan – 2 hours via A890 and A87 ( with lots of photo stops!)
Leaving Rogie Falls we were now deep in the Scottish Highlands. We were heading to Eilean Donan, the fabled Scottish Castle, perched on a tidal island, on the main tourist route into the Isle of Skye.
But before that we stopped a million times to take photos of the stunning Scottish landscape – there’s simply no way you can just drive past it without capturing a memory.
Isle of Skye – 3 Nights
We really were in the Scottish Highlands now, and I have to say it has to be one of the best scenic drives we have done. Every inch of this part of our British road trip left me mesmerised. With every mile we drove, I was commenting, “look at that” and “Oh wow”, much to my hubbies despair as he navigated the winding narrow Scottish roads while still trying to glimpse the amazing sights I had spotted!
Love the sound of the Isle of Skye? Find out more in my post: 8 Amazing Places You Must Visit on the Isle of Skye
Exploring Eilean Donan
Before we headed over the bridge into Skye, we stopped at Dornie on the A87 to take a tour of iconic Eilean Donan, probably the most photographed castle in Scotland. The mystical and romantic Scottish castle sits on a tidal island where three lochs (lakes) meet and is steeped in history and folklore.
We headed into the castle and were shown around and told the history and “hidden secrets” of Eilean Donan. If you have ever heard of the saying “the walls have ears,” it comes from the wall slits in this castle where the chieftain’s soldiers would listen discreetly to important clan meetings, ready to do battle if things turned sour. Hence the saying!
After our Eilean Donan tour, we headed across the Skye Bridge (no toll charges) into the Isle of Skye and headed to our accommodation.
We had booked our stay on the Dunvegan Castle Estate in Rose Valley Cottage for 3 nights. A traditional white-washed stone-built self-catering Scottish cottage – Perfect!
After a cosy sleep but with no wi-fi to check the outside world was still functioning (location too remote and cottage walls too thick!!!), we layered on our cold-weather gear and headed to Dunvegan Castle. As we were staying on the Dunvegan castle estate, admittance was free.
Dunvegan Castle and Estate has been owned by the McLeod clan (family) for 800 years and is steeped in Scottish myths and legends. When you visit ask about the fairy flag, it is very interesting.
After your history tour, head to the castle gardens to discover pretty gardens complete with walkways, bridges and a waterfall! You can also take a boat trip to the Dunvegan seal colony from the castle pier.
Dunvegan Castle to Coral Beach at Claigan – 10 minutes
We had heard stories of a beach near Dunvegan castle that has crushed white coral on its shores. In summer, when the sun is out, the water is the same blue colour as the Caribbean – who would have known this kind of beach existed in Scotland! We decided to check it out and headed 10 minutes further on from the castle until we arrived at the gravel car park at Claigan.
An easy 25-minute walk through farmland takes you to the beach and I’m sure on a sunny day it is glorious. Sadly we had freezing temperatures and a harsh wind blowing so we had a wander along its shores and then headed back to the warmth of the car!
Angie’s Hot Tip – There are no facilities here, so I recommend that you use the toilets by the castle gift shop (Ladies will understand this dilemma!)
Coral Beach to Portree via Straun – 1 Hour
Part of the beauty of visiting the Isle of Skye is that you can drive around its winding roads and will be guaranteed to see some of the most majestic views on the planet. Rugged wilderness, majestic mountains, mystical lochs and of course, Highland cows and lots of sheep all await your arrival. We loved driving around Skye and stopping in random locations to take photographs and immerse ourselves in the landscape.
Portree is a fishing village with pretty pastel cottages lining its harbour and also Skye’s capital. We had a delicious lunch at Cuchillin – one of the best restaurants in Portree.
From Portree, you can jump aboard one of the boat trips that will take you around Portree Bay and Raasay Sound on the lookout for local wildlife, including dolphins and grey seals. We didn’t have the time to experience this as the tour had already gone out; however, if you schedule it in your itinerary, it sounds like you will have a good chance of encountering Scottish wildlife from the water.
Portree to Quaraing – 30 minutes
Leaving Portree, we had an eerie view of the Outer Hebrides covered in an ethereal mist. On our next trip to Scotland, we will be planning to visit some of the more remote Scottish islands and seeing them from Skye made us want to cross the water and explore them even more!
We continued driving to see the monolith columns known as the “Old Man of Storr” and the Quaraing before heading back to our cottage. Remember that when you are driving in Skye it takes a long time to get from A to B. Roads are narrow and winding, cattle are often on the roads and you have to wait for them to be ready to move and also the weather can suddenly turn which means your speed needs to be turned right down.
We awoke this morning to torrential rain and wind and so hankered down with a good book before finally venturing out and headed to the Talisker Distillery. We had already done a whisky tour in Oban, so I looked forward to another one here in Skye.
Dunvegan to Talisker Distillery – 40 minutes
Sadly, that was not going to be as the tours were all booked for the next 3 days, at which point we would have moved on from Skye. The nearest next best thing was to visit the Talisker on-site shop and buy a miniature selection to take home with us!
By now, it was lunchtime, and we were ready for some haggis! We found a pub called the Old Inn at Carbost and headed inside to eat and get warm. It seemed everyone visiting Skye had stumbled into the pub as it was full of nationalities from every corner of the globe. We sat close to a group from Sweden while a South African family sat on the other side – it is obviously a popular place for tourists – us included!
Tasting Scotland’s National Dish
If you are coming to Scotland, then at some point, you will have to try haggis – Scotland’s national dish. At first, the thought of the ingredients in haggis turned my stomach, but once I had tasted it, I was hooked. I can vouch for the haggis at the Old Inn – it was delicious.
The mist had come down since we had been in the pub, and once again, it gave an ethereal look to the landscape. We were heading to the Fairy Pools, known for their waterfalls, brooks and delightful walks and in warmer months – swimmable pools!
Once again, the weather had turned on us and to say we nearly got swept off our feet is something of an understatement. We didn’t feel it was appropriate weather to set off on a walk around the pools and so we captured a few pictures from the roadside and headed back to the cottage for our last night in Skye!
Talisker Distillery – Fairy Pools 15 minutes
Pitlochry – 2 Nights
Our time on the Isle of Skye had been wonderful, and we were sad to be leaving but at the same time excited to be staying in Pitlochry for a couple of nights.
Dunvegan to Pitlochry on the A87, A86, A889 and A9 via Newtonmore – 4 hours
We headed away from Skye on the A87 ( the only way to get in or out) and passed by several lochs with names such as Loch Garry and Loch Laggan; the latter even had a beach. No matter where you go in the Scottish Highlands you are sure to see a loch!
The drive would take several hours, but it was no hardship with so much stunning scenery around. We stopped in Newtonmore on the edge of the Cairngorms – the largest National Park in the UK, to have a coffee break and take even more photos of the lush countryside and the mountains.
Angie’s Hot Tip – If you have time, then take a detour and check out the majestic scenery at Glen Roy National Reserve or pay a visit to Dalwhinnie Distillery on the A889 near Loch Ericht – remember only the passenger gets to try a dram of whisky!
We finally arrived at our accommodation, Craigatin House, in the early evening. After a quick freshen up, we headed out to the Auld Smithy Inn, a mere 10 minutes walk from the hotel, for our evening meal. After our meal, we treated ourselves to a whisky ice cream (yes, you read that correctly!) from Scotch Corner before exploring the circular Pitlochry river walk taking us past the dam.
Pitlochry is a charming town in Perthshire by the River Tummel. What we loved about it was even though it was small, there were many things to do in Pitlochry. We did a lovely river walk, visited the famous “Queens View” and visited nearby Blair Castle and the House of Bruar and its waterfalls. I would recommend staying in Pitlochry for more than one night to see everything in the area.
Love the sound of Pitlochry? Please find out more in my post: 13 Fun Things to do in Pitlochry on a weekend break.
Alternative places to stay in Pitlochry
Harrogate – 2 Nights
After two wonderful days in Pitlochry, we said goodbye to our time in Scotland. We were back on the road and heading for Harrogate in Yorkshire, for a 2-night stay at the exclusive Rudding Park Hotel and Spa.
Pitlochry to Harrogate – 5 hours
Yorkshire is England’s largest historical county and is packed with ancient landmarks, beautiful towns and villages and stunning countryside. Harrogate is a town in North Yorkshire, east of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and west of the North York Moors National Park – both areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). It is a Victorian spa town and so naturally, the Turkish Spa Baths are one of the most popular places in Harrogate for visitors to relax and unwind after a spot of shopping in the town’s trendy boutiques and galleries.
Luxury Accommodation in Harrogate
This was the longest continual drive we had done on our British road trip as we wanted to make the most of our time at Rudding Park Hotel. We had decided that after such an action-packed two weeks we would wind down at the hotel and enjoy their amazing state-of-the-art spa facilities. That didn’t mean that we weren’t privy to some wonderful views on the way there; the Yorkshire countryside really is stunning.
Arriving at Rudding Park in the early evening we were given a warm welcome and shown to our beautiful room. The hotel was everything I had been looking for and more. It is luxurious, beautifully designed, nestled in a vast estate with fine dining restaurants and with an amazing indoor pool and newly opened roof-top spa. I was ready to be pampered!
Alternative places to stay in Harrogate
After an amazing sleep and a sumptuous breakfast we went for a sauna and swim in the indoor pool before heading out to explore Fountains Abbey – England’s oldest monastic ruins. They are located near to the historical town of Ripon, famed for its cathedral.
Rudding Park Hotel to Fountains Abbey – 35 minutes
Fountains Abbey UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit landmark in Yorkshire. Its ruins date back to the 12th century and it shares its site with Studley Royal Water Gardens which are absolutely beautiful to wander around. Both are National Trust properties and a visit is most definitely recommended. We were shocked how much of the Abbey ruins were still intact after so many centuries of use.
Love the sound of Fountains Abbey? Please find out more in my post: Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens.
We spent about 3 hours wandering around the grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal and finished our day off with tea and cake outside at the Mill cafe with lovely lakeside views. You can also walk across the deer park to the Gothic revival church of St Mary’s from here.
Back at Rudding Park we headed straight to the spa area for a relaxing massage and to spend some time on the roof-top terrace where a hot tub, sauna and steam room awaited us – albeit in the rain, the only downfall of it being outdoors!
Later that evening we had dinner at The Clocktower which was incredible. The food was great and the ambience and service were second to none.
After a sensational 2 weeks on our ultimate England to Scotland Road Trip it was time to start our drive home. Of course, by now you will know that I always like to make route stops and explore interesting locations and Warwick Castle fitted that description.
Rudding Park to Warwick Castle via the M1 – 2 hours 35 minutes
We had pre-booked one-day entrance tickets to avoid the queues and were looking forward to visiting this medieval castle originally built as a wooden fort in 1068 by William the Conqueror. Remodelled over the centuries it is now one of the most famous castles in England.
We loved walking along the battlements – even though they were so high – and wandering around the gardens to watch the birds of prey demonstration. We stayed for around 3 hours which gave us plenty of time to do everything we wanted.
Angie’s Hot Tip – Bring a picnic with you as the eateries are busy and mainly sell fast food.
Time to Go Home
We left Warwick in the late afternoon and jumped in the car for the last time on our British road trip. We had been on an epic journey from the South of England to the North of Scotland and had enjoyed every minute of it. True, the weather may have not been great for a lot of our trip but it didn’t stop us from ticking off everything we had planned on our two-week British road trip itinerary.
If you have ever wondered where to go in England and Scotland I hope this extensive British road trip guide has given you some good ideas. Of course, you can spend longer or shorter in each place depending on your time availability and whether you prefer slow travel or a more action-packed itinerary.
If you have any questions about going on a British road trip I would be happy to answer them.
Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.Tamed Quotes by Emma Chase