The UK may be one of the world’s most visited countries by international tourists, but many visitors do themselves a disservice by simply confining themselves to a single hotel in one of the big cities like London.
To really experience the UK requires planning a road trip which will allow you to fully embrace all the rich history, charming villages, iconic landmarks like its many castles, and the varying landscapes from the Scottish Highlands to the rugged coastlines.
Of course with any road trip, there is the dilemma of trying to fill the downtime while driving in-between stops. In order to help keep you and possibly your travelling companions entertained during your UK road trip, we’ve gathered some of our top ways to pass the journey time which focuses on immersing yourself in British culture.
Activities to Entertain Yourself During a Road Trip in the UK
Reasons to Plan a UK Road Trip
The UK is an ideal destination to plan a road trip because it offers a well-maintained road network, making driving relatively easy and efficient. However, depending on where you are travelling from you may end up having to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road since they drive on the left here, but this only adds to the adventure.
There are numerous scenic drives to choose from including Scotland’s North Coast 500 through the Highlands’ mountains and coastline. Northern Ireland offers up the Causeway Coastal Route along the Atlantic Ocean, taking in the famous Giant’s Causeway. In England you have regions like the Cotswolds, Lake District, and Jurassic Coast which all make incredible road trips routes.
Stay in small relaxed villages with cosy pubs where warm hospitality still exists. Take in seemingly endless historic sites and enjoy the freedom and flexibility to take things at your own pace with the ability to deviate from your planned route if you discover hidden gems you wish to explore further.
Listen to British Audiobooks or Podcasts
Prepare a playlist of your favourite audiobooks or podcasts to enjoy while driving. It’s a great way to stay engaged and entertained during long stretches of road. A UK road trip would be the perfect time to embrace British literary greats like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. If travelling with children, you also have famous British children’s authors like Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, and of course J.K. Rowling.
Some great audiobooks to start with include Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series if road-tripping through Scotland.
When it comes to podcasts, look to ones like The British English Podcast which will have you learning plenty of British English to help you navigate social interactions around the country as well as picking up bits of British culture, history, and current news and issues impacting the country.
Another great British podcast is called Grounded with BBC’s Louis Theroux who interviews various high-profile people. There is of course also the widely popular British comedy podcast called My Dad Wrote a Porno if you’re up for a bit of a laugh and amusing fun while driving.
Create a UK-Themed Road Trip Playlist
Compile a road trip playlist, but not simply one that features your favourite songs or artists, rather look to either celebrate notable UK musicians you already know or introduce yourself to artists you’re unfamiliar with.
There’s definitely no shortage of incredible UK musicians such as legends like Elton John, Phil Collins, or Paul McCartney. You then have endless newer talent such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, and Ellie Goulding.
When it comes to adding UK bands to your playlist, look to Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Muse, and of course The Beatles.
Search for British songs and artists on BBC Sounds which is the online home of BBC Radio. Here, you’ll find radio streams, on demand programmes, podcasts, audiobooks, and music mixes which can be accessed through a laptop, tablet, or dedicated smartphone app.
Online Casino Games
The UK has pioneered the legalization and regulation of the gambling industry and offers one of the world’s largest gambling markets. The Gambling Commission is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing gambling activities in the country and they provide a level of consumer protection and ensure that operators adhere to strict rules and standards.
Online gambling platforms are easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, just look to the experts at online-slot.co.uk. All you need is your handy smartphone, tablet, or laptop. This accessibility has made it convenient for people to gamble on the go even during road trips where you may be a traveller that enjoys casino tourism but find yourself passing through regions of the UK that lack the presence of a physical casino.
You can play online casino games wherever you are in the country, and there is a fantastic choice of slots and table games to play right on your smartphone, either via an app or on a mobile-optimized site. The UK’s online gambling market offers a diverse array of other options, including sports betting, poker, bingo, and more which proves it caters to a variety of different preferences and interests.
Online gambling platforms also often provide attractive promotional offers such as welcome bonuses and free bets to attract punters. Whether you like to gamble regularly, or simply like to place a bet here and there, it can be a fun way to pass the time in the car…just maybe not if you are the one driving.
Very British Problems Books & Games
Do you think you understand the quirks of being British? Why not take the time to learn exactly the daily dilemmas Brits face. Very British Problems is a phrase and concept that has become popular in the UK thanks to social media. It refers to the humorous and relatable quirks and idiosyncrasies that are often associated with British culture and behaviour.
These so-called “problems” are of course minor first-world problems which are usually light-hearted in nature but are seen as typical of the British way of life.
Examples of “Very British Problems” include awkwardly apologising for things that are not your fault, queuing patiently and maintaining a sense of order even in crowded situations, or obsessing over tea and having strong opinions about how it should be made.
The “Very British Problems” concept has been popularized through a series of books, a board game, a travel card game, and a TV series. This makes it easy to stream or download some of the shows, read the books, or play the games while on a road trip to celebrate the humorous side of British culture.
Enjoy Scenic Stops
Plan your route to include scenic viewpoints, parks, or natural attractions where you can take short breaks, stretch your legs, and take in the beautiful scenery. The more stops you can incorporate into your road itinerary, the less monotonous it will seem.
There are countless roadside attractions to be seen as well and they can offer a mix of history, art, folklore, and fun to your journey. See the Angel of the North in Gateshead, the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex, Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction, Scotland’s Wicker Man Statue, or possibly even the ever-elusive Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands.
Be sure to also incorporate historic landmarks and sites. Take the opportunity to visit castles, cathedrals, and ancient ruins along your route to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history.
Enjoy Driving Audio Tours
You may already be aware of walking audio tours, but there are also driving audio tours, also known as self-guided driving tours, which are a great way to explore an area or region at your own pace while driving.
These tours typically provide pre-recorded audio content that can be played in the car through a mobile app or portable audio device. The audio content offers commentary, stories, historical facts, and interesting information about the places you pass through during the drive and is usually easy to connect to your vehicle audio system.
To access a driving audio tour, of which many regions throughout the UK offer a variety of tours, you need to download the relevant app or audio files onto your smartphone or portable audio player. Some audio tours offer dedicated apps with GPS tracking capabilities to sync the audio with your location.
Tours may be themed so you may be able to select something that interests you such as tours that focus solely on historical, cultural, or scenic aspects of a town or region.
As you drive along the designated route of the tour, listen to the audio commentary. The tour may prompt you to stop at specific sites to explore further or take in the scenery. The audio content is designed to accommodate your preferred pace so feel free to pause the audio whenever you like to take a break or skip parts that may not interest you.
Practice Mindful Driving
You could simply stare at the road in a brainless fog while driving on a road trip or you can embrace what has become known as mindful driving. Mindful driving, also known as conscious driving, refers to the practice of driving with full awareness and staying in the present moment.
The aim is to focus your attention on the act of driving and being fully engaged with the driving experience while also paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment without judgment.
Practicing mindful driving can lead to a safer and more relaxed road trip as it allows you to respond more effectively to road situations and reduces the risk of accidents that may otherwise be caused by distractions or emotional reactions while driving. Mindful driving is especially beneficial for longer road trips or when driving in bad weather conditions.
Not only does practicing mindful driving make the trip safer, it can also help you work on conscious breathing techniques to stay relaxed and reduce anxiety you may have. You learn to accept situations while refraining from impulsive actions.
In addition, practicing mindful driving allows you to stay focused on the present where you can better notice the surroundings you pass through such as the various villages and landscapes.
You will engage many of your senses as you take in the uniquely British smells you pass by if you have the windows rolled down, the sounds you pass, and of course the many sights to be had along the driving routes.
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