The UK hasn’t historically been considered a holiday hotspot.
The weather’s patchy (to put it politely), you’re likely to require a raincoat on the beach, and your sun protection rarely needs to exceed an SPF of 30. However, what the country lacks in consistent sunshine is made up for with an excellent line-up of landmark locations.
Whether you’re driving through Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can be sure there’s something gorgeous to have a gander at. So don’t miss out! Make sure wherever you’re pootling off to, you’re choosing the best routes to catch sight of those famous landmarks on your way.
With temporary car insurance you can have the freedom to share the driving with your travel buddy, plus it also expands your vehicle options. Borrow a mate’s 4×4 if you’re heading into rocky terrain, or a convertible to swan off to the beach in – just butter up the owner, get fully covered, and enjoy your weekend away. We’ve even included a couple of the UK’s most beloved motorway services – because at GoShorty, we know the journey’s just as important as the stay itself.
England’s Best Landmarks
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most sought out British landmarks is Stonehenge. With a huge 201,000 Google searches per month, the mysteries of the prehistoric people who lived here are clearly still compelling people today. Other man made landmarks you’ll be able to spot from the roadside are Blackpool Tower and the Angel of the North – stunning examples of engineering and icons in their own right.
If you’re looking for a more pastoral drive South, Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge represents the largest gorge in Britain and has also been recognised as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You’d be daft to miss it on your way through the South West – and indeed, Google has reported 74,000 monthly searches for the idyllic spot.
Further North, Lake Windermere – the largest lake in England – let alone the Lake District. Enjoy spectacular views of its glassy expanse, on your way. Not far off you’ll find Winnats Pass in the Peak District – a limestone gorge nestled in Derbyshire, famed for the wind that blows through. Meandering along the road you’ll enjoy the views, without the exertion of a steep walk.
Unmissable London Landmarks
We’d be remiss not to talk you through the capital’s landmarks. Royalty’s the name of the game here, with Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle garnering 447,000 monthly Google searches combined. We recommend swinging by Westminster Abbey too – although maybe not on 6th May – to appreciate its stunning Gothic architecture in the heart of the metropolis. Take in the many turrets and flagpoles of the Tower of London on the north bank of the River Thames, and the Grade I listed Tower Bridge isn’t far either – offering panoramic views of both the city and the busy river itself. You’d be hard-pushed to miss the most contemporary landmark on our agenda: the world-famous London Eye sits proudly above London’s skyscrapers.
Scotland’s Top Landmarks
With 135,000 monthly Google searches, Edinburgh Castle is by far Scotland’s most sought-after landmark. Perched on Castle Rock, high above the surrounding turrets, it’s easily viewed from across the city – dominating the capital’s skyline for centuries.
Discover the Kelpies in Falkirk – the largest equine sculptures in the world, and certainly worth a quick detour on your way. At over 100 ft tall and weighing more than 300 tonnes each, the Kelpies represent an incredible feat of engineering – a man made Scottish landmark not to be missed.
If you’re on your way North, try to plan a stop at Loch Ness along your route. The Scottish Highlands offer spectacular views for road users and hikers alike. We can’t promise you’ll glimpse Nessie from the car, but driving alongside this glorious body of freshwater will enrich your travel plans immeasurably.
Wales’ Famous Landmarks
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, and can be seen towering above Snowdonia National Park. With 60,500 Google searches in the last month alone, it’s one of the UK’s most in-demand landmarks. Whether you’re climbing it (good luck!) or simply passing through – make sure to take in this ancient natural site.
Wales has also historically been partial to a good castle, with Cardiff and Conwy Castles each ranking at 33,100 Google searches per month. The British public’s appetite for a crumbling landmark remains undefeated. In fairness, each of Wales’ famous castles are remarkable structures and absolutely worth a drive-by, at the very least.
Northern Ireland’s Leading Landmarks
The Giant’s Causeway is by far the most sought-after natural landmark in Northern Ireland, thanks to its stunning geological formation, stretching 33 miles along Ireland’s beautiful coastline. A Unesco World Heritage Site, national nature reserve and widely-recognised to be one of the wonders of the world – we think it’s well worth the drive.
Many of Northern Ireland’s landmarks are nautical in theme – and you certainly won’t be disappointed by the stunning Titanic Belfast museum, which takes its design inspiration from the ship of the same name, the RMS Titanic. Situated on the Maritime Mile, if you time your driveby well, you’ll see the museum lit up spectacularly against the night sky. Truly unmissable, especially if you’re planning to travel to or through Belfast over the course of your trip.
For fans of Game of Thrones visiting Northern Ireland, The Dark Hedges are a must-see. Whilst the road itself is pedestrianised, there’s a handy car park available to those who are passing nearby and fancy taking a stroll to break up a long drive.
The UK’s Best Motorway Services
It’s impossible not to discuss the best UK landmarks to segue into your travel without also acknowledging the UK’s best motorway services. Not to be overlooked, a solid service station makes the difference between innumerable forgettable hours on the road and the dream drive to your destination. Scouting out the motorway services you’ll use before your route is absolutely not over preparation, no matter what anyone else says. A soggy buttie might do some, but it won’t do us.
Tebay Services can be found in Penrith, just off the M6, and it will transform your attitude towards motorway services forever. Set against the idyllic Cumbrian countryside, and boasting a homemade menu of local produce, incorporating Tebay into your trip is a no-brainer.
Find Gloucester Services just off the M5. A beautiful, farm-inspired pitstop, you’ll enjoy a range of superior brands and a culinary standard which far exceeds most high-street eateries – let alone motorway cafes.
Making the most of your car journey can mean a lot of things. You might want to purchase temporary car insurance for a couple of your fellow travellers, to share the driving load. You might want to curate a playlist of all your favourite songs to sing along to. You should absolutely consider incorporating beautiful British landmarks into your trip, as well. Don’t let any prohibitive entry costs stop you from admiring both the man made landmarks and natural wonders of the country, from the road. It’s all about the journey, with GoShorty.