magazine | Travel | Road Trips & Itineraries

30 of England’s Finest Road Trip Worthy Spots

What better way to explore a country than actually driving across the whole thing? Forget the snacks and pillows because we’re about to take you on three luxurious cross-country road trips through England, filled with the best of the best. Take your pick of exploring the North, Southwest or Middle England while ensuring that you’re hitting up all of the dreamiest places to see, eat and stay at in this part of the U.K. (and stay warm while you're at it).  Feeling ambitious? Embark on all three for the road trip of a lifetime. After all... winter is coming. 

Reporter: Nicole Bradley | Location: Somerset
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Road Trip #1: The Cotswolds

Escape to the lush, rolling hills of the Cotswolds in South Central England known for idyllic English countryside scenes full of winding roads, sprawling meadows, wandering sheep and traditional limestone villages. Luxury boutique hotels, charming shopping districts and plenty of fine dining make this the countryside getaway of choice when you're looking to indulge. 
Photo: Hannah Argyle
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Soho Farmhouse

Chipping Norton, United Kingdom
Stretch your legs and get a good night’s sleep at the Soho Farmhouse. The expansive Oxfordshire club allows you to rent multi-room cabins, farmhouses, and cottages. They even have winter-friendly horseback riding lessons if you are looking to saddle up. You won’t be able to peel yourself away from this intimate, English gem in the morning.
Photo: claudvoyage
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No. 38 The Park

Cheltenham, United Kingdom
No. 38 The Park gives visitors the privacy of a bed and breakfast, but the grandeur of a five-star hotel. No two rooms are the same at this rentable townhouse; each one is decorated individually and given its own personality, thanks to refurbished furniture, bold and modern artwork, and clawfoot tubs in each room.
Photo: Mark Bolton
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Barnsley House Hotel learn more

The charming Barnsley House Hotel in Cirencester is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to unwind after a long day on the road. Not only is the hotel known for its fresh, home-baked bread and afternoon tea, but the gardens on the property are some of the most well-known gardens in England. Take a winter stroll through the knot garden, which are those picture-perfect symmetrical gardens you often see outside of European palaces. No filter needed!
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Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Wine and fine dine (and rhyme) at Thyme. Fresh food is collected daily from the gardens outside the restaurant, and menus are inspired by seasonal interest. Wet your whistle with one of Thyme’s delicious English wines, British spirits, or unique botanical cocktails.
Photo: No. 131
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No. 131

Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Beautiful drives through the English countryside making you hungry? Support local farmers and suppliers at No. 131, where homemade scones, jams, puddings, and cakes are always on queue.
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Blenheim Palace

Woodstock, United Kingdom
Explore England while feeling good doing it: Not only is the Blenheim Palace in Woodstock surrounded by some of the most beautiful agricultural property in England, but the Palace makes a point to give back to the community. Restoration and preservation of the original palace is also a priority, and what makes it stand alongside destinations like Great Barrier Reef, Stonehenge, and the Everglades as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Photo:The Wild Rabbit
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The Wild Rabbit learn more

This reimagined English inn is a must-stop on your road trip. The Wild Rabbit in Cotswolds is yours to stay at or simply a quick stop to dine; the 18th-century classic English pub is filled with handcrafted furniture and bustling fireplaces to cozy up next to. Relax and sip on wine sourced from surrounding small, independent vineyards.
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Photo: Derningtona
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The Woolpack Inn

Stroud, United Kingdom
The Woolpack Inn is an old English pub that will take you back in time; the building has existed for over 300 years, after all! Sip on independent ales and wines, enjoy the spectacular views of the snowy countryside, and meet friendly locals of the tiny town.
Photo: Foxhill Manor
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Foxhill Manor

Broadway, United Kingdom
Kick your feet up and relax at the Foxhill Manor, where feeling at home is a priority for guests. Staying at the hotel ensures that guests get full access to the bar, kitchen and pantry, which will all grant you as much tea and cake as you can possibly imagine. After getting some relaxation in, throw on your warmest coat and explore the 400 acres of the surrounding Farncombe Estate.
Photo:Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'saisons
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Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'saisons learn more

Stay and eat at the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons in Oxfordshire, and you’ll know exactly where your food is coming from. The manor is known for its two-acre vegetable garden, which holds over 90 vegetables and 70 herbs—who knew that many herbs and vegetables existed?
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Road Trip #2: Southwest England

History buffs will love the prehistoric landscape, natural wonders and touches of comfort throughout the quintessentially English region of the Southwest. Drive along the rugged coastline, explore the manor houses of a bygone era and wander the streets of cobblestone paved villages during your tour throughout Dorset and Somerset. Get ready to immerse yourself in true English culture alongside some of the world's most beautiful sites. 
Photo: Jack Harding
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Durdle Door

Dorset, United Kingdom
Next stop: Durdle Door, which, despite its goofy name, is an emblem of the English coast. This natural limestone arch is a must-see on your English road trip, especially in the winter, when you’ll be avoiding crowds.
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At the Chapel

Bruton, United Kingdom
It’s true what they say; the early bird gets the worm. This is especially true in the eyes of At The Chapel, who serves up freshly baked artisan bread, biscuits, pastries and more at 7 am. Bakers are up all night working so that guests can have freshly-baked bread first thing in the morning, and we are ever so grateful!
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St. Catherine’s Frome

Frome, United Kingdom
Support small English businesses and visit St. Catherine’s Frome, the self-proclaimed artisan market capital of England. The medieval street patterns feel very Diagon Alley (Harry Potter, anyone?) and are aligned with endless craft stores, food stalls, cafes, artist studios and clothing boutiques.
Photo: Style Juicer
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Babington House

Frome, United Kingdom
Find a Mediterranean-influenced menu smack dab in Southwest England. The Babington House offers a relaxing Somerset pitstop, and feasts include everything from curries to chargrilled meats to flatbreads.
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Dorset, United Kingdom
Mapperton sits on the Dorset countryside surrounded by picturesque formal gardens and water sculptures. You’ll feel like English royalty when strolling along the paths of the gardens, which feature formal topiaries and authentic grottoes.
Photo: Molly Noble
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The Ethicurean

Bristol, United Kingdom
If you’re in the mood for a huge dinner feast you’ve come to the right place. The Ethicurean serves up 5-course meals and tailors to diet needs. The geniuses behind the bar also love to experiment, so the beer and cocktail menu is ever-evolving.
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Westcombe Dairy

Somerset, United Kingdom
We’re cheesin’ at this West Country cheese maker, who makes award-winning cheddar, ricotta and caerphilly varieties. Westcombe Dairy truly cares about the wellbeing of their cows, which are incredibly close to the facility. So come say hello (to the cows, of course), eat some cheese and be happy.
Photo: Pony & Trap
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Pony & Trap

Bristol, United Kingdom
Pony & Trap in the charming town of Chew Magna is on our England bucket lists, and for good reason. The restaurant has won awards for its delicious menu items. Can we talk about the desserts for a second? The menu varies, but standouts include apple ice cream, chocolate & orange mousse cake, gooseberry sorbet and coffee choux. YUM!
Photo:Kilver Court
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Kilver Court learn more

Shop ‘till you drop at Kilver Court, a designer village located in Southwest England. Grab yourself a souvenir (or 6) at the fashion boutiques, fanciful garden nurseries and home decor outlets.
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Photo:Calcot Manor Hotel
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Calcot Manor Hotel learn more

Let’s be honest: While road trips are fun, sometimes you can get a little stiff from sitting for too long. That’s where the Calcot Manor Hotel comes in. Book a room, turn off your phone and treat yourself to a day at the spa. Spa day passes vary depending on what you’re looking for, but it’s safe to say that a massage is in order.
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Road Trip #3: Northern England

Winter is here in Northern England and so is the ultimate frosty road trip for Game of Thrones fans. Explore medieval sites (read: the abbey that inspired Dracula), travel across the wintery terrain via steam train and warm up in one of the bespoke hotels along the way. This is the getaway for winter adventurers and history seekers. Long live the North!
Photo: Oliver Vegas
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Whitby Abbey

Whitby, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
The Gothic castle that inspired Dracula exists in England, and we’re already spooked. These colossal ruins have influenced so many artists and poets, there’s no way that travelers (especially art aficionados) can pass it up.
Photo: lisapinky12
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North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
For a car break, travel around Northern England using the railways. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway uses traditional steam locomotives to get around Britain, and even has dining and camping trains.
Photo: Charlotte Hu
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Rudding Park

Harrogate, United Kingdom
Let’s par-tee! Year-round golfers, this one’s for you. Rudding Park is a castle-like escape in northern England and sits on over 300 acres of landscape and woodland. Grab your clubs and get golfing on its beautiful course, which offers golf and lessons in all seasons of the year.
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Barnard Castle

Durham, United Kingdom
The Barnard Castle is a working river town nestled along River Tees. The tiny town is on the edge of an old Cold War bunker and has uninterrupted style of the Middle Ages, so this destination is a rest stop and a history lesson all in one.
Photo:Swinton Bivouac
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Swinton Bivouac learn more

Take in the great outdoors at this landmark that dates back to the 18th century. The Swinton Bivouac is a glampers paradise; visitors can stay in barns, cabins, and yurts (or layman’s terms, pitched tents). During your stay, talk a walk to the Bivouac Cafe, the location’s own watering hole to meet fellow travelers and locals.
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Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum

Northumberland, United Kingdom
Ever heard of Earl Grey Tea? It was actually named after the gent who used to live at the Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum. Bundle up and take a walk through the gorgeous winter-blooming trees and shrubs, which take up over 65 acres of property.
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Brimstone Hotel

Ambleside, United Kingdom
The Brimstone Hotel takes design cues from the landscape of the surrounding Langdale Valley without compromising quality, comfort and quietness. There’s literally an adult-only quiet room in the hotel’s restaurant meant specifically for special occasions, with walls lined in hundreds of bottles of wine for your choosing.
Photo: The Wild Blue
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The Black Swan

Oldstead, United Kingdom
20 miles north of York is The Black Swan, a culinary gem derived from the ideas of farmers and gardeners. Their tasting menu differs day to day based on what’s looking good in the garden. You know that the food you’re getting is always fresh and locally sourced.
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Hadrian's Wall

Brampton, United Kingdom
Hadrian’s Wall, also called the Roman’s Wall, is England’s own stone wall rich with history. In AD 122, the wall was built to separate the Romans from the Barbarians. The wall stretches over 80 miles long, and the push for conservation is important to Northern British dwellers.
Photo: Seaham Hall
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Seaham Hall

Seaham, United Kingdom
It’s ALL in the detail at Seaham Hall. Stay at this exquisite hotel, whose hip and colorful interior design makes guests keep coming back. Design specs include everything from funky wallpapers, color blocked curtains, patterned headboards, and floral pillows.
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