Guest Blog Series – We’ve asked travel experts to provide their advice and insights on the best European road trips. This guest blog post is written by Darley Newman the five-time Emmy nominated host and producer of Travels with Darley. Read on to discover where she recommends you stop on your next UK road trip.
From the stunning Lake District to Downton Abbey-esque Castle Howard, taking a road trip through Northern England is an excellent way to enjoy diverse attractions on a Great Britain vacation. A network of easy-to-navigate roads and destinations in relatively close proximity make this a fun place to drive and travel.
Below are three destinations that you must visit on your UK adventure and tips on great places to stop and eat on your journey.
#1 The Beatles Hometown
Get your groove on in The Beatles hometown of Liverpool, where Penny Lane exists and you can rock out in The Cavern Club. Visit Albert Dock, on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, and spend some time at The Beatles Story, a fascinating museum focused on the lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Refuel after with a cup of coffee and some sweets at Ziferblat, where the cool kids hang out, at Albert Dock. You pay a small fee only for the time you spend at this café and whatever you eat or drink is included.
Next, drive over to the area where John, Paul and George lived as young boys and take a walk along Penny Lane. The barber shop and the bank on the corner still survive, as do street signs, so you can snap a selfie.
Just down the road, another site of childhood nostalgia sparked one of the Beatles most adventurous songs, at Strawberry Field. Head onwards to visit John Lennon’s childhood home Mendips, which is open for tours through the National Trust, as is nearby Paul McCartney’s childhood home, taking travelers into the rooms where “I saw her standing there” and “Please, please me” were written.
End your visit with a walk on Hope Street. Stop for a pint or gin cocktail at The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, housed in an ornate, historic Victorian public house, and step back in time.
#2 Castle Howard
If you want to be wowed by a UK castle still owned by its founding family, visit Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. Consistently ranking high on lists of the world’s best mansions, Castle Howard is one of the most magnificent homes in England and the story of the family who still keeps it running today, may remind you of the fictional Crawley family in “Downton Abbey.”
Even the driveway, what’s called the Avenue, a five mile beech lined road, is more than impressive. You’ll want pull over or have a passenger snap some shots or a short video along this movie-esque, epic driveway. You won’t be the first one to think that this looks like the set of a British drama. Castle Howard has served as the backdrop for a variety of film and TV productions, including the 1981 TV series and 2008 film version of “Brideshead Revisited.”
Once you reach Castle Howard, both the outside and inside are striking and there’s a world of intriguing stories and anecdotes that you can hear about on a guided tour. Don’t’ worry. You won’t go hungry here either. A variety of cafes serve seasonal menus sourced from local ingredients with everything from fresh haddock fillet in a Yorkshire beer batter to honey roast Yorkshire ham.
If you like good food, a trip to the village of Cartmel should definitely be on your road trip list. Stop in the Cartmel Village Shop and order the hot Sticky Toffee Pudding. This family-owned store that’s been making sticky toffee pudding for over 25 years and have pretty much perfected it. Next, walk over to Cartmel Cheeses, another family-owned shop where you can choose from between forty to fifty cheeses all created by smaller artisan producers.
Finally, make a reservation (well in advance) for lunch or dinner at L’Enclume, which has been awarded two Michelin stars and is a destination in itself. Culinary creations are innovative, unique and tasty, like local beef shorthorn doused with charcoal oil, spicy mustard apples and celery—a UK take on American BBQ. The restaurant itself has a sleek, yet relaxed feel that matches the setting of this quintessentially quaint village where food is king.
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Darley Newman is the five-time Emmy nominated host and producer of Travels with Darley on PBS and AOL and Equitrekking. She travels the world having active adventures with locals. Look for her newest episodes on your local PBS TV station, including a trip through Northern England, and on Create TV.
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