Car Hire U.K.: 5 Great British Breakaways
Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy a car hire break in one of our favourite British haunts. Fires crackle in heritage hearths, historic estates glow with vivid leaves and berries, and the streets have yet to fill with seasonal shoppers. Sip a warming drink in a cosy manor hotel, pamper yourself on a spa break, or enjoy the autumn antics of wildlife preparing for winter: It’s all there for you on a car hire break in the U.K.
This is the perfect time of year for walking, so rent a car in Bath and take in part of the Cotswold Way National Trail. It starts in UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath and runs 49km along the Cotswold escarpment as far as the town of Chipping Campden. Your efforts will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Severn Vale, the Forest of Dean, the Malverns – and even Wales.
The section from Bath to Tormarton is 26km. Stroll around the historic city of Bath, where you will find such exceptional treasures as the Roman Baths and Pump Room, and the 15th century Bath Abbey. Ease your aching feet at the Thermae Bath Spa, the only place in the United Kingdom where you can bathe in naturally warm waters.
Tormarton is a picturesque village with a fascinating history. Visit the Saxon-era St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Hire a car in Manchester and make for the Lake District: Once you experience the beauty of its sparkling lakes, ancient woods, and magnificent fells, you’ll understand why poets have raved about the region for centuries. Outdoor enthusiasts will be charmed by water sports, wildlife, walks, and climbs. If you don’t feel particularly energetic, however, you’ll still love the awe-inspiring scenery and the exceptional range of hotels – from simple B&Bs to opulent manor retreats.
From the Northern Lakes, drive 44km south to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Hawes is seen as the capital of Upper Wensleydale, home to the celebrated cheese and one of the highest market towns in England. From Hawes, it’s about 100km to historic York and 220km to the great Norman cathedral of Durham.
The vast woods of the New Forest are at their spectacular best in autumn, so take a stroll among burnished trees – and watch out for pigs. During the annual “pannage” season, locals release their pigs to munch on fallen acorns, which are poisonous to the free-roaming ponies more commonly associated with the region.
The stunningly beautiful woodland spreads over 390 square kilometres, extending into sections of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire and representing one of Western Europe’s most significant wilderness areas. Take time to visit Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, Rockbourne Roman Villa, and the New Forest Museum.
From the New Forest, drive your rental car to Dorchester, portrayed so memorably in the novels of Thomas Hardy and celebrated at Hardy’s Cottage and the Dorset County Museum. The wonderful Heritage Coastline makes a stunning backdrop to your travels. If time permits, continue south to Devon, with the craggy headlands, pristine beaches, and wooded valleys of the north and the sandstone cliffs of the south.
The city gets all the attention, but when you rent a car in Edinburgh, you should drive to North Berwick with its atmospheric ruined castle and gorgeous gardens. Nestled beneath the massive hill of North Berwick Law, the picturesque harbour resort retains its Victorian charm and acts as a refuge for seabirds and marine wildlife.
Continue along the coast, visiting the medieval Tantallon Castle with its panoramic views of the Firth of Forth, and stopping off at Dunbar before you reach the fine border town of Kelso. Admire the wide cobbled square and gracious town hall, see the tapestries and statues at Smailholm Tower, and wander among the fine artworks and furniture of 18th-century Floors Castle.
Moffat is an 85km drive away, through the delightful Vale of Yarrow and the legend-steeped hills of the Ettrick Forest. You’re in Robert Burns country when you end your car hire excursion in Dumfries, a royal town where the historic poet’s legacy is everywhere, from his former home to his local pub and the award-winning Robert Burns Centre.
A weekend break in North Wales gives you just enough time to enjoy a magical car hire trip from Manchester to Caernarfon – a journey of about 170km. You’ll take in Roman remains, stunning coasts, mythical mountains, castles, and caves; all bound up in the magical atmosphere of north Wales.
Rent a car in Manchester and start your tour with a gentle drive through the beautiful Dee Valley to the picturesque market town of Llangollen, a journey of just over 100km. Llangollen is a throwback to a golden age of horse-drawn canal boats and cherished traditions. Read up on your tales of King Arthur, many of which are based in this area.
Then it’s westward, to the peaks, cascades, and pristine lakes of the Snowdonia National Park. Park the hire car and lace up your boots because this is a place best experienced on foot. You don’t need to walk too far though: A steam train will take you right to the top of 1085m Mount Snowdon.
The historic town of Dolgellau is steeped in legend, with the underground King Arthur’s Labyrinth nearby and a host of exciting festivals throughout the year. Continue your rental car adventures until you reach the magnificent Welsh coastline at Caernarfon. This bustling seaside town is anchored by Edward I’s sprawling medieval fortress. Other historic attractions include the World Heritage Site of Conwy Castle the Inigo Jones Slate Works, and the Segontium Roman Museum.