Day 1: London
Welcome to London! Upon arrival at the airport you will take a private transfer to your hotel in London. You will be sent a detailed itinerary and any additional information you need for your trip. The rest of the day can be spent exploring the city at your leisure.
Day 2: London
Take the day to explore the capital. There is no shortage of things to do in London: you can relax in the city’s quiet Georgian squares, explore the narrow alleyways of the city, wander along the riverside walks, and uncover the quirks of what is still identifiably a collection of villages.
The capital’s great historical landmarks – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and so on – draw in millions of tourists every year, but this isn’t a city that rests on its laurels. Since the turn of the millennium, all of London’s world-class museums, galleries and institutions have been reinvented, from the Royal Opera House to the British Museum. And with Tate Modern and the London Eye, the city boasts the world’s largest modern art museum and Europe’s largest Ferris wheel. And thanks to the 2012 Olympics, even the East End – not an area previously on most tourists’ radar – has been given an overhaul.
Big Ben from the South Bank © Shutterstock
Day 3: London, Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Gloucester
After a good breakfast it's time to begin your epic road trip. First stop is Oxford, home to Oxford University, revered as one of the world’s great academic institutions, and the colleges of which include some of England’s finest architecture. The city also has some excellent museums and a good range of bars and restaurants.
Next, you'll visit Blenheim Palace. Here you can walk the grounds and see inside one of the country’s grandest examples of Baroque civic architecture. Visit the Churchill Exhibition, which provides a brief introduction to the man most well known for being the UK's Prime Minister through the victory of World War II. Born at Blenheim, Winston Churchill (1874–1965), grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough now lies buried alongside his wife in the graveyard of St Martin's Church in Bladon, just outside the estate.
Your final stop for the day is the town of Gloucester, where you can check in to your accommodation and explore the local area at your leisure.
Total mileage: 179km
Day 4: Gloucester
Today it's time to put your driving skills to the test on the GoKart track. The circuit features three high-speed banking corners, which is unique in the UK. The 300m tarmac track provides ample grip to replicate that of an outdoor track providing plenty of adrenalin pumping thrills. The rest of the day is your own to explore Gloucester.
Stonehenge © Shutterstock
Day 5: Stonehenge, Bath, Bristol and Gloucester
No ancient structure in England arouses more controversy than Stonehenge, a mysterious ring of monoliths. While archaeologists argue over whether it was a place of ritual sacrifice and sun-worship, an astronomical calculator or a royal palace, understanding a little of its history and ancient significance gives an insight into its mystical appeal.
Drive to the historic spa town of Bath and visit the new Thermae Bath Spa, which opened in 2006. Once the haunt of the Roman elite who founded the city 2000 years ago, and later frequented by British Royalty. Britain’s only natural thermal spa boasts a uniquely soothing atmosphere with gentle lighting and curative vapours.
Then it's on to Bristol, recently labelled the coolest city's in the UK. Visit the new food quarter development at Wapping Wharf called Cargo. Lauded foodie offerings include – The Chicken Shed, Pigsty, Woky Ko and Box-E . One of the most exciting is Salt & Malt, the second branch of Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggerton’s Chew Valley restaurant. Expect locally caught cod cooked in a crisp, gluten-free batter (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) and a blackboard of daily fish specials.
After exploring the city, head back to your hotel in Gloucester before the next leg of your journey.
Total mileage: 150 miles (249km)
Day 6: Cotswolds
The limestone hills that make up the Cotswolds are preposterously photogenic, dotted with a string of picture-book villages, many of them built by wealthy cloth merchants between the 14th and 16th centuries. Visit historic towns and explore the multitude of tea rooms and cosy pubs while you take in the picturesque views - a day designed for your leisure. Overnight stay in Gloucester.
Castle Combe village © Shutterstock
Day 7: Cistercian Abbey of Tintern, Brecon Beacons, Hay-on-Wye and Aberystwyth
After a lovely breakfast at your hotel, your first stop is the Cistercian Abbey of Tintern, one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. It was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales, founded in May 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow.
Brecon Beacons National Park provides a beautiful backdrop to this part of the trip. Rounded, spongy hills of grass and rock tumble and climb around river valleys that lie between sandstone and limestone uplands, peppered with glass-like lakes and villages that seem to have been hewn from one rock. On a sunny day the views from the surrounding hills are breathtaking and walkers flock in their thousands.
Back on the road and Hay-on-Wye is your next stop. Straddling the Anglo-Welsh border some twenty miles west of Hereford, the hilly little town has an attractive riverside setting and narrow, winding streets lined with an engaging assortment of old stone houses, but is known to most people for one thing – books.
Your overnight stay is in the beautiful seaside village of Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales.
Total mileage: 150 miles (250km)
Brecon Beacons National park. Pen y Fan, Wales © Shutterstock
Day 8: The Ffestiniog Railway, Portmeirion and Caernarfon
On day eight it's time to swap the open road for a historic train ride in the heart of Snowdonia. Pulled by engines dating over 150 years old, climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains, through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, all from the comfort of your carriage.
As you continue on to Caernarfon, a stop off at Portmeirion fantasy village is a great road trip visit. Famed for being the location in the 1960s television programme, 'The Prisoner', the Italianate-style private village is a huge visitor attraction with restaurants, cafés and a hotel on site. Overnight stay in Caernarfon. Total mileage: 180km
Day 9: Conwy, Great Orme, Betws-y-Coed and Liverpool
After a lovely Welsh breakfast your first stop of the day is the medieval "Walled City" of Conwy, before taking in the north Welsh coastline at Great Orme and then a short drive to the town of Betws-y-Coed, the gateway to Snowdonia. This magical setting has a distinctly Alpine feel enhanced by the dense Gwydyr Forest surrounding Betws-y-Coed.
It's a fitting tribute to remember Wales by as you head to the famed city of Liverpool for your two-night stay in the city. Total mileage: 187km
Day 10: Liverpool
Liverpool means The Fab Four, so head straight to The Beatles Story, where you will see the band perform again through digital animation. Visit Strawberry Field (a local orphanage and gardens, immortalised in the classic Beatles song) or take the Mersey Ferry for its views of the city. From the water, you can see the Royal Albert Dock, now filled with shops and restaurants, the landmark Royal Liver Building and Tate Liverpool. Finish off your day at the famous Cavern Club – still hosting live music every night.
Visiting the Cavern Club © VisitBritain
Day 11: Liverpool and Windermere
It's time to hit the road once more and head to the simply stunning Lake District. Your accommodation for the next couple of days is the town of Windermere and is the perfect base from which to explore the wonders of the Lakes. Overnight in Windermere. Total mileage: 138km
Day 12: Lake District
William Wordsworth once described the UK’s Lake District as “the loveliest spot man hath ever found” and the people at UNESCO seem to agree. The national park has just been rewarded UNESCO World Heritage status, joining the likes of Bath and Stonehenge in the UK. With so many beautiful sights to behold and points of interest to visit, take a look at our Rough Guide to The Lake District to get the most from your visit.
Sunset over Windermere in the Lake District © Shutterstock
Day 13: Carlisle (Hadrian's Wall) and Glasgow
On to Carlisle and Hadrian's Wall. Built by the Romans in 120AD, the wall stretches from Wallsend near Newcastle, across the neck of England to Bowness-on-Solway in North West Cumbria. Visit Tullie House Museum to view ‘The Roman Frontier: stories beyond Hadrian’s Wall’ exhibition, open all year round.
Venturing North of the wall, it's time to visit your third country of the road trip, Scotland, and its coolest city: Glasgow. Take time to experience Glasgow’s food scene as one of the most vibrant in Scotland – a far cry from tales of deep-fried Mar Bars paired with Irn Bru, this is a city that really knows how to feed you. Add to that a buzzing nightlife scene and a growing crop of great places to stay, and you’ll find everything you need in Glasgow. Overnight stay in Glasgow. Total mileage: 281km
Day 14: Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Fort William
On day 14 it's time to visit the very impressive Loch Lomond. The largest stretch of fresh water in Britain (23 miles long and nearly five miles wide), Loch Lomond is the epitome of Scottish scenic splendour.
The road north reveals the knuckle-shaped Buachaille Etive Mòr hogging the skyline, which turns into a view over the stunning landscape of Glencoe. The thrills of the glen – its Machiavellian clan history, charmingly ragged pubs and Harry Potter and James Bond patronage – say much about this storied landscape.
Your overnight stay is in Fort William and its stunning position on Loch Linnhe, tucked in below the snow-streaked bulk of Ben Nevis.
Total mileage: 110 miles (175km)
Glenfinnan Viaduct © Shutterstock
Day 15: Glenfinnan Viaduct, Arisaig & Morar beaches and Fort William
After a great Scottish breakfast its time to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct. To players of Forza Horizons 4, you will immediately recognise this incredible sight from having raced under its impressive arches. The viaduct itself carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground.
It's then time to visit the stunning white-sand beaches that stretch from Morar to Arisaig and are easily accessible from the road that winds alongside them for most of the way.
Finish your day back in Fort William at your overnight stay:
Total mileage: 70 miles (114km)
Day 16: Fort William, Dalwhinnie Distillery, Kinloch Rannoch, Queens View and Pitlochry
On day 16 you leave Fort William and head East towards Cairngorms National Park and the incredible Dalwhinnie Distillery, where you can sample some of the local liquid known as the gentle spirit.
Followed are the picture-perfect views of Kinloch Rannoch and the equally spellbinding vista at The Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire. Overlooking Loch Tummel, it is said to have been named after Queen Victoria, following her visit to the area in 1866.
Your overnight stay is situated in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Total mileage: 146km
Queen's View at Loch Tummel © Shutterstock
Day 17: Dunkeld, Scone Palace, South Queensferry and Edinburgh
Your first stop of the day is the village of Dunkeld. The majestic Dunkeld Cathedral dominates this picturesque Perthshire village. Today, part ruin and part parish church, the cathedral features the tomb of the notorious 'Wolf of Badenoch'!
Then it's a short drive to Scone Palace, a previous seat of parliaments and also the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce.
When you reach South Queensferry take time to visit one of the cafés which line the main street to admire the Forth Bridges that cross over to Fife.
Your final stop for the day is the wonderful city of Edinburgh, a fitting place to cross the finishing line of your epic road trip. Check in at your hotel for the next few days and take time to explore the city at your leisure. Total mileage: 114km (return rental car)
Day 18: Edinburgh
Take a visit to Edinburgh Castle, and scale Arthur’s Seat for epic views of this majestic city. Then maybe hunker down in an old pub with a wee dram of whisky – after all, you no longer have to drive.
Scotland’s history-infused capital is a striking sight to behold, a city draped across rocky crags that punctuate the landscape. The city centre is cleaved into two parts: the alleyways and narrow, steep closes of the medieval Old Town, and the sleek, Georgian New Town.
Day 19: Edinburgh
Day 19 you are free to explore at your leisure. Edinburgh’s well-worn thoroughfare from the Castle to Holyrood Palace is central to any visitor’s itinerary. Subdivided into four streets – Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate – The Royal Mile is home to museums, churches, pubs and restaurants.
Edinburgh Castle © Shutterstock
Day 20: Fly home
You will be picked up by private transfer to the airport.
At Rough Guides Tailor-Made Trips, we can customise any itinerary to meet your specific requirement. So get in touch to let us start planning your dream holiday!
Prices start from $3050 per person for two travellers sharing a double room. This includes 19 nights of accommodation in a 3-star Bed & Breakfast, Guest House or Hotel with en-suite bathroom, one double room (double or twin beds) 19 breakfasts, 15 days car rental with unlimited mileage, compulsory insurance against theft; pick up on day three at the agency in London and return on day 17 at the agency in Edinburgh.
This bespoke travel itinerary was curated in partnership with Xbox One X and is part of Visit Xbox 2019. Put your self in the game and visit some of the incredible destinations that inspired the open world to Assassins Creed Odyssey. For more information on Xbox One X click here
Top Image: London and the River Thames © Shutterstock