Home » England, featured, My trip, Travel Prep

Road trip – Best of England in 12 days?

Written by 11 July 2011 17 Comments

As you might know from my description in the meet the Travelettes section, I really wanted to go on a England roadtrip since … well, ever. When my friend Luisa asked me last winter to do a trip like this with her this summer, I was jumping around like a crazy chicken. I so would! Since then, I dream of England in the brightest colours and see ourselves rockin’ the road. The thing is, that I love planning trips and I love collecting websites, places, hotels, etc before each trip. My friend might even be a bit annoyed by all my questions about where we are going, what we are doing, if I should bring my laptop and so on. With that said, I cannot help but think that planning and roadtripping somehow doesn’t go together, does it? But! With only 12 short days and so much to see, preparation is my best friend in this battle.

picture by
Alex A Jones

So, after collecting all I could find on here about England, I asked my fellow Travelettes and some friends to give me the real insights (thanks, ladies!). I also spent a whole lot of time on this website, showing off some of Britains’s finest real estate, in order to find regions with the nicest manors. I somehow got lost and finally decided that a real estate website wasn’t the right place to plan a roadtrip. I therefore headed over to Lonely Planet and Stumble upon. I also asked Luisa to tell me all the places she wanted to see, and everything I got from her was “Oxford”. Well.

So this is what I finally came up with is this:

We are leaving Berlin on July 16th in my friend’s combi car, first heading to first Western Germany, where my parents live. There, we’ll crash for one night before driving to Calais the next day. Our ferry to Dover will leave at 3pm. Already rhere are two things I am scared about. No, not sleeping in the car in the middle of nowhere or not being able to shower every day. What I am really afraid of is A) missing the ferry because of traffic or girly stupidity and B) driving on the left side of the street with a German car. I already know that at some point I will drive the wrong way inside a roundabout. But I am sure we will manage that somehow, won’t we?

photo by adventures in trim

So this is the itinerary:

1. Dover
Obviously. I guess we won’t stay there at all and leave the White Cliffs for the end of our trip.

2. Brighton
Banksy, The Kooks, Brighton Peer. Do I need to say more?

3. Bath
Sophie, Lorna, Marie and my friend Astrid all recommended to go there. So we will. Probably going to check out the Cross Baths there.

4. Bristol
Well, thats basically just because of Skins. I already bought myself white sunglasses for the trip for the full Cassie Anthsworth look.

5. Cardiff/South of Wales
This is just a “maybe” on the list. Someone told me there is a ferry going to the South of Wales. My friend loves boat trips so we might do that to have a short impression of Wales.

6. Oxford
I basically just want to see Oxford University for a little Hogwarts feeling, so this is going to be a quick stop.

7. Manchester/Liverpool/Leeds/York/Sheffield
Don’t know which of these cities we will visit in the end. Opinions here vary, so we will see where the road takes us to.

8. Blackpool
Ever since seeing this music video of a german band which is filmed in Blackpool, I desperately have been wanting to go there. I am a sucker for old amusement parks and seabaths, something I really loved about San Sebastian. Do you see that stranded ship in the video? Amazing, right? So, this is definately my “I have to go there, no matter what” spot on the route.

9. Nottingham
This is probably just going to be just one of those “I have been there, I have a picture with the citysign” stops.

10. Cambridge
Same thing as Oxford probably. From there we might go to the eastern seaside to stay in one of the smaller cities for a night.

11. Dover
Sad faced girl duo will hop on the ferry back home very early in the morning on July 29th.

picture by Iman Salha

I know this is way to much for a 12 day-trip and we will probably stop following this itinerary from day 1. I just like to think that I have at least a bit of a clue of where to go and what to see. So if you guys have any recommendations, such as wonderful camping places, great sights, peaceful villages, cool clubs and bars and so on, please drop me a line in the comments below.

Let’s see if there will be a “Best of England in 12 days!” post after my trip!

This post was written by Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk, who has a funny name even for Germans; she is a wicked go-getter and creative freelance designer, photographer and blogger.

She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  • Luisa said:

    Haha, well actually I’m not that annoyed and I’m sure some of the most beautiful places we’ll see will be the ones not on your list.
    And I didn’t know we’ll visit Oxford for the Hogwartsthing. I just want a cup of coffee and then i’m going to pretend to be a student at a prestigious university. Masterplan.

  • lorna said:

    Nina when you’re in Blackpool you really really have to go and see a drag queen show called Funny Girls; funniest thing I think I’ve ever seen! http://www.funnygirlsonline.co.uk/

    And if you’re looking for some good pubs to hang out in when in Bath check out the Porter (great vegi food, good comedy & live music) and if you have time to spare go for a walk along the canal (its so beautiful) in the direction of the George Pub at Bathhampton (maybe a 3km walk) enjoy a good pint of cider then walk back into Bath

    Enjoy xx

  • Eurotrip Tips said:

    If I can throw my two cents…

    If you want to have a real Harry Potter feel, head straight over to Christ Church College in Oxford. A lot of scenes were filmed there, you’ll get your money’s worth in no time.

    As for the northern cities, I highly recommend York – it’s a cute little place with typical eateries and tons of old ladies who will call you love. Liverpool is also nice, but has a very different feel. Most people I know did not recommend Leeds and Sheffield.

    But other than that, your itinerary sounds great, have fun! :)

  • Kath said:

    Oh I love England!

    As for the northern cities definitely Liverpool! The Beatles! Do I need to say more?! Compared to all the beautiful towns like Brighton, Bath and Oxford on your list, Liverpool has a very rough and industrial feel to it and I love it. The city has some nice museums, a great music and club scene and cute vintage shops.

    Now to Cambridge. I studied there for a semester and I can only recommend to spend the night there. It’s a small town but because of all the students it’s a great place to go out any day of the week. If you’re into great indie music, guys in skinny jeans and dodgy looking venues go to Kambar. Otherwise there are nice pubs and bars everywhere in the town center. In Cambridge nothing is very far from each other.
    Other things to do when in Cambridge: punting on the Cam river! strolling around the town center with all its churches and old colleges, getting a fudge from the fudgeshop opposite of the entrance of king’s college, sitting down on the wall in front of King’s College and watching the tourists (while eating yummy fudge),hanging out in one of the numerous parks.

    Things to do/eat when in England: definitely have as many sandwiches from EAT and Pret A Manger as possible! yummy. Oh and the Tuna Melt from EAT! Carrot cake, Fish Pie, Bread and Hommus (in any kind of flavour. favourites are: sundried tomato, marroccan, coriander, caramalised onion) from the supermarket.

    Have fun!

  • Felix said:

    London is the only place worth going to.

    Brighton is nice for a day if it is forecast very nice weather.

    Cardiff is a shithole that’s alright for shopping (but again London is better).

    Visit Cambridge but Oxford is a shithole.

    Can’t say much about Manchester/Liverpool apart from ‘meh’.

    Basically London is amazing and it is pretty much all England has to offer (I know, I live there and have been to these places)

    Spend 11 days in London and 1 in Brighton.

  • nina said:

    Thanks, Ladies! I hope I can at least follow some of your tips! They all sound great, especially the drag queen show!

    Felix, that wouldn’t be much of a road trip, right? ;)
    I actually have great faith in my ladies and their recommendations. Let’s see if I can prove you wrong, when I’m back.

  • Alan Brookland said:

    Curious you’ve put Banksy in under Brighton? He’s a Bristolian. See http://www.gpsmycity.com/tours/banksy-tour-in-bristol-2844.html for a few suggested sites in Bristol where you can still see his stuff.

  • nina said:

    Good point! Actually, I have no idea. I am sure there is a book about Banksy street art in Brighton. So that’s maybe why I mixed that up.

  • Grant said:

    Ah, you should have gone to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire rather than Cardiff. It’s a gorgeous regency town with lots of history and some very interesting things! I particularly like the Bull and the Hare statue, the Regent Arcade, and going up Leckhampton Hill and looking out over all of the Cotswolds =)
    Maybe next time you are in England?

  • darren said:

    just couple of items. .firstly cardiff is in wales NOT ENGLAND. .same as washington dc is not in canada. so be careful who you call english while in wales, someone could take offence. .secondly brighton is okay if you want to see gay men prancing through the city. .

  • Karen Ven said:

    Hey Nina,

    I’m planning to go on a roadtrip to England with some friends this summer. So I was wondering if you could give us some tips and share some experiences, since you’ve been there and done that! And besides, we’re from Belgium, so I’m also a bit concerned about driving left! Is it difficult?



  • We Love: Road Trip : My CMS said:

    […] Top five UK and Ireland road tripsTop ten UK road tripsBest of England in 12 days […]

  • Nicola Pearson said:

    You have a great itinerary, York is definitely pick of the north from a tourist perspective (though I’m from there so slightly biased!) Leeds and Sheffield are nice if you have time but if you start to run out of time, these plus Nottingham are the ones to ditch in my opinion all three are great student cities though. I recommend a restaurant called Lucia’s in York, my favourite by far and you should also do a ghost tour while there for a guided tour around the old narrow cobbled streets, most start near the Minster (York’s cathedral). Have fun!

  • Geraldine said:

    The UK is a beautiful place, steeped in history, there are some very interesting places to visit throughout Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England. You will also find beautiful, friendly and welcoming people in all the above countries. Enjoy your trip!😉😀😉

  • David Hill said:

    Wow – England / UK in 12 days? Tough! Depends what your interests are.
    But I’d say this:
    Dover – worthwhile – see the fortifications and white cliffs.
    Brighton – seaside resort – if sunny can be a great visit.
    You’ve missed out Dorset (my favourite county). Or for that matter Devon. Or Cornwall. All with wonderful scenery and some great history.
    Bath – beautiful. Roman history and amazing architecture
    Bristol – Different. Not too sure as a highlight though. But the Cilfton suspension bridge is unique.
    Cardiff – much improved city in recent years. Centre is amazing with the stadium.
    Wales generally – out to the far west and in the far north there are beautiful areas.
    Oxford – worthwhile – do one of the trips or features too.
    Central cities (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, etc) – Leeds is interesting, Manchester a party place, Liverpool is unique.
    Blackpool – can’t recommend it myself.
    Nottingham – Sheriff of Nottingham history. Has good bars I hear!
    Cambridge – worth seeing – University is great.
    And you really should get into London!

    (am in Berlin myself end of March with my girlfriend so happy to meet and talk)

  • Joanna said:

    I would swap Nottingham for somewhere in the Peak District – maybe Buxton or Bakewell – make a change from all the cities! And Nottingham is ok but may be a bit of a let down after places like Oxford/York/Brighton/etc. If you do decide to include Nottingham, though, The Malt Cross cafe bar is a really characterful, independent place for a drink at any time of day.

  • Amber said:

    How fun! Here’s a free PDF road trip planner to help you plan and map it all out! http://www.ordinaryescapades.com/resources/ Enjoy!

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.