Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Wed June 08 2016

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  • Sam Schuler | June 8, 2016 8:00 PM ET

    Best Day Trips from Popular Cities in the UK

    Best Day Trips from Popular Cities in the UK

    PHOTO: Imagine driving around the U.K. and seeing this? (Courtesy Auto Europe)

    The capital cities of England, Wales and Scotland have plenty of sights and activities to keep one busy for a while, but who wouldn’t want to take a trip into the countryside after a few days in the bustling cities of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff?

    Even if you happen to be in Glasgow or Manchester, two of the UK’s other most popular cities for travel, there are scenic day trips awaiting you in every direction. When you rent a car in the UK, enhancing your trip by visiting nearby points of interest is easy, and planning a day trip allows you to craft a more unique and memorable itinerary.

    In an effort to help you plan the perfect UK vacation, Auto Europe has put together a list of our favorite day trips in the United Kingdom.


    England’s capital city is very tourist friendly, but if you book a London rental car and leave a day for exploration you can visit two world heritage sites and a royal residence in a single day. The first stop is Windsor Castle, home to the British Royal Family for nearly a century and the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. From Windsor it’s a scenic drive to Stonehenge through the rolling green landscape of Wiltshire. The ancient stone circle continues to capture the imagination of historians and ordinary people alike. Your next and last stop before returning to London is the beautiful Georgian city of Bath and its famous Roman baths, the well-preserved Roman spa from the ancient world.


    While in Scotland, you might as well go in search of the mysterious Loch Ness monster, also affectionately known as ‘Nessie’. Take in some of the most dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands en route to the Loch. Don’t forget to stop at Glencoe, one of Scotland’s famous glens, along the way and find out how the Clan MacDonald massacred the Campbells here in 1692. Visit the Urquhart Castle and finally make your way to Inverness, capital of the Highlands, before turning back to Edinburgh over the Grampian Mountains and via the Victorian resort of Pitlochry. Renting a vehicle here opens up a variety of opportunities … this is a great place to extend your tour with a car.


    Discover a different part of Scotland by venturing out from its biggest city. This time experience the Highlands’ breathtaking beauty in the Loch Lomond National Park and the Trossachs National Park. Walk in the footsteps of Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace en route to Stilring Castle, also known as the ‘Key to Scotland’ because of its strategic location. And what would a trip to Scotland be without sampling one of its finest malt whiskies? The picturesque distillery of Glengoyne is just the place to do this.


    More natural beauty, though different to the Scottish Highlands, awaits you when you rent a car in Wales. Travel through the Rhymney Valley to Caerphilly, home to the Caerphilly Castle with its leaning tower that upstages the one in Pisa. Then follow the scenic route through the south of Wales to Brecon Beacons National Park. You would want to stop frequently to take pictures of the rolling hills and green valleys blotted with cattle, ponies and sheep. Take a break in Brecon town before enjoying a leisurely drive back to beautiful Cardiff.


    If you find yourself in Manchester, you are ideally placed for various day trips in the northwest of England. Meander through the English Lake District, just one hour’s drive away by motorway. The Cumbrian countryside is not only a natural paradise, but also has a rich literary heritage. Visit William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage or the World of Beatrix Potter as a break in between scenic stretches of road. The seaside coastal resorts of Blackpool, Southport, Fleetwood, Lytham St Annes and Morecambe are also within easy driving distance from Manchester.

    Wherever you plan to travel during your next trip to the UK, be sure to leave a day to savor some of the exciting day trips available. Auto Europe offers surprisingly low rates, car rental discounts for AAA members and a number of exclusive special deals which change daily. US travelers are often surprised that in many UK cities renting a car can actually be cheaper than hiring a taxi


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Sam Schuler Europe by Car

Sam Schuler Sam Schuler is a travel writer, photographer, graphic artist and a member of Auto Europe's marketing team in Portland, Maine. An Oregon native, Sam has enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Bermuda, and Mexico on multiple occasions. Sam continues to draw creative inspiration from his travels, documenting many of them in a variety of mediums, including travel blog writing and photographic exposes.
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