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The capital cities of England, Wales and Scotland have plenty of sights and activities to keep one busy for awhile, but who wouldn't want to hit the road for a quick trip into the countryside after a few days in the bustling cities of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff?
Even if you happen to be visiting Glasgow or Manchester, two of the U.K.'s other most popular cities, there are scenic day trips awaiting you in every direction. It's as easy as renting a car in any of these major cities and off you go to explore on your own.
Once again, we at Auto Europe have done the homework and some advance traveling to put together a list of suggested day trips from all of these fantastic cities for you.
Visit two World Heritage Sites and a royal residence in one day! Your 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.
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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.
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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 Stirling 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.
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More natural beauty, though different to the Scottish Highlands, awaits you 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 slowly heading back to Cardiff.
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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 the driving. The seaside coastal resorts of Blackpool, Southport, Fleetwood, Lytham St. Annes and Morecambe are also within easy driving distance from Manchester.
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Wherever you're planning to visit on your next trip to the United Kingdom, plan to stay an extra day or two to explore the area immediately surrounding your destination. You'll be amazed at how much more there is to see and do when you enjoy a day trip by car.
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