The air is cold, the winds, harsh and the nights, longer – autumn is fading into winter. With summer so distant in our memory, our minds often wander to thoughts and dreams of sunnier skies and blissful beaches but also swell with excitement for the impending flurry of Christmas, snow and joy that it brings.
Whether you’re a summer soaker or a winter wanderer, it’s hard not to think of escaping your 9-to-5 this autumn for blissful relaxation and time with friends and family. With the lochs of Scotland, havens of Cornwall and small towns of the Cotswolds topping the charts, a recent Europcar poll alongside Holidaycottages.co.uk discovered the top 10 UK destinations Brits would visit by hire car to relieve those post-summer blues – or any blues for that matter!
#10 – Branscombe, Devon
Taking the 10th spot, Branscombe is a small Devonshire village 22 miles east of Exeter with stunning coastal views and a National Trust site that gives any holiday-maker a perfect, tranquil location for a short holiday cottage break. In autumn and winter months, this Jurassic coast location is perfect for a brisk coastal walk along the steep cliffs overlooking the calm, flat English Channel.
#9 – Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Scotland.
A family favourite, The Trossachs and Loch Lomond in Scotland offer panoramic views of mountains and surrounding National Park, inspiring awe in any on-looker. Road trips to the area by hire car give couples and families alike the experience of a lifetime, finding waterfalls, large expanses of rolling hills and plenty of opportunities to see nature in its truest form. A drive around this area from Glasgow or Stirling is sure to provide endless memories.
#8 – Hope Cove, Devon
24 miles south east of Plymouth, Hope Cove brings thousands of visitors to the area of Hope throughout the year, offering some of the best views along the Jurassic Coast and countless opportunities to explore the coastal trail by foot or hire car. Just a few miles from South Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – full of lighthouses, cliffs and rivers, provides clear reason to visit.
#7 – Ambleside, Cumbria
This small town in the Lake District north of Morecambe is home to hundreds of holiday cottages and caravan parks to mark the end of a beautiful cross-country road trip. Situated within the county of Westmorland, Ambleside sits at the very head of Windermere, England’s largest water. Part of Cumbria’s Lake District National Park, there’s plenty to see and do in this area in your hire car.
#6 – Sladesbridge – Cornwall
On the northern side of Cornwall’s mass, Sladesbridge sits near Wadebridge at the confluence of the River Allen and Croan Stream and is just a few miles northeast of Newquay – a popular summer hangout for families and teens.
#5 – Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds
This small, idyllic market town within the Cotswolds’ AONB is situated at the top of an 800 ft hill at the convergence of many major roads into the area. Gloucestershire’s Cotswold Stone cottages and shop facades make this beautiful town a must-visit from Gloucester for its quaint tea rooms and olde village feel.
#4 – St Mary’s Bay, Kent
Known by the locals as ‘The Bay’, this coastal village west of Dover, Kent is situated on Romney Marsh, giving St. Mary’s Bay the long stretch of sandy beach that brings thousands of holidaymakers each year to the area. Perfect for the whole family, the nearby amusement park in Dymchurch makes this destination at the end of your hire car road trip exciting for the kids too.
#3 – The Isle of Skye, Scotland
128 miles west of Inverness, this Scottish isle is connected to the mainland by a single bridge. Known for its stunning, rugged landscapes, medieval castles and picture-perfect fishing villages, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago has a coastline of peninsulas and narrow lochs which many explore by hire car. Park up and hike to the tallest point of its mountainous landscape for the ultimate post-summer blues road trip.
#2 – Gorran Haven, Cornwall
A true haven of the south coast, this picturesque fishing village in the south of Cornwall is idea of an autumn/winter getaway. Well off the beaten track, reaching this location by hire car gives you a fantastic view of the Cornish landscape along The Roseland Heritage Coast and stunning views across the English Channel.
#1 – Kynance Cove, Cornwall
The third Cornish location in this list and taking top spot, is Cornwall’s treasure trove of beauty. Turquoise waters and steep cliffs grace the eastern side of Mount’s Bay on the Lizard peninsula, two miles north of Lizard Point, just an hour from Penzance. There’s no question as to why this location stood above the rest as its spectacular views and scenic roads by hire car are what make this top UK destination a place to relax and unwind, even in the colder months.
Whichever destination you choose to beat those post-summer blues, be it a trip with the family in a large Volvo XC90, a trip with friends in an economy-sized VW Polo hire car or a romantic getaway in an agile Fiat Abarth 595, make the road trip one to remember in a car that won’t let you down.