Planning an individual trip across Britain - advice & some helpful info needed

Dick Brucinson

Dave Sustaine
I have a few questions, addressed to all you UK based people here, regarding a trip to Britain next year. I finally will go for my long planned trip across the main island, and I will do this by car. I have approximately 8 - 10 days for my stay and I would like to see as many old castles, ruins, cottages, mansions and English gardens as possible.

Few questions:

When is the main public holiday season in England each year? That's exactly when I prefer not to go, supposedly going any other times would make things a bit easier and probably even less expensive - especially in terms of accomodation.

I don't want to book any hotels or pensions in advance for I'd like to be less nailed to a fixed schedule, preferring to stay were it's nice and travelling on whenever I want to. Will I run into major problems finding something like bed/breakfast outside of the holiday season by the end of each day (far off the big cities)?

What places would you suggest in terms of castles, ruins and misty forests, with a lot of medieval and mysterious vibe to it all? Any route you would advice, or any region in England, Scottland and/or Wales you would recommend in particular? East? West? Midlands? Hidden places are also very cool and welcome, I don't need a rush of thousands of other tourists with me.

Coming from continental Europe, starting place = finish will be Dover.

Thank you so much for all your help! And of course any web links that might helpful for a proper planning are very welcome.


Dick Brucinson
Any time in school holidays is more expensive for accommodation, especially summer (last 2 weeks of July to end of August). Accommodation can also change price around Easter, and is often more expensive in summer than winter.

I don't know where to start with castles etc. Edinburgh is great if you can go that far north. Bodiam Castle in Sussex is lovely. Tower of London is great for history. There are some large near-intact castles in Wales, and if you like great views, Bamburgh Castle standing on a rocky outcrop overlooking sand dunes and beaches in Northumberland is pretty good. Warwick Castle is intact but also a bit touristy, with lots of stuff for kids.

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is a great hybrid of medieval castle and stately home.

For stately homes with formal gardens and an estate, Castle Howard in Yorkshire is impressive. Blenheim Palace is pretty spectacular too.