The second of two guest posts from Martin Dorey – you may recognise him from the BBC2 TV show ‘One Man and his Campervan’ and from the ‘Caravanner of the Year’ show. Here is his quick guide to Britain and Ireland’s best driving…plus an idea for a jaunt to Europe!
You have the camper. You have the time. You have the itchy feet. You have sorted out your campervan and motorhome insurance through Motorhome Protect. And, finally, hopefully, you’ve read my blog about preparing your motorhome for the camping season ahead.
All that’s left to do is sort out your destination. Where will you go first? Thankfully, wherever you are in the UK there’s always somewhere amazing to drive just a few hours away, and if you don’t mind doing a few motorway miles or jumping on a ferry then there’s no limit.
Over the last year or so I have been exploring the UK and Ireland (and a bit of Europe) in my camper, taking as much time as I can to see some of the best driving routes, so here are my top 5 camper van trips for you to make this summer.
The Outer Hebrides
Get the weather right and this is heaven on earth, with bells on. The beaches on Harris are just stunning, while the driving on the Uists will leave you breathless. Lewis’ Callanish Stones rival Stonehenge while the views of Barra from the island’s peak are worth the ferry cost alone. There aren’t many campsites in The Outer Hebrides but the attitude towards wild camping is relaxed and there are plenty of places where you can stay at locally managed stopovers. Drop a fiver in the honesty box and enjoy the view. You’ll love it.
For more information on how to get there, click here.
Callanish Stones on Isle of Lewis, Scotland
The Bonnie Botany Tour
If you like botanic gardens then you’ll love this motorhoming romp through southern Scotland that’s about to be launched by The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It takes in their four gardens at Dawyck, Logan and Dunoon. The route between them all takes you through some glorious countryside and a diversion to explore the Trossachs National Park can easily be added. Plus its way closer than the NC500, Scotland’s big driving route. If you’ve never ventured north this is an easy start. You’ll love the sequoias at Dunoon, the tropical ferns at Logan and the magnificent forest at Dawyck.
It’s in the book, click here to find out more.
Wales’ wild west coast
From St David’s in Pembrokeshire to Porthmadog and beyond, the west coast of Wales is a wanderer’s wish granted. There are epic camp sites like Cae Du near Tywyn for beachside fires, vast open spaces at legendary camp ground Shell Island and opportunities for diversions to climb Snowdon, cycle the country’s best mountain bike trails and swim in deep blue pools. For much of the way the road follows the coast, especially the section between Aberdovey and Harlech. North Wales is fast becoming the UK’s adventure capital so dwell a while up north and enjoy zip wires, man-made surfing and an underground via ferrata.
View of Snowdon peak from Lake Llynnau Mymbyr in Snowdonia National Park
The Wild Atlantic Way
This epic 3000 mile route along Ireland’s west coast might be too much to take in in one hit, so dip your toes by heading to the western peninsulas: The Ring of Kerry, Dingle and The Beara. Between them they have everything you could ever want from a trip to The Emerald Isle. There are pubs to stay at (The Blind Piper in Caherdaniel is one of the best), high passes (Connor Pass, Dingle), stunning beaches (Barley Cove) and beautiful towns (Dingle) and incredible ancient sites (The Skelligs).
But beware! Once you’ve done the first visit you’ll want to drive it all!
Check out the whole route here.
Northern Spain and The Picos
The ferry isn’t cheap, but once you get there the living is easy. Northern Spain is an incredible destination with beaches, awe inspiring mountains, brilliant food and a lot of hot sun. Start with a tour of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, San Sebastian. A walk around the old town will reveal Spain’s best food, pinxos, in an amazing maze of old lanes and bull rings. Then head inland, high into the mountain range and national park of The Picos. The gorge road to Potes and Fuente De offers some of the most exciting driving anywhere. Get there with Brittany Ferries and make sure you get your unlimited European cover from Motorhome Protect.*
See San Sebastian here.
The Northumberland Coast
This quiet, forgotten corner of England has a lot going for it. There are stunning beaches, castles around every corner (or so it seems), fabulous seafood and lots of great campsites. Oh, and did I mention the beaches? There are lots of beaches. Bamburgh is the best of them all, especially when it comes to taking the holiday snaps: the castle sits just above the dunes, commanding a position like no other. Further south you can visit fishing villages to pick up your kippers (Craster) or just to admire the bobbing boats in lovely harbours (Amble) while a short hop north will bring you to Holy Island where you can drive across the causeway at low tide. Now that’s an adventure!
Check out the whole picture at Visit Northumberland.
Bamburgh Castle and Beach
Let’s hit the road…
*All features and benefits are subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria.