We’ve both lived in the UK for pretty much our whole lives and there’s a very good reason why we’ve stayed all these years. It’s because it’s such a beautiful country!
Over the years, we’ve seen nearly every corner of the UK together and now we’re here to share this UK trip itinerary with you.
In order to see more than just London, we’d recommend you travel around the UK in 10 days or longer by car. This itinerary will focus on some incredible places you should make an effort to see during your road trip.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
UK Trip Itinerary: Travel Around the UK in 10 Days
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Days 1 & 2: London
No trip to the UK would be complete without a visit to the capital, London. Plus, the chances are very high that this is the city you’re going to be flying in to.
Although you could easily spend the full ten days of this itinerary wandering around London and still not see it all, we’re on a mission to prove that there’s a whole country to explore outside of the capital city, so we recommend you spend your first 48 hours in London, followed by a fun UK road trip.
If it’s your first visit to London, you should make an effort to see all the top spots and attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the London Eye and Trafalgar Square, as well as popular shopping districts, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Camden Market and Portobello Road Market, all of which look stunning at Christmas time.
For those of you who have already seen all of these top spots, you can start venturing off the beaten path a little bit in order to see places like the pretty Mews Streets, Sky Garden, Belgravia (including the Peggy Porschen cafe), the Prime Meridian Line, Holland Park, Little Venice, Mayfield Lavender Field, the Cutter & Squidge tea room, and loads more.
For lots more off the beaten path places to visit in London, you should definitely make it your mission to read Pretty City London: Discovering London’s Beautiful Places by Siobhan Ferguson.
Day 3: Oxford
Taking less than 90 minutes to drive to Oxford, a truly iconic UK city, this is usually a popular day trip idea from London.
In this particular itinerary, it serves as the perfect halfway point between London and the South West, plus it’s a beautiful city so rightly deserves its place among the best here.
You can easily see the best of Oxford within one day, such as the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Castle, Bridge of Sighs, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Port Meadow, and a long walk along the canal before making your way across to the Cotswolds area for the next few days of this itinerary.
Day 4: Cheltenham
Found in the north of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is one of the most historic towns in the UK as it’s the most complete Regency town.
Cheltenham was once the place to be in the 18th century after its spa waters were discovered and commercialised. Wealthy Londoners saw it as the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle (and smog!) of the capital.
Nowadays, the stunning stucco facades and ripe history are blended with the modern including a newly established street art scene.
As Cheltenham is quite a small town, you only need to spend one day here in order to see the best of it, including the town’s many beautiful parks and gardens, Pittville Pump Room, historic Regency architecture and the Promenade.
Day 5: The Cotswolds
Thatched-roof cottages, rolling green hills, stone buildings and farmlands evoke the ultimate vision of the quintessential English countryside.
And often, it’s the villages found in the stunning Cotswolds that evoke these thoughts and inspire travellers to visit the UK, which is why there should be no surprise for the Cotswolds to make it onto this UK trip itinerary.
It’s recommended that you spend a full day exploring some of the best Cotswolds villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold, which are all fairly close to one another, oh so beautiful and just what you imagine when thinking of a Cotswold village.
Day 6: Bristol
Considered to be one of the most fun, vibrant and relaxed cities in the UK, there are lots of very good reasons why you should make an effort to see Bristol during your trip.
It’s a fairly small city so is really walkable, and offers so much beauty, intrigue, colour and fun along the way.
Some of the city’s most iconic landmarks include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain, the Matthew, the Harbourside and the old part of the city centre, while there’s also plenty of more unusual places to visit for those of you after something a little more unique during your trip as well.
Day 7: Brecon Beacons
While you’re in this neck of the woods, it makes sense to see some of the Brecon Beacons in Wales… especially if you’re an outdoors adventure lover like us.
The Brecon Beacons are an iconic image when thinking about the UK and easily one of the most beautiful places owned by the National Trust.
In order to see all of the best parts of the Brecon Beacons, it would easily take you the full ten days of this itinerary. So with only one day devoted to it, your best bet would be to drive through some of it and do an easy day hike as well.
Two of our favourite walks (ever) have been in the Brecon Beacons.
Our second favourite walk in the Brecon Beacons is around Pontsticill Reservoir.
The water is a stunning shade of blue, and there are little secluded areas by the waters edge, perfect for picnicking in. You can also walk across the bridge in the middle of the reservoir to get perfect 360 degree views of the reservoir.
Good luck picking just one of these walks to do!
For more Brecon Beacons inspiration, check out our hiking guides:
Day 8: Bath
With the whole city declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and depicting the very essence of English idyll, Bath is one of our most favourite of European cities.
The entire vibe is like something out of a Jane Austen novel. From the Bath buildings, to the stunning abbey, to the Ancient Roman baths, this entire city is a cultural and historical wonder.
As a walkable city, it’s easy to see the highlights of Bath in just one day (without rushing). Some of the top attractions to see are the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, Royal Crescent, The Jane Austen Centre, Assembly Rooms & Fashion Museum, as well as The Botanical Gardens in Victoria Park.
Day 9: Stonehenge & Salisbury
Stonehenge is possibly one of the most iconic landmarks in all of the UK.
Thought to have been constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, archaeologists believe it could have once been a burial ground.
Today, it’s a marvel to walk around as you wonder how our Neolithic ancestors were able to construct such an incredible monument without modern machinery.
From Bath, it’ll take you just short of an hour to drive to Stonehenge, and you’d want to spend around 1-2 hours at Stonehenge itself. From there, it takes just 20 minutes to drive to Salisbury, which we highly recommend doing to make a day of it.
Salisbury is another of the UK’s historic cities, albeit a slightly less popular one with global tourists.
Inside Salisbury Cathedral, you’ll find one of four original Magna Carta documents, while the city of Salisbury offers so many other historic landmarks including a pub (The Haunch of Venison), which dates back as far as 700 years ago. Plus, their food is pretty damn delicious!
Day 10: London
Your final day is probably going to be spent making your way back to London to catch your flight.
If you’ve followed this itinerary, then you’re looking at a two hour drive from Salisbury to the centre of London.
You may want to spend a few final hours continuing to explore London (depending on what time your flight is)… for anything you didn’t have time to do during your first two days in the UK.
Popular with UK locals and tourists alike the world over, the pretty counties of Devon and Cornwall are also well worth a visit.
If you’ve got an extra few days to spend in the UK in order to make this a 2 week UK trip itinerary instead, then you should definitely take a slight detour through Devon and onto Cornwall to see places like Exmoor National Park, Dartmoor National Park, the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Lands End and some of the best Cornwall beaches.
You could easily do this detour after visiting Bristol or Bath if you’re following the above itinerary.
Alternatively, you could also skip Oxford, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds and Bristol in order to head straight to Devon and Cornwall from London if preferred. If you do this, you should set aside around 3 or 4 days to see the best of these two counties.
Is this UK itinerary not quite what you were after? We also offer custom travel planning services!
Where to Stay in the UK for this 10 Day Itinerary
As you’ll be spending a couple of days in London as part of this itinerary, it makes sense to spend your first few nights here.
Generally speaking, London can be quite expensive compared to the rest of the UK, however, you can still get a decent night’s sleep within a mid-range budget if you stay in and around North London, such as Hampstead or Islington.
Here are a few of our hotel recommendations in London:
- Langorf Hotel: Housed within a traditional townhouse, Langorf can be found in Hampstead Borough, and has easy connections to London’s city centre via a 10 minute tube ride. The rooms are spacious with en-suites, while the communal areas are traditional, yet stylish.
- Haverstock Hotel: Haverstock Hotel can be found a 4 minute walk from Belsize Park Tube Station, which has direct connections to the centre of London, taking just 12 minutes. The rooms are all lavishly decorated, while the communal areas are understated, yet useful.
- Best Western Swiss Cottage Hotel: Best Western Swiss Cottage Hotel is also housed in a traditional townhouse, and is just metres away from the local tube station, which is on the Jubilee line, ensuring a trip into London’s centre takes less than 15 minutes. The rooms have all been traditionally decorated, while the communal areas look just as elegant.
The picturesque Cotswolds is a great area to stay in as it’s close to Cheltenham and Bristol, while it also only takes around 90 minutes to drive to the Brecon Beacons, making this area a perfect base for days 4 to 7 of this itinerary.
Covering over 800 square miles, the Cotswolds is a big area, so we would recommend you stay near Stroud in order to be as central as you can and close to the M5 motorway.
Here are a few of our hotel recommendations near Stroud:
- The Bear Of Rodborough Hotel: Found just a few minutes south of Stroud, The Bear Of Rodborough is housed within a former 17th century coaching inn, which means the communal areas have plenty of character. The rooms themselves have been elegantly renovated, while maintaining as much of the inn’s character as possible.
- Burleigh Court Hotel: Also found a few minutes south of Stroud, Burleigh Court Hotel is also steeped in history and character; this time inspired by its 18th century manor house roots. The rooms are all incredibly spacious and full of period charm.
- Wild Garlic Bistro & Rooms: For a more modern stay near Stroud, the Wild Garlic Bistro & Rooms is a great place to stay as a couple. The restaurant beneath the rooms is superb and the rooms themselves are all clean, bright and airy.
Bath is such an important part of UK history, and ridiculously pretty, so it’s highly recommended you spend a night in Bath if you can.
Your best bet would be to stay within the city’s historic centre. You may pay a little bit more, but you’ll definitely increase your chances of staying within a stunning period property.
Here are a few of our hotel recommendations in Bath:
- No.15 Great Pulteney: Found right in the middle of all of Bath’s action (just a 3 minute walk from the Roman Baths and Abbey), No.15 Great Pulteney is so luxurious. If you’ve ever wondered what it may have been like to live in an old Georgian manor house, then this is your chance!
- The Gainsborough Bath Spa: Housed above a lavish spa, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is able to offer the epitome in luxury and relaxation. In fact, it’s the only UK hotel with access to naturally heated thermal waters within its Spa Village. The rooms are charming and spacious, while access to the spa is well worth the money by itself.
- Abbey Hotel: Just two minutes from Bath Abbey, the Abbey Hotel is a large hotel, housed within a typical Georgian building. The rooms are all traditionally decorated, while the communal areas are lavish and elegant. This hotel is sure to give you a flavour of just what Bath is really about.
We hope you find this itinerary useful! Are you excited to travel around the UK for 10 days? We’d love to know what you’re most excited to see…
Need help planning your trip to the UK? We also offer custom travel planning services!
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