Imagine you’ve just finished a whole year of uni. You’ve managed to get through your exams, you’ve become a financial wizard, and you’ve been on more nights out than you could ever imagine. Then the summer months hit and it seems like it’s all going to come to an end for a while.
You’ve got a few options on how to spend your summer: you can go home to see your family, you can try to land yourself a part-time job, you can book yourself a holiday and live it up in the sun for a week or two, or you can hit up one of the many music festivals that are on near you. These are all great ways to spend the summer, but you could do all of these things and still have plenty of time to spare, meaning you’ll be on the hunt for a different way to while away those long summer days.
This means that it’s time to put your parents’ old Fiat Punto to use. Yes, it’s covered in rust, and yes, it makes a weird nose when you change gear, but all you need to do is fill the tank and buckle up, because these UK roadtrips are all you need to enjoy your summer break.
Scotland’s North Coast
Way up north, you’ll find yourself in the Scottish city of Inverness. From here, you can drive the country’s famous NC500 route. As its name suggests, the north coast of Scotland offers a humongous 500-mile drive, but this long route will be worth it, as you travel through six different areas, each with a unique offering. This route takes you into some of the most northern points of Scotland, before bringing you back down to your starting point, making it one of the most scenic circular driving routes in the UK.
The website Visit Scotland, the leading authority for Scottish travel, suggests that you should spend at least five to seven days driving this route if you want to make the most of it. Not only do you get to see some amazing scenery, but there are also plenty of activities for you and your friends to do along the way. You can visit the famous Loch Ness (supposed home of the legendary Loch Ness Monster) while you’re in Inverness-shire. Try your hand at surfing and the challenging cliff-walks in Caithness, or visit the most northerly point in mainland Britain: Dunnett Head.
The Cornish Coast
Where the Scottish coast takes you as north as you could possibly go, the Cornish coast takes you to the most southerly points of the UK. Cornwall is a county on England’s rugged southwestern tip, where people head during the summer months for the great weather and even greater beaches. There is plenty to see in Cornwall; with each town offering something different to its visitors, you’d be limiting yourself by just visiting one place.
There are a few routes that you can take through the southwestern peninsula, all of which take you through quaint villages and scenic seaside towns – the perfect way to bond with your uni mates before you part ways for the rest of the summer. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a free spirit, then Cornwall is the place for you, with the summer months drawing in huge crowds of young people looking to catch that perfect wave.
If you time your trip properly, you can make it there in time for Boardmasters Festival, where you can get to see some great live music in the evenings after a day of extreme sports on the rugged Cornish coastline.
The Cornish coast is perfect if you’re staying in our Hotwells House accommodation in Bristol, because you’re just a two-hour drive from some of one of the most scenic stretches of coastline that the UK has to offer – all you have to do is pack your things into a car at the end of term and hit the road.
The Snake Pass
If you’re studying in Manchester and you fancy an end-of-term road trip that won’t take you a week to complete, then you can hit the road and drive through the Peak District to hilly Sheffield – a great way to start the summer if you’ve got some friends who live there. Take the scenic route through the (in)famous Snake Pass, where you can test your driving skills on the winding roads that pass through the Derbyshire stretch of the Peak District.
This is no longer the advised route for travelling between these two locations, but it certainly is more scenic than the way the signposts tell you to go. You’ll have to ensure that your driving is up to scratch for this one, because the winding roads can be a bit tricky to handle if you’re not used to them. This road is often closed through the winter months due to heavy snowfall, making summertime the perfect time to head out and enjoy the drive.
We recommend booking yourself into The Snake Pass Inn for a night, where you and your friends can enjoy the charms of an English bed-and-breakfast just an hour or so away from your home – perfect if you want to have a couple of drinks in the evening, so that you can get a good night’s rest then hit the road again the next day (make sure you drink sensibly if you intend to drive the next day, because the winding roads can be dangerous, and they also won’t be ideal for your passengers if they’re hungover).
Make the Most of Those Summer Months
Whether you’re hitting the road with your uni mates or enhancing your CV with part-time work, staying busy through the summer months is the best way to keep yourself ticking over until you return to uni to enjoy another year of studying and socialising. Keep an eye on our blog for the latest tips on getting the most out of your time both in and out of university, and see how our central accommodation can make your time as a student that bit easier.