Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester
Are you planning your England road trip and need a bit of inspiration? The Travel Tester shares 15 places in the Midlands and SE England you should stop!

As part of the #LoveGREATBritain blogger campaign, I got to travel by train all around the Midlands and the South East of England in search of ‘amazing moments’ to film. 

It was quite a whirlwind tour, where I tried to balance the amount of physical distance to cover, having to shoot all the footage at the right times, taking photos and notes, meeting local reps and owners of the restaurants, hotels, shops and activities, while still trying to enjoy the moment and looking around me to soak it all in. I realised even this relatively small part of England alone would take weeks to fully appreciate!

But that said, I managed to see a LOT of England and I’ve definitely touched down in places where I would love to return soon.

In this blog, I’d like to share my best discoveries in each of these places. To make the road trip ‘complete’, I’ve included a few stops that Nick and I visited on separate trips. I hope you find it useful to plan your own road trip in England!

Make sure to read my complete Great Britain Bucket List for more inspiration on places to visit all around England, Scotland and Wales.

 

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

 

15 Stops Not to Miss in The Midlands and South East England

 

1. Oxford

We’ll start with a city that wasn’t part of this campaign, but should really need no long introduction to convince you to visit on your England road trip. Oxford is home to one of Britain’s most important universities. The city has examples of almost every English architectural period since the late Saxon period, so if you’re interested in a bit of history, this is the place to visit for you!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least 1 full day, but I would try and stay overnight to be able to see everything at a relaxed pace

Suggested Hotel: I stayed with a friend here, so check booking.com for the latest deals on all different types of accommodation

Read more about Oxfordwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

2. Stratford-on-Avon

Known as the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, this is a place to visit for all history and literature lovers out there. The Royal Shakespeare Company still performs his most famous plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon. Make sure to take a city walking tour and have a cocktail on the rooftop bar of the RSC theatre, I loved it here!

Read More on The Travel Tester: One Day In Stratford-Upon-Avon In England? See The Highlights With These Tips

One Day in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England? See the Highlights with these Tips || The Travel Tester

One Day in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England? See the Highlights with these Tips || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day, although I would recommend an overnight stay to be able to see every historic building

Suggested Hotel: I didn’t stay overnight here, so check booking.com for the latest deals on accommodation

Read more about Stratford-Upon-Avonwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

3. Birmingham

I was only in Birmingham for a wonderful dinner at Asha’s Indian restaurant and an overnight stay,  but I would like to go back and see more of this Medieval market town that turned into a major city. During the 1960s Birmingham was the home of a music scene comparable to that of Liverpool with many groups gaining international success. And from what I could see arriving at night, Birmingham is also a great destination if you love shopping!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day

Suggested Hotel: I stayed in the penthouse (!) of the Cool Apartments in Birmingham. Check booking.com for the latest deals on other accommodation in the city

Read more about Birminghamwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

4. Cambridge

The last time Nick and I were in this university city, it was the height of Summer and all new students were in town to explore their new home, so things were incredibly crowded. We did enjoy watching the punting (people trying not to crash and drown in long wooden boats on the river). I can recommend paying a visit in Spring or Fall instead, when things have (hopefully) quiet down a bit!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day

Suggested Hotel: I didn’t stay overnight in Cambridge unfortunately. Check booking.com for the latest deals on accommodation

Read more about Cambridgewww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

5. Norwich

During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London and one of the most important places in the kingdom. The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many churches. But there is so much more to explore! I visited the incredible building of the Sainsbury’s Centre for the Visual Arts twice recently and loved discovering the back streets of Norwich, which were lined with locally owned shops and eateries, such as the iconic Grosvenor FishBar, which is a must-stop for lunch.

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one day, but I would recommend staying overnight, or even to go camping/glamping like I did on the Norfolk coast!

Suggested Hotel: I camped at Whitlingham Broad Campsite in one of their cool bell tents. Check booking.com for the latest deals on accommodation in Norwich!

Read more about Norwich & Norfolkwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

6. Chatham & Rochester

Another place I visited twice already in the Kent region is Chatham, home to the legendary Chatham Historic Dockyard. It’s one of the biggest remaining original dockyards in the United Kingdom and really can spend an entire day exploring the maritime history of Britain and the area around the Medway river. Other stops in the area not to skip here are the Copper Rivet Distillery and Upnor Castle in Rochester, on the other side of the river. This is the place where the Dutch navy under command of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter surprised the British navy in the 1600’S and sank most of their fleet!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day, but I can recommend staying overnight, especially since you can spend already one whole day at the maritime museum!

Suggested Hotel: I didn’t stay overnight in this area. Check booking.com for the latest deals on accommodation around Chatham!

Read more about places around the Medway & Kentwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

7. Canterbury

The lovely little town of Canterbury is famous for its iconic cathedral that was founded in 597 A.D. The city used to be a major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages and you can still see ancient walls that were originally built by the Romans all around the medieval centre with cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. Again, I visited this town twice and both times I really enjoyed the Canterbury Tales, an interactive experience where you can hear some good stories from back in the days.

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day

Suggested Hotel: I didn’t stay overnight here. Check booking.com for the latest deals!

Read more about Canterbury & Kentwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

8. Margate

Margate is a small town on England’s southeast coast. It’s got a sandy (oh yes!) beach, a stone pier and… a massive amusement park with vintage rides, called Dreamland Margate. The area is perfect for walking and cycling and the Old Town is said to have a funky vibe. I still haven’t managed to visit myself, but would love to soon!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Foto Credits: Clement Larrive, CC BY-SA 2.0

Suggested Time: At least one full day

Suggested Hotel: I haven’t been here yet. Check booking.com for the latest deals!

Read more about Margate & Kentwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

9. Deal & Dover

When you arrive by ferry in the UK, the first thing you see are the imposing White Cliffs of Dover. But did you know you can actually walk on them as well? It a magical spot to see the sunrise as well, I discovered recently. There are also a series of Secret Wartime underground tunnels to explore at the cliffs, as well as a medieval castle in Dover itself. While Dover itself offers hotels, I really enjoyed staying in the quiet nearby seaside town of Deal, where the Royal Hotel offers you a great ocean view and amazing dinner options!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: Depending on the time of your hike in Dover and other activities you’re doing (like Dover Castle, the Underground shelters, etc.), you could spend from half a day to easily a full day in this area

Suggested Hotel: I stayed at the Royal Hotel in Deal. Check booking.com for the latest deals on other hotels in Deal or accommodation in Dover!

Read more about Deal, Dover & Kentwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

10. Hastings & Rye

You probably know Hastings of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, fought on a nearby field where Battle Abbey now stands. The Norman ruins of Hastings Castle, once home to William the Conqueror, overlook the English Channel from here. Close by is the town of Rye, where you’ll find cobblestone streets and lots of medieval, half-timbered houses. The 14th-century Ypres Tower, which formed part of Rye’s defences, is now Rye Castle Museum, with paintings and displays on local history.

And we have great news! We are going to visit both these places at the end of this month, so I’ll give you a full report soon!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

 Foto Credit: Pixabay

 

Suggested Time: We have planned 2 days in this area, we’ll let you know soon if that was enough for us!

Suggested Hotel: I haven’t visited these places yet. Check booking.com for the latest deals of hotels in Hastings and in Rye!

Read more about Hastings, Rye & East Sussexwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

11. Brighton

Brighton is English most popular seaside resort town and it’s only about 1 hour south of London. The beach is unfortunately made up out of pebbles, but that doesn’t seem to bother the locals much. It’s made up for with an incredible amount of fun amusement arcades and rides on Brighton Pier. During our most recent visit, we really enjoyed our visit through the breathtaking Royal Pavilion for some serious incredible architecture and Royal interior design. Another area not to miss us the creative quarter called ‘North Laines‘, where you’ll find plenty of independent shops with (handmade) and local gifts.

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day, but it’s easy to spend the night and enjoy an extra day shopping, the beach or making your way over the quieter parts in the adjacent town of Hove.

Suggested Hotel: We stayed at the Pelirocco Hotel in Brighton. Check booking.com for the latest deals on other accommodation!

Read more about Brightonwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

12.  Southampton

The walled city of Southampton is known as the Cruise Capital of Europe and every year, there are more than 4 million visitors come to this harbour city in the South of England. From London, you’ll get here in about 1 hour 20 minutes by train, so perfect for a day trip! There is a great mix of historical and modern buildings, lots of shopping options and they even have their own brewery! Oh, and did someone mention yet that the Titanic left from here? There is a great museum showcasing the whole history of the ship, on which a lot of people from Southampton worked.

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: At least one full day

Suggested Hotel: I stayed at the Ennio’s Boutique Hotel, but I found it ok, not really spectacular. Would have liked to stay at The Pig in the Wall Hotel instead! Check booking.com for the latest deals on other accommodation!

Read more about Southampton & Hampshirewww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

13. Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is the largest and second most populous island in England. It was the home of Queen Victoria, the location of the world’s first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets! The island has many beaches and seafront promenades. There are even dinosaur remains and fossils in areas like Compton Bay and Yaverland Beach! On the island’s western point, The Needles are three huge, white chalk rocks, guarded by a 19th-century lighthouse.

Read more on The Travel Tester: 8 Things To Do On The Isle Of Wight In Winter (London Weekend Break)

8 Things to do on the Isle of Wight, England in Winter (London Weekend Break) || The Travel Tester

Osborne House Tour Review - Isle of Wight, England || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: We stayed over one night on the weekend, which was way too short! I can recommend 2 nights minimum, but staying a week ideally if you want to see more of the island!

Suggested Hotel: We stayed at the “Fore & Aft” self catering apartment in the marina of East Cowes. Check booking.com for the latest deals on other hotels on the Island

Read more about the Isle of Wightwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

14. New Forest

The New Forest area in Southern England is known for its National Park full of heathland, forest trails and native ponies. In the area, you can find the National Motor Museum, the Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway and the New Forest Wildlife Park. A really nice break from the city! Also don’t miss the nearby town of Lyndhurst, where Alice Liddell used to live. This is the Alice Lewis Carroll based his story of Alice in Wonderland on!

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: We stayed here on the weekend, which is definitely the minimum amount of time you need in this area. With so much to see, do, hike & explore, you could spend a whole week, if not longer here if you’re also visiting the nearby villages (which you really should!).

Suggested Hotel: We stayed in an Airbnb during our stay. Check booking.com for the latest deals in for example the town of Lymington, Lyndhurst, Bransgore, Brockenhurst or Beaulieu!

Read more about the New Forestwww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

15. Stonehenge

The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 ft (almost 4 meter) high and weighing around 25 tons. On the site, there is a world-class exhibition and visitor centre with 250 ancient objects. This is also the place where you can come face to face with a 5,500 year-old man and where you can step inside a couple of neolithic houses.

Read more on The Travel Tester: A Weekend Road Trip To South England: Exploring The Iconic Jurassic Coast And New Forest Region

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

Suggested Time: You need a couple of hours for Stonehenge alone, but definitely visit nearby places as Salisbury en Amesbury. There is pretty much only one road past Stonehenge, so expect a nice bit of traffic on your way there and back as well, so I can recommend combining this with a stay in for example the New Forest area.

Suggested Hotel: We stayed overnight in the New Forest, see above for suggestions.

Read more about Stonehenge & Wiltshirewww.visitengland.com

Suggested Activities: 

 
 

Have you visited any of these places in England? Which one is on the top of your bucket list? You can find more inspiration for your own England Road Trip on this handy site: jointheworld.visitbritain.com

 
 

The Travel Tester - Bookmark Practical

During my trip, I used Trainline for the first time ever, and I can highly recommend it! Trainline uses technology to help at every stage of your journey and they are Europe’s number one independent train ticket retailer and train travel app. You can save on average 43% by booking in advance with Trainline versus the cheapest non-Advance fares.

With the app, you can book your mobile ticket right away, so the tickets are then sent straight to your smartphone! This enables you to beat the station queues and head straight for the train. You only have to activate your ticket on the day of travel and scan at the gates, or show the QR code to the ticket officer on the train. At the moment, this service works on a lot of routes, but not on all, so make sure you check this before you travel.

Another feature that I really liked, was that you can follow you journey live (you can even see where the train is exactly before it even reaches your station), you can find all the information about your seating and they use crowdsourced data in their so-called ‘BusyBot’, which will tell you where on the train you are most likely to find a seat. When you are travelling yourself, you are asked if your train compartment is busy or not and if there are empty seats, so you can also help improve the travel experience for other travellers.

Find more information about Trainline here: www.thetrainline.com

 

BOOKMARK ON PINTEREST:

Midlands and South East England Road Trip Itinerary: 15 Stops Not to Miss || The Travel Tester

 

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you as a result of the #lovegreatbritain campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Visit Britain and Visit England. Two sections of my trip were sponsored by TrainlineAll photos (unless where mentioned otherwise) and opinions are my own.

 
 

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