John O Groats to Lands End
Challenge yourself this summer with an epic trip from the very top of the United Kingdom to the very tip in a top of the range Rockin Vans VW campervan. With John O Groats as your starting point and Lands End in Cornwall your finish line, this tasty trip down the spine of God’s own country will be an experience of a life-time.
Soak up the sights at the most northerly point of mainland Scotland by stretching your legs on some of the many beautiful coastal walks, geo-parks or cavernous areas. If you’re lucky you might get a lucky glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, maybe even the whole show if you’re there in the late summer months. Keep an eye on the night sky anyway. With minimal artificial lighting the Milky Way is truly stunning in a rare cloudless Scottish sky.
From your starting point at John O Groats, we recommend you head west towards the village of Durness where you will be greeted by miles of beautiful beaches surrounded by the dramatic landscape of Sutherland. Durness down the west coast of Scotland is a trip in itself worth doing but to incorporate it into a full British roadie is even better. With breath taking landscapes the whole way down your camera will barely be out of your hands.
A point of interest on your way south is the picturesque village of Applecross. Locally know as ‘The Street’ this magical spot in the Highlands is one of the most scenic with views across the water to the Isle of Skye and Raasay Bay. Sporting one of the highest roads in Britain (reaching 2,053 ft) it drifts through the clouds on Alpine hairpins bends before dropping into the quiet street of Applecross. For the history enthusiasts, Applecross is known to be one of the earliest settling points in Scotland with plenty of archaeological sites to visit.
With a rainbow shaped bridge linking the Isle of Skye to the mainland, a short jaunt across here is well worthwhile. Spoiled for stunning views and amazing food and drink the Isle of Skye has proved to be one of the most popular destinations in the UK in the last few years drawing people from all over the world to set their sights on the Fairy Pools, the Old Man of Storr and the Great Cullin Ridge that sit among a general breath taking landscape. Drop into one of the distilleries for an authentic whisky experience or learn how to open oysters at the Oyster Shed in Carbost.
Cruise down the west coast at a leisurely speed stopping as often as possible to leave the roadside and disappear into the grassy, open valleys of the Highlands and breath in the fresh air. Glencoe and Oban are popular spots along the way and for good reason, but really the entire west coast is one massive treat in terms of scenery, authenticity, food and whisky.
If you fancy trading the road in for a water-based activity for a day check out the stunning shores of Loch Lomond. During the summer months there a wide variety of water activities available including speed boat hire, wake boarding, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Part of the famous West Highland Way trek runs along the eastern side of the loch sporting some incredible views of Loch Lomond, the surrounding smaller lochs and the islands, definitely not to be missed.
Before you leave the north, make sure you take part in a traditional Scottish Cèilidh. This will require suitably sturdy footwear, a healthy amount of whisky, an open mind and potentially good medical insurance. Some people are naturals, some are not. I am not.
With Glasgow and Edinburgh only an hour apart you can do a sweeping excursion across the central belt of Scotland hitting all the city hotspots along the way. Both cities have exceptional architecture, historical and cultural sites and some of the best pubs in the whole of the United Kingdom. These cities are friendly, busy hubs of activity steeped in dark and violent history waiting to be discovered. Visually impressive and full of friendly faces, Glasgow and Edinburgh offer a fantastic day of exploring, eating well and enjoying the local music and comedy scenes.
Heading south you will soon find yourself immersed in the endless green hills and glistening lakes of the Lake District. This beautiful landscape has continued to inspire writers and romantic poets for centuries and draw travelers from all over the world to bask in the peaceful surroundings of the lakes.
Getting back on the road, head into Wales and prep your body for some serious hiking around Snowdonia National Park. For the super keen hill walkers the Three Peak Challenge is a possibility as your road trip leads you past each of the UK’s highest peaks (Ben Nevis in the Highlands of Scotland, Scaffold Pike in the Lake District of England and Mt Snowdon in Wales). For something a little out of the ordinary add the worlds longest zipline to your adventure.
After you’ve recovered from the exhilarating experience of flying through the air get back in your cozy VW campervan and set your sights to Stratford Upon Avon for a cultural hit of England’s favorite literature genius. Shakespeare’s country offers amazing historical and cultural sites as well as beautifully quaint and quintessentially English countryside. Transport yourself back to medieval times by visiting the markets of the town and reveling in the old style architecture. For a glimpse of how such an old town influences modern art take a few hours to visit the MAD Museum (Museum of Mechanical and Art Design)!
Continue your VW campervan meander through the English countryside with your next stop being the beautiful city of Oxford. Loose yourself at the Alice in Wonderland festival or take in the romance of Broughton Castle with beers by the lake. The University Museum of Natural History is an absolute must for this trip. A treasure trove of artifacts and rare gems, it is well worth a morning of your time and will leave full of the wonders of the world. For an explosion of urban art and original musical talent cruise by Bristol for gigs, grub and a general gander around a particularly colorful city with a super chilled atmosphere.
Enjoy the last leg of your journey by taking the Cornish Peninsula reeeeally slow. Pull over at quiet beaches or for essential ice cream pit stops. With any luck you will have the weather on side and you’ll be able to utilize the excellent surfing spots Cornwall has to offer. Spend a night in Newquay before reaching your destination at Lands End. Steeped in history and full of natural beauty there really isn’t a nicer place to finish your Rockin Vans VW campervan holiday. Spectacular coastal views, impressive cliffs of dizzying heights and teeming with wildlife, this really is the perfect place for nature loving campers.