Destinations, England, Europe, Travel

UK Road Trip 2018 Roundup

This UK Road Trip roundup post is packed with facts, figures, and feelings as we flashback to our first six months of full-time family travel.  We share what this trip has meant to us and include a summary of our route in list form.  

Read our three-part post series after the roundup about our adventures through one of the oldest kingdoms and fairytale meccas of the world, The United Kingdom.

    • Part 1: South England (Mar, Apr, May)
    • Part 2: London to Edinburgh (Jun, Jul)
    • Part 3: Scotland to Ireland (Aug) – Coming Soon

Road Trip 2018 UK

We Traveled

  • 6 Months
  • 27 Weeks
  • +-6000 Miles

We Stayed In

  • 3 Countries (England, Scotland, Ireland)
  • 17 Counties
  • 21 Towns / Cities
  • 2 Stays with family and friends
  • 4 Hotels
  • 20 Airbnb’s

Accommodation; what a nightmare! We learnt the hard way that you have to book self-catering family accommodation well in advance for places such as London, Windsor, and Manchester.  You can add Bath to that list, but we were lucky with that one.

This is a list of towns we stayed in, in more-or-less the order in which it happened.  You’ll see there were a few back-and-forth visits to the same places.

  1. Hungerford, Berkshire: Airbnb
  2. Grafham Water, St Ives, Cambridgeshire: Airbnb
  3. Windsor, Berkshire: Airbnb
  4. Ascot, Berkshire: Airbnb
  5. Woking, Surrey: Airbnb
  6. Northampton, Northamptonshire:  Booking.com Apartment
  7. Ascot, Berkshire: Airbnb
  8. Bath, Somerset: Airbnb
  9. North London, Airbnb
  10. Chelsea, London. Airbnb
  11. Rowarth, Derbyshire: Airbnb
  12. Chester, Cheshire: Airbnb
  13. Stockport, Cheshire: Airbnb
  14. Duram, Duram: Airbnb
  15. Luton, Bedfordshire: Holiday Inn Express
  16. Wembley, London: Airbnb
  17. Romford, London: Airbnb
  18. Bedford, Bedfordshire: Friends
  19. Honingham, (Thetford Forest) Norfolk: Airbnb
  20. Rothbury, Northumberland: Airbnb.
  21. Allington (Nottingham), Lincolnshire: Airbnb
  22. Bradford, West Yorkshire: Holiday Inn Express
  23. Edinburgh, Scotland: Airbnb
  24. Bradford, West Yorkshire: Airbnb
  25. Belfast, Northern Ireland: Premier Inn
  26. Brittas Bay, Wicklow, Ireland: Family
Are we there yet?
Backseat antics. Little Kate putting big brother and big sis to sleep: “Doo-doo my babas.”

We Spent

Based on what we actually spent as a family of five every month, not including long-haul international flights and the cost of buying a used car.

  • Average monthly cost of six months travel in the UK:  £3600

The budget for our monthly spending was closer to £3000 p/m, but we paid school fees for a first-hand lesson in ‘How to book family accommodation in the UK’.  Hey, that’ll make a good heading for a new post!  Watch this space.

Find the quality Airbnb bargains and book them well in advance.  The cost of self-catering accommodation for a family of five can push the ‘ol budget deep into the red if you don’t plan well.  Don’t leave it to the last minute.

To find out how we spent that amount and additional travel costs have a look at these posts:

Road trip game: Eddie Stobart. The first person to spot an Eddie Stobart truck shouts ‘Eddie Stobart’!, and hits the shoulder of the person next to you. Ouch! I never see them in time.

We Remember

Our six month travel anniversary came and went just a few days ago.  I’m trying to gather my thoughts to think back.  It should all be fresh, but there were so many highs!  It’s been more amazing than we hoped and as expected, there were difficulties along the way.  Some places clearly stood out from the rest.  Those are the places that we want to go back to.

Nothing can beat the fact that we made pretty awesome memories.

Yes, Brendan worked while we traveled, but we still got to do heaps of fun stuff as a family.  We saw so much of the UK.  What we descovered is that there’s much more to see and do and that we must make it happen.  No matter what!  The best of all is that for the next six months Daddy-O is not working and we have a spectacular travel itinerary planned.

Cragside House
Cragside House, Rothbury, England. One of our favorites.
We traveled slowly

Homeschool is a new way of life all on its own and it took time to integrate that into a new full-time travel lifestyle. The best thing about traveling slowly, apart from the money you can save, is that the children get the down-time they need.  We were fortunate to often have enough time to explore a new place but also to relax and rest well before we’d move on to the next destination.  I know that’ll not be the case with our USA Road Trip when we try to see as much as possible of one of the largest countries in the world in only 90 days, but we’re as ready now as we’ll ever be.

If anything, six months of full-time travel in the UK, a country we know quite well, has been the trial run we needed.  It’s prepared us for more intense travel in terms of packing, organising, planning, saving and the all-important mind shift needed to make the most of family travel in an unfamiliar, much bigger place such as America.

The ruins of Warkworth Castle.  See it in full view right next to the road from your car as you drive along the scenic coastal route from Amble, north to the A1. Spectacular!
If you like London, you’ll love England

You might argue that once you’ve seen a few castles and Victorian estates, you’d seen them all.  Or that once you’ve walked down the cobbled streets of a few small historic market villages you’ll get tired of their old world charm, dry stone walls, their cute eccentric little cottages and beautiful ancient churches and abbeys.  That may be true for many and the sites might become a tad predictable after six months, but the stories that go with these places and the history that unfolds as you discover Britain’s past is fascinating if you care to look, listen and read.  For us, it doesn’t get old.

Britain’s monarchy is the 4th oldest in the world.  It’s over 1200yrs old!  The oldest monarchy in the world is the Japanese Yamato dynasty, founded in 660 BCE by Japan’s first Emperor, Jimmu.  Imagine the interesting tales these almost mystical realms have to tell; the ancient treasures they’ve preserved and protected for us to see.  I’ve always been fascinated with the fairy tales, the kings, queens, and castles of this part of our world long before I knew that my ancestral roots ran deep within Europe; 99% deep in fact.  Seeing the UK the way we did on this trip is a dream come true.


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