Scenic Stops for a Road Trip
Travelling to visit family, friends or just to get away from it all?
Some our our historic sites near main roads and motorways make an excellent alternative to motorway service stations.
Escape the rush of traffic, stretch your legs, avoid the queues for the loos - stop off to explore England's story instead.
London, East of England and South East
Audley End House and Gardens
1 mile west of Saffron Walden on B1383, junction 8 or 10 of the M11 Wander the tranquil gardens created by 'Capability' Brown, enjoy stunning views across the unspoilt Essex countryside, and see the horses in the Victorian stable yard.
Entrance on the A258, travelling via the A2 From the secret tunnels to the Great Towers (and loads in between) Dover Castle sits at the top of an 80 acre site which is crying out to be explored.
Home of Charles Darwin, Down House
6 miles from junction 4 of the M25 Discover the family home of Charles Darwin - from his recreated bedroom to the study where he wrote his revolutionary theories (and the garden where he tested them) it's a fascinating site.
10 miles from Bedford, 6 miles from junction 12 of the M1 Explore the evolution of the English garden with a stroll through three centuries of landscape design or discover hidden treasures in the archaeological stores.
Lullingstone Roman Villa
0.5 miles SW of Eynsford, off junction 3 of the M25 Lullingstone is an incredible example of a Roman villa, with mosaics, a bath-suite and more. Perfect in all weathers! There isn't a cafe, but hot and cold drinks (and snacks) are available.
10 miles from Salisbury on A360 This iconic site is definitely worth a detour. After exploring Stonehenge's history in the visitor centre, if you're sick of sitting down you can skip the free shuttle bus and walk to or from the monument.
1.5 miles N of Lostwithiel, off A390. 6 miles from A38/A30 junction Explore the great circular keep of Restormel Castle as you head into Cornwall. It is fantastic for having a picnic - and the shop sells hot drinks and snacks.
0.5 miles south-west of Okehampton town centre. The remains of the largest castle in Devon is reputedly haunted, but definitely a lovely spot for picnics and wildlife walks in the woods or by the river. A small shop sells hot drinks and snacks.
West Midlands and Cheshire
12 miles from M53 (Chester) via A41 Beeston Castle is famous for its incredible views - on a clear day you can see all the way from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains. The Sandstone Café (outdoor seating) does a great bacon roll.
Off A46, 12 miles from M40 via Warwick Bypass Stretch your legs with a climb to the very top of Leicester's Tower, plus discover the history of the castle in the Gatehouse and Stables Exhibitions. You'll find the tearoom in the old stables.
11 miles from M5 Tewkesbury via A46 and B4077 Founded by the Earl of Cornwall in thanks for surviving a shipwreck, Hailes housed a renowned relic, ‘the Holy Blood of Hailes’. The new museum (opening this summer) tells its story.
6 miles from the end of the M50 via A40 Standing in open countryside above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is one of the finest and best preserved of all English medieval castles. After you've taken in the view, refresh yourself in the tearoom.
10 miles NW of Worcester on A443, 12 miles from junction 6 of the M5 Discover the dramatic ruins of Witley Court, the newly restored Perseus and Andromeda fountain in the gardens and tales of lavish parties.