Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has compiled a list of 30 must see places in the UK with the help of its passionate owners. The locations are the ideal spots to find a campsite and park up your California for a great British holiday.
Jutting off a beach on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset is Durdle Door – one of the most photographed and iconic landmarks in the UK. The stone arch gets its name from the old English “thirl” which means to drill and has been created over centuries of natural erosion from the waves and weather. It’s Britain’s first natural World Heritage site and sits on a list alongside the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon.
The Lake District remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK with its rolling hills, mountainous landscape and vast lakes. Wastewater is the deepest of these lakes and the valley is surrounded by imposing mountains, including Scafell Pike – England’s tallest peak. Wastewater has previously been voted as Britain’s favourite view.
Home of the famous music and arts festival which attracts thousands of visitors every year, Glastonbury is worth a visit even when A-listers aren’t in town. As well as being picturesque and peaceful, it’s also historically significant. Nearby Glastonbury Tor is linked to mythical stories of the Holy Grail and King Arthur, while Glastonbury Abbey hosted a coronation in the 11th century.
The Isle of Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides measuring in at 50 miles long and is packed with stunning scenery and landscapes. On any trip you’ll likely find plenty of wildlife on and around the isle including rare birds and otters, seals, whales and dolphins.
Dubbed the “jewel in the crown” of the Yorkshire countryside, Bolton Abbey is packed with religious ruins, woodland nature trails and a rolling river. Dating back to the 12th century, the land sits in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and covers 30,000 acres of countryside, 80 miles of pathway and has been the inspiration for artists like Turner and Ruskin as well as muse for poet William Wordsworth.
England’s largest and most famous lake is Windermere. Standing at 10.5-miles long and 219 feet deep, it takes its name from the Scandinavian for “lake of a man called Vinandr”. The towns and villages surrounding it are some of the most popular in the Lake District including Bowness. Windermere also has its place in Britain’s literary folklore with Arthur Ransom setting part of the 1930s classic “Swallows and Amazons” during a summer holiday at the lake. Windermere’s history dates back even further with a Roman fort sitting at the northern tip.
Staithes clings to the edge of the Yorkshire coast with tight, winding streets packed with tiny cottages. Staithes was once one of the largest fishing ports in the north east but is now happy with its lot as a beautiful hamlet. Its location makes it a popular spot to start, or end, a clifftop walk as well as offering fossil hunting and rock pooling on its small sandy beach. Staithes also has historical significance as the place where Captain James Cook started his love affair with the sea during his time as a shop apprentice in the hamlet.
Home to a secluded harbour with picture perfect views, Watermouth offers a rare mix of marine life including porpoises, dolphins and seals when the tide is right thanks to its unique bay climate. On land there’s an Edwardian castle that’s currently a theme park and a nearby holiday park to set up the Volkswagen California.
Nestled in the Shropshire Hills – a registered Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – is the village of Little Stretton with several nearby campsites. It’s the ideal place to base yourself for a trip into the market town of Church Stretton or for a countryside walk up the Long Mynd, exploring the rolling hills.
The third largest island in Scotland is easy to get to in a California thanks to the three ferries that serve it from the mainland. While Tobermory is its main town with brightly painted buildings along the waterfront, you shouldn’t ignore the rest of the island as it offers an abundance of photography opportunities. Off the coast, Mull is also home to the rare white-tailed eagle along with whales, dolphins and basking sharks.
The picturesque spot near Swansea takes its name from the three limestone cliffs that jut out into the bay. The shoreline is full of sand dunes and salt marshes and is one of the prettiest and wildest spots on the Gower Coast Path. Nearby campsites offer the perfect spot to pitch up for a holiday in the California.
William Wordsworth used the lake at Ullswater in the Lake District as the setting for his famous “Daffodils” poem. It’s the second largest lake in England, measuring at 7.5-miles long but just a mile wide, and is surrounded by gentle hills and imperious mountains. Towns and villages around the lake make Ullswater a great spot for a staycation.
Perched high on the north Cornwall coastline, Tintagel - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – offers dramatic sea views, clifftop walks, castle ruins and a healthy dose of British mythology. Tintagel Castle is rumoured to be the birthplace of King Arthur while one of the caves on the beach is said to be the home of Merlin.
Hayfield sits at the foot of Kinder Scout – the highest point in the Peak District – and is a popular spot for walkers and campers. It also holds a place in British TV folklore as the birthplace of actor Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army) and as the village where Coronation Street creator Tony Warren came up with the idea for the soap.
Few things beat a Volkswagen California on the open road and in the UK few things can beat Route 500 in the Scottish Highlands for top honours. Starting in Inverness, the route takes in back roads, country tracks and incredible scenery as it loops around 516 miles of northern Scottish coastline. You’ll need around five days to complete the stretch, especially if you want to stop off at hotspots like Ullapool and John O’Groats.
Cheddar Gorge is a unique set of inland limestone cliffs that soar to 450ft, created by melting water from the Ice Age. A road carves between the Gorge offering some incredible views but don’t just drive through as you can explore the ancient caverns and incredible wildlife that resides here. Inside one of these caves is Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton – Cheddar Man – estimated to be over 9,000 years old and uncovered in Gough’s Cave in 1903.
Lying on the northern tip of Scotland, Durness is a thriving village surrounded by mountains, cliffs and moors. It’s the most north-westerly village on the British mainland and is popular with walkers looking for a safe haven completely off grid. Below the clifftops are sandy coves, beaches and Smoo Cave – a gaping hole in a limestone cliff.
Dubbed the “Gateway to Snowdonia”, Betws-y-Coed has an alpine feel that makes it unique to the UK. Surrounded by a dense forest, the area has some of the best driving roads in the country. It’s somewhat of a hotspot for activity and adventure buffs, too, with zip lines and Europe’s highest giant swing.
The picturesque Pateley Bridge is the start and end of the Nidderdale Way, a 53-mile walk that takes in all of the Yorkshire Dales landscape. The market town of Pateley Bridge has its own place in history, too. It is home to the oldest sweet shop in the world while a nearby quarry provided the stone used in the steps of the National Gallery in London.
The flagship of Cornwall is the harbour town of St Ives, regularly voted as one of the top beaches in Europe. The town is full of cobbled streets and quaint cottages while beaches are a subtropical oasis of golden sands and lush vegetation. Given all this it’s no surprise that it’s a hotspot for holiday makers as well as being an inspiration for painters, sculptors and ceramists.
Loch Lomond is the biggest loch or lake in the whole of Britain and its size is matched by its beauty. It’s so big in fact that it has its own islands including one which features a colony of wallabies. The area surrounding Loch Lomond is a national park with sprawling glens and rocky peaks with the line that divides Highlands and Lowlands running right down the middle of the park. The nearby Trossachs National Park has provided inspiration for Wordsworth, Coleridge and Sir Walter Scott through the centuries.
The true beauty of St David’s Peninsula can only be accessed on foot, so park up the California and get walking. Deep hidden valleys, craggy outcrops and rugged coastline stretch out across the 50-mile long Peninsula. Nearby St David’s City is also worth visiting as the smallest city in the UK having been granted the status in the 16th century despite a population of around 2,000.
A hotspot for surfers, Putsborough Sands is a sandy beach that’s protected from the strong winds by Baggy Point to the south. The long stretch of beach just a few miles from Croyde is surrounded by holiday parks and campsites making it a great choice for a family getaway in the California.
Idyllic glades, ancient woodland, open moors, heathland and cliffs – the New Forest really does have it all. Despite being just a short drive from the manic day-to-day life of London, the New Forest is a haven for wildlife with ponies, cattle, donkeys and deer all roaming free. Hidden among the luscious landscape are a wealth of campsites.
Just along the coast from Bude, this award winning bay is popular with surfers and body boarders while at low tide hundreds of rock pools are exposed. The inlets and coves of Widemouth Bay are now enjoyed by holidaymakers but they were once the destination for many smugglers bringing in goods from boats moored off shore.
Thurso is famous for being the most northerly town on mainland Britain with the most northern railway station added in for good measure. The town is a great place to base yourself to explore the local countryside while the beaches offer surf fans the perfect spot. For historians, Thurso is home to one of the oldest churches in Scotland.
Winchcombe, which means “valley with a bend”, is an ancient Anglo Saxon town in the Cotswolds. The area is packed with history with Winchcombe known for tobacco growing in the 1600s and Queen Katherine Parr – Henry VIII’s last wife – entombed at nearby Sudeley Castle. For motoring fans, Winchcombe is also the perfect place to plan a visit to the iconic Prescott Hill climb which is just a few miles away.
Located at the foot of Snowdon – one of Britain’s highest peaks – Llyn Gwynant is a lake in the Nant Gwynant valley. The natural glacial lake is a popular spot for canoers and kayakers while the surrounding areas are filled with oak woodlands and open green fields. Share the walk with the wild goats that stroll across the lower slopes of Snowdon.
This pretty Victorian seaside village sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with great coastal walks and a nearby national park. Mundesley became a haven for holidaying Victorians when the railway opened in 1889. Volkswagen California drivers can forget the train though and still enjoy the wide, sandy beach with colourful huts and shallow rock pools.
The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the best drives in the UK, starting from Belfast and finishing in Derry via intense cliff faces, ancient castles and even an extinct volcano. Don’t forget to stop by the iconic Giant’s Causeway – a geological wonder and a World Heritage Site. Game of Thrones fans can also enjoy a slice of TV memorabilia with the Dark Hedges doubling as the King’s Road in the popular fantasy series.