Cornwall coastline at sunset

The ultimate driving bucket list – UK

If it was your last day on earth and you could go anywhere in the UK by car, where would you go? When it comes to UK road trip ideas, there are plenty of wonderful places and attractions you could include, which is why at Dayinsure we decided to find out what the most popular ones are to create the ultimate driving bucket list.

We asked the British public: ‘If you only had one day to travel somewhere by car in the UK, where would you visit?’. The results threw up many popular cities, destinations and attractions which can be combined to form the best driving bucket list in the UK.

Popular Destinations

Out of all the possible destinations people said they’d travel to if they only had one day, Cornwall, with its glorious countryside and beaches, was the clear favourite location, followed by London.

1. Cornwall
2. London
3. The Lake District
4. Edinburgh
5. Cardiff
6. York
7. Bath
8. Brighton
9. Bangor
10. Belfast

The Lake District was found to be the third most popular place to travel to. Edinburgh, Cardiff, York, Bath, Brighton, Bangor and Belfast completed the remainder of the top ten. These all feature a mixture of history, strong architecture and culture, so it’s easy to see why they are so loved.

Top Attractions

Despite Cornwall, London and the Lake District being the most popular locations, overall Stonehenge in Wiltshire came out as the attraction most people would add to their driving bucket list. This was followed by Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and the iconic Cliffs of Dover.

The Eden Project and the Angel of the North were popular choices, despite being at the opposite ends of England, and Giant’s Causeway was the only suggestion in Northern Ireland, delivering spectacular views.

Various historic buildings were also regularly suggested, including Edinburgh Castle, Whitby Abbey, Chatsworth House and the Tower of London. Alton Towers provided the only theme park from the responses.

All of the top attractions are noted below by location.

North and Scotland

READ MORE: Scotland’s North Coast 500 – A Comprehensive Guide

Midlands and Wales

South of England

How Far Would You Travel?

The respondents’ location did have an impact on their decisions, with most choosing relatively nearby destinations and attractions.

For example, people in Swansea picked North Wales, while those in Edinburgh named Inverness, the Scottish Highlands and Skye as where they’d go, both examples remaining in the same country.

Desired destinations from respondents in selected major UK cities:

  • Belfast: London (~10-hour trip), Newcastle and Scotland (~7-hour trips)
  • Glasgow: Cornwall (~9-hour trip), Scottish Highlands (~3-hour trip), St Andrews (~2-hour trip), Edinburgh Castle (~1-hour trip)
  • Cambridge: Cornwall (~5-hour trip), Cheddar Gorge (~4-hour trip)
  • Leeds: Devon (~5-hour trip), Stonehenge (~4-hour trip), Whitby, Lake District and Blackpool (~2-hour trips)
  • Swansea: North Wales (~4-hour trip)
  • York: Norwich (~4-hour trip), North Yorkshire Moors (~ less than a 1-hour trip)
  • Newcastle: York, Edinburgh (~2-hour trips)
  • Oxford: London, Brighton (~2-hour trips)

There were, however, a few anomalies. Those in Belfast were willing to travel furthest: 10 hours to London and seven to Newcastle and Scotland. Residents in Glasgow also claimed they’d be willing to travel far – with Cornwall being a popular choice despite the 9-hour journey. Glaswegians’ next three top answers were Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews and the Highlands, showing they would also be satisfied with more local options.

Seasonality Considerations

It is also worth bearing in mind that the UK events calendar (for example: cultural, music and sporting events; holidays and observances; national days; etc.) can also dramatically impact on popular locations, and this is seen when using Google Search Trends.

For example, in the previous 12 months, searches for “Glastonbury” peaked in June, searches for “Wimbledon” peaked in July, and searches for “Hyde Park” in London peaked in December. These peaks mirror local events in the area (Glastonbury Festival, The Championships Wimbledon, and the annual Winter Wonderland event held at Hyde Park).

As a more specific example to ourselves, last year searches for “Wales Rally GB” spiked and increased ten-fold in October – the month of the event (from an average monthly search volume of 4,400 to 40,500). Next month’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October) will attract both local visitors and those from further afield.


The results show that local trips are the most popular choices for a one-day road trip. However, if you’re looking to build the ‘ultimate UK road trip’, then the likes of Cornwall, Scotland and Stonehenge cannot be missed.

If you’re planning a day (or weekend) trip soon that involves a lengthy drive, you might want to consider sharing the driving responsibility. Our policies offer immediate temporary insurance cover, and are available for between 1 – 28 days.