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England: a country steeped in history

A country with vibrant history, England will welcome visitors with old castles, academic centres dating back to the medieval times, archaeological dig sites, and stunning palaces owned by the Royalty. From Buckingham Palace in London to St George’s Hall in Liverpool – the country’s past is just waiting to be explored.

However, don’t be misled – despite being steeped in history, England is also a treasure trove of bustling cultural venues located in all major cities and a great option for the lovers of active holidays. 

Being a year-round destination, England is considered one of the most popular holiday spots in Europe. In order to get fully immersed in your adventure, hop in a rental car and explore both the crowded city centres and the natural gems waiting beyond the city limits!

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Diverse and beautiful England

One of England’s main attractions is, of course, London enjoying a picturesque location on the banks of the River Thames. All of the top-rated city venues are easily accessible by car which is considered a major advantage, especially among tourists. 

However, the capital is not the only highlight that can be visited in the eastern part of the country. Dover, with its breathtaking White Cliffs, and Canterbury, where you’ll find the beautiful St. Augustine’s Abbey, are equally interesting to explore. Travellers seeking peace and quiet should head for Penshurst Place or Wakehurst Place where they will admire medieval manors and take a stroll in the colourful botanic gardens. Leave the car at the entrance, and dive into a world of greenery and tranquillity!

Winchester and Salisbury both have long histories that spawned numerous monuments dotting the cityscape. Tourist attractions in these cities range from towering guildhalls and sizeable cathedrals to attractive municipal parks. What’s more, the cities are equally great starting points for the local attractions such as Stonehenge.

Holidaymakers who are interested in sites dating back to the Roman and Iron Age times should consider paying a visit in both Bristol and Bath. The cities are located at a stone’s throw from the stunning Bristol Channel and may become a great gateway for the exploration of the region.

Central England, the home of the famous William Shakespeare, is strongly connected with art and culture. You will have a unique opportunity to discover the playwright’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, admire the famous Victorian redbrick homes in Birmingham, or leave your car behind and immerse yourself in the natural gems of the Peak District National Park where plenty of outdoor activity options await.

Liverpool welcomes travellers with a burst of popular culture. Here, the visitors will marvel at the Liverpool Pier and learn more about the history of the Beatles. There are very few free parking spots in the centre of Liverpool so you should be prepared to have some spare cash to pay for parking tickets. 

United Kingdom/England/London/Photo by Lea Fabienne on Unsplash
United Kingdom/England/Durham/Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
United Kingdom/England/Salisbury/Photo by Robert Koorenny on Unsplash
United Kingdom/England/Liverpool/Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

Tired of the busy city streets? You should definitely consider going further north to visit Preston with its peaceful Moor Park and a stunning selection of attractions, including Preston Flag Market, Sessions House, and the Cenotaph.

Those who seek to experience natural landscapes should direct their steps to the National Lake District characterised by breathtaking views that are nowhere else to be found. Tranquil venues, mountain peaks, and long bike trips are the top attractions of the area.

Darlington, Durham, and Newcastle cannot be missed while exploring the northernmost parts of England. Each of the cities is car-friendly and provides plenty of parking spaces where you can leave your vehicle and explore the tourist attractions at your own pace. Yet another exciting highlight of the region is the famous Hadrian’s Wall, a defensive fortification that spans a total of almost 120 km.

Located in the foothills of the stunning Pennines, Bradford lures tourists with prominent examples of Victorian buildings such as the City Hall or the Bradford Cathedral. The most rapid development of the city took place in the 19th century when it was transformed into a textile manufacturing centre. While in Bradford, jump behind the wheel and discover Saltaire Village, a Victorian model village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is a perfect example of the urban planning dating back to the 19th century.

Those who are into religious architecture shouldn’t miss Fountains Abbey, one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries in the whole country founded at the beginning of the 12th century. 

England: car rental and traffic rules

Renting a car in England is a piece of cake as there exist plenty of opportunities to find car hire spots in most of the major English cities. If the first part of your trip is a plane flight, hiring a car will be even easier. Usually, each international airport can boast a broad offer of car hire companies that are often located in one of the main terminals.

If you’ve already got your dream car, buckle up and let’s start your journey around England...but first make sure that you know and understand all the traffic regulations that will ensure your safety on the road. 

The British are known for many strange habits, among which you’ll find driving on the left-hand side of the street. A rookie driver will definitely have more difficulty in getting used to the new road environment than an old hand. Extra care has to be taken when leaving one-way streets and junctions. On a roundabout, cars that are already on it will have priority over the vehicles that want to enter traffic.

United Kingdom/England/Castle Combe/Photo by Ivy Barn on Unsplash

Whenever a vehicle breaks down, the driver should switch on the hazard warning lights and the warning triangle should be placed approx. 50 m from the car on less frequented roads and 150 m on all motorways.

Wearing seatbelts is a must for all passengers occupying both rear and front seats. Adults should make sure that toddlers under 14 years of age are wearing seatbelts or special child restraints. 

What’s important to remember while driving around England is to avoid driving in lanes that are reserved for buses and taxis. These are indicated by special road markings and signs on which you will find the specified period of operation during which the lane should not be used by regular vehicles. As in other European countries, a solid single line on the road means no overtaking on that particular road section.

Speed limits in England

Unless the traffic signs indicate other speed limits, you should drive at a speed of up to 113 km/h (70 mph) on motorways and dual-carriageways, 97 km/h (60 mph) on single-carriageway roads, and 48 km/h (30mph) in built-up areas. Mind you, all of the English traffic signs will provide you with information on speed limits in miles per hour.

United Kingdom/England/Carnforth/Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash

The maximum speeding fine that you can receive for speeding amounts to £1,000 with an additional number of penalty points (between 3 and 6). Factors taken into consideration in such situations are previous convictions and the actual speed of the car.

Even though British drivers are considered amiable and have the reputation of being good motorists, you should be cautious of many people who disregard the speed limits and drive at a speed exceeding 100 mph.

Traffic cameras in England

While driving around England, you should be aware of the fact that there are cameras installed at a number of traffic lights across the country. Their purpose is to catch drivers who cross the junction on red lights. After one month from the offence, you may receive a notification that will require you to prove you didn’t commit the crime. Otherwise, you will have to face the prosecution. 

United Kingdom/England/London/Photo by Roberto Catarinicchia on Unsplash

Facts for safer driving in England

drink drive limit
max speed urban
30 mph
max speed rural
60 mph
max speed highway
70 mph
headlights at daytime
fire extinguisher
seat belts
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