The Best Scenic Drives Near London

Authored on on 20-07-2021 by Lu Etchells

With the summer holidays around the corner, and foreign travel remaining an unpredictable beast as a result of the pandemic, it seems staycations continue to be the buzz word when it comes to getting away.  Whether you loathe the word, or are happy to embrace it for what it is, the reality is, few of us are getting aware easily this year.

In true British style though, we’ll grit our teeth and endeavour to make the best of the situation.  Without doubt, there are worse countries to find yourself staycaying in and arguably, one of the best ways to see much of what’s on offer is to get behind the wheel of your car.

With that in mind, iCashCars have done some research and discovered the top five best scenic drives near London. So, whether you’re looking for a great day trip, or something that keeps you driving for longer, we’ve got you covered.

#1 The Surrey Hills

Surrey Hills is an official area of outstanding natural beauty and, being close to London, is great for those who prefer shorter drives.  There are numerous places worthy of a visit, but our trip starts in Shere, via Newlands Corner, which is a nature reserve with great views of the surrounding area.

Shere is arguably one of the most beautiful villages in England, and has been used as the backdrop to such films as Bridget Jones and The Holiday. There are plenty of lovely English pubs to stop off at for a meal, so you can avoided the dreaded drive-thru if you wish to.

You can then drive on to Peaslake, then up to Leith Hill Tower.  If you can manage to tackle the 78-steps, you can use the telescopes to try and spot Big Ben.  Finally, head on down to Box Hill, a great opportunity to stretch your legs before heading on to Norbury Park Nature Reserve and making your way back in to London.

#2 The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are scattered with small pretty towns and villages providing pleasant places to while away the time, and with plenty to see and do.

If you fancy heading out for a bit of a longer drive, you simply need to pick up the M41/A41 select your starting point.  Central London to Burford, Oxfordshire wis approximately 77 miles and from the Cotswolds are your oyster.

Alternatively, you can pick up a pre-planned route starting in Cheltenham.  Head northwards for Winchcombe, then  through Stanway, Stanton, Broadway, Chipping Camden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, and then back towards London. The journey is a further 75 miles (approximately) and will take you through some stunning countryside and wonderful little villages.

#3 Sevenoaks to Hastings

This is a great drive out, and can be modified to suit your preferences in terms of time behind the wheel if you want a direct route, or are happy to take your time.

You can either use the A21 (this is about 76 miles) or alternatively, follow this route suggested by Time and Leisure:

  • From Sevenoaks, use the A21 towards Tonbridge, then use the A26 to Royal Tunbridge Wells.
  • Next, take the A267 down to the A22
  • Follow the A22 to the A27 and head towards Pevensy and on to the A259
  • Follow this road through Bexhil and into Hastings, driving along the coast.
  • Keep following A259 out of hastings and eastwards to Rye and then head northwards on A268
  • Drive along the A268, passing through Sandhurst and into Hawkhurst.
  • Head north up the A229 all the way through Staplehurst and into Maidstone.
  • Come off the A229 and onto the A20 (London Road)until it becomes the A25
  • Keep driving until you get to the A225 and back into Seven Oaks.

#4 London to Brighton

If you’re looking for a drive that ends with a day by the sea, then arguably there’s nowhere better than Brighton (Southend might come a close second, of course!). 

The obvious routes will be the M25/M23; however, if you choose to detour slightly, you can take in some picturesque villages throughout Surrey and really make the most of your day, rather than looking at 60 miles of motorway.

Once in Brighton there’s plenty to see and do, from quaint coffee shops and independent boutiques to the fun of the arcades.  No trip is complete without the obligatory fish and chips though – just watch out for seagulls!

#5 Epping Forest

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, then there’s always Epping Forest.  Whilst parts of this once Royal park are located within London, it won’t feel like you’re anywhere near the city.

The area boasts over 100 lakes and ponds, making it a great place for couples, families and dog walkers.  There’s plenty to see, regardless of the weather, and for most Londoners it’s only a relatively short drive away.

Back to blog