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Letter From The UK: Travelling In Great Britain

Letter from the UK

One of the few benefits of living in the UK is that, being a relatively small island nation, nothing is that far away. At a push, a healthy alert driver could go end to end in well under twenty-four hours. This means our diverse and varied countryside, regions, historic towns, and teeming cities are pretty much accessible to all. If you like to travel and see places and things, then it’s all here in a neat package tied up with string.

God’s Country

The UK contrasts hugely with the USA. This writer is regularly astonished by the sights and sounds of inland America. Watching news or movies and seeing empty highways winding through deep, dark forests or running straight as an arrow across wide open plains is awesome. We, with our tiny lanes and byways, can barely comprehend the sheer vastness of the American continent.

We hear tales of American families who drive many, many miles just to get to a McDonald’s. I can walk to mine. Also a Costa, a Burger King, and an Asda/Walmart. That’s the difference between our two nations; but one thing that we can certainly agree on is that it is always best to go on our travels in a good car. For me that means Subaru.

Fear Of European Travel?

As you’ve read often in my Letters, the UK is leaving the European Union and it is all getting very fractious and, frankly, a bit stupid. One alleged “expert” says that we Brits are these days choosing to take our vacations (or “staycations” as they insist on calling them) in the UK because we fear the consequences of Brexit when it comes to visiting Europe.

This is of course arrant nonsense and demonstrates quite clearly how people will say anything to cause division and fear over what is essentially merely a political mess much like the USA is currently experiencing. Politicians eh? Can’t live with them; can’t put them all on a one-way rocket to Mars.

History shows that – Shock! – well before the EU existed, Britons took holidays in Europe. How can it be any different? This is what happens when the lunatics take over the asylum. How happy we would be if politicians and their mouthpieces just left us all alone.

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Automoblog Feature Columnist Geoff Maxted on a scenic drive through the British countryside. Those in the United States should consider traveling abroad more often. A May 2017 study by NBC News found that traveling abroad can enhance creativity and lower the risk of depression. Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

To Cornwall In An Outback

But enough of all this grumbling; let’s go on a road trip.

Cornwall is the nearest British county to America. Stand on the lofty mainland eminence of Land’s End and the next stop is the USA. Like many regions, Cornwall has its own identity. It even has its own language that just a few years ago was remembered and spoken by just a few, but is now being learned and spoken by new generations. There is even a band of enthusiasts working for an independent Cornwall. This would be like Florida ceding from the Union.

It is a beautiful county with mixed countryside from the lush green of the South to the rugged moorlands of the North. Surfing is a way of life with Fistral beach at Newquay being the centre of the universe as far as UK surfers are concerned. The Outback below is pictured there.

As an example of UK travel, from my home I can reach Cornwall in under three hours yet the weather is generally milder, and the renowned light beloved of artists and photographers alike is clear and bright, like a child’s eyes. It is a place to relax and unwind; I know, I used to live there.

About The Outback

Subaru offers a small range of cars and I like all of them. The Outback as driven here has a punchy and strong 2.5-liter flat-four “Boxer” petrol engine. It’s a big and roomy four-wheel drive car and very comfortable on the road. It eats long distances, driving through a “Lineartronic” CVT gearbox with ideal ratios for big journeys.

Our car was fitted with Subaru’s Eyesight safety technology and let me tell you it works! We have our fair share of idiots on the road too. The car has all the latest safety technology and all the usual infotainment suspects but, unlike some manufacturers, Subaru does not make a big deal out of it. The dashboard is plain, almost austere, but the seats are big and there’s plenty of family space. This car is all about the business of driving and travelling backed up by Subaru’s legendary symmetrical four-wheel drive.

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Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

In Padstow

And talking of legends: The scenic coastal town of Padstow, nestling on the banks of the River Camel tidal estuary, is the base for the now global enterprise that is Chef Rick Stein. This is the place he established his first restaurant, still thriving, and where his quayside premises serve that most traditional of British meals, fish and chips.

Often embellished with brown vinegar and salt (honest, it works) this is the traditional British take away meal. When push comes to shove you can keep your oriental cuisine or meat patties in a bun and feed me this. Armies march on this stuff and Rick Stein’s is just about as good as it gets.

So remember: The UK is still worth a visit but instead of going to our capital city London, currently run by a buffoon and where you will pay a king’s ransom for a hotel room, why not instead tour around the country. Car hire is reasonably inexpensive and, getting back to my original point, nowhere is very far away. When all is said and done and despite the best efforts of successive governments, the UK remains a great country. Best seen from a Subaru.

Geoff Maxted is a motoring writer, photographer, and author of our Letter From The UK series. Follow his work on Twitter: @DriveWrite

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Photo: DriveWrite Automotive.

From NBC News: 5 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad.