Are you planning a staycation? Data suggests you are – with a survey carried out by Bridgestone Potenza showing 75-percent of people are more likely to take a staycation due to Covid-19. I can’t blame you – even after global travel bans starting to lift and local lockdowns have been relaxed, the idea of hopping on an aeroplane full of strangers doesn’t seem that appealing to me. Instead, I’d suggest loading up the car and heading to the best driving roads in the UK, many of which offer a perfect blend of nature, adventure, and luxury.
In the name of science, Bridgestone provided me with a car, a new set of Potenza Sport tyres, and an itinerary to discover what the UK has on offer. Where did I end up going? With high temperatures and sunny weather, there was no better place to visit than the Isle of Wight, which not only has a varied coastline of cliffs, coves, sandy beaches and rock pools, but also has some of the best driving roads in the country.
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Of course, before you get to the island itself you need to drive down to the ferry terminal on the South Coast, and rather than bombing down the motorway we suggest taking a scenic route through the North Wessex Downs and South Downs.
I stopped at White Horse Hill for a short circular walk, then stopped again at The Vyne National Trust Estate (opens in new tab) – a former Tudor powerhouse turned 17th-century family home. It’s the perfect spot for a lunch break at the estate café, followed by the chance to explore the home set in gardens, woodlands and wetlands.
Getting back on the road it’s time for a little detour via Godalming along ‘Hidden Hampshire’ routes (A283 & A285). These undulating and weaving roads take you towards Petworth and onto Portsmouth, where you can board the car ferry to the Isle of Wight. After the short 30-minute crossing I headed straight to the hotel to recharge for the following day.
I stayed at Lakeside Park (opens in new tab), a contemporary high-end hotel with spa facilities, outside thermal spa garden, and walking and biking trails marked around the grounds. This is just one of the luxury options on the Isle of Wight, you could also try the stylish George Hotel (opens in new tab) or opulent Haven Hall (opens in new tab).
After a leisurely start the next day, it was time to put Bridgestone’s new tyres to the test. The next generation Potenza Sport is a premium high-performance sports tyre that aims to provide top performance in the dry and outstanding control in the wet.
My journey started off taking in the sea views from Ryde, looking northward across the Solent towards Portsmouth’s skyline, then following the coast road, via Bembridge onto Shanklin Chine. This was the perfect place to stop for a short break, building in time to take in the Bali-esque natural gorge tucked away in the coastline.
Back in the car, my journey around the island continued along Military Road, which was built by prisoners of war during WW2. Here I could really explore the tyre’s grip along the flowing, undulating coastal road with breathtaking views of the coastline.
After some spirited driving along Military Road, I made my way to the most westerly tip of the island to see The Needles rock formations, Trinity Lighthouse, and the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay’s cliff faces.
From there, I travelled a little further along the coast and had lunch at The Hut (opens in new tab) in Compton Bay, which serves fresh seafood in a setting that looks more like the Mediterranean than the UK.
After lunch, I enjoyed a leisurely drive back through the impressive arching woods and incredible rolling hills of Middle Road.
Have we inspired you to get away to the Isle of Wight? You can plan your trip using the Visit Isle of Wight website (opens in new tab), and, if you need some new tyres for your journey then the Bridgestone Potenza Sport (opens in new tab) served us very well.