Giant's Head - Heligan
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Driving tips and other life stuff

5 UK landmarks you shouldn’t visit

All those 'must-see' places? Nah mate, forget them. You're looking at mile-long tailbacks, no parking, no pub and no joy at all to be found.

I've compiled a list of places to avoid in our Great British Isles, along with excellent alternatives just down the road.

  1. Stonehenge

  2. Yep, just drive straight past that mother (unless you're going after dark). Our most treasured stone circle, famed for its mystery and mysticalness? Not worth it.

    You can see about as much of Stonehenge's majesty on the sweeping drive across Salisbury Plain - on your way to Avebury.

    Go to Avebury instead

    Avebury is also a stone circle. It's about the same age as Stonehenge (3000 BC) but it's a larger site and has about 3000% fewer people buzzing around it.

    As Avebury is only about 17 miles from Stonehenge, it would be easy to have a little walk around Stonehenge AND a lengthier trip to Avebury, where you're less likely to get selfie sticks in all your photos.

    Avebury stone circle

    Avebury, Alison Stein

     
  3. Arlington Row

  4. Otherwise known as that one village on every old timey chocolate box ever made the world over, Arlington Row is a street of cottages in the Cotswold village of Bilbury. The 14th century buildings are the oldest (and most photographed) inhabited dwellings in the UK.

    But you know what? The uptight tourists put me off. Visitors to Arlington Row demanded an 82-year-old man stop parking outside his house because they didnt want a yellow Vauxhall Corsa in all their photos.

    Take note: it's a theme park crawling with squares, not an accurate portrayal of rural life in the Cotswolds.

    Go to Lower Slaughter instead

    It's got the chocolate box look, the small village vibe and a bloomin' good name. The equally well-named River Eye flows through the village and you can get plenty of photos without poor Peter's cheerful motor in the background.

    Also: great pub and 2 manor house hotels offering A-class food.

    Lower Slaughter

    Lower Slaughter, Charles D P Miller

     
  5. Blackpool

  6. You know it's a famous faux pas - but it looks like a laugh, right? Like, how bad can it really be?

    Really, really bad.

    Aside from the tired old attractions and grey water, Blackpool attracts a lot of what my mam calls grockles - and they're as awful as they sound. Leave Blackpool for the hen parties and coach trips.

    Go to Cleveleys instead

    It's got gift shops and chips, but Blackpool's next-door-neighbour is a completely different ball game.

    With a modern, sculptural promenade in complete contrast to the usual Victorian seaside architecture, Cleveleys has miles of sand, bustling cafe culture and loads of weird beach art - including an awesome sea ogre.

    Sure, there's no miniature Eiffel Tower, but I'd say that's a point in its favour.

    Cleveleys seafront sculptures

    Mary's Shell, Cleveleys, Drew's Photo Shoots

     
  7. The Eden Project

  8. Famous for its enormous sci-fi bubble domes (scientifically named 'biomes’), The Eden Project is another one of these ‘must-see’ places. Yeah, all the eco stuff can be pretty cool but once you've taken a few Instagram snaps and walked around a bit, it's really just a load of plants. Overrated - not to mention pricey.

    Go to the Lost Gardens of Heligan instead

    A 20-minute drive down the road and you’ll find yourself in a genuine secret garden. Left neglected and hidden under miles of overgrowth during the outbreak of WW1, these gardens are a unique piece of Cornish history.

    You and your pals can amble along the Woodland Walk and spot magic living sculptures like the Mud Maiden and The Giant’s Head, which add to the overall enchantment of the place.

    You can also explore the tropical gardens of The Jungle and try to clamber your way along one of the longest Burmese rope bridges in Britain.

    Twice as nice at half the price.

    Mud Maiden - Heligan

    Mud Maiden, Katey-Rose Gregory

     
  9. Hampton Court Palace

  10. Yawn. We all know the story: Henry VIII and his squad of wives hung out here, among other old dead people.

    Hampton Court Palace is a great sight to drive past - just wishing you were a minted historical dude - but leave it at the royal gates. It can get pretty busy in peak season and the ticket prices don’t leave you with much change from 20 quid.

    Go to the Isabella Plantations in Richmond Park instead

    It's free, pretty and has some really great picnic spots. The plantations are known for their beautiful collections of flowers and unusual trees, which are particularly spectacular around early May. The azaeleas along the river are actually heart-breaking.

    And of course, you’ll then find yourself smack-bang in the middle of Richmond Park if you fancied a bit of deer spotting. Lovely.

    Isabella Plantations

    Reflected azaeleas, London looks

Got a few more minutes for summer dreaming? Here's a whole bunch of fun that doesn't involve alcohol.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .