If you’re looking for a little more excitement for your summer holiday, you should consider trying something a bit more ‘out of the box’ than your usual beach break. Staycation breaks are now more popular than ever, so if you’re planning to stay in the UK this year, the country is home to many areas of natural beauty, making it the perfect back drop for some 4×4 fun.
We’ve teamed up with Grange, who stock the sporty McLaren 720s, to bring you this guide to the best places to go off-roading in the UK this summer.
1. Check your skill level
Off-road holidays aren’t just for beginners, but you should always check your skill level before heading off. Fortunately, we are here to help if you reckon your knowledge is lacking when driving on sand, through water and in the mud.
Will you be visiting a beach as part of your off-road adventure? You will want to be in a low gear when travelling across sand and maintaining a steady momentum. Lowering your tyre pressure, possibly to 15psi as a minimum, will also see you creating a larger surface area. In the event that your wheels begin to spin on sand, don’t panic and instead take your foot off the throttle and slow your car’s tyres so that you can regain traction. Parking in sand should also be done on a downward slope, as you’ll find it much easier to pull away once you get moving again.
If you find your route blocked by water, you should be careful and take a slower approach, working up speed in small increments. Just don’t follow another vehicle instantly into the water, as unsettled water adds to the challenge of achieving safe passage. Slipping or riding the clutch should definitely be avoided too, due to this action resulting in you losing control of the vehicle.
Mud is a different story altogether. Steady momentum is the way to go when travelling through deep batches of mud, with a vehicle’s tyres looking to cut through mud in order to pinpoint traction that’s achieved on firmer ground that’s located underneath. Refrain from losing your nerve in the event wheels do begin to spin mind, as you will just need to ease off the throttle and then slow the tyres until grip is regained.
You may also come across ruts when driving in the mud – these are deep tracks caused by repeated driving through the area. Deep ruts should be straddled, due to this limiting the environmental impact to a minimum. Then there’s muddy hills which you might need to climb up, whereby you should be seeking to gain momentum so to counter the decrease that you feel in traction. Do everything possible to avoid wheel spins when ascending muddy hills as well — you’ll lose momentum and cause damage to the environment otherwise.
2. Vehicle and accessories for off-roading
You should consider your choice of vehicle carefully before you go. You won’t go wrong with picking a 4×4, such as a Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE, when experiencing the amazing sights and sounds which make up an off-roading holiday.
Four-wheel drive vehicles give you increased control of the road, especially when it comes to tough terrain. Due to the engine’s power being distributed across all four wheels once the vehicle is moving, there is less chance of it becoming stuck while getting from A to B across various terrains too. The power available within a 4×4 means that you should also have little trouble getting the vehicle over obstacles and up even steep hills.
Additionally, the extra space provided by a 4×4 means that they are perfect if you plan on bringing the family along.
It’s also important to consider adding additional accessories to your vehicle to enhance the experience. Most 4×4 vehicles come with off-road lighting as standard but it’s definitely wise to invest in something that can produce a lower and wider beam if you’re going to be driving in the countryside. A driving lamp can be fitted below the bumper, giving you more light and increased visibility on difficult terrain.
3. The best places to go off-roading in the UK
Ultra Adventure Driving
Ultra Adventure Driving is located in Wales, close to some very impressive mountains such as Snowdonia. It’s also home to two purpose-built off-roading sites. The sites are catered to individual skill levels, so you’ll never feel out of your depth and with waterways, steep climbs and plenty of mud, you’ll be in for a real off-road adventure! There are also 20 off-road sites located all over the UK with various terrains and features for you to enjoy. Whilst some of the terrain presents an extreme challenge for the more experienced 4×4 driver, others are non-damaging to vehicles and safe for beginners.
Silverstone off-road experience
Silverstone is already famous for its driving tracks, but it isn’t usually considered as an off-road hotspot. Luckily, there is a purpose-built area dedicated to the off-road experience, offering a variety of obstacles and unique driving challenges. The experience can also be tailored to suit your needs, so don’t worry if you’re not an expert! You can also opt to receive one on one guidance from an experienced instructor as you attempt to tackle five different challenges.
If you like a bit of mud, the Wild Tracks off-road circuit in Suffolk is the perfect choice! With 3 tracks available, the most famous of which is the sandy Chippenham track, there’s something to suit every need here. Obstacles include deep sandy soil and a large watering hole (filed with mud, of course)!
There’s even an outdoor go-karting track for the kids. Due to its popularity it can get quite busy during the summer, so be sure to book well in advance if you plan on going.