summer driving routes through the south downs

Ultimate Summer Driving Thrills

The British summer sun has finally made an appearance and hopefully it’s here to stay! Longer days and lighter evenings means there’s more time to get out and enjoy the day, so why not take the time to do something fun and enjoy a more picturesque and leisurely drive around the countryside this summer?

The Best Summer Driving Routes

Route 1: Godalming, Surrey to Chichester, Sussex

This 30-mile journey starts in Godalming and stretches across clear open roads, passing some of England’s most picturesque scenery in the South East. Leave Godalming by heading south onto the A3100 for Milford and then onto the A283. People often choose the A286 to admire its rolling hills and rural landscapes; the scenery is so stunning that it could be a painting. Soon you’ll pass through the quaint village of Chiddingfold and within a few miles you’ll come across the charming Petworth House, built in the late 17th century. The next step is to join the A285 and when you reach the south of the village Duncton prepare yourself for the impressive views of the ascent of the South Downs escarpment. Views of the sea make an appearance for the remainder of your journey as you reach the A27 and Chichester.

Route 2: Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey to London Biggin Hill Airport

This driving route has been made famous by The Roundel Run, an iconic event which T W White took part in on its first year. The first points of the trip pass through Bell and Colvill, Dorking and Reigate, which was a key target during WW2. The historic city played a vital part in the war and remains a remarkable city today, with so much history to discover. The route continues through Lingfield, Edenbridge and passes the entrance of the marvellous Chartwell House towards the end of the run. Famed as the Churchill family home, the much loved English country house is a fine piece of architecture.
The route continues through Westerham, passing the historic green with its Winston Churchill statue, before turning right up towards Biggin Hill and the Festival of Flight, where the spectacular route ends at the Biggin Hill Airport.

Route 3: Orpington, Kent to Cranbrook, Kent

Start the drive in Orpington and head down to Royal Tunbridge Wells for a truly fantastic summer driving route. Leave Tunbridge Wells on A267 and when you reach the Bull pub turn left onto the B2169 and continue to Lamberhurst. Why not make a stop and take a look at the beautiful historic ruins of Bayham Abbey along the way too?
Continue again to Lamberhurst and go straight over at the crossroads to join the A21, signposted for Hastings. As you drive along here, take a look on your left and admire the entrance to the Scotney Castle and Gardens. When you reach the traffic lights, turn left onto the A268 and continue to Hawkhurst, the village famous for the historic gangs of smugglers in the 1700’s. Leave Hawkhurst on the A229 and continue to the beautiful and historic Cranbrook. As you drive around the picturesque town, take a moment to appreciate the famous Union Mill standing at the highest point overlooking the village, which was built by James Humphrey in 1814, just before the end of the Napoleonic wars.

The Ultimate Summer Cars

 New Mazda Mx-5 Mk4

Mazda MX-5

Awarded World Car of the Year 2016, the Mazda MX-5 is the ultimate car for summer driving. Equipped with a handy satnav, you’ll be on your way in no time, roof down and sunglasses on as you drive through the quintessential English countryside.
The Mazda MX-5 doesn’t just look the part. Experience outstanding agility and driving dynamics for great handling around bends and a 1,496 cc engine to handle the steep hill gradients.

Mitsuoka Brooklands Roadster in British Racing Green

Mitsuoka Roadster

The Mitsuoka Roaders embodies everything great about a classic retro car. Drawing inspiration from the classic Roadster, it combines timeless design with advanced engineering for the ultimate relaxed driving experience.
This stylish ride also sports the world’s fastest retractable hard-top, opening and closing in 12 seconds at just the flip of a switch for a quick transition into that summer drive mode.

Suzuki swift sport in blue

Suzuki Swift

Awarded a What Car? ‘Best Buy’ for the fifth year in a row, the Suzuki Swift offers a dynamic and comfortable driving experience for motorways and an agile drive for narrow country lanes and rural towns. The engine’s high output is combined with excellent fuel economy and a bespoke exhaust system fitted with a six gear manual transmission adds a sporty touch to the much loved Suzuki Swift.

T W White’s Summer Driving Advice

If you decide to endeavour on one of our favourite summer driving routes, or you’ve got your own route in mind, then we strongly suggest you plan out the route beforehand, especially if you’re travelling a long way or with children wanting to make regular pit stop! Perhaps note down the local petrol stations and potential rest stops along the way?

We know it would be wonderful if your journey could be completely carbon neutral but sadly that’s just not the case with non-hybrid vehicles. However, there are ways you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint whilst still driving your car!

Drive better

  • Accelerating smoothly helps by keeping the car’s engine at its most economical rpm, which is usually between 1500 and 2500.

Be prepared

  • Anticipate what’s happening on the road ahead in good time and react accordingly with plenty of time to avoid harsh braking
  • Don’t start your car and leave it running to warm up ahead of the journey

Maintenance

Keeping your car in top condition helps it function exactly as the manufacturer meant it to every time you drive it. Regular maintenance checks are likely to result in the most effective use of fuel and minimal emissions.

  • Replace the oil filter at regular intervals, as advised by your manufacturer
  • Keep your tyres properly inflated. Under inflated tyres can play havoc with your emission levels and cause your car to produce up to 300kg of additional CO2 per year

Finally you should follow these top tips to stay safe when out for a drive this summer:

  • Obey the rules of the road – always drive at a safe speed and obey speed limits.
  • Overtake safely – see our guide here

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