Car gathering dust – or perhaps snow – on the driveway? Once our horizons are finally stretched beyond the shop at the end of the street, get back behind the wheel on these brilliant British road trips. 1. North Wessex Downs Forget the booked-solid Cotswolds, you’ll find vales and villages as postcard-worthy a short hop south in the North Wessex Downs. Duck off the M4 at Yattendon for beers at West Berkshire Brewery’s taproom, before a proper pub dinner – think slow-roasted shoulder of lamb – at the handsome Royal Oak, which also has rooms overlooking the village square (royaloakyattendon.co.uk). Onwards south, to saunter through Downton Abbey, aka Highclere Castle, and stroll across chalky Watership Down, before turning westwards for Great Bedwyn. Here you’ll find the steam-powered Crofton Beam Engines alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal’s highest point; book a Steam Experience and you can stoke their boiler (croftonbeamengines.org).