Why every British holiday needs a Land Rover

There are many ways to improve a British holiday or a weekend away. You can upgrade your room to one with a view that doesn’t look out on the bins, you can opt for the taster menu with ten courses rather than seven, or you can pitch your tent further away from the toilet block.

Good ideas these may be, but none come close to the sheer joy of upgrading your wheels to an icon of British engineering. Leave the family estate, SUV or sporty little number at home and hire a Land Rover for the duration of your trip. 

A proper Land Rover Defender, mind. A short wheel-base, built like a brick shit-house, drives like a truculent cow, Land Rover. Sure, you need calves of steel to push down the clutch and a bit of upper body strength is helpful to change gear, but it's nothing you can’t handle. And once you get the hang of it you will feel like a god on wheels.

There is nothing else quite like the feeling of bombing around the British countryside in the vehicle that built the British countryside. Hedges block the view of mere mortals but not for you. Other road users will get out of the way, reversing gingerly down single-track roads to let you pass. Even arsey farmers will treat you with a modicum of respect, assuming you are you are an avid reader of the Farmers' Guardian yourself.

Make no mistake, driving at its most analogue does take a bit of getting used to, but the thrill more than makes up for a moment’s uncertainty as you first get behind that majestic steering wheel. Very quickly you will be consulting the sat’ nav’ (on your phone, that is) for the most hilly route to the pub, chortling as large puddles hove into view and Googling the nearest river ford to thunder through.

You will rediscover the joy of driving you had when you had just passed your test and kept volunteering to go to the shops just so you could get behind the wheel again.

Avis won’t be much use, you will need a specialist hire firm for this task. For our jaunt in the Lake District we chose Cumbrian 4X4 who will drop off your rental beast most anywhere in the region for an additional fee. We can’t vouch for these firms but outside the lakes you could try Well Sprung Car Hire in Devon, 4X4 Hire Scotland, Range Rover Hire Wales (they seem to have Defenders) or 4X4 Vehicle Hire that appear to be national.

Never has staying in second gear seemed such fun.

If you like this, you might also like our review of the Hare & Hounds at Bowland Bridge.

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