Road Trips With Avis: East Midlands
Central England - Heart of the matter
Discover England's East Midlands with an Avis road tripFrom powerboating to underground exploration, curious art and Georgian luxury, you'll be surprised how much there is to do.
Test drive this two-day road trip for the best of the East Midlands
Pick up your Avis hire car from Leicester and head north-east along the pretty A607 road to Melton Mowbray for a round of golf in quintessential English countryside – and a night in one of England's finest stately homes. Swing north-west on the A606 to Holme Pierrepont for some wet and wild fun on the rapids.
Continue north via Matlock to the High Peak Estate to storm a natural castle, then get subterranean in Castleton. Last but not least, get a glimpse of life in the fast lane at Donington Park, before dropping off your Avis hire car at Nottingham East Midlands Airport, right next door.
High points en routeMelton Mowbray – Countryside course
Round off your afternoon with a relaxing 18 holes at Stapleford Park, meandering through a Capability Brown landscape alongside the River Eye. The stately home on the edge of the course is your five-star bed for the night, with sumptuous rooms styled by different designers, from Mulberry to Pirelli. Don't forget to pick up a pie from the butcher's in the morning.
Holme Pierrepont – Thrills and spills
The National Water Sports Centre is a must for adrenalin junkies. Waterskiing, windsurfing and powerboating are all on the agenda, or try rafting the powerful grade 3 white-water course. With some of the most exciting man-made rapids in the world – used to train Olympic-level canoeists – the 700-metre course provides all-out thrills from start to finish.
High Peak Estate – Hilltops and hiking
Drive to the outstanding walking country of the High Peak Estate is home to one of the most spectacular landscape features in the Peak District, Alport Castles. Debris from a landslide 12,000 years ago has created several mounds, the largest of which – the Tower – resembles a full-scale motte and bailey castle.
Castleton – Going underground
At the western end of the rugged Hope Valley lies Castleton, the 'Gem of the Peaks'. The village is home to Peak Cavern, the most famous of several mines in the area. Within the cave's dramatic entrance – the largest in Britain – you'll discover the remains of an ancient village where people lived for over 400 years. Tour the caverns to discover what life was like underground.
Donington Grand Prix Exhibition – Need for speed
This impressive museum at the famous Donington Park circuit has the largest display of Grand Prix cars in the world. Get a close look at Lotuses, Ferraris and a gleaming collection of McLarens that includes James Hunt's 1977 world championship winner. Imagine yourself behind the wheel, but make sure you stick to the speed limit as you climb back into your hire car ...
Free time on your hands? Take your pick from the following gems1. Trentside – Divine dining
Restaurant Sat Bains is a deliciously decorated, Michelin-starred eatery on the banks of the River Trent. Leave plenty of time for the nine-course degustation menu, with mouth-watering dishes like duck egg served at 62 degrees centigrade (exactly) or slow-cooked Dexter beef. There's even a bed handy if you go too far.
2. Chatsworth House – Treasures, inside and out
The unusual private art collection at Chatsworth House covers 4000 years and features pieces as diverse as a giant ancient Greek marble foot and the titanium fan of a Rolls Royce jet engine. Outside, admire the fountains and the 24-step water cascade, while the yew maze at the heart of the garden should keep you on your toes.
3. Clipstone – Wild woods
Park the car and try some off-road biking at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, in the heart of the historic Sherwood Forest. There are routes for bikers of all levels, but for a true thrill-seeking experience, have a go at the 'dual descender' course. Taking its inspiration from Alpine slalom skiing, it features side-by-side tracks over a kilometre of hairy terrain, complete with treacherous jumps and bends.
4. Stratford upon Avon – Bard's birthplace
After all that running about, it's time for a spot of local culture. Where better to take in a Shakespeare play than at The Swan, in the Bard's home town? This atmospheric galleried playhouse, built inside the shell of the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre on the banks of the River Avon, is a Mecca for theatre aficionados.
5. Idlicote – Relaxing retreat
Relax and forget about city life at Idlicote House. This elegant Georgian mansion sits in a stunning rural setting, providing beautiful accommodation oozing with character for the Cotswold traveller. Each of the stylish and spacious rooms offers views of the garden and surrounding countryside – the perfect place to stretch your legs, if you really want to get out of bed ...