Are you looking for a unique way to travel around the UK? Do you enjoy meeting new people and love hearing stories?
Then let us introduce you to hitchhiking, a fun, fascinating, and challenging way to travel.
Hitchhiking in UK will make your journey more amusing and memorable.
The United Kingdom is one of the most traveled destinations in the world. It is comprised of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Island.
The UK is blessed with stunning landscapes, breathtaking scenic views, historical monuments, majestic castles, and exquisite art galleries.
When I decided to hitchhike it was purely out of the excitement of trying something adventurous and new.
It was surely an unforgettable journey with many learning experiences.
I would love to share my tips and tricks with you that can give you a layout of how to hitchhike in the UK. So let’s hit the road.
Hitchhiking in UK
Table of Contents
How its like to Hitchhike in UK?
Hitchhiking in the UK is not as easy as in other western European countries. You have to give some extra effort in the Uk and wait a little longer to get the ride. Rural areas are more hitchhiking friendly in the UK as compared to urban areas, especially areas around London are not so hitchhiking friendly. Hitchhiking can seem to be daunting at first but you will soon start to enjoy the thrill of the journey.
While hitchhiking in the UK, you need to be aware of the known pickup points.
British people are understanding and friendly with a great sense of humor and eager to help but they don’t comprise when it comes to safety. So, you must choose the right location for hitchhiking in the UK.
The average waiting time for hitchhikers in the UK is about 30 minutes. But in reality waiting time varies significantly from place to place in the UK.
Generally, hitchhiking is quite easy in rural areas of the UK but as you get closer to big cities it becomes difficult to get a ride as a hitchhiker.
Like other western European countries, the best spots to hitchhike in the UK are the highways and tollbooths.
You can also try and use signboards with the name of your destination to make it easier for you along the way.
Make sure to pack light with all the essential items only as you might have to wait for a longer duration sometime to get the next ride.
Also Read: 10 Best European Countries for Hitchhiking
Is Hitchhiking Safe in the UK?
Hitchhiking in the UK is safe if you stay away from the motorways, as it is illegal to hitchhike around the areas where pedestrians are banned.
People are understanding, supportive, and are ready to guide you along the way.
While hitchhiking you should always keep your phone handy to be clear of your drop-off destination.
Make sure to also carry a map of the place you are traveling to in case you encounter any signal problems along the highway.
Also Read: Best Free Places to Sleep while Hitchhiking
Best Spots to Start Hitchhiking in UK
Undoubtedly the most common and great spot to start hitchhiking is the gas stations or service stations alongside the motorways.
This method of hitchhiking is called the service station hitchhiking method or the petrol station hitchhiking method. And this method works quite well in western European countries.
.However, it is illegal to hitchhike on the motorways but you can surely wait at the service stations.
Drivers stop at the service stations and it can be the perfect opportunity for you to ask them for a ride. The drivers are usually very friendly and will likely offer you a ride.
Let me share my experience with you. I think the service station method is best for hitchhiking in the UK.
I think British people are very kind but are a little suspicious about hitchhikers than german and french people.
So, to win the trust of British drivers, it is important to talk with them.
Service stations give hitchhikers the great opportunity to talk with British drivers and to show them that you are a genuine driver. British are very kind people once they trust you they’ll give you a ride.
Other great spots to hitchhike are the tollbooths along the motorways.
The people at tollbooths are also very helpful and do not bother hitchhikers.
When you approach a driver, always be positive and wear a broad smile and try to be clear in your conversation.
Do not be unsure about your destination and be ready with the directions on the map as well as on your phone.
Is Hitchhiking Illegal in the UK?
Hitchhiking is not illegal in the UK but is banned on the motorways. It is still a common way for people in the rural areas of the UK to travel from one place to another. Be certain to hitchhike near the tollbooths, cafes on the highway, and service stations and you can expect no hassle in your journey.
Points to consider before hitchhiking in the UK
Hitchhiking in the UK is not as easy as in France and Germany so sometimes you may have to wait for a long duration.
In such a situation it is of utmost importance that you pack lightly with comfortable clothing and footwear.
Do not forget to carry all your necessary documents and identification proofs along with you and make sure to click their pictures from your phone.
Another important thing that you can carry is necessary stationery like pens and card sheets that will come in handy in case you want to make a signboard.
Know Your Destination
The vital step when you hitchhike is that you should be very thorough with the place that you want to go and the in-between stops that you will come across.
This helps you and gives the driver a clear message that you are very well aware of the location and the surrounding area.
Stay away from situations where you are dropped off in the middle of a dangerous road.
Always make sure to keep your phone charged and try to text someone about your whereabouts every one hour to keep a track of your journey.
Avoid Pre Booking of Accommodations
Hitchhiking is a pretty spontaneous way of travel and you can never be 100 percent sure of the time when you will reach your next destination.
It is advisable not to overthink and plan every detail of your trip as it will surely take a surprise turn.
If you are looking for accommodations, then make sure to contact the place in advance and discuss with them your situation, and do not rely on a single option.
It will not harm you to keep two or three options in hand.
Pack Your Food
It will be better if you carry your food and pack some snacks, energy bars, and drinks.
In the UK, the waiting time for getting a ride varies from place to place. Sometimes you may get a ride in a couple of minutes whereas sometimes you may have to wait many hours to get your first ride. So it is better to prepare for such a situation.
Waiting for the next ride can be exhausting and you might not necessarily have access to shops, so to save yourself from starving carry some chips and protein bars.
Travel in Groups
Solo traveling has a charm and excitement of its own but enjoying a journey with your friends can be a memorable experience.
Being with known people makes you more confident when you try hitchhiking.
If you are planning to hitchhike for the very first time then try and include your friends too in this adventure.
The UK is known to be one of the world’s most favorite tourist places and is surrounded by picturesque views. It is also a great place for hitchhikers as they can enjoy the lush green landscapes while waiting for their next ride. We hope that this guide helps you in planning your next hitchhiking trip across the UK.