Where to go on a short trip from the UK in October?


New member
Good news: we've just bought a Defender 110 pickup with a Four Wheel Camper!
Bad news: we're tied to our jobs as hospital doctors until next August (little time off!)
Good news: We've managed to get 8-9 days off at the end of October & live half an hour from the Eurotunnel

I'm itching to put our new toy to good use with some 'overlanding' (I say this with tongue in cheek it being western Europe - we just moved back from Australia & miss the outback!). It seems that the best places nearby to get away are the Pyrenees & the Alps. The Alps are closer & I suspect there are better places to visit/wild camp on the way down so it doesn't end up just being a huge motorway slog through France. Bad news is I've have been told that a lot of passes can be closed by that time of year.

The plan would be a day to get down, 4 days exploring, a couple of days catching some autumn sun to please the other half (ie Nice/Barcelona) 1.5 days to get back.

It's tight i know, wish we had longer!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, are we barking up completely the wrong tree? Should we abandon it and just enjoy some closer spots?



Active member
Might be pushing it to get to the alps in a day unless your 110 goes faster than most of the ones i've ever driven :)

End of october you will be competing with UK school half term so make sure you book tunnel/ferry early

i'd be surprised if many roads or passes would be closed that early in the autumn/winter

Stay in France rather than trying to get down to Barcelona - weather won't be much different and its just adding miles for the sake of it. And if the alps are too far then the central massif in France probably has some interesting routes. Or a wine valley if that appeals - you will be after the harvest so should be quieter than september

Paddler Ed

Go the other way and do the North Coast 500?

I'd agree that the Alps is a push for a day run, ever with a Chunnel crossing.

A day would comfortably put you into the Vosge, Ardennes or Alsace regions, or into the German Black Forest, and that has some interesting bits to explore.


New member
Thanks for the responses guys. I think you're definitely right in not to be too over-ambitious. 70mph (110kph) is for sure my max comfortable cruising speed!

We did consider Scotland & wales but decided against it because of weather/UK half term. Plus Wales is perfect for a long weekend. Surprisingly the Massif Central is actually just as far as the Alps.

Vosges & the Black forest look promising, although more for nature/hikes than for off-roading. I think starting off in Ballons des Vosges Park would be a great idea & see how we feel once were there. The closest off-road routes (on wikiloc) I can find are not much further south though: Regional Naturepark Thal (130km) & around Montreaux on Lake Geneva (265km).

So if were still feeling frisky:
Day 1 - Shoot down to Ballons des vosgues (612km), stopping at Reims for lunch - stay in BdV
Day 2 - Drives/walks in BdV - stay in BdV
Day 3 - Drive to Thal parc (130km) & do some of this trail https://www.wikiloc.com/offroading-trails/wasserfallen-langenbruck-36817328 - camp on trail
Day 4-6 Drive to Montreaux (140km) stay in the area for 2 nights
Day 7-8(+/- 9) Head back, maybe via Reims/Paris?

Ambitious I know, but we're used to spending a lot of time on the road... Not in a defender though!! :p
And to state the obvious: these are all pretty easy 'off-road' routes. It's our first time with the camper & weve all been more in to routes for views rather than technical trails.

Many thanks!


New member
If I was you I'd head to the Spanish Pyrenees either by Ferry to Northern Spain (expensive), or drive down through France. If you allow a conservative two days each way transit time that still leaves you 5 full days of off road exploring. The tracks and scenery are stunning and it's possible to feel really quite remote if that's what you want. The only question mark at that time of year for me is the weather. I wouldn't want to hit a lot of the trails in a single vehicle if it has been very wet as, mud and washouts could be an issue. The beauty of that part of the world though is that there are no shortage of things to see away from the trails if the weather doesn't play ball. San Sebastian is worth the trip on its own!


New member
I was just about to make the same suggestion, Portsmouth to Santander, across towards Perpignan and then a very easy 2 days drive up to Calais