Blow the lockdown cobwebs away with a self-drive supercar holiday

Bored with lockdown? Don't want to fly? Why not go on a Grand Tour of Europe at the wheel of a supercar instead?

Fast cars on a mountain road
(Image credit: © Ultimate Driving Tours)

Successive lockdowns have left a swathe of shattered holiday plans and disappointment in their wake. Not surprisingly, frustrated well-heeled travellers, who have had to swap the airport lounge for their own lounges at home, have sought an alternative outlet for their wealth. That’s been a boon for dealers of second-hand supercars.

“We saw a significant increase in the sale of used cars in the region of not more than £150,000,” Ken Choo, chief executive of HR Owen, Britain’s biggest dealer of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys, tells the Financial Times. “People said ‘I cannot travel to the Bahamas, so I will buy a used Ferrari or Lambo instead’.” Arguably, the trend was already under way before the pandemic arrived. In the year to the end of 2019, the number of supercars in Britain rose by 12% on the previous year, to 15,700, according to a new study by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.

Get rubber in all four gears

But while driving around Westminster, Britain’s Maserati Mecca with 532 supercars, has its attractions, it’s no substitute for the Côte d’Azur or the Amalfi coast. So what do you do once the lockdowns have lifted and you are once again free to take your new toy on the open road?

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You could drive your own to the continent, perhaps. But if you don’t want the bother of looking after a high-performance machine, why not borrow one? London-based Ultimate Driving Tours offers both options. Its ten-day European Supercar Tour, departing 15 and 21 May, takes in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France, en route to Monaco. From the smug comfort of your Ferrari or Lamborghini, you can watch the countryside flit by before ending the whole experience in the water – not because you overshot the road and landed in the ditch, but because guests round off their journey by hopping aboard a luxury yacht for trackside views of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. Should watching these ultra-high-performance machines buzz around the race course spark feelings of envy, guests can spend an evening with former Aussie F1 driver Mark Webber and get behind the wheel of a real F1 car.

An alternative is the five-day Le Grand Motoring Tour de France package, leaving Maidstone, in Kent, on 21 June for Picardy, Normandy, the Loire Valley and Champagne, where you can take guided tours of the region’s great Champagne houses and be served haute cuisine and fine wine. Ultimate Driving Tours also offers a range of self-guided tours through Tuscany, Provence, Bavaria and the Swiss Alps.

The European Supercar Tour, from £16,190 per person, based on two sharing; Le Grand Motoring Tour de France, from £2,490 per person in your own car; self-drive holidays from £5,250 per person. See for details.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.