10 Best Road Trips In The UK

From wonderful Wales to spectacular Scotland, via English countryside and Game of Thrones driving experiences in Northern Ireland, these are the best road trips the UK has to offer

The people of the United Kingdom love a good old fashioned road trip. Hopping into our vehicle of choice and hitting the open road is just something we, the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, seemingly can’t get enough. What is it, though, that makes road trips in the UK so special? Is it the road signs? Is it the packed lunches? To be totally honest with you, it is neither of those things. The simple fact is that the UK offers some of the world’s most scenic drives, with the four countries that make up ‘the kingdom’ each home to some very nice roads in their own right.

We say that dream road trip in the USA can wait and that you should explore the roads of the UK first. Whether you’re looking for a quick drive in the outdoors or a longer multi-day route, there’s so much adventure to be had on this list below (and on these islands on which we reside).

North Coast 500 (Scotland)

Route: Inverness Castle (start and finish)
Distance: 516 miles (830 km)
Duration: 1-7 days

If our Scotland Issue wasn’t enough of an indication already, we’re big fans of the land up north. The first route on our list of UK road trips is one that stretches over 500 miles, and one that serves up ample opportunities to explore the Scottish Highlands from your launchpad of Inverness.

The freedom of the open road is exactly what you’ll experience when you take on this trip, that and Scotland’s finest scenery of course. The first port of call on this looped road trip is the world famous Loch Ness. Bonus points for anyone who spots a monster swimming in the murky waters of the most voluminous lake in the UK.

The North Coast 500 is an absolute must for any true road trip enthusiast. Whether it’s the west coast section to Applecross or the northerly coastal points like Caithness and John o’ Groats, it feels like every part of the route gives you something special to experience. Perhaps the greatest Scottish sight though can be found on your discovery of Ullapool. This picturesque village is at the heart of one of the least spoilt natural environments in the UK.

If taking just one look at the Kylesku Bridge (pictured above) doesn’t make you immediately want to dive into exploring the North Coast 500, then we don’t know what will.

Cotswolds (England)

Route: Cirencester to Gloucester
Distance: 91 miles (146 km)
Duration: 1-3 days

The working week can be hard to get away from and often leaves you with little time for exploring. The Cotswolds though offers you a weekend escape that’s full to the brim with quaint little villages, and never-ending options for pub lunches. Village hopping is the perfect way to spend your time in this neck of the woods. It’s an approach that means you’ll get to experience everything from the rural landscapes to the stone-built settlements.

Start in the market town of Cirencester that lies on the lower dip slopes of the Cotswolds Hills. Here you’ll find the River Chum, which is the first tributary river of the River Thames. After this, get yourself to the towns of Upper Slaughter and Stow-on-the-Wold. Be sure to check out the beautiful gabled Manor House, which is far and away one of the most striking buildings in the area.

In fact, the Manor is now a hotel and a great, albeit pretty fancy, place to rest one’s head before moving along. The road trip concludes in Gloucester, a place that offers up some attractions to explore in the shape of Gloucester Cathedral and the areas’s Historic Docks.

Cheddar Gorge (England)

Route: Cheddar to Ashwick
Distance: 14 miles (22 km)
Duration: 30 minutes

When you think about the words road trip, you probably resort to thinking about something that takes up your entire day or even week. Not all trips have to last for this duration, sometimes the most memorable ones can be done in half an hour. This is proven by the spectacular winding bends of Cheddar Gorge.

This route through the Mendip Hills down towards Ashwick is something that your eyes can really feast on. Truly, an outlandish area of natural beauty this one. 14 miles might not sound like much at all, but with all the stunning surroundings here you’ll want to pause for a few moments of reflection in the amazing Cheddar Gorge.

You can drive this one, of course, but you can also cycle it if you fancy a bit of exercise. Once you’re done with your little road adventure, head on down to the surrounding villages to get your hands on some irresistible West Country Cheddar.

The Cambrian Way (Wales) 

Route: Cardiff to Snowdonia
Distance: 170 miles (273 km)
Duration: 4-6 hours

Frank Sinatra did it his way, and you can do it the Cambrian Way when you take on this short Welsh excursion. This road trip will take you through some of the best beauty spots Wales has to offer in the shape of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. The Cambrian Way goes straight through the centre of Wales and will give you those picture-perfect moments you’re craving.

Starting in the country’s capital, Cardiff, you’ll be served up some stunning Severn Estuary views and will be able to observe Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bay in its entirety. Next up is the Brecon Beacons. With the iconic Pen-y-Fan mountain keeping a watchful eye over the area, it’s heaven on earth for outdoor explorers. Last, but certainly not least, on this trip is Snowdonia in the north. Here you can snap up some panoramic views of the almighty Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

Jurassic Coast (England)

Road Trip UK – Jurassic Coast

Route: Exmouth to Studland Bay
Distance: 96 miles (154 km)
Duration: 2-3 hours

Stop your worrying! Your trip will be completely free of dinosaurs when you pay a visit to the Jurassic Coast. The name actually comes from 185 million years of geographical history, with fossilised remains of various animals preserved in the rocks along the coastline. Expect to see wonderful things on this road trip although nothing will compete with Durdle Door, one of the most photographed sites in England and one of Dorset’s grandest treasures.

The route begins at Orcombe Point in Exmouth, Devon. After this, get ready to see many more pleasant sights from four different regions – including East Devon, West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland, and Purbeck. Each one has their own charming towns, views, and breathtaking landscapes.

Causeway Coastal Route (Northern Ireland)

Route: Belfast to Londonderry
Distance: 120 miles (193 km)
Duration: 3-4 hours

You can’t have a list of the UK’s best road trips without including Northern Ireland’s finest – the Causeway Coastal Route. This 120-mile trip will see you start in the buzzing capital of Belfast. After you’ve finished seeing all the points of interest there, head for the road and get yourself driving towards Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you’re a fan of popular HBO show Game of Thrones, this road trip has got you written all over it. The areas of natural beauty like Sallagh Braes and the dramatic Cushendun Caves were used to shoot scenes for the show. From there, continue onto Derry where you’re free to really soak up the extra special magnificence of the Causeway Coastal Route.

The Atlantic Highway (England)

Route: Exmoor National Park to Newquay
Distance: 91 miles  (146 km)
Duration: 2-3 hours

If you want scenic, then you’ve got it and then some with the classic Atlantic Highway. This route will take you through the counties of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall as you traverse your way through the South West Peninsula of England.

Starting at Exmoor National Park, you’ll come across bewitching woodlands that are home to red deer and other wildlife. Once well and truly on the Atlantic Highway, charming villages will reveal themselves to you and give you plenty of opportunities to grab a cream tea as a well-deserved pitstop.

This is a drive for all the surfers out there. The further south you go on the highway, the more sea views will come into sight and the more you’ll find yourself getting hyped on the surfer’s paradise beaches in Newquay. Alternatively, you might just want to grab a bag of chips and watch the crashing waves until satisfied.

Peak District to the Lake District (England)


Route: Peak District to the Lake District
Distance: 140 miles  (225 km)
Duration: 3-4 hours

It will come as no surprise that these two places are full of pure natural beauty, and that a drive between them will make for one memorable road trip. This trip will make you fall in love with moorland and gorges that simply cannot be ignored. The Lake District will deliver even more stunning views as you reach Windermere, the largest lake in the whole of England

Continue driving north and reach Bassenthwaite Lake, where a modernised Victorian farm can be found, equipped with its own distillery. Take the chance to grab some fine-tasting whiskies to put in the drinks cabinet back home.

Road to the Isles (Scotland)

Route: Fort William to Mallaig
Distance: 43 miles  (69 km)
Duration: 1-2 hours

We aren’t quite done with Scotland on this list yet, and who can blame us with this majestic route that will take you out into the wilderness from the heart of Fort William. Stunning views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct await you on this one. The viaduct is, of course, one of the most famous film locations in Scotland.

This road trip begins right next to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis. With a start like that you already know this road trip is going to grab your attention straight from the off as you pass by lochs and scenery that will make you want to park up and get exploring on foot.

Lizard Point to Dunnet Head (England/Scotland) 

Route: Lizard Head to Dunnet Head
Distance: 968 miles  (1,557 km)
Duration: 1-3 days

This isn’t your casual Sunday drive. This is more like a pilgrimage, one that you and your car will never forget. Starting at the most southerly mainland part of the UK – Lizard Point, England – it goes all the way to the most northerly reaches in the shape of Dunnet Head in Scotland.

This is the ultimate British road trip. It’s a 15-hour straight drive, but not even a trucker would try that would they? We’d suggest you find a lovely campsite at the halfway mark. Good luck to you, your car, and your credit card on this one – those petrol stops won’t pay for themselves.

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