Countdown Time: Where Are the Best Places for a Road Trip in the UK?
8. The Cotswolds
We recommend starting in Chipping Campden, towards the north of the Cotswolds, before heading south via Cirencester, hopping from pretty village to pretty village as you take in quaint pubs, medieval churches, and all manner of local curiosities on your way to Bath at the southern tip.
This region is certainly recognised for having one of the most natural beauty and wildlife spots in England. There’s a number of birdwatching opportunities at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre. If you’d prefer a more action-packed escape, paddleboarding, kayaking, and archery are all available at the Cotswold Water Park.
7. Atlantic Highway, South West England
While the road itself doesn’t get that close to the coast, you’ll be able to take in plenty of breathtaking views of the Atlantic as you pass through Camelford, Bude, and Wadebridge. The passage is ideal for families, surfers, couples, people who’d love a short break away or people who want fish and chips on the beach.
6. The Lake District
Now, this has to be one of the most relaxing, enjoyable, and beautiful road trip journeys that we would recommend (for a number of reasons).
We’d recommend you start at Kendal, head north into Windermere (England’s largest lake). From Windermere, drive north and drink in the beautiful lakeside villages of Ambleside and Grasmere, the latter home to William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and where the poet wrote the famous ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.’ The calm lakes offer the perfect opportunity to get on the water either by hiring a boat or joining a cruise. If you prefer to stay on dry land the area can be explored by bike or steam train along with one of many scenic railway routes.
5. North Wales
4. The Dragon’s Spine
We recommend driving coast to coast (as one of the best ways to see Wales). The A470 runs all the way from Cardiff in the south to Conwy in the north, taking in two national parks.
We’d recommend you start in the Welsh capital, head up through South Wales to the Brecon Beacons. As you reach the heartland, you’ll pass the beautiful Llyn Clywedog reservoir and the market town of Dolgellau, before heading over the majestic northern mountains of Snowdonia to Conwy.
If you’re a fan of Jeremy Clarkson, you may recognise the A4069 Black Mountain Pass – the route otherwise known as ‘Top Gear road’ is a favourite with motorists including the outspoken presenter. Those looking for a slice of culture are spoilt for choice with Carreg Cennen Castle and Dinefwr Castle both nearby.
3. Peak District
Third, it’s one of the country’s most beloved national parks… the Peak District. The Mercia team recommend starting in Glossop, east of Greater Manchester, and heading into the Pennines along the notable Snake Pass (one of the UK’s highest mountain passes… 510m above sea level).
From here, head south towards the reservoirs and around the popular Derwent Dam. This offers great trekking opportunities. A short trip south to the west will take you to the Blue John Cavern (an underground network of caves). They offer guided tours… ideal if you feel like an alternative to hill walking on your way ever southwards.
2. Causeway Coastal Route
This jaw-dropping route is from Belfast to Derry… and it’s steeped in myth and legend! The route is actually made up of nine scenic drives, so you can break it down into smaller journeys and take your time enjoying the sights… or if you want, you can do it all at once. The drive takes you to several of Northern Ireland’s main tourist attractions and landmarks – the Giant’s Causeway itself, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, Dark Hedges and the Glens of Antrim.
You could even make the short ferry trip to Rathlin Island from Ballycastle for a tour of the famous upside-down lighthouse (which was built into the cliff face). The world’s oldest licensed working distillery has been producing Bushmills Irish Whiskey at the site since 1608.
1. North Coast 500 / Route 66
Now this one is EXCITING… it’s the UK’s version of Route 66.
This route boasts some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. It showcases the best of the Highlands, with ancient castles, windswept beaches, and historic landmarks lurking around every corner. The official route starts and ends at Inverness Castle and passes through idyllic towns and villages such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch. Mercia Fleet Management would recommend booking accommodation in advance (as options are limited). Those looking for adventure can surf the reef breaks of Caithness or head to Corrieshalloch Gorge to try canyoning. The extreme sport combines mountaineering, climbing, and diving and tour operators offer safe lessons for beginners.
You should think about doing these road trips in an electric car! It might be more frightening, but who doesn’t like a bit of danger! Think about pressing on the accelerator on those big open roads, mmm. You can plan your journey easily! Follow the steps here or just plan it on your own using ZapMap!
Thank you for reading. We’d love to hear your road trip stories. Why not get in touch? Or Facebook us!