Britain’s best road trips
One of the best ways to see the UK is by car. Its brilliant motorways, picture-perfect countryside, Harry Potter-esque villages and compact size all add up to make the island nation the place for travelling by car. So, crank up the radio and wind down the window as we discover 10 of the best UK road trips.
1. Norfolk’s northern coast
Distance: 150 km
Roads: A47, A149
The mid-east coast of England is where you will find Norfolk’s northern coast drive. Expect to see gentle undulating landscape, pretty coastal villages, flint cottages and welcoming pubs and restaurants. Start in the market town of King’s Lynn and drive northeast to Hunstanton. Then, continue on to the villages of Brancaster, Burnham, Holkham Bay, Blakeney, Holt, Sheringham, Cromer et al.
2. Glasgow to Inverness
Distance: 275 km
Roads: A9, A82, A827, A93
Few drives in the UK (let alone Europe) compare with the stunning scenery on this up-and-down tour of Scotland. Get your camera ready as you head to superb Glasgow, Cairngorms National Park and Inverness (the home of the Loch Ness Monster). Go on to explore the rest of the Highlands at your leisure.
3. The Outer Hebrides
Distance: 240 km
Get off the ferry in lovely Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and experience the haunting beauty of the Outer Hebrides. No directions necessary here; this is a one-road kind of road trip.
4. London to Brighton
Distance: 90 km
Roads: A23, M23
This one is more about the destination than the drive. Just two hours down the road from the bright lights of London is the easy breezy seaside town of Brighton. A stay in this neck of the woods will make hotels in London feel a distant world away.
5. The Cotswolds
Distance: 150 km
Roads: M4, A429, A417
A tour around an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ is never a bad way to spend an afternoon. A who’s who of British nobility and celebrity dwell part-time in The Cotswolds – say hi to Kate Moss and Lily Allen as you zip by.
6. Kendal via Keswick to Kendal – England’s Lake District
Distance: 110 km
Roads: A5284, A591, A66, A5091, A592
Outside of the occasional flood, the Lake District is a road-trip must. Watch northwest England unfurl before your eyes as you ponder why William Wordsworth wrote all those pretty poems.
7. Yorkshire Wolds
Distance: 217 km
Roads: M62, J38, J37
Neolithic and Bronze Age sites straddle the roadside as you navigate the low hills and broad meadows of Flamborough Head, the Northern Wolds, Capital Wolds, Southern Wolds and Western Wolds of Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. Keep your eyes peeled for Rudston Monolith and the hamlet of Kiplingcotes.
8. Snowdonia National Park – Conwy to Portmeirion
Distance: 62 km
Roads: B5106, A5, A4068, A498
All of Wales deserves to make our road trip cut, but Snowdonia National Park is a must-see slice of the country.
9. Lynmouth to Newquay – The Atlantic Highway
Distance: 217 km
Roads: A39, A395, A399
Postcard-perfect scenery is a significant distraction for drivers who tackle this exquisite road trip on the Atlantic Highway, which refers to a section of the A39 from Barnstaple in Devon to the A30 at Fraddon in Cornwall. Just don’t attempt this drive on public holidays, as you’ll be sitting knee-deep in traffic.
10. Isle of Man Circuit
Distance: 120 km
The Isle of Man isn’t technically part of the UK, but given its close proximity, we’ve included it all the same. A road trip circuit of the island is truly memorable. Just avoid the drive on TT race day.