We’re currently in the dark depths of winter, so it’s natural to be thinking about an exotic getaway. The prospect of sun, sea and sand sure sounds appealing at this time of year! However, have you ever thought about what beautiful sights might be on your doorstep?
A key motivation for many people when learning to drive is the freedom that having a car can give you. More so than any other means of transport, a car gives you the ability to go pretty much everywhere you please! So, we’ve picked out ten epic UK road trip ideas which should provide you with ample respite from these dreary winter days.
#1: Snake Pass
The Snake Pass is close to our hearts at PassMeFast, as it runs between two of our busiest areas—Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire, as well as taking in some of the most picturesque parts of Derbyshire. Taking you over the stunning vistas of the Peak District, the road’s name derives from its twisting undulations. You can expect plenty of blind bends and adverse weather conditions, depending on the time of year.
For this reason, despite all the natural beauty the road has to offer, we wouldn’t recommend it to beginner drivers! It’s definitely best to have a few years’ experience under your belt before tackling this route. Nevertheless, Snake Pass was listed as one of the UK’s best driving roads in Auto Trader’s 2009 roundup, so if you’ve got the driving skills to tackle it, then we’d wholeheartedly recommend doing so!
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#2: North Coast 500
Up in the North Highlands of Scotland, the North Coast 500 surely offers some of the most magnificent views in the United Kingdom. Often referred to as Scotland’s answer to the famous Route 66 which traverses North America, this circular route was only launched in 2014.
In that brief period of time, however, this route has established itself as one of the nation’s favourite driving experiences. Starting on the Black Isle, this drive gives you the opportunity to witness the best of Scotland’s rugged coastline. You can also expect to see plenty of ruined castles and wide open plains. If you’re lucky, you might even have the pleasure of running into Highland cows or wild deer!
Bear in mind, though, that you’ll need to take a good few days to complete this trip. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to rest your weary head along the way. Or, if you don’t fancy such an extended visit to the Highlands, it’s perfectly possible to just complete part of this route. You can find out more information at the North Coast 500 website.
#3: Black Mountain Pass
The Black Mountain Pass, situated in the Brecon Beacons, is 23 miles of pure driving pleasure. The views are sure to stun you but be careful to keep an eye out for rogue sheep and tricky hairpin bends!
This short but sweet drive might only take you an hour and a half to complete from start to finish, but you’ll ascend all the way up to 1,600 feet. If you’re afraid of heights, this one’s probably not for you!
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#4: Glastonbury to Cheddar Gorge
When you hear the word ‘Glastonbury’, you could be forgiven for thinking of hundreds of thousands of people at a very muddy festival. However, the quaint Somerset town of Glastonbury also provides the starting point for another of our epic UK road trip ideas.
This route is ideal if you’re searching out an authentic taste of England’s medieval history. You’ll see England as it’s depicted in the literature of days gone by: countless cottages, hedgerows and churches will slowly emerge from over the horizon.
#5: Coast to Coast
While the coast to coast route is more commonly associated with walkers and cyclists, it’s also a great journey to undertake in a car. Firstly, it’s not particularly long—you can complete it in under 4 hours.
Secondly, it gives you a great opportunity to pass through the North York Moors National Park—home to some of England’s most impressive scenery.
#6: Kendal to Keswick
In 2015, the car rental company Avis devised a special formula to determine the greatest driving roads in the entire world. Number 7 on their exhaustive list is this stunning route across the Lake District.
Every driver owes it to themselves to take in the sights of this magnificent 30-mile stretch, and it’s of particular interest to those of you who with an interest in the poet Wordsworth, as you’ll get the chance to see not one but two of his former houses in the village of Grasworth.
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#7: Abergwesyn Mountain Road
Another Welsh route in our selection is the Abergwesyn Mountain Road. Starting out in the tiny village of Tregaron and passing through the Cambrian Mountains, this drive requires you to go off the beaten track a bit.
However, you’ll soon see that it’s worth the effort—particularly on a sunny day. The middle of Wales might not be your first choice of road trip destination, but the tranquility is incomparable to pretty much everywhere else in the UK. Make sure to stop at the Llyn Brianne reservoir to appreciate the countryside in all its glory!
#8: Loch Lomond to Loch Ness
Situated 2 hours north west of Glasgow, the A82 gives you a taste of everything that’s great about the Scottish countryside. It might be the second longest road in Scotland, but mile after mile of stunning views ensure that this journey will absolutely fly by.
Why not try and catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, or take a detour to check out one of Scotland’s iconic castles while you’re travelling this route?
#9: The Wicklow Mountains, Ireland
Okay, we’ve cheated a little bit with this one, but we just couldn’t resist including some of the inimitable Irish countryside—it really is a sight to behold. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience Glendalough—“The Glen of the Two Lakes”. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!
#10: Land’s End to John O’Groats
This one’s only for the truly committed amongst you, as it’s a full 900-mile trip across the whole length of England and Scotland. Starting out on the craggy, exposed part of Cornwall aptly known as Land’s End, you’ll see the vast majority of the geographical variations that England has to offer.
Working your way through each different county and area is the only way to truly appreciate the sheer variety of terrain and landscapes that comprise England and Scotland. This is the definitive UK road trip, and despite its length and the amount of effort it takes to complete it, hundreds of people manage to make the journey every year.
Some people choose to complete it on bicycle, and some even walk it! If arduous physical effort isn’t your thing though, then driving a car is a perfectly reasonable substitute. While it’s perfectly possible to complete the drive in a matter of days, we’d recommend taking as long as you can to truly appreciate the sights. Not sure if driving is the most environmentally friendly way? Make the switch to an eco-friendly car and enjoy a guilt-free road trip!
We hope this article has inspired you to go on an epic UK road trip. It’s really worth getting out of your comfort zone when you’re adventuring—you never know what you might find along the way! If you need yet more inspiration, check out Highways England’s list of motorists’ favourite routes in our May 2019 news roundup—and don’t forget to check out our guide on loading your car before you head off!
Fancy going further afield? Get the lowdown on what you need to do by taking a look at our tips and tricks for driving abroad the first time. Plus, make sure you’re aware of the cities with the worst road conditions first, so you’re fully prepared. Just remember, wherever you choose to venture, make safety your priority. Happy travels!
If you haven’t passed your test yet, why not take a look at our range of courses? You could have your licence in no time! If you have passed, and you’re after more advice for when you’re behind the wheel, look no further than our driving tips section. At PassMeFast, we’re here to steer you in the right direction!