The 10 Best Road Trips in the UK
We love a road trip here at HandiWorld. The perfect chance to pack up the roof box, jump in the car and head off to explore somewhere new and with the summer holidays well and truly upon us, now is the perfect time of year to take on these adventures as a family.
We’re going to be sharing with you the best UK road trips out there that we think everyone needs to experience, so whether you’re from England, Scotland or Wales, we’ve got a road trip for you!
Scotland’s North Coast 500
A recommendation from Rough Guides, Scotland’s North Coast 500 trip is a 4-7 day journey made up of around 800km of single track roads, so maybe not one for the nervous driver.
The route passes Inverness, the Black Isle, Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross, so you certainly won’t be lacking on scenery to enjoy.
The best thing about this trip is that the likelihood of getting stuck in traffic is next to none, so if you’re an urban family looking to escape to the depths of the countryside and coast, this is the one for you.
Southwest of England’s Atlantic Highway
The southwest of England is known for being stunning, so why not take 4-5 days out of your busy summer holiday and explore the best the area has to offer by road.
This route covers around 275km of coastal roads, covering some of the best parts of Devon and Cornwall along the way and there’s also plenty of pit stops to be made to please all the family like National Parks, great fish and chip shops and even better beaches.
Another pro to this route is that although the track will weave you in and out of popular tourist destinations, sorting out accommodation on this road trip will be easy if you do it in advance or if you’ve got a campervan or touring caravan, find sites along the way to save yourself some money!
Black Mountain Pass
A perfect route for our Welsh readers or residents of other parts of the UK wanting to explore Wales this summer, Black Mountain Pass is one of the best-known road trips in Wales and takes you on a twisting and turning journey along the black mountains.
Around 23 miles long, Black Mountain Pass starts at Gwuan-Cae-Gurwen and passes through Brynamman, over the black mountains in the Brecon Beacons, returning to more civilised roads in Llangadog before finishing in Llandovery.
This truly rural route reaches heights of 493m and allows for some incredible photo opportunities if the weather is clear but be warned, this isn’t one to tackle in winter, you want fair weather for a safe and enjoyable trip.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way is probably fairly described as one of the most well-known and established road trip routes in the UK, with its own website to help visitors plan their journey and make the most of every bend and turn the track has to offer.
The total route is 2,500km in length which is simply impossible to tackle in one trip, so the trip has been split into 6 possible mini-routes, including the Northern Headlands, the Surf Coast and the Bay Coast, so you can choose depending on what kind of scenery you want and what kind of drive you’re after.
There are 9 counties to be enjoyed along the way, so this is definitely one to put on your bucket list and chip away at over the years, taking on a different route year after year until you’ve got the full set under your belt.
A shorter route for those looking for something to do on a day trip to Yorkshire, Buttertubs Pass is a 5.5 mile trip from Thwaite to Hawes and is known for being a personal favourite of Jeremy Clarkson.
Although this C-road route is only short, it packs everything in you could possibly want on a road trip, including exhilarating descents, breath-taking flats and adrenaline-fuelled climbs, as well as some unmissable scenery along the way.
Although still challenging in parts with tight turns and bends, if you’re new to road tripping and are building up your driving stamina, this is a great place to start.
The Snake Pass
Another well known English road trip is The Snake Pass, an exhilarating drive along a stretch of the Peak District between Sheffield and Manchester, ideal for northern road trippers.
Thought to be around 14 miles in length and 512 metres high at points, many drivers pair Snake Pass with an infamously risky road, The Cat and Fiddle to test their driving skills and take themselves high into the Peak District scenery.
Not just popular with car drivers but bikers and motorcyclists too, this route has a lot of hairpin bends, high climbs and dramatic drops, making it an intense but breath-taking route. This is a fair weather route and not advised on wet or icy days.
A tourist attraction in its own right, the Cheddar Gorge road trip is made up of 14 miles of twisting and turning open roads through the West Country, ideal for the road trippers who are on the hunt for scenery.
Starting at Cheddar and working across to Ashwick, the Somerset roads in the middle of these two locations have plenty to offer in terms of great driving and even better views, offering something different for both the driver and the passengers.
An easy one day route, there’s plenty of time for stops on this route, ideal for embracing the culture along the way.
A686 from Penrith to Haydon Bridge
A popular route in the north of England, the A686 road trip will take you from Penrith in Cumbria to Haydon Bridge via 35 miles of great scenery, enjoyable driving and even some great pit stops along the way.
Often split into two sections to be a more manageable drive, Driving for Pleasure recommend driving from Penrith to Alston and then treating Alston to Haydon Bridge as a second leg. The two halves of the route offer something different but both to be experienced by any keen driver.
From dramatic descents to risky roads you certainly wouldn’t tackle in winter, any seasoned road tripper will feel right at home on this route.
Not one for the fainthearted, you need to have nerves of steel and an extremely responsive car to take on Wales’ most tricky road trip, Abergwesyn Pass.
A relentless series of hairpin bends along a 20-mile track is referred to as ‘The Devil’s Staircase’, and that is a perfectly suited name as this single track, often open-sided road is risky to say the least but if you’ve got the driving skill and calm temperament to tackle it, you’re in for a once in a lifetime experience.
The Wicklow Mountains
If you want to take on Ireland in a spectacular road trip, the Wicklow Mountains National Park route is the right choice for you.
A 117km trip that will last around 3 hours with no pitstops, you’ll be free to explore the open countryside and mountainous zones while still getting some exhilarating bends and twists along the way.
If you’re wanting to make more of a day out of this route, there’s plenty of places to hike along the way if you want to get out the car and embrace some fresh air for a bit.
So, there you have it, 10 equally as incredible road trips across the UK to keep you busy this summer.
If you give one of these a go, we’d love to know how you get on, so let us know on Twitter or Facebook!