Pack your bags, grab your coat and get ready for the thrill of the open road. There really is no better way to explore than setting off on a road trip around Britain. But where can you find the best scenic road trips?
We’ve found some of the great British drives that can’t be missed.
Some we’ve picked for the stunning scenery, others for the sheer adrenaline rush. Some are long, some short, but you can be certain we’ve got scenic road trips to suit everyone.
1. Explore the Lake District pass roads
If you’re a confident driver who is not afraid of a challenge, this is one of the best scenic drives in England – as long as none of your passengers suffer from vertigo. Join the Wrynose Pass from the bottom of Little Langdale and you’ll immediately begin to climb. It’s one of the steepest roads in the UK, with a gradient of 1 in 3. And that’s not the only challenge. With a series of hairpin bends, a single-track road and the mountain falling away sharply beneath you, negotiating the pass road takes concentration and courage.
But it’s also a lot of fun. With amazing views sweeping into the distance – the pass road cuts between the Coniston Fells to the south and the Scafell Massif to the north, it’s worth stopping when you can, so you can take your eyes off the road and soak it all in.
When you reach Cockley Beck, head for the Hardknott Pass where the steep hairpins begin again, and you’ll pass numerous signs questioning whether you want to continue at all. Give way to vehicles going up, take your time and enjoy the spectacle.
As road trip routes go, this one is worth going out of your way for. And when you get to Boot? Turn around and head back to Langdale – the views as you travel in the other direction are even better.
2. Drive the south Cornish Coast
If you fancy something a little bit more sedentary, the south west is the place to head for. Here you’ll find some of the best scenic drives in England.
Explore the Cornish coast roads at your leisure, but one of our favourite routes is the meandering drive from St Ives to Sennan Cove, right on the south-western most tip of the country. Choose a blue day and you’ll struggle to see where the sky ends and the sea begins.
Pick up the B3306 from St Ives and simply follow it as it hugs the coastline. With awe-inspiring views across rugged moorland to your left and across the sparkling blue sea to the horizon, you’ll feel exhilarated from the beauty of it all. And as the road twists and turns, the view becomes more spectacular.
This is a scenic road trip with the perfect ending – Sennen Cove, with its long sandy beach and small harbour is Britain’s most westerly surf spot.
3. Glencoe to Inverness
If you’re looking for a Scotland road trip, you’ll find many great British drives to choose from. Winding through stunning, mountainous scenery, some of the best scenic road trips in the country can be found up in the highlands and islands.
At 81 miles, it’s worth making a day of this road trip route through Scotland’s finest scenery. Take the A82, commonly thought to be one of Scotland’s finest routes, through valleys and past summits, waterfalls and lochs. It’s the classic highland view you expect from a trip to this area.
You’ll hug the coast as you head for Fort William – a great base if you want to explore the region’s mountains, and then head north along the shore of the aptly named Loch Lochy and on to Fort Augustus at the foot of Loch Ness. At this point leave the A82, to take the quieter B862/B852 along the east side of the loch, offering various well-signposted spots from which you can take in the spectacular views.
Next head north still further to Inverness and the Moray Firth and you’ll have travelled from the Atlantic coast to the North Sea coast in one scenic road trip.
4. Abergwesyn Pass, Powys, Wales
Another one for the adrenaline junkies? We’ve chosen one of the best road trip routes in Wales. Take a quick glance at pictures of this extraordinary pass road – it’s not to be missed. You can expect a satisfying mix of long straights, hairpin bends, steep ascents and fear-inducing descents. This great British drive will test your skills to the max.
But this exciting road trip route isn’t just enjoyable for the driver. If you can manage to relax as a passenger, the scenery is simply stunning. From mountains to forests to tiny hamlets, it’s 11 miles of rugged spectacle.
Set off from Tregaron and head over to Llyn Brianne Reservoir where you can take a rest and enjoy the peace and quiet. We bet this is one of the most exhilarating scenic road trips you’ve ever encountered.
5. Escape the city and explore the Cotswolds’ Golden Triangle
After a busy week at work, there’s nothing better than jumping in the car and heading out of the city for some well-deserved relaxation time. And when you’re looking for scenic drives near London, what better place to head for than the beautiful Cotswolds? With its creamy yellow, chocolate-box cottages and picture postcard villages, it’s a paradise for those who like a quintessentially English view.
Head for Burford on the A40 and you’ll find antique shops, gift shops and village pubs aplenty. Travel north from Burford, however, and you can explore some of the most prestigious villages in the area. Think Chipping Norton, Stow on the Wold, Bourton on the Water and more. Whizz down quiet country lanes, passing stunning architecture and hidden stately homes and you’ll soon see why this area of the UK deserves its designation as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
If you’re looking for the best road trips in Britain it’s worth remembering that sometimes the road trip routes that stick in your mind are those you stumble across when you least expect them. The perfect ingredients of a road trip around Britain are great company, great scenery and a thirst for adventure.