READY FOR ONE OF THE MOS MEMORABLE UK ROAD TRIPS?
Follow these tips!
There are loads of ways you can enjoy traveling around – be it hiking, biking, jet skiing, cruising, or one of the many, many other alternatives. However, one amazing way, underrated and often neglected, is by car.
Believe it or not, trying one of the best Uk road trips can be the most amazing way of exploring. You can discover some truly incredible hidden gems just a few miles away. However, as somebody somewhere once said, “life is a journey, not a destination.”
So, here we go through some of the most truly unforgettable scenic drives in England, Scotland, and Wales. These road trips are driving heaven, with stunning scenery and plenty of fun along the way. Perfect for that spontaneous yet wallet-friendly trip.
It’s time to buckle up, sit back and enjoy!
YOU CAN RENT YOUR CAR DIRECTLY IN HERE
This is my favorite website as it compares all the biggest car hire companies and low prices!
A note for you: In here, you don’t seem to have the option to pick up the car at one airport and drop it off at another one. But after you click the search button, you can change it, don’t worry, I had this “issue,” but I sorted it out very easily.
DO YOU LOVE ROAD TRIPS? WHAT ABOUT ITALY?
After reading this one, check out my article on the best ITALY ROAD TRIP: a marvelous itinerary starting in Rome and ending in the stunning Lake Como!
1 | Road from Glastonbury to Cheddar Gorge
This route gives you a proper feel of medieval England. Begin deep in England’s spiritual realm on the outskirts of the hallowed town of Glastonbury (Therefore, avoid a certain summer weekend).
Start at the Tor on the edge of town, where hippies will tell you that you can soak up good vibes from the ‘lay lines. A trip up the tor is the perfect way to get the blood pumping and a great start to any day out. With lush, green mounds stretching into the distance, you can see why hippies love this place so much.
After absorbing all the positive energy, drive through the center of the town once heralded for its connections to King Arthur. If you like, you can stop and explore these historical connections here.
As you leave, the misty mirk of the flat pastoral farmland seems straight out of any epic tale of days past. On certain mornings, this landscape can resemble a battlefield scene from a Hollywood movie.
Head towards Wells on the aptly named Wells Road. The driving isn’t spectacular here, but there’s something spiritually nourishing about the rich English landscape as you reach Glastonbury Road on the edge of Wells.
After going through the town of Wells, you begin to rise amongst the rolling green bumps of the Mendip Hills as you follow the Old Bristol Road.
This is quintessential chocolate- box-England, as medieval cottages, village churches, and ancient hedgerows. The road starts to twist and turn, offering some real driving entertainment. Push your car’s handling to the limit as you sweep around the tightening bends.
Before too long, you’ll see signposts to ‘Cheddar Gorge. This is where the real fun begins. The road which leads up to Cheddar Gorge is a driver’s paradise. Dramatic sheer cliffs of limestone shroud the road in a darkened shadow as you swish around twisting bends before you begin to quickly descend into the cavernous jaws of the gorge. When you reach the more touristy part of the gorge, it’s time to stop and relax.
There’s more to do than you’d expect at the gorge. Why not walk through the subterranean world with a walk-in Gough’s or Cox’s caves?
Or, if you want to take in the breathtaking views, walk the 274 steps up to the cliff-top walk. Afterward, take some time to relax with a latte and a muffin in the Costa Coffee before you hit the road again.
Once you have soaked up the stunning scenery (and had your caffeine boost), it’s time to head back to the flat normality of the Somerset plains. Follow the A371 and then the A38 until you hit the M5 at Sedgemoor Services. Then, back to wherever you’re going.
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2| The Snowdonian Loop Road
Take the scenic route around the Snowdon foothills, the highest mountain in England and Wales, and experience some of the most incredible landscapes South of the Scottish. Start at Caernarfon Castle – part of the Gwynedd Castles UNESCO World Heritage Site, by the waterside of the River Seiont.
This is the perfect place to absorb the kids in medieval history and remains somewhat of an exceptional example of Britain’s rich heritage, simply because of how intact it is. Once you’re ready to leave, rake the Constantine Road out of town, crossing the Seiont after a couple of minutes.
Leaving Caernarfon, you’ll see the looming peaks of the Snowdonia National Park in the distance. The landscape is immediately lusciously green, with peaty rivers and rolling hills.
As you continue along the A4085, the road and the landscape become increasingly dramatic. At times, you’ll have to keep your wits about you, as it can often be narrow, and you’ll have to dodge the hiker-filled coaches.
Passing the village of Waunfawr, quaint cottages subside to ancient bridges as you twice cross the River Gwyrfai before following it into the serene beauty of the Snowdonia National Park and onto the natural splendor of the lakes, moorlands, and waterfalls beyond.
This stretch of road is a rewarding challenge for any driver – with tight bends on a relatively narrow strip of tarmac. As you climb higher towards the base of Snowdon, the boggy landscape becomes increasingly dotted with streaks of lilac heather and jagged prehistoric boulders.
All the time, the road is challenging you, and all the time, the dominating figure of Snowdon becomes more and more prominent in your eye line.
Suddenly you’re in the heart of Snowdonia. The A4085 follows the River Colwyn past the bottom of Snowdon’s ‘Ranger Path,’ through some truly spectacular country all the way to Beddgelert.
Here you take a sharp left, joining the A498, entering the eastern section of the loop. You begin following yet another River, the Glaslyn, along Lake Dinas. Blankets of forest hug the marshy mountainous vista as the road cuts through to Lake Gynant.
As you continue, you leave the eastern section at Pen-Y-Gewd, navigating a sharp left, driving higher and higher on the A4998 before you top out at Pen-Y-Pass.
A truly unbelievable view is before you. The road appears like a waving ribbon stretching down the mountain. If the road is empty, it can feel like you’re hitting apex after apex as you descend – gradually at first – back to the normality of civilization. Then you meet the Llanberis pass, where the road gradient becomes steeper, and you’re rewarded with yet another incredible panorama.
The slate mines on the outskirts of Llanberis and other lakes, Lakes Peris and Padarn, are visible in the distance. This section of the A4998 is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable sections of driving road anywhere on the British Isles. It deserves respect and a great car in equal measure with tightening hairpins, sudden dips, and blind corners.
In Llanberis, you can get the train from here if you want to go to the top of Snowdon. It doesn’t take that long to scale the summit of Wales’s highest peak, and on a clear day, it offers some unbelievable views that stretch out to the horizon. At the top, you can get a bite to eat at the UK’s highest cafe and get a selfie with the sensational backdrop of the beautiful Snowdonian countryside.
Once you’re back down to earth and back in the car, the road begins flatting out on Llanberis’s other side. The bleaker moors give way again to rolling green hills. Follow signs back to Caernarfon. You’ve just completed a mammoth lap of some stunning scenery.
3 | Road from Loch Lomond to Inverness
Out of Glasgow, follow the A82 northwards to Inverness. On the way, you’ll pass through some of the most spectacular, expansive, and serene landscapes in the British Isles. Put the pedal to the metal as you leave humanity behind. The emptiness opens up as you enter the vast wilderness of the Scottish Highlands.
Take the high road as you begin your Highland voyage, following the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond northwards for around 20 miles.
After you leave those hallowed banks, you’ll be greeted by long sweeping curves and sudden bumps and dips that sweep around rocky nooks and the unforgiving edges of the Highland foothills.
The road then tracks the upland currents of the River Fillan until you leave the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The never-ending bog extends in front of you as you pass Loch Talla, where you can take some much-needed rest at the Loch Tulla viewpoint. As you push North, the barrenness continues to extend throughout the landscape, passing Loch Ba.
Depending on the weather and the traffic, you’ll soon be passing the famous Glencoe, where you’re greeted with a striking view of the rugged interlocking spurs of this famous glen. Driving on this road can be hard work, so it’s well worth taking a break again and admiring the view. Afterward, as you drive along Loch Leven, the road keeps giving before crossing it at Ballachulish Bridge.
From here the road begins to bear East. You’re still following the banks of loch after the loch before you reach the famous hiking hot-spot of Fort William. This is an ideal point to get some fish and chips and a coffee, because, by this point, you deserve a relaxing rest.
You’re now in the foothills of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom. Its dramatic peak dominates the sky.
The road cuts inwards and up to Spean Bridge before rolling back into the valley. There you see it, Loch Ness in all its mythical glory. You’ll be sandwiched in the Great Glen, following the edge of Loch Ness all the way through to Inverness, your final destination.
The A82 seems to have been built specifically with two things in mind: Ultimate driving pleasure and outstanding natural landscapes, but when you’re driving along this stunning road, it’s important to stay focused, vigilant, and pay it the respect that any great Scot demands.
Love the descriptions! Would these be considered day trips?
Hey Ray, it depends on how fast you want to go but I wouldn’t recommend them as day trips. At least a one night stop is necessary or you lose the sense of a road trip in the UK, savoring the scenery, stopping to enjoy the views ì, eating in a remote restaurant and much more.
Your caption under Ben Nevis says it’s the highest mountain in England. I find that statement quite astounding. Ben Nevis isn’t even in England. It is in Scotland. It happens to be the highest mountain not only in Scotland but in the British Isles. I hope you will correct the howling error.
Hi Pat, Thanks for pointing this out, I have rectified the wrong description on the picture. Please note that in the text preceding it, the info is actually correct, as I say that Ben Nevis is in the United Kingdom. Sometimes us people who are not from the UK wrongly use the word “England” when we are actually referring to the whole United Kingdom. I’ll make sure to be more careful next time!
Excellent post, very informative. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip and there are a few options in here that I’m going to bookmark, thanks a lot!
Thanks Linnea! I also love road trips and the UK have some really great place to explore by car! Enjoy your trip, whenever you decide to plan it!
I will recommend this website! Love the panoramic views in the UK! Maybe one day… 🙂
Ah Lino, a Road trip at least once in your life is a must! And the UK are amazing for that!
I’ve been in BEDDGELERT FALLS. I love nature.. Its nice to visit your blog, its kind of nostalgic place to visit.
This great article has really peaked my interest.
I’m going to book mark your website and keep
checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for
your RSS feed too. Can you please post other options for road trips? I love them!!
Hi Scarlett, I’m working on more road trips to different destinations, I love them too! Stay tuned 🙂
Just seeing your blog post now, and have added the roadtrip from Loch Lomond to Inverness to my bucket list. Thanks for the great article.
Thanks Carl! I’ve been to Inverness a few times when I used to work in the UK and wow, the views are truly breathtaking, I want to plan a more relaxed road trip next time, taking it slow and enjoying it. I hope you’ll have a great time!
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