If you’re looking for the best UK road trips, we have 14 amazing driving destinations throughout Britain. The UK offers some of the most incredible scenery and the greatest driving roads in Europe. From picturesque country lanes to stunning coastal adventures, we have something for everyone.
Whether you are looking for a staycation road trip or visiting from overseas this article has everything you need to know. We have included picturesque places to stop, tips for your trip and some incredible roads. Grab your car keys and be inspired by some of the most beautiful and best UK road trips & destinations you can find.
If you are new to the UK, we have some FAQ’s about what it is like to drive in Britain with some basic tips and info to make your trip a success.
1. The Lake District, Cumbria
The Lake District is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK and it’s easy to see why. With its stunning scenery and winding roads, it is the perfect place to take a driving holiday. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is at its best.
If you’re looking for a challenge, try driving the Honister Pass. This steep and winding road is not for the faint-hearted but the views from the top are definitely worth it!
Kendal to Keswick
When you need a break from the hustle and bustles of life, take in some scenery on your drive. The A591 links Keswick and Kendal so it’s easy to stop at either town for supplies or just go with what feels right! If this road has captured any interest be sure not to miss out because there are endless views that will leave lasting impressions – especially if they involve waterfalls like those found along the Skipton River
Anybody who has been to the UK will tell you that this less than 30-mile drive was a top choice for the best road trips. It’s not surprising, with its scenic roads running along with award-winning scenery!
2. London at Night
Sightseeing around the capital has got to be one of the best UK road trips. That said, London has some of the most congested roads in Europe. Rush hour traffic will provide you with nothing but a view of the car in front and a potentially stressful experience. Driving at night here is the smart person’s choice. Not only will you beat the notorious queues, nightfall in London brings out a particular kind of magic. From the illuminated landmarks to dazzling city lights, there is something to please everyone.
With so much to see, it is best to plan a custom route around central London. List all the sights you would like to see on Google Maps and let the app do the work. We can highly recommend incorporating the famous illuminations of Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge (pictured), St Pauls Cathedral. Drive by the side of the Thames and stop off to get an awesome picture of your car with the city lights in the background.
3. The Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands are a must-visit for any keen driver. With its sweeping landscapes and empty roads, it is the perfect place to put your driving skills to the test. Start your adventure in Inverness and take your time to explore all that this stunning region has to offer. If you’re looking for an unforgettable driving experience, the Scottish Highlands are definitely the place to go! From epic vistas to dark mysterious lochs, this region has everything for an unforgettable UK road trip.
If you have the time, Be sure to take a drive along the world-famous North Coast 500 route. This 500-mile journey takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. Majestic rivers, quiet coastal roads and world class hotels are but a few things the route has to offer.
4. Snowdonia, Wales
Snowdonia is a must-visit for any keen driver. With its winding roads and stunning scenery, it is the perfect place to take a driving holiday. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is at its best, although some do prefer the epic icy wilderness of the winter season.
If you are also into walking then Snowdonia is a great place to combine your two passions. There are plenty of walking trails to explore, and the views from the top of Snowdon Mountain are simply breath-taking. Don’t fancy the climb? No problem, there is a train all the way to the top with a fully stocked café on arrival.
Whether you’re looking for a driving challenge or just want to enjoy some stunning scenery, Snowdonia is definitely the place for you!
5. The Peak District, Derbyshire
The Peak District is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK and it’s easy to see why. With its winding roads and stunning scenery, it is the perfect place to take a driving holiday. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is at its warmest and the days are longer.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the Peak District, so be sure to allow plenty of time to explore. If you’re looking for a challenge, try driving the Snake Pass. This steep and winding road is not for the faint-hearted but the views from the top are definitely worth it!
Whether you’re a keen driver or just want to enjoy some stunning scenery, the Peak District is definitely one for any best UK road trips list.
6. The Coastal Way, Wales
Take the scenic drive from a tiny fishing village on the western tip of Llŷn Peninsula. The wide sandy beach before you starts at E ascertain and goes all across “Snowdon’s Arm, ” visiting Portmeirion along this enchanting Italianate path with quaint cottages as well stylish shops that are home to award-winning restaurants making it great for any road trip!
The breathtaking views of Wales’ coast and mountain ranges are enough to make anyone fall in love with this country. These quiet roads will take you through some of its most scenic areas, giving visitors an opportunity to take it all in.
7. Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a must-see destination for any traveller and its beautiful coastline will capture your heart. Expect to be amazed as you experience the thrilling views of Northern Ireland’s coast, with stops at various seafront towns along this 120-mile route that offer their own treasures hidden within.
This is one of the most popular road trip routes in Ireland and it’s not hard to see why. The Coastal Route takes you past some of the most stunning scenery in the country, including the world-famous Giant’s Causeway plus castles and locations featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
From their majestic geology to wonderful people, be sure to allow plenty of time to explore all that this beautiful country has to offer!
8. The Atlantic Highway, Cornwall
The Atlantic Highway is one of the most popular tourist routes in Cornwall. It winds its way through some of the most stunning scenery in the county, including the picturesque villages of Port Isaac and Padstow. The route also takes you past some of Cornwall’s most famous landmarks, such as Tintagel Castle and Bodmin Moor.
The carriageway takes you into Cornwall, where there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Our favourite is Saint Michaels Mount (pictured) the coastline is incredible!
What a treat! Those who choose this scenic drive will be treated to rugged greenery on one side and Britain’s most loved coastline. Be sure to grab a genuine Cornish pasty along the way. The pasty is a filling lunchtime treat that has been given protected geographical status meaning they can only be made in Cornwall.
9. The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is one of the most popular tourist destinations in England. It is famous for its picturesque villages and stunning scenery. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is at its best.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the Cotswolds, so be sure to allow plenty of time to explore. If you’re looking for a challenge, try driving the Windrush Valley Road.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a picturesque English village, then the Cotswolds might be for you. The rolling green hills are home to many quaint stone houses and elegant churches that date back centuries ago when it was an important part of England’s wealthy south during Roman times.
Today, the Cotswolds is a popular tourist destination for those who want to experience a taste of old-fashioned England.
10. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Cheddar Gorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Somerset.
The first stop on your journey is the village of Cheddar. This tiny hamlet lies in southwest England and has long been known for its dairy farming, cheese production, trout fishing – even if you aren’t looking to buy any farm produce there are plenty of distractions around!
Stop at The Old vicarage where local folklore says Lord Nelson was born (though his parents lived elsewhere). And don’t forget about Blenheim Palace which houses one thousand nine hundred-year-old buildings from Warrior Queen Elizabeth I’s reign alongside gardens designed by celebrated landscapist Lancelot “Capability” Brown.
Once you’ve had your fill of culture and history, it’s time to get back on the road and enjoy the natural beauty of Cheddar Gorge. This limestone gorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. It is famous for its stunning scenery and its rich history.
11. Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales
Buttertubs Pass is a narrow and twisty road that winds its way through the Yorkshire Dales. The name of this picturesque spot comes from an old tradition where dairy farmers would stop to rest on their way into town while driving past these lovely potholes filled with water so clear you can see your reflection! There are some magnificent bends along Buttertub’s passage that make it impossible not to enjoy drives here even if they’re only taking place in one’s mind.
The testing drive will take you through some of the most breathtaking views in Yorkshire. You’ll have long and steep climbs, but it’s worth every second when we reach our destination: breath-taking scenery that spans both Wensleydale with its green fields below us as well as Swaledale on high above!
12. Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Like most seafront counties, Dorset remains a seasonal destination. Though, we think it is a breath-taking place to visit year round and worthy of any best UK road trips itinerary. Incorporating a large portion of the UK’s world famous Jurassic coast, Dorset has a coastline like no other.
For a varied and scenic road trip start in the historic town of Swanage. It is a great place to relax on the beach with some fish & chips, or as a base to visit the nearby Durlston Country Park.
Head towards Corfe Castle and marvel at the historic ruins before heading south towards the coast at Kimmerage Bay. Kimmerage offers a rugged coastline with plenty of opportunities for snorkelling or rock pooling. From here make your way to the coastal town Weymouth via the notorious Durdle Door (pictured). Weymouth has a generous expanse of beaches, great pubs and plenty of ice cream shops for a quick pit stop or weekend stay.
Close to Weymouth is the Isle of Portland which is connected to the mainland via a singular road. Here you can find epic viewpoints, a rugged coastline to explore and even pirate graves! The roads here are generally quiet, winding and scenic, providing an exceptional drive.
13. The Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye is a Scottish island that is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge. It has beautiful scenery and is acclaimed as one the most picturesque places in Europe, with bridges connecting it all together!
The island is home to a number of historical sites, including the ruins of Dunvegan Castle and the remains of an Iron Age village.
The Isle of Skye is also home to a number of wildlife parks, which are perfect for a day out with the family. The island is also home to a number of beaches, which are perfect for a day out in the sun. The quiet roads make for a great road trip, you really can forget the stresses of urban living here.
14. The New Forest, Hampshire
The New Forest in Hampshire provides some incredible driving roads and places to see. Start off by driving along the ancient wooded road of Bolderwood and make your way towards the picturesque village of Burley. Be sure to stop off at the Tall Trees walk near Brockenhurst to marvel at the giant Redwood trees.
The forest is beautiful year round and always provides something new to see. Spring and summer holidays can be busy in popular places but you can still drive around easily. The Autumn provides a particular kind of seasonal majesty when the leaves turn red and gold.
When driving here, be careful of the New Forest Ponies (pictured). These wonderful horses are free to roam wherever they like here, which includes the road. With their friendly, inquisitive temperament, they are often known to approach slow-moving or parked vehicles to say hello (which is great for a photo or two). The speed limit throughout the park is limited to 40MPH.
How long does it take to drive around the UK?
If you’re planning on driving around the entire country, it will take approximately two weeks when allowing for sensible stoppages. However, if you’re only planning on visiting a few of the top tourist destinations, it will take approximately one week.
Is it safe to drive in the UK?
Yes, it is safe to drive in the UK. However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and drive accordingly. Road surfaces are generally good and traffic light outages are rare. The UK Highway Code operates to keep all road users as safe as possible.
Are there any toll roads in the UK?
Yes, although relatively rare, there are a number of toll roads in the UK. Some large cities will charge a fee based on the emissions of your vehicle to reduce pollution. It is always worth checking online for destinations such as London or Manchester what the costs are. For certain vehicles and times of the day, it is free, but for high polluting vehicles like big engine 4×4’s it can be expensive.
What is the best time of year to visit the UK?
The best time of year to visit the UK is during the summer months. However, you should be aware that during this time, there will be a lot of tourists. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit during the shoulder season.
What is the speed limit in the UK?
The speed limit in the UK is 70 mph on motorways, 60 mph on dual carriageways, and 30 mph on residential streets. However, all of these can vary with localised restrictions often in force.
You should always drive according to the conditions. For example, during heavy rain and fog, it is wise to slow down. The UK roads can have a lot of unexpected corners and potholes, particularly in rural areas.
Is driving in the UK fun in the winter?
Yes, driving in the UK can be fun in the winter, you may also enjoy a road trip with considerably fewer tourists. However, you should be aware of the conditions and drive accordingly. For example, winter tyres and a cold-weather maintenance of your car would be considered essential for a substantial trip.
Tips For Your Trip
UK Road trips are fun and a great way to see this varied country. Here are a few tips to make sure your road trip is a success:
- Make sure you have a good map of the area you’re planning to visit or an app such as Google Maps. This will help you plan your route and make sure you don’t get lost.
- Ensure your vehicle is in good working order, with up to date tax, and MOT, valid UK insurance and an up to date service.
- Have a good idea of where you’re going to stay each night. This will help you plan your route and make sure you don’t get lost.
- Take a packed lunch and plenty of snacks for the journey. This will help you save money and make sure you’re not hungry during the drive.
- Take breaks frequently. This will help you stay refreshed and alert during the drive.
- Have a good idea of the route you’re taking. This will help you plan your journey and make sure you don’t get lost.
- Check the weather forecast before you set off. This will help you plan your route and make sure you don’t get caught in bad weather.
- Have a great time! Road trips are a great way to see the country and have an adventure. Just make sure you plan ahead and you’ll have a blast!
Of course the term best UK road trips is subjective, different people will find different elements of each trip exciting, or perhaps not. But with so much to offer, if you’re looking for an unforgettable driving experience, look no further than the United Kingdom. With its winding country roads and stunning coastal views, the UK offers drivers a wealth of beautiful scenery to take in while behind the wheel. So pack your bags and get ready for some serious road trip fun!
Have you ever been to any of these places? What are some of the best UK road trips and destinations you have visited? Feel free to comment below and happy travels!