From rugged mountains to picturesque beaches, the UK has an endless supply of stunning scenery that’s just calling out to be explored on a road trip.
Scotland’s answer to Route 66 boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK, if not the world. It showcases the best of the Highlands, with ancient castles, windswept beaches and historic landmarks lurking around every corner.
The official route starts and ends at Inverness Castle and passes through idyllic towns and villages such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch. It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance as options are limited.
Those looking for adventure can surf the reef breaks of Caithness or head to Corrieshalloch Gorge to try canyoning. The extreme sport combines mountaineering, climbing and diving and tour operators offer safe lessons for beginners.
Hugging the Atlantic coast, this jaw-dropping route from Belfast to Derry is steeped in myth and legend. The route is actually made up of nine scenic drives, so you can break it down into smaller journeys and take your time enjoying the sights.
The drive takes you to several of Northern Ireland’s main tourist attractions and landmarks – the Giant’s Causeway itself, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, Dark Hedges and the Glens of Antrim.
Make the short ferry trip to Rathlin Island from Ballycastle for a tour of the upside down lighthouse built into a cliff face, or sample a piece of history at the Old Bushmills Distillery. The world’s oldest licenced working distillery has been producing Bushmills Irish Whiskey at the site since 1608.
Next up on our list is this tour through one of the country’s most beloved national parks, the Peak District. Start in Glossop, east of Greater Manchester, and head into the Pennines along the famous Snake Pass, one of the UK’s great mountain passes, hitting a high point of 510m above sea level.
From there, head further south towards the reservoirs around the popular Derwent Dam that offer great trekking opportunities. A short detour to the west will take you to the Blue John Cavern, an underground network of caves which offers guided tours – ideal if you feel like an alternative to hill walking on your way ever southwards.
If you want to explore further, the Heights of Abraham in Matlock offers tours to help retrace the footsteps of miners at the Great Masson Cavern. Alternatively, take to the skies in the famous cable car over the Derwent Valley.
One of the best ways to see Wales is by driving coast to coast. The A470 runs all the way from Cardiff in the south to Conwy in the north, taking in two national parks.
Start in the Welsh capital, then head up through the South Wales Coalfield to the Brecon Beacons. As you reach the heartland of Wales, you’ll pass the gorgeous Llyn Clywedog reservoir and market town of Dolgellau, before heading over the majestic northern mountains of Snowdonia to Conwy.
Jeremy Clarkson fans may recognise the A4069 Black Mountain Pass – the route otherwise known as ‘Top Gear road’ is a favourite with motorists including the outspoken presenter. Those looking for a slice of culture are spoilt for choice with Carreg Cennen Castle and Dinefwr Castle both nearby.
With dense forests, meandering streams and vast swathes of heather moorland, the North York Moors National Park makes for a spectacular road trip. Although the journey from the market town of Helmsley to the seaside village of Staithes is short and sweet, you can stretch it out over a couple of days if you fancy an overnight stay in a village B&B.
Pass moss-covered drystone walls and grazing sheep as you take the A170 towards Pickering and Thornton-le-Dale. Then take the A169 for a scenic journey up to the coast through Goathland and Grosmont.
The Moors are one of the most dog-friendly regions to visit in the UK, with B&Bs, glamping and other accommodation options welcoming furry family members. Whenever your pet wants to explore there are plenty of canine-friendly pubs and beaches available too.
Explore some of the UK’s most breathtaking scenery with a drive through Snowdonia National Park and out across the Menai Strait to Anglesey. Start at Betws-y-Coed and head west past Swallow Falls into the heart of Snowdonia. The A4086 will take you past Snowdon itself, but you may want to stop off and explore the mountain.
Away from the awe-inspiring peaks North Wales is also home to lakes offering exhilarating watersports facilities. Look out for white water kayaking on natural rapids at The National White Water Centre.
Outside the park, take the scenic route on your way across the Strait by swinging through historic Caernarfon first, before heading over the water to explore the beautiful Isle of Anglesey.