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7 of the Best UK Road Trips: A Driving Itinerary of Great Britain

Although we may be a small country here in Great Britain, what we lack in size we more than make up for in charm, history and beauty. Across our four nations we showcase miles of rugged coastline, rolling green fields as far as the eye can see and fabulous beaches with reams of golden sand. Although not quite as famous as America’s Route 66 or Australia’s Great Ocean Road, the UK is still home to some of the best road trips in the world. From the incredible scenery of Scotland’s North Coast 500 to the gorgeous coastal views of England’s Atlantic Highway, there are road trips for all ages to enjoy. Whether you have three days or three weeks, or you’re driving a car, campervan or motorcycle, you can pack in tonnes of beauty spots and must-see landmarks during your driving itinerary of Great Britain. In need of some UK travel inspo? You’ve come to the right place! Here’s my pick of 7 of the best UK road trips from all corners of the country so you can start planning now that lockdown is easing…

North Coast 500, Scotland

 

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Known as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500 is an epic driving adventure that’ll take you across 516 miles of stunning Scottish highlands. Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, the route was officially launched at 2015 and runs through counties including Inverness-shire, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty. Along the way you’ll discover the likes of Ullapool, Wick and John O’Groats giving you plenty of sights to tick off your Scottish bucket-list. The route typically takes 5-7 days to complete and this is a good amount of time to set aside so you can break up the long driving with lots of scenic stopovers in between. Make sure you do your research before you set off for your trip; the roads are winding, the bends are sharp and there are plenty of wildlife that could jump out at you along the way! You’ll also need to plan ahead and book your accommodation in advance as local hotels and b&b’s have seen a huge surge in popularity since the route was launched. Driving the NC500 is something that is definitely on my UK wishlist and I would love to plan this incredible road trip for myself one day!

 

 

Cotswold Way, England

 

As I’m a local girl I couldn’t write my list of 7 of the best UK road trips without including this beautiful part of the country! The Cotswolds are home to some of the prettiest towns and villages in the UK and are visited by thousands of tourists each year. The Cotswold Way is officially a walking/hiking route and stretches for 102 miles, but you can drive between some of the key locations to pack as much sightseeing in to your road trip as you are able to. If you’re following the official Cotswold Way walking route you’ll need to start in the market town of Chipping Campden and end up in the Roman city of Bath. You’ll pass the likes of Broadway, Cheltenham and Painswick along the way and can take in some stunning Cotswolds sights during your journey. The towns and villages are easy to get around by car or motorcycle although you may struggle with a campervan or motorhome as many of the roads are very narrow and windy! Planning a longer stay in the Cotswolds? Check out my full Cotswolds weekend itinerary here!

 

 

Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

 

 

Up next on my list of 7 of the best UK road trips is the Causeway Coastal Route, a designated 130 mile road trip along the windswept and rugged Atlantic coastline of Northern Ireland. The route starts in Derry and ends in Belfast, passing famous landmarks such as the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, Portrush golf course, endless Game of Thrones filming locations, and of course the incredible Giants Causeway. In order to fit in as much of Ireland’s spectacular scenery as you can, 3-5 days is the recommended length of time for this road trip. As it is a relatively short distance it can be done much quicker than that, or even in a day if you really have to, but if you allow more time you can certainly relax and enjoy the Irish way of life for longer rather than racing from stop to stop. You could easily do this route by motorcycle, car or campervan and I’d recommend a night or two in a hotel along the way to make your trip last a little longer!

 

 

Black Mountain Pass, Wales

 

 

Another excellent route to add to your driving itinerary of Great Britain, the Black Mountain Pass in Wales celebrated its 200th anniversary back in 2019 and its popularity was heightened after an appearence on hit BBC show Top Gear in 2011. When Jeremy Clarkson got behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz AMG and drove the 20 mile stretch of the A4069 in Carmarthenshire, fans of the famous Welsh road dubbed it the ‘Top Gear Road’ and tourism to the area has spiked ever since. Boasting spectacular scenery over the Brecon Beacons National Park, this short route offers far reaching views of enormous mountains, rolling hills and endless fields. Climbing up to 1600ft above sea level in parts, this route is best going from north to south and is better suited to experienced drivers but cyclists can also tackle it too – if you’re up for a tough workout!

 

 

Atlantic Highway, England

 

Up next on my list of 7 of the best UK road trips we’re heading all the way down to Cornwall, one of my favourite parts of Britain and the first place I ever went to on holiday as a 6 month old baby! This 275km long route takes up to seven days to complete and starts in Somerset on the edge of the Exmoor National Park, where it stretches across Devon and Cornwall by running along the A39. Showcasing stunning countryside on one side and epic coastal views on the other, the Atlantic Highway Route follows the line of (yep, you guessed it) the Atlantic Ocean from mid-Cornwall to North Devon. Passing through towns such as Wadebridge, Bude, Tintagel and Camelford, as well as the pretty Quantock Hills, Clovelly Village and Port Isaac there are some excellent places to stay to help break up your drive along the Atlantic Highway Route. Your final day will take you to surfers paradise Newquay, where you’ll want to rest and refuel for a couple of nights before heading back home again.

 

 

Argyll Coastal Route, Scotland

 

Back to Scotland now for another route on your driving itinerary of Great Britain, but this time it’s a coastal route instead of the mountainous Scottish Highlands. Much shorter than the North Coast 500, this route is a tame 129 miles in length, starting in Tarbet and ending up at Fort William. Set off from the iconic Loch Lomond, exploring the west coast, where highlights and must sees include the Loch Fyne restaurant and oyster bar for an incredible foodie experience and a visit to the 19th century Inveraray Jail. You’ll also want to visit McCaig’s Tower for excellent views of the Inner Hebrides, and see the Castle Stalker view on Loch Linnhe. If you have time (an extra day), try and climb Ben Nevis whilst you’re at Fort William. It’s a difficult climb with treacherous parts and unpredictable weather, but if you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with incredible views and  it’s certainly an experience to tick off your British bucket list!

 

Jurassic Coast Path, England

 

Last but not least on my list of 7 of the best UK road trips is Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast Path. Typically a walking route which covers 95 miles of land on foot (as part of the South West Coast Path) you can also drive between many of the places along the way which is why I’ve included it as part of a driving itinerary of Great Britain. Starting at Old Harry Rocks in Dorset and ending up at Exmouth in Devon, you’ll pass places such as Weymouth, Portland Bill, Chesil Beach and Lyme Regis, as well as miles of coastal views along the way. Part of a World Heritage Site, some of the sights along the Jurassic Coast Path are amongst the best in Britain. I have visited Dorset on numerous occasions and always love walking or driving between sections of this beautiful route, so it’s definitely one to add to your list of places to visit in the UK.

 

I hope this list of 7 of the best UK road trips has given you some travel inspo and you can now get planning some epic adventures this summer! No matter whether you’re driving a car, caravan or motorcycle, you can still enjoy a fabulous UK road trip and tick plenty off your Great British bucket-list. Don’t forget to prepare well in advance for your UK road trip though; make sure you’ve got adequate travel insurance/vehicle insurance and your mode of transport is thoroughly serviced/ in excellent working order before you set off. I imagine that most of these UK road trips will be done by campervan or car, but travelling by motorcycle is an exhilarating way of getting around so why not compare the best motorcycle insurance quotes on the market before you start planning your epic driving itinerary of Great Britain. Have you got any UK road trips planned this summer? I’d love to know where you’re heading to!

 

NB. This post was sponsored by The Bike Insurer but all thoughts and words are of course my own.

 

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