The Five Best Road Trips in the UK

There are some absolutely stunning road trips to be had in the UK, and you don't even need it to be summer to make the most of them.

When you think of the word 'holiday', the first thing that will spring to most people's minds is the golden beaches of the Caribbean, the sights and delights of the US, or the beautiful architecture of Europe.

Due to Covid, holidays abroad have been harder to come by in the last three years, although most countries and travel operators are back to normal now.

Many Brits have turned to holidaying at home in recent years, otherwise known as a 'staycation', and there are so many sights and wonders to see in our home nations.

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A staycation is a holiday that you take in the country that you live in. You are still on a 'vacation' but 'staying' within the confines of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom.

It has meant that road trips have become increasingly popular for UK holidaymakers who may have not seen too much of their own country due to previously travelling away.

The beauty of a good road trip is that you move from place to place each day, seeing and experiencing new locations that you may never have thought to see before.

In this article, we've selected our five best road trips and why you should make them a priority when considering your next holiday. Whether it be in summer or winter, a road trip in the UK can be fun whatever the weather.

1. The North Coast 500, Scotland

It would have been impossible to not include this in the top spot when compiling the best road trips in the UK.

The North Coast 500 in northern Scotland is also known as 'Scotland's Route 66' because of how unique and beautiful the trip is.

It's 516 miles of scenic road with plenty of little towns along the way to stop off in and enjoy their delights.

You will experience a mix of everything on this trip, from mountainous backdrops to stunning little seasides that most people south of the border would never have even dreamt about.


The route starts and ends at Inverness Castle, but first, you head north around the coast of the top of Scotland and hit the highest point of Britain, John O'Groats, before you drop down and back round to Inverness.

You'll see magnificent lochs, hills, castles and more, including the opportunity to try some of the famous whiskies at distilleries along the way.

It's definitely not a route to be missed and should be top of your list if you're considering a UK road trip break at some point this year.

2. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

The Causeway Coastal Route is located in Northern Ireland and the route begins in Belfast before winding up the northern coast of the country and ending in Londonderry, which is located right on the border of the Republic of Ireland.

The absolute highlight of the trip is the stunning UNESCO heritage site, Giant's Causeway, which features thousands of pentagonal columns interlocking, formed after a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.


Not only that but there are plenty of beautiful little seaside towns to stop in and look around, as well as scenes from where the hit television series 'Game of Thrones' was filmed.

The route is approximately 130 miles in length and can be done comfortably in a couple of days.

Don't miss the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which is a National Trust site where you can walk over a long bridge situated high above the sea.

3. The Atlantic Highway, England

This time we head to England, and right down in the southwest corner of the country, you have arguably two of the most stunning counties in the country.

Devon and Cornwall have always been holiday hotspots for Brits, due to the lovely beaches, tranquil surroundings, and the general feeling of actually not being in the UK and in your own little bubble.

The Atlantic Highway takes you through some of the quaintest towns you will ever see, as well as some real hidden gem beaches.

You'll pass by towns including Barnstaple, Tintagel, Padstow, and Newquay, each one with its own personality and expansive list of things to do.


The route is approximately 70 miles in length, but it's definitely worth taking a solid week of time to explore all of the different places along the way.

Devon and Cornwall have so much to offer, so if you had already planned on visiting but just staying in one location, perhaps think about changing your plans and trying to fit in some time along this highway; you won't regret it!

4. The Dragon's Spine, Wales

Now we move on to Wales, with one of the best routes to see a whole host of what the country has to offer.

It runs from coast to coast, beginning in the south in the capital Cardiff, all the way up to the northern town of Conwy.

It's around 170 miles in length and will allow you to see the hustle and bustle of the city centre in Cardiff, the heights and beauty of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Park, and the little seaside resorts the north has to offer.


Don't miss the area around Snowdonia in particular which has incredible views of the surrounding hills and valleys and there are plenty of adventure sports to be had in Betws-y-Coed.

If you ever wanted to experience Wales but were unsure where to start or specifically visit, this is the road trip for you. 

5. The Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds is quite different to the other selections in the list as you won't be passing too close to a beach or the coast with this one.

But it's equally as stunning, as you pass through lots of Tudor-era-style villages, Roman ruins and the sort of scenery you'd expect to see in an ITV period drama.

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The architecture and ambience within are truly remarkable, and you will venture through some of England's oldest and most historic towns.

You'll start in Bath and end in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and if that's not enough to whet your appetite, you'll also visit the likes of Oxford, Cirencester and Cheltenham.


The route overall is around 150 miles, so it's recommended to probably take at least five days to explore all of the best locations en route.

So there we have it, five of the best road trips to be had in the UK. It's been a stressful year booking and cancelling trips abroad, so why not save yourself the time and emotional energy by staying at home and enjoying what our wonderful country has to offer?


What is the longest road trip in the UK?

Land's End at the tip of the country in Cornwall to John O'Groats in north Scotland is 874 miles. It's a great challenge for motorists, cyclists and even runners who attempt to go from the southernmost point of the UK to the northernmost point.

What is the straightest road in the UK?

A section of the A15 in England provides the longest stretch of straight road in the UK.