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Road trips: The five best to enjoy 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 peoples minds are the golden beaches of the Caribbean, the sights and delights of the US, or the beautiful architecture of Europe.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, holidays abroad have been few and far between for the past 18 months and if you have managed to get away then we commend you and are very jealous!

But, as travel restrictions and traffic light systems have affected everyone in the UK this year, more and more Brits have turned to holidaying at home, otherwise known as a 'staycation'.

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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.

North-Coast-500-road-trip

The route starts and ends at Inverness Castle, before heading north around the coast of the top of Scotland and hitting the highest point of Britain, John O'Groats and then dropping 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 a personal favourite experienced just a month before the world was properly hit by the coronavirus pandemic in February 2020.

It's 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.

Giant's-Causeway-coastal-route

Not only that but there are plenty of beautiful little seaside towns to stop in and look around, as well as plenty of 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.

Newquay-beach-Cornwall

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 have a 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 a 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.

Snowdonia

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 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-Cotswolds

The route overall is around 150 miles, and 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.

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