The Most Scenic Drives In The UK
The Hardknott Pass, The Lake District
Best For: Adrenaline junkies
The Lake District is home to some of the finest vistas in the country. While there are several good routes to explore in the area, the Hardknott Pass is not to be missed. With a 30% incline, it’s one of the most challenging drives in the country, but those brave enough to attempt it will be rewarded with some spectacular views. There are several twists and turn to navigate, so it’s one for experienced drivers. Make a weekend of it and head to Duddon Valley with its plentiful camping spots.
Isle of Arran Coastal Way, Scotland
Best For: Photographers
Head to the Isle of Arran for an epic journey through some of the very best Scottish countryside. This leisurely drive passes remote villages, craggy highlands and panoramic views of the coastline. The circular route starts in Brodick, passing the majestic Lochranza Castle, the village of Blackwaterfoot in the south and Lamlash Bay. Easily completed in the course of the weekend, there are lots of places to stop off for a great picture – Sannox Beach is a hidden gem.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Best For: Unparalleled views
If you want to explore the vast Northern Irish coastline, the Causeway Coastal Route is a stunning drive. The route has won several awards for the most beautiful drive in the UK, so bookmark it for a long weekend. Starting in Belfast, take a tour around the city before heading to the Antrim countryside where you can stop off at Carrickfergus Castle and the Gobbins Cliff Path for a scenic walk. On day two, hit the coast and head for the stunning Murlough Bay and Tor Head where you might be able to catch a glimpse of Scotland on a clear day. Raithlin Island, a ferry ride away, is also worth a visit – you can take a guided tour around the historic lighthouse. The final stretch of the route passes Ballintoy Harbour and the Giant’s Causeway – a Unesco World Heritage Site. Don’t miss Dunluce Castle further along the coastline, before finishing the trip in Derry.
Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Best For: Coastline views
The Jurassic Coast stretches from Devon to Dorset. While the full drive takes between four and five days to compete, a shorter drive can be concentrated in Dorset for the most beautiful scenery. To see the best bits that make up the Unesco World Heritage Site, set off from 11th-century Corfe Castle. Head up to Lulworth Cove before making your way east to the famous Durdle Door – one of Dorset’s most photographed spots and a great place to stop off for a day trip.
Best For: History buffs
For a drive that can be completed in an afternoon, head to the Cotswolds. One of the best routes to take during the summer is between Broadway and the small village of Snowshill. Following the A44 and A46, you’ll pass stately homes, historical sites and several quaint villages. The roads are fairly narrow but the many twists and turns make for an interesting drive. The route ends in Cirencester, a historic market town with several inns and country pubs worth stopping for.
London To Cambridge
Best For: A long weekend
The M11 will get you from London to Cambridge in just over an hour, but it’s worth trying a longer route. Start by heading east towards Theydon Bois in Essex on the A121. You’ll pass Epping Forest and the beautiful North Weald Bassett beside the historic St Andrew’s church which dates back to the Middle Ages. Fyfield village is the next stop, before reaching Great Dunmow via the B184. Don’t miss the gardens at Easton Lodge. Then take the B1057 to Steeple Bumstead and Clare, both of which are worth exploring. Once you reach Newmarket, you can follow the A14 to Cambridge and the top of the M11.
Snake Pass, Peak District
Best For: Lovers of the outdoors
Factoring in the time it takes to get to Derbyshire and back, this is a drive to make over a weekend. Passing through the Peak District, the pass is a steep drive with an elevation of 510m – not for the faint of heart. If you’re up for the thrill, head to the town of Glossop and follow the road towards the Pennine Way walking route. You’ll wind through a vast woodland area, before passing the river Ashop and the famous Ladybower reservoir. Here, the area has some of the most stunning views on this list, so take your time to drive through the pass and make the most of them.
Black Mountain Pass, Wales
Best For: Experienced drivers
The Black Mountain pass in Wales is one of the most famous drives in the UK and for good reason. Featuring a combination of bends, dips, twists and climbs, only experienced drivers should opt for this route as it can be challenging in places. It can be completed in a day, but it’s worth stopping off at some of the nearby towns to make the most of the area. Starting in Brecon, take the A40 to Llandovery to reach the start of the pass. From there, it’s a 20-mile scenic drive through an alpine landscape with breathtaking views of the Black Mountains. The route is best driven during the week when the roads are quieter – just make sure to look out for stray sheep on the road.
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