It’s no secret that the UK has some of the most beautiful landscape, and together with its long history and charming culture it’s an amazing country to explore. The best way to make the most of your time is to explore the country by car, as you simply can’t reach and experience many of the best gems by train or bus – and many drives are worth the trip alone for vacation in the UK
Here are The Best Scenic Drives in the UK
Scenic Drives in Cornwall
Named one of the world’s most beautiful drives by National Geographic, Cornwall has everything it takes for a scenic drive; rugged coastline, whitewashed seaside villages, lush green countryside and Celtic ruins.
The long and winding road along the north Cornwall coast known as the “Atlantic Highway” is a must, where you drive through some of the country’s most dramatic coastline.
Bedruthan Steps, Constantine Bay (B276) and the lighthouse at Trevose Head are three of the highlights along the way.
The Scottish Highlands
Scotland is beautiful at any time of the year, but I found autumn to be absolutely spectacular. The landscape almost looks like it’s on fire in a hundred shades of gold, and early autumn (such as September) are also some of the drier times of the year in this otherwise very wet area, so I highly recommend going there then!
The drive from Loch Lomond to Glencoe is especially beautiful!
Keep in mind however that many of the roads in the Highlands are curvy and tricky and not for the hesitant driver.
You can use “Carole Nash routes to ride page” to find popular routes and the levels of difficulty for each route (as well as where to find petrol stops).
Lake DistrictLake District
Lake District is one of the most popular destinations in the UK, and was the inspiration to many of the country’s best known romantic poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth.
The Lake District has to be one of my most favorite places in the UK. The lakes are surrounded with beautiful green fell land, a spectacular array of Flora and Fauna and with an air of tranquility that could calm even the most stressed of soles.
It’s easy to see why it’s been labelled as an area of outstanding natural beauty and receives hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
For a truly scenic and memorable drive, take the circular route which begins in Kendal (on the A5284) and passes through Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere, taking in the variety of lakes to be found in the area.
The 30-mile stretch (A591) between Kendal and Keswick is one of the most beautiful drives in the district, as it’s the only road that runs through the heart of the National Park, passing meadows, peaks, the famous Grasmere and five lakes.
The drive from Penrith to Haydon Bridge (A686) has been named one of the best drives in the world by AA Magazine, thanks to its wild nature and scenic views from the Hartside Top Cafe (on a clear day you can see as far as Scotland).
With an estimated 22 million visitors per yeat, the Peak District is said to be the second most visited national park in the world, after Mt Fuji.
Even those who have never been there are very familiar with the beautiful landscape if they’ve ever seen the movies Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, which were filmed there.
This area is full of history and charming British culture, with lots of picturesque village and spectacular landscapes.
UK’s Most Scenic & Interesting Drives
When it comes to beautiful scenery and stunning vistas, the UK has much to offer drivers. From the spectacular lakeside scenery of Cumbria’s Lake District, to the visual feast of Dover’s white cliffs and everything in between, there are many scenic drives awaiting you.
If you fancy getting into your car and heading off on a road trip within the UK, here are my top drives to excite your eyes:
Black Mountain Road (Powys, Breacon Beacons National Park)
Arguably one of the most stunning drives to be found in the UK, a short but beautiful 5 mile stretch running through the Black Mountain Range and giving drivers elevated views of the surrounding countryside.
The Breacon Beacons National Park in it’s own right is well worth a visit if you want to experience some of the UK’s best scenery. At its highest, the road reaches 1,617 feet above sea level and there are of plenty of places to stop for some truly spectacular photos.
With many a quiet and solitary glen, loch’s galore and scenic roads a plenty, the Highlands should definitely be on your wish list. After all, who hasn’t heard of Loch Ness (and the Loch Ness Monster)?
There’s plenty to see and do; castles and forts, fascinating hydro-electric power station’s and dams, and scenic road after scenic road awaits you.
To really experience the changing scenery from bustling city to isolated wilderness, take a drive from Glasgow on the A9, through to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
The Snowdonia National Park contains some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery and many picturesque villages can be found whilst you wind your way through the area on its scenic roads.
To experience the best North Wales has to offer, why not start your journey at Conwy Castle on the coast and make your way through the winding A & B roads, passing through Snowdonia (why not stop to take the Welsh Mountain Railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon), the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed and travelling on to the spectacular tourist village of Portmeirion (once used as the film set for The Prisoner).
Cheddar Gorge (Somerset)
The second greatest natural wonder in the UK, Cheddar Gorge is a spectacular cleft in the landscape caused by melt water flooding during the last ice-age. The scenery is quite literally other worldly as you drive on the B3135 that passes through the gorge.
Also home to a spectacular cave system and visitor centre (definitely one to bring the kids along for), it’s well worth a drive through the gorge to take in the 27 cliffs, steep green slopes and variety of wildlife to be found there.
(photo credit- Ed Callow – llamnudds – lju photo – DaveOnFlickr – Rob Young)