Whether you’re interested in the mountainous terrain or prefer to wind down with views of the beach, the UK has something to offer for everyone.
The last few years have made clear that home is where the heart is, with the highest holiday-related search term in the UK being ‘staycation’ and 28% of people surveyed stating they were now more likely to holiday in the country they live in.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared a list of the best UK road trips on offer, including coastal drives, scenic drives in London and more, to make your next home-based holiday the best it can be.
UK Road Trip Ideas
Pack up the car, carry out all the essential checks and fill up on fuel for a road trip that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Some of the best scenic drives in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are better enjoyed with a travelling partner, but they’re also approachable to do alone too!
10. The Dragon’s Spine, Wales
If you’re not already a fan of picturesque Wales, you will be after undertaking The Dragon’s Spine road trip. It’s one of the best UK road trips for a reason as you drive from coast to coast – starting from the capital, Cardiff in the south, and reaching Conwy in the north – all via the A470.
The Dragon’s Spine is one of the best coastal drives in our list and allows you to take in two national parks on your way. You’ll drive through the Brecon Beacons, pass the Llyn Clywedog reservoir and the majestic mountains of Snowdonia on your trip.
There are even nearby castles for those with a taste of history!
9. Epping Forest Circular, England
Those looking for scenic drives in London should look no further than close-to-home Epping Forest. While parts of the area are located within London, you’re far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan city to truly enjoy what it has to offer.
It’s only a 45-minute drive from central London, so if you’re looking for something a little longer, extend the trip and head on through to the idyllic university city of Cambridge.
Using the M11 and M1 will allow you to do a circular route through Epping Forest, Bishop’s Stortford and up to Cambridge, before you head back via Hitchin, St. Albans and Watford as you return to the city. Make sure you stop off wherever you can to gorge on pub grub and local festivities!
8. The Yorkshire Moors, England
Experience trickling streams, deep, dense forestry, and acres of moorland in the Yorkshire Moors – a perfect UK road trip idea for dog owners. The Moors are one of the most canine-friendly regions in the country, and your four-legged friend will be welcome with you in most pubs, B&Bs and camping areas.
Take in towns and villages like Staithes, explore waterfalls like Mallyan Spout or get lost in Dalby Forest as you take the A170 towards Pickering before using the A169 for a trip towards the coast.
Keep an eye out for grazing sheep on the roads, however, as they have a penchant for crossing for fresher grass.
7. The North Coast 500, Scotland
The second-longest of the best UK road trips in this list, the North Cost 500 is a 516-mile circular trip from Inverness, Scotland. The route takes in John O’Groats, Durness, Lochinver, Ullapool and Torridon, before you head back to your starting point.
The route takes in some remote corners of northern Scotland, showcasing beautiful beaches like Achmelvich Bay and exciting, unique visuals along the way. You’ll also drive up the steepest ascent of any road in the UK, Bealach na Bà – nerve-racking, but well worth the views.
The trip is done through various A roads, with potential for a number of detours if you’re looking to extend the drive.
6. Cotswolds Hopping, England
Starting in Gloucester, Worcestershire or Cheltenham, you can hop from village to village in the Cotswolds and enjoy one of the best scenic drives in England.
Easily done in a weekend, but best enjoyed over the space of a week if you truly want to explore each village, you can drive through six different counties while enjoying the beautiful British countryside. The popular Bourton-on-the-Water should be one of your first destinations, while you can also take in areas like Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wol, Castle Combe, Cirencester and the gorgeously picturesque Lower Slaughter on your way.
Make sure to head back to your starting point for a well-deserved end to your village escapades.
5. End-to-End, England and Scotland
One of the best UK road trips is also one of the most feared due to its length. Spanning across two countries, 837 miles at its most direct route and taking at least a week to complete if you take in everything on the way, the trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats is the ultimate UK road trip.
From Lands End, you’ll head to Bristol, Stonehenge, Oxford, the Peak District, York, and the Lake District before you pass into Scotland and hit Dumfries, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Inverness. Once you’re in Inverness, your trip is nearly complete!
You can meander or rush through this trip, but we recommend the first option.
4. Lake District, England
Literature lovers rejoice! Home to the luscious landscape that inspired romanticism from William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey, the Lake District is the perfect UK road trip idea.
Start at tourist hotspot Windermere, before taking in Bowness-on-Windermere, Ullswater, Keswick, Eskdale and Ambleside and stopping for a spot of wild swimming, photograph opportunities and glorious walks.
There’s plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy while you’re there too.
3. Atlantic Highway, England
Referred to as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Atlantic Highway runs across a section of the A39, allowing you to truly take in the rugged coastline of the southwest.
Start in Bath and follow the A39 all the way into Cornwall for one of the best coastal drives available in the UK. You’ll pass through Barnstaple, Bude, Tintagel, Padstow and Newquay on the way, giving you plenty of opportunities to digest your surroundings (and some seafood) on your 200-mile trip.
There’s something to enjoy for entire families on this best UK road trip.
2. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
For raw beauty, look no further than Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route, our penultimate UK road trip idea on this list. Voted the top region in the world to visit just a few years ago, you can start or end your trip in capital Belfast, taking in The Gobbins, Carrickfergus Castle, The Glens of Antrim and so much more.
Fans of Game of Thrones can see filming spots, while the romantically rugged look of this best-in-class coastal drive truly attaches itself to your memory.
There’s so much to see and do on this road trip, that we heartily recommend you try it twice!
1. Jurassic Coast, England
Take in 185 million years of history across a 95-mile stretch of coastline in one of the best coastal drives in England. In fact, it’s one of the most famous places in the country for road trippers.
Seaside towns, exciting fossils, beautiful and bountiful beaches, and the ever-impressive Durdle Door are all things you’ll experience while driving from Bournemouth through to Studland, West Bay, Lyme Regis, Beer, and Exmouth.
It’s certainly not one to miss and sits at top spot in our list of the best UK road trips.
Enjoy the Best UK Road Trips in a New or Used Car
If you’ve been looking for a new or used car, this is your sign to take the plunge and prepare yourself for all the exciting road trips you’re going to be taking.
Browse our range or look for a local dealership so that you can get started on your next big adventure.
Need help finding a new driving experience? Contact us to learn more.