This summer is the perfect time to experience what our country has to offer, and with traditional UK holiday destinations in popular beach resorts either booked up or seeing price increases, taking a road trip is a great way to get off the traditional holiday trail and explore other parts of the country.
Before heading off on your road trip, you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully prepared. Make sure your satnav is updated and be sure to check your car vitals, including air pressure and fluid levels. You can read some more of our tips for going on a summer staycation here.
We asked the UK public what their favourite road trips are in the country and have gathered the 10 most popular below, letting you know the areas they cover and what makes them so special.
1) North Coast 500, 516 miles:
An epic road trip around the north coast of Scotland. Starting in the highland city of Inverness, the route travels towards Applecross, before heading north along the coastline. You’ll pass beaches and quaint fishing villages, as well as crossing the impressive Kylesku bridge, before reaching John o’Groats, the northernmost tip of the UK mainland.
The route then circles back down towards Inverness, passing the impressive Dunrobin Castle, before finishing at the same place it starts.
This journey is dotted with pretty fishing villages and impressive castles and is perfect for nature lovers, who will enjoy the rustic beauty of the coastline. It’s best to give yourself at least several days to enjoy the full beauty of the route, and you can take longer to extend your trip and visit locations off the traditional route, such as catching a ferry to the Orkney Islands.
2) Ben Nevis to Isle of Skye, 91 miles:
Starting in Fort William, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, this journey snakes through the highlands, passing the magical Glenfinnan Viaduct along the way, which will be familiar to fans of the Harry Potter films.
The route then crosses onto the Isle of Skye before finishing in the pretty town of Portree, the largest town on the island.
This road trip boasts incredible scenery and is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors, whilst fans of Harry Potter will recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct from the films. A week will allow you to fully experience the outdoors, including hiking Ben Nevis, as well as getting a feel of rural life on Skye.
3) The Atlantic Highway, 125 miles:
Beginning in Barnstaple, this road trip travels down the Devon and Cornwall coastline before finishing at Land’s End.
Along the way, you’ll pass through famous Cornish fishing towns, such as Padstow and St Ives, as well as the holiday hotspot of Newquay. The route also allows you to visit the legendary castle of Tintagel, said to be the seat of King Arthur.
This makes the route ideal for fans of history and allows you to experience the best of Devon and Cornish culture, while foodies can experience amazing fresh seafood. You can spend up to two weeks travelling this route, staying for longer periods in some of the beautiful towns along the way and enjoying the best the coast has to offer.
4) Ullswater to Windermere, 37 miles:
Touring the idyllic Lake District, this road trip takes in some stunning natural beauty as it travels from Ullswater to Windermere.
You’ll start in Ullswater, before heading up to Keswick via Grasmere. From Keswick, you drive west towards scenic town of Windermere and the lake of the same name.
The route is perfect for fans of natural beauty, or those who want to experience the quiet life of the towns in the region. There’s also the opportunity for thrill seekers and fans of outdoor activities to experience a more active side to the holiday, thanks to water sports on the lakes and plenty of hiking routes.
You should be able to experience the short road trip in less than a week, spending a couple of days in Keswick or Windermere to explore the surrounding areas.
5) The Yorkshire Circuit, 101 miles:
Travelling through the Yorkshire Moors and Dales, this trip begins in the town of Harrogate, and travels through Grassington up towards Reeth.
From here you travel to Hawes, home of the famous Wensleydale Creamery, before circling back to your starting point via the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, and the nearby cathedral city of Ripon.
The trip takes in the natural beauty of the region, as well as offering history lovers time in Harrogate, and the nearby UNESCO world heritage site of Fountains Abbey. Food lovers can visit the famous Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. You should give yourself three to four days to experience the best of this route or spend longer and allow yourself to visit other nearby locations, such as the medieval city of York.
6) Snowdonia to Anglesey, 64 miles:
Starting next to the picturesque village of Betws y Coed, this is another route for lovers of natural beauty, including waterfalls, mountains and beaches.
You’ll travel through the stunning Snowdonia National Park, past the base of the imposing Mount Snowdon, before heading towards the medieval town of Caernarfon.
From here, you’ll head up the coast before crossing over to Anglesey via the iconic Menai Suspension Bridge, before finishing the route by driving up to Holyhead.
This journey is ideal for history lovers, passing the striking Caernarfon Castle and crossing the Menai Suspension Bridge, whilst also offering the natural beauty of Snowdonia. There’s even something here for those in need of a relaxing holiday, with Anglesey offering beautiful beaches.
You should plan to spend a week on this trip to truly get the most out of the route and what it has to offer.
7) Brecon Beacons and the South Wales coast, 204 miles:
Beginning in the Welsh capital of Cardiff, the route travels through the Brecon Beacons via the famous Black Mountain Pass (A4069), before travelling east towards the town of Carmarthen.
From here, you drive further east to St David’s, the smallest city in the UK and home to spectacular beaches and scenery. You’ll then travel north along the Welsh coastline, passing fishing towns and villages such as Fishguard, before ending your journey in the town of Aberystwyth.
This route is perfect for petrol heads, with Black Mountain Pass regarded as one of the best driving roads in the country. The route also has plenty to offer in terms of beaches, with several pretty towns and villages for you to stop at along the way.
8) Snake Pass and the Peak District, 56 miles:
You’ll start this route in Chesterfield, before heading into the Peak District to visit the picturesque town of Bakewell, home to the famous Bakewell tart. You’ll then travel over to the larger town of Buxton with its stunning architecture.
Next, drive up to the beauty spot of Bamford Edge, where you can take in your stunning surroundings. Finally, head towards Glossop via the famous driving road of Snake Pass.
This road trip contains the driving thrill of Snake Pass, which makes it perfect for petrolheads, whilst anyone can enjoy the natural beauty and pretty architecture of the scenery and towns dotting the Peak District. You’ll be able to enjoy most of what this route has to offer over a weekend.
9) The Dragon’s Spine, 222 miles:
Travelling from the south coast of Wales to the north, this route takes in both the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia and is dotted with castles and other points of interest.
Start in Cardiff before heading north, again via the Black Mountain Pass. You’ll then follow the A470 to North Wales, through Snowdonia and past the famous castle town of Conwy, before finishing in Llandudno.
Containing castles, natural beauty and great driving roads, this route is great for most people and offers a little bit of everything that people can enjoy. It should take you less than a week to get the most out of the route.
10) The Causeway Coastal Route, 127 miles:
Taking in the breath-taking Northern Irish coastline, this route begins in the trendy city of Belfast, before reaching the coast near Larne. You’ll then travel up the beautiful coastline towards Ballycastle.
After Ballycastle, you’ll want to spend some time visiting the mysterious Dark Hedges, as well as the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO world heritage site, before traveling through Coleraine and finishing the trip in Derry.
This journey offers some stunning coastal scenery, as well as allowing you to experience the best of Northern Irish culture outside of Belfast. To get the most out of this route, you can spend four to five days in the area, exploring the local region around some of the larger towns.
For everything you need to help you plan your summer road trip, visit our travel and touring section here.