In the UK, many of us turn to staycations for a perfect getaway. Whether you’re looking for a weekend break close to home, or a week away discovering new adventures that the UK has to offer, we’ve collated 7 UK road trips not to be missed.
But before you grab the kids, pack up the car and hit the road, it’s important to make sure your car is in tip-top condition, to avoid any sticky situations along the way. You should always do the following checks before a long journey, to make sure your vehicle can complete the trip safely:
• Engine oil – Pop your bonnet and use the dipstick to gauge your engine oil level. If your oil is close to, or even below, the ‘min’ level, top up before you set off on your trip.
• Tyres – A lot of these trips involve country roads, with national speed limits across long stretches. Make sure your tyres are free from any tears, splits or bulges to avoid a sudden flat or blow-out, and make sure your tread depth is at legal level for the best grip on the road (especially important with the notoriously unpredictable British weather).
• Coolant – It’s crucial, especially when driving long distances, to make sure you have enough coolant to keep your engine working at optimum temperature, and avoid dangerous overheating.
• Electrics – There’s not much worse than spending the beginning of your holiday waiting for a friendly stranger to assist you with a jump start. Make sure your battery is charged and in good condition, and check your essential electrics (think lights and horn) are working as they should be
• Screen wash – Don’t be taken off guard by bugs on the motorway, or splatters from a wet road surface. Make sure your screen wash is topped up, and bring some more along for the road.
• Brakes – On a long journey with more luggage in tow than usual, it’s essential your brakes are working as they should be. Take a look at your brake fluid levels, and make sure there’s no odd behaviour, like pulling or squeaking, when you apply them.
With safety checks out of the way, you should be good to go – take a look at our favourite staycation road trips below.
Atlantic Highway, England
With the A39 standing as one of the longest roads in the South West, it’s the perfect scenic route for adventurous couples or families. While the commonly named Atlantic Highway doesn’t actually run alongside the coast, you’ll be able to catch plenty of amazing ocean views along the trip.
Passing through iconic British holiday destinations like Devon, Camelford and Newquay, there’s plenty of drop-offs along this road to hop out and spend a day. If you and your cohort are outdoorsy, preferring to spend your holiday hiking, cycling or even surfing, this is the summer road trip for you. Why not blow out the cobwebs at the Adventure Coast, or learn about King Arthur at Tintagel Castle? Of course, this area is also known for its unbeatable scones and pasties, so don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat.
The Black Mountain Pass, Wales
If you’re a bit of a car enthusiast, you’ll have probably heard of this iconic Welsh mountain road already – or seen the Top Gear team tackle it. Great for those looking for a road trip with a bit of challenge and excitement, the Black Mountain Pass is shorter road trip, filled with hairpin bends, blind corners, and tight straights.
Make sure you tackle this trip North to South – as well as an exhilarating drive, the bountiful country scenery begins high at Llandovery, before you pass through Pont Aber and Herbert’s Pass, then dropping down into Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. While you bask in the amazing views the mountain road has to offer, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any wandering sheep or bleary-eyed farmers. This one really is all about the journey – but choose to spend the night at Brecon Beacons and you won’t be disappointed.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Running all the way from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry, this Irish road trip is better suited for those looking for a longer getaway – give yourself around four days from start to finish, or longer if you’d like to pack in all the activities the route has to offer.
In terms of scenery, this road trip has all of the cliff and sea views you could ask for, partnered with plenty of greenery. But when you get out of the car, there’s endless things to do – at the start of your trip, make sure to visit Titanic Belfast and their famous Grand Staircase, Cushendun Caves and Ballintoy Harbour. As you get closer to Derry-Londonderry, watch out for wonders like the Old Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle and Mussenden Temple.
North Coast 500, Scotland
This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the iconic North Coast 500 route – Scotland’s answer to route 66 (perhaps even better, depending on who you ask). Another longer trip, coming in at around 520 miles, you should allow a week or two to really get the best of it. The route is perfect for outdoorsy folk, but there are also many breweries, eateries, museums and heritage centres to visit along the way.
Traditionally beginning in Inverness, the route follows the coasts of Scotland all the way round, passing through areas such as Applecross, Scoraig, Durness, Brora and Tain before landing back in Inverness. The route can be done either clockwise or counterclockwise, but provides excellent, non-stop ocean views whichever way you choose. It’s a very popular route, especially for caravans and campervans, with limitless places to stay during the journey.
Snake Pass, England
If you’re cruising through the countryside on a long, open road in your daydreams, Snake Pass is the place to make them reality. Another shorter trip that’s easily completed in a day, this Derbyshire gem sees you travel through one of England’s most beautiful landscape.
While not as challenging as the Black Mountain Pass, Snake Pass still offers some great bends and straights to entertain the keen driver, all while showing you the very best that National Trust’s High Peak Estate has to offer. Plus, Snake Pass connects nicely to the A57, providing an easy route to Sheffield or Manchester, if you’d like to sample some of North’s more bustling offerings.
Lake District, England
Another great trip for the whole family is through the Lake District. Road trip enthusiasts usually opt to drive from Kendal to Keswick via Windermere, through the Lake District National Park, to bask in one of England’s most picturesque landscapes. Don’t forget to hop out and explore the park on foot – there are plenty of routes to choose from for all fitness levels, and loads of hidden gems to see off the beaten track.
It’s a short trip, but there are plenty of quaint villages nearby with ample B&B offerings if you need more time to discover the area. If you can, take the opportunity to get out on the Lakes via boat – especially if you’re planning to visit during the warmer months. The Lake District is also famous for being home to Beatrix Potter’s Farm, the inspiration for many iconic children’s books – a perfect visit for school age tag-alongs.
Military Road, Isle of Wight
Beginning in Portsmouth, this drive (minus the short ferry ride) is of medium length – you should allow at least three days, but you can of course extended your trip for more exploration time. There are many places in Ryde and Shanklin, and many great sights to see – such as The Needles landmark and the famous Garlic farm.
The iconic Military Road runs right up the side of the coast, stretching from Chale to Freshwater Bay, is famous for its former purpose as a route for troops to move back and forth from their barracks. Since opening to the public in 1936, it’s been a tourist favourite, rich with history and breath-taking seaside views. Perfect for those looking to discover history and culture, this road trip offers experience as well as picturesque sights.
For more information on how to prepare your car for long journeys, and keep it in great condition year-round, take a look at our other blogs. You can find everything you need to keep your car running smoothly with Euro Car Parts – simply type your registration number into our fast finder, and we’ll show you the compatible parts and accessories we have to offer.