7 Best UK Driving Destinations

Dreaming of that next road trip? Here are some of the best driving destinations and routes to take when you finally get a chance to once again burn some rubber to the road.

NORTH COAST 500, SCOTLAND

North Coast of Scotland

Scotland’s answer to Route 66 boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK, if not the world. It showcases the best of the Highlands, with ancient castles, windswept beaches and historic landmarks lurking around every corner.

The official route starts and ends at Inverness Castle and passes through idyllic towns and villages such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch. It’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance as options are limited.

North Coast Scotland Map

Bask in the beauty of Achmelvich Bay, a stunning white sandy beach popular with hill walkers and water sports enthusiasts. Further north, spot dolphins and seals off the coast at Chanonry Point.

Although there are several petrol stations along the route, don’t underestimate how many miles you have to drive before you can fill up.

THE ATLANTIC HIGHWAY, ENGLAND

The Atlantic Highway

When you picture the perfect road trip, you probably imagine driving a convertible along Route 66 in America, stopping at diners and listening to power ballads.

But you do not need to cross the pond for one of the best road trips in the world – just get on the Atlantic Highway.

Atlantic Highway is the name given to a long and winding 70-mile section of the A39 which runs from Barnstaple in north Devon down to Fraddon, on the outskirts of Newquay.

Sandwiched between barley fields and a succession of bays and beach breaks, the Devon section from Barnstaple to Bude is a magical concertina that creases and folds along the coast.

The Atlantic Highway Map

BLACK MOUNTAIN PASS, WALES

Black Mountain Pass, Wales

The Black Mountain Pass (A4069) is a spectacular driving road that twists, climbs, wriggles and dips for 19 miles between Llandovery and Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

This is widely regarded as the best driving road in Wales thanks to its sharp hairpins, blind corners, adrenaline-pumping exposure, and magical mountain views. There’s a good mixture of fast and tight sections, with a thrilling series bends and straights that you’ll never want to end.

Black Mountain Pass, Wales Map

This visually stunning drive follows the A4069 through the Black Mountain range, rising to a high point of 493 metres above sea-level at Foel Fawr with over 600 metres of both ascent and descent along the way. The undulating terrain gives you clear views of the road stretching miles ahead, with plenty of laybys where you can stop off to admire the scenery.

The Black Mountain Pass exploded in popularity after it was featured in an episode of Top Gear in 2011, with former presenter Jeremy Clarkson driving a Mercedes AMG SLK across it. As a result of that exposure – and mostly because it’s a truly epic route – this is now a very busy road that’s best avoided at weekends when it often gets crowded with driving clubs.

CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE, NORTHERN IRELAND

Causeway Coastal Route, North Ireland

The Causeway Coastal Scenic Drive is 212 km (130 mile) road trip along the rugged and spectacular coast of Northern Ireland from Derry to Belfast and is one of Ireland’s most scenic and varied drives with some premier tourist attractions including the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge and the Giants Causeway. You can view and follow the Causeway Coastal

The route is both spectacular and unmissable in equal measure and takes in some great walks such as the Causeway Coast Way, a variety of scenic spots and points of interest including set locations for the world famous Game of Thrones, the lush green Glens of Antrim, the Gobbins cliff walk, several dozen great beaches and much much more.

Causeway Coastal Route, North Ireland Map

This visually stunning drive follows the A4069 through the Black Mountain range, rising to a high point of 493 metres above sea-level at Foel Fawr with over 600 metres of both ascent and descent along the way. The undulating terrain gives you clear views of the road stretching miles ahead, with plenty of laybys where you can stop off to admire the scenery.

The Black Mountain Pass exploded in popularity after it was featured in an episode of Top Gear in 2011, with former presenter Jeremy Clarkson driving a Mercedes AMG SLK across it. As a result of that exposure – and mostly because it’s a truly epic route – this is now a very busy road that’s best avoided at weekends when it often gets crowded with driving clubs.

TOURIST TROPHY ROUTE, ISLE OF MAN

Tourist Trophy Route, Isle of Man

The bikes, the people, the history, the race, all of it. The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy is one of the last true road races left. Follow the route yourself and drink in the shape and sounds of the route for yourself! 

Tourist Trophy Route, Isle of Man Map

A seabound kingdom where the wonders of coastline and countryside, sea and shore, meet within a matter of minutes. Situated between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales is where you’ll find the Isle of Man. 

It’s a place full of colour, contrasts and character, where landscapes are carved from pure imagination and the history is rich

HARDKNOTT PASS, LAKE DISTRICT, ENGLAND

Hardknott Pass Lake District

Hardknott Pass is known as one of Britain’s most challenging roads. This single track road right through the middle of the Lake District National Park, in the region of Cumbria, England, it’s a heart-stopping series of sharp and narrow hairpin bends. It’s said to be the steepest road in England with a gradient of 1 in 3 (about 33%).

At an elevation of 393m above the sea level, the road becomes especially dangerous for the brakes on a couple of particularly steep turns and it’s one of the most challenging sections of road in England. The pass itself has a series of hairpin bends that can be unnerving for drivers of cars and minibuses (heavier vehicles are advised not to use the pass), especially as the tarmac has become quite smooth in places.

Hardknott Pass Lake District Map

ALNWICK CASTLE TO LINDISFARNE CASTLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND

Alnwick Castle Lindisfarne Castle

Hardknott Pass is known as one of Britain’s most challenging roads. This single track road right through the middle of the Lake District National Park, in the region of Cumbria, England, it’s a heart-stopping series of sharp and narrow hairpin bends. It’s said to be the steepest road in England with a gradient of 1 in 3 (about 33%).

At an elevation of 393m above the sea level, the road becomes especially dangerous for the brakes on a couple of particularly steep turns and it’s one of the most challenging sections of road in England. The pass itself has a series of hairpin bends that can be unnerving for drivers of cars and minibuses (heavier vehicles are advised not to use the pass), especially as the tarmac has become quite smooth in places.

Alnwick Castle Lindisfarne Castle Map

Continue south on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle. Enjoy time in the town centre or remain at the castle complex where there is something for everyone. Home of the Percy Family for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle is considered one of the finest castles in England and proudly known as “The Windsor of the North”. 

Visitors can step into the unexpected in the spectacular Alnwick Garden, with its wonderful Grand Cascade and Poison Gardens. Its grounds were also used in the Harry Potter films.