If you’re planning to hit the road for a long drive in search of spectacular scenery, you could do worse than the UK. While we might not have the distances of the US with its iconic Route 66, there’s much to enjoy here in the UK – from Scotland’s North Coast 500 to the southeast England’s A272. Here are just a few classic routes.
North Coast 500
For many, this is the UK’s ultimate road trip. Following the north coast of Scotland, the route begins and ends in Inverness at Inverness Castle and brings together just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery. The route follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands of Scotland, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-Shire.
Visit Dunnet Head, officially the most northerly point in mainland Britain or go dolphin watching in the Moray Firth. Try kayaking in the rapids of River Findhorn or take a break from the driving and enjoy a dram at one of the many distilleries. Whether you’re looking for adventure, history, wildlife or food and drink there’s an itinerary to suit you.
Read more about the North Coast 500 route HERE
The A66 in the Lakes
Running through the heart of the Lake District between Bassethwaite and Keswick, the A66 is superbly positioned to place you amongst some of England’s finest and most dramatic countryside. Take your pick from Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite or Ullswater, the route skirts them all and if you follow it far enough west will eventually bring you to the coast at Workington (go far enough east and you’ll end up in Middlesbrough).
It’s one of the north of England’s major routes providing excellent access to significant tourist attractions, as well as the Lakes it puts you in the vicinity of Hadrian’s Wall and the many walking routes in the area.
Check out these other articles on the Lake District and to the northeast Northumberland
The A272 in Sussex
An east-west tour along the A272 beginning in the High Weald AONB and ending on the western edge of the South Downs National Park takes in beauty spots and interesting places to visit. Starting at Five Ashes near Mayfield in East Sussex the road passes through Hadlow Down, a village sitting atop one of the ridges that make up the High Weald, with lovely views to the north and south. The village is known for its annual steam traction engine rally held in May. The road passes through the villages of Buxted, where the first canon was made in the 16th century and Maresfield, which sits on the edge of Ashdown Forest.
Heading west the road reaches the pretty village of Newick, which like many villages in the vicinity has a bonfire society that takes part in the annual Bonfire Night torchlit procession through nearby Lewes. The medieval county town of East Sussex is worth the 20-minute diversion. Highlights include a Norman castle, Anne of Cleves townhouse and the ruins of a Cluniac priory. The town’s steep narrow streets will be hard to navigate in a large vehicle. North of Newick, off the A275, is the National Trust Sheffield Park and Gardens and the Bluebell Railway.
Read more about the A272 route HERE
Causeway Coastal Route
Stretching from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry, and taking in the Giant’s Causeway and the nine Glens of Antrim, this magical route is scene of beautiful countryside and an almost mystical land and seascape.
Visit Carrickfergus Castle before taking on the cliff-face pathway at The Gobbins. At Torr Head you’ll enjoy views of wonderful Rathlin Island and then, of course, there’s the Dark Hedges, used in Game of Thrones as scene of the Kingsroad in Westeros.
Top of the bill is the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO Heritage Site comprised of 40,000 basalt stone columns and attached to almost as many myths and legends. A geological wonder and place to inspire awe. https://discovernorthernireland.com/
Find more UNESCO World Heritage Sites to enjoy in the UK HERE
The Coastal Way
Weaving between oceans and mountains, the 180 mile Coastal Way runs the entire length of Cardigan Bay. Highlights include the unique Italianate village of Portmeirion, designed by environmentalist Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and famous as the filming location for 60s TV series The Prisoner. Take in a visit to Bardsey Island with it’s population of seals or enjoy a spot of coasteering at the Blue Lagoon, an old slate quarry now filled with sea water and a popular spot for watersports not far from Abereiddi. https://www.visitwales.com/wales-coast-path
Find out more about Cardigan Bay HERE and see some fantastic campsites with sea views HERE
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Visit Dunnet Head, officially the most northerly point in mainland Britain or go dolphin watching in the Moray Firth