With the passion for travel and new cultural experiences, the vast majority of residents in the UK tend to snuff their own back garden for far more exotic destinations when going on holiday comes to mind, but with the recent vote that made Scotland officially the world’s most beautiful country and England coming in at number 7, it’s time to reconsider your next mini break.
Whilst a lot of holidays are enjoyed relaxing on a beach, sipping a pina colada, there is an increasing amount of both families and couples opting for a more adventurous road trip holiday far and wide across the globe; with the USA being especially popular for young couples. However, the roads in the UK, are some of the best in the world, offering both spectacular views and smooth tarmac to boot.
So, what does the UK have to offer? We’ve listed our top driving areas across the UK, so you can break free on the open roads with confidence.
The Peak District – Cheddar Gorge – Exmoor
The incredible peak district offers absorbing views, which are equally impressive in both Summer and Winter months; dare we say, ever so slightly more breathtaking in the winter, with a crisp, sparkle from the frost. Often drowned in fog, the Peak district can give an ‘otherworldly sense’ when driving through, however, these surroundings make it all the more exciting to drive through. Whilst the roads can sometimes hold more traffic than desired for an adventurous drive, the sights that are offered from the Peak District are enough to make the several cars too many bearable.
Head on down to Cheddar Gorge, where you can marvel further at the awe-inspiring limestone cliffs. Be sure to have your wits about you, as there are often falling rocks or rubble across your path, as well as the resident herd of sheep that tend to make the journey rather inconvenienced with their defiant stance in the road. The scenery in itself is enough to make the trip worthwhile, not to mention the thrill of driving through; there is no need for speed, just the need to absorb your surroundings.
New Forest – Dartmoor – St Ives
A drive that takes you through multiple variations of British scenery, perfectly demonstrating the plethora of sights this small island has to offer. The New Forest is truly beautiful; offering up wide-open spaces, forestry and wild horses, which, if you’ve never experienced the surroundings, really is a true revelation. Most roads are relatively thin in width, so drive with caution whilst taking in your surroundings. Driving through to Dartmoor, this national park has many elements to offer, however, the weather is the true dictator of whether you are able to absorb these sights or simply drive on through a fog-ridden landscape. With incredible roads on offer, as well as forests, rivers, wetlands and tors, alongside Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses, this is a true contrast in comparison to your next stop, St.Ives. Winding around Cornish roads, the switch in landscape views, gives you a fresh new perspective on the country, rolling fields of green lead on to eventual rolling waves of blue, and (hopefully) a dose of sunshine. Known for its surf beaches and sculpture garden, this is a perfect end destination to settle into, after a spectacularly scenic drive.
Whilst England has some truly outstanding scenery on offer, there will always be the Northern tip of our great United Kingdom that holds scenery that shadows most impressive English sights. Head up to the land of Whiskey, Haggis, Kilts and Bagpipes to experience the world’s official most beautiful country and its remarkable landscape.
Thurso (A836) – Durness/Loch Eribol – Ullapool
Begin at the most Northern town on the mainland, Thurso, descend south down the A836, which at 125 miles long, has been hailed as one of the best roads in Europe. Perfectly surfaced and deserted in comparison to most routes, the continued scenery is nothing short of stunning. No matter the vehicle you pick for this impressive route, it will glide with ease. This road is by far the most impressive to be featured, with a guarantee not to be disappointed.
Head down to Durness to explore the wonders of Loch Eriboll; whilst the views may be exquisite, the single-track roads are less to be desired and are often rather busy due to the allure of the scenes you’re surrounded by. With expanding skyline and neverending awe-inspiring miles, Scotland provides a continual breathtaking view, which is only set to continue the further south you head.
Three lochs forest drive
An incredibly Scottish experience; the 7-mile loch drive gives you the ideal opportunity to take in the scenery surrounding Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray. Woodland, water wildlife, deer and red squirrels can be easily spotted; giving the ultimate outdoor experience from the comfort of your car and whilst this drive has a restricted speed limit, the views alone are definitely worth it.
Strathcarron – Fort William
The rawness that explodes from the Highlands and the surrounding areas is fierce, wild and full of character. Often offering up a relatively ‘dreich’ landscape and feel, the sheer mountains and craggy are enough to leave you in jaw-dropping awe, no matter the weather. Just hope that the sky is forgiving enough to leave the clouds far above, revealing the monstrous mountains, surrounding Fort William, with Ben Nevis towering tall above the rest.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to the open roads of the United Kingdom, the feeling of freedom, the speed, the winding roads, the smooth tarmac, the open road; our island was built for exploring. Put your foot to the ground and go, not forgetting to appreciate the scenery just beyond your doorstep.