Best UK Road Trips

Best UK Road Trips

With a road network of more than 225,000 miles, The United Kingdom is a great destination for road trip enthusiasts. From small countryside roads to multi-lane motorways that link the country's largest cities, the British roadside landscape is varied and appealing no matter what your interests might be. In this article we review the UK's top four road trips in detail.

The Highland Explorer

In theory, you only need to stick to one road (the A82) for a fascinating trip around the Scottish Highlands. In practice, you will be tempted to explore the scenic minor roads that branch off the second longest primary road in Scotland.

You can start off your trip in Glasgow and head west on the A82 along the River Clyde. The change from urban to rural landscape is rather abrupt, and soon you will find yourself by the shores of Loch Lomond. The stretch between Balloch and Crianlarich offers superb views over the lake, Inchmurrin island, and the legendary Ben Nevis.

As you continue further north on the A82, the landscape will become increasingly eerie to the point of looking almost lunar, especially after you pass Loch Ba and Lochan na y Achlaise. You might well be the only driver on the roads at certain times of the year, so make sure that you have a backup plan in case of a breakdown or an emergency. The next sizeable urban centre is Fort William, which caters to tourists with a wide range of services. From Fort William you can follow the A82 up to Inverness driving all along Loch Ness, or take a detour via the A86/A9 roads and visit the Cairngorms National Park or follow the Whisky Trail.

Historical England

Despite its maze of congested roads, London is the perfect starting point for a road trip around England's oldest cities. The 55 miles that separate London from Cambridge are a great introduction to the highlights of this route. Take the A12 out of London and stop by at Colchester, which was the first capital of the country during Roman times. A walk through Colchester will evidence the rich history of this town, as it will not be difficult to spot Roman ruins, Saxon fortresses, Tudor houses, and medieval castles.

Continue north on the A140 and you will reach Norwich, a town whose population and political importance rivalled London's during the 11th century. Take the A11 west of Norwich towards Cambridge and stop half-way at Thetford, whose history is surrounded by legends. There are important Norman, Celtic, and Saxon ruins in the surrounding area. After 29 miles you will reach Cambridge, whose historical significance does not need an introduction.

The Welsh Experience

Rolling hills, dramatic coastlines, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and vibrant cities are just some of the attractions that Wales has to offer. Cardiff is a good starting point for a road adventure through Wales, as the Welsh capital is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the UK and offers every service travellers might need.

Stay off the always busy M4 and head north to the Brecon Beacons National Park via the A470. The towns of Abergavenny and Brecon are great places to stop for a night before continuing your journey on the A470 towards Snowdonia National Park. Here you will find old mining towns, Neolithic stones, woolen mills, and magnificent castles, in addition to the region's highest peak.

Take a detour on the A497, which will take you along the coastline of the Irish Sea. You are now in the Llyn peninsula, a sparsely populated area where fishing and agriculture are still the main activities. Te tiny village of Aberdaron is worth stopping overnight, as it is a good base to take a day trip to Ynys Enlli island, which is a prime bird and wildlife watching site.

An Island Tour in the Outer Hebrides

The Hebrides are home to some of the most remote and fascinating landscapes in the country. Not many visitors make it here, but the trip is well worth the effort.

The Isle of Lewis is the main access point for four-wheeled visitors. Caledonian MacBrayne shuttles passengers and their vehicles twice a day between Ullapool and Stornoway, the island's only town. The ferry crossing takes just under three hours.

Begin your journey in Stornoway, where you can stock up on food and drinks for the trip. Follow the A857 road as you leave the ferry terminal, and you will go past charming villages and the low-lying grass plains of Lewis' interior. During the spring, thousands of flowers add a colourful touch to the island's plains. Once you reach Lower Barvas, you can turn left into the A858 to explore the beautiful lochs of this island, or continue on the A857, which follows the coastline up to the spectacular Butt of Lewis.