The UK is so much more than just fish and chips and football; it’s a breathtaking land of diverse landscapes that boasts a treasure trove of natural beauties to explore if you’re willing to peel back the surface a little and really get stuck in. While there are numerous ways to experience everything the island (yes, it is an island) has to offer, we’d argue that it’s the perfect country for a road trip.
It might lack the sheer space of the US but what it lacks in space it more than makes up for in character and you could quite comfortably see most of the UK on a road trip in a fortnight. So, buckle up as we take you through an ideal road trip from the bottom to the top of the UK driving along the country’s unique and varied coast.
Before you hit the road, however, it’s essential to ensure that you’re adequately prepared. If you’re embarking on this adventure of a lifetime with friends or family, make sure everyone takes out temporary car insurance if necessary and shares driving duties to make the trip safer and more enjoyable. Because a job shared is a job halved!
The Cornish Riviera
Our first coastal road trip begins in the historic town of Penzance, Cornwall. From here, you’ll follow the enchanting Atlantic Coast Highway (A30), which takes you through many typically British towns and villages such as St. Ives, Newquay, and Padstow. This route offers a blend of rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and charming seaside communities that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.
North Coast 500
For those seeking a more remote and wild adventure, the North Coast 500 is an epic journey through the untamed landscapes of northern Scotland. Start your road trip in Inverness and set off on a circular route that reveals white sandy beaches and dramatic mountain scenery. This route is ideal for nature lovers and boasts ample opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and camping under the stars.
Stretching from Alnmouth to Bamburgh, the coastal drive in Northumberland runs parallel to beaches of pristine white sand. Explore historic castles, such as Bamburgh Castle and Warkworth Castle, and take leisurely strolls along the tranquil shores. The Northumberland coast is also a haven for birdwatchers (lovingly known as “Twitchers”).
The Cambrian Way
One of the most scenic drives in the UK. Begin your journey in Cardiff and head north, following the A470. This route offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rolling green hills to serene lakes and charming market towns. Make stops in places like Brecon Beacons National Park and Snowdonia National Park for some of the most exciting outdoor adventures the UK has to offer, including the longest and tallest zipline in the world over an abandoned quarry!
Starting in Bath, the Atlantic Highway, which is a section of the A39 running from Barnstaple to Fraddon near Newquay, takes you on a captivating journey through the Southwest featuring rich forests and uniquely pretty seaside villages. Explore the magic of Cornwall, visit the picturesque fishing village of Clovelly, and experience the thrill of the Tintagel Castle ruins, thought to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur (or at least the inspiration for the legend).