It’s often said that the United Kingdom has some of the most breathtaking scenery that you’ll find anywhere in the world, and come spring time, once you’ve found the right place, you’ll never disagree with that.
Finding the right place is one thing, but getting there doesn’t have to be a chore – the roads leading to most of these idyllic spots all have one thing in common: the driveability (if we can say so).
We’ve been blessed when it comes to the design and layout of our roads – sweeping bends, hairpin turns, ascents that would make Sir Ranulph Fiennes giddy and of course the odd pothole to keep us on our toes
These are just some of our favourite places, and of course, the roads leading to them.
Pretty much anywhere in North Wales could be described as picturesque - throw a stone and you’re bound to hit a waterfall, dry-stone wall, river or mountain. One of our favourite routes is the A5 from Oswestry through to Betws-y-Coed, going on to Capel Curig and then dropping down into Llanberis with the reservoir on your right as you descend the mountainside, the views are simply stunning.
On a good day (which usually equates to poor weather), the roads aren’t that busy and you can see a line through a series of bends, so you know if there’s any traffic oncoming. One thing to be aware of though, the North Walian police are pretty hot on those that like to ‘make progress’ or test their driving skills – don’t rely on the old 10+2 rule there.
Want to feel as though you’re driving through prehistoric times? With vertical cliffs rising either side of the road, making you feel as though you could quite literally turn a corner and see something from the Mesolithic era? Cheddar Gorge, sited in Somerset (and yes, from where the cheese comes from) has some fabulous roads and scenery.
Depending on what part of the country you’re starting off from, you’ll either take the A371 to the B3135 or the A39 to the B3135 – the important part here is the B3135. Cheddar Gorge is a popular area, they say that around 500,000 people visit each year – that makes for some pretty busy roads, so if driving is your thing, be prepared!
Penzance to Land’s End
Cornwall, the traditional home of the cream tea (done the right way round!) has mile-upon-mile of fascination for any driver. Whilst visiting Land’s End itself isn’t a priority, the roads from Penzance will take you through a number of tiny villages, perhaps even hamlets, out past disused and abandoned Cornish tin mines, wild meadows and sea views.
Our route starts along the A3071, through Newbridge on to St Just, then left on to the B3306 towards Land’s End airport, the final stretch is the A30 to Sennen (another beautiful beach).
For those of you really wanting a proper road trip, you could always do the John O’Groats to Land’s End epic.
Isle of Anglesey
For those of you looking for something a little less … occupied, the Island of Anglesey could be just that.
Reachable from a number of routes (including the already mentioned A5 Betws-y-Coed route), Anglesey has a number of routes going across it that whilst we can’t say are empty, there’s certainly less traffic than you’d find elsewhere in the UK.
Heading to the Anglesey race circuit will give you the opportunity to sample some great roads and view some great racing set atop a cliff – it’s not unusual that in days gone by, a number of the F1 teams used to test at Anglesey, you may be lucky and catch the old superstar or two.
Avoid the A55 as much as possible, come off at the B4422 toward Bethel, then pick up the A4080 to Aberffraw – you’ll be able to hear the circuit before you see it. If you fancy dipping your toes in the sea, the beach at Aberffraw is usually empty and quite beautiful.
Sticking a pin in the map of the UK will likely result in you finding somewhere with excellent roads (have we mentioned the road from the Stranraer ferry?) that you’ll want to visit again and again, but with a little forethought and planning, you could do a day’s travelling every day for a year and not get bored of the sights.
While there are thousands of miles of roads in the UK that are worth driving for the sheer pleasure of it, there are routes that are perfect for road trips in the UK as they offer stunning views and perfect chillout opportunities. Make sure you take advantage of it any time soon!