Domestic travel’s now back on the cards for England, with Wales and Scotland due to follow suit further into spring. As we’ve all spent a bit too long in our permanent surroundings, you’ll be eager to get into your car and start exploring what the UK has to offer.
To kick off your road trip plans, we’ve put together a list of top UK driving adventures and included some tips on what to prep before you go!
The 6 best road trips in the UK
From beautiful coastal paths to quaint rural villages, vast lakes and beautiful moors, there are plenty of UK driving adventures. Whether you’re looking to fill a whole week of annual leave or take a weekend road trip to somewhere new, here are the six best driving adventures in the UK.
The North Coast of Cornwall
The drive from Padstow to St Ives offers stunning views and scenic stops. It will take a minimum of 56 miles without a break, perhaps longer if you decide to hug the coast all the way.
To make the most of what the drive has to offer, split your trip across a weekend at least, staying overnight in the places that you want to explore more.
A small seaside village boasting a beautiful beach known for its sand dunes and surfing. There are plenty of self-catered cottages and B&Bs here if you want to spend the night.
The Godrevy National Trust site has high cliffs and a host of coastal wildlife. You won’t be able to stay overnight here, so make time for a cliff-top walk during the day.
- Gwithian Towans Beach
This vast sandy beach has plenty of sand dunes, rock pools and wild grass to walk through. Gwithian Towans town itself doesn’t have too much to offer in terms of cafes and restaurants, so a beach picnic might be the answer.
Check your tyre pressure and have a gauge handy
Make sure to check your tyre pressure before you go. You can do this at most UK petrol stations, but keeping a tyre pressure gauge in your car on long journeys is always helpful.
The South Coast of Cornwall
Driving the southern coastline of Cornwall is just as beautiful and scenic as the north. But due to the many inlets and estuaries that break up the route, it can take you a lot longer. Expect narrow roads and windy paths.
The route from Lizard to Polperro via our recommended stops will take at least 75 miles. With lots to see along the way, it’s worth spreading the drive out across a weekend.
- Roseland Heritage Coast
This National Trust site contains many secluded bays and beautiful meadows. It’s best to explore it on foot. So, find a trail, park up, and spend a day in your walking boots.
A beautiful harbourside village and fishing port, Mevagissey is a great place to have a fish supper.
Polkerris is a tiny village with a beautiful beach. Perfect for a drink and paddle.
A popular summer holiday stop, Fowey has lots to offer, including watersports, plenty of pubs and restaurants, hotels, and self-catered stays. It’s also a great place to get some Cornish fudge.
This unspoilt fishing village has plenty of history. Polperro is worth an overnight stay at the end of your driving adventure.
Get access to your spare tyre
Your spare tyre should always be in your car. But you won’t be able to access it unless you have a car jack and locking wheel nut key in there too. Our handy car maintenance guide tells you how to change a spare tyre.
The Lake District
As England’s largest National Park, the Lake District is home to some charming villages, rolling hills, and of course, enormous lakes. Exploring the area is excellent for a long weekend.
Our recommended driving adventure will take you to and from Windermere in an 85-mile loop through historic towns worthy of an overnight stay.
The most popular place to visit in the area, Windermere is a small town on the edge of England’s largest lake. The surrounding scenery is unrivalled, and there are plenty of hotels, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants for you to pause in.
This village is linked to many historical poets. To experience all its charm, it’s worth exploring on foot.
The Borrowdale area is known for its woodlands, valleys, and quaint hamlets.
This small hamlet is characterised by its lake. Buttermere has plenty of walks you can do, and it won’t take long to drive onto your next stop.
Keswick market town has a wealth of places to eat, drink, shop and explore. With lots of accommodation options, it offers a great overnight stay to break up your trip.
This is the second largest lake in England at seven and a half miles long (but just a mile wide!). There’s a 20-mile hiking trail surrounding it if you like to walk as much as you like to drive.
Pack a warning triangle
Available at any major retailer or online, a warning triangle is an added bit of safety if you ever get stuck by the side of the road. It’s worth taking one with you on a long journey.
Village hopping through the Cotswolds will connect you with picturesque rural England. The route between each town takes you onto A-roads and motorways, so it is a lot faster than some other trips.
This driving adventure goes from Oxford to Cheltenham. It spans over 82 miles to create a full day trip. Stop overnight at each end to give yourself the perfect weekend away.
Steeped in history, Oxford is an iconic English city that is well worth a day of exploring in itself.
- Blenheim Palace
This World Heritage Site is home to the Duke of Marlborough and his family. You’ll need to book tickets to visit the enormous country house and its surrounding gardens.
- Minster Lovell
An enchanting village with thatched-roof houses, rivers, and historic ruins. It’s said to be the country’s most haunted village.
Once titled ‘the most beautiful village in England,’ there’s not much more we need to say about stopping here.
This cute rural village straddles a body of water, giving it its name.
Snowshill is another small village set in the Cotswold Hills. It’s home to Snowshill Manor and Gardens, a National Trust site.
A town famous for its horse racing festival. Cheltenham has spas, museums, hotels, restaurants, and bars that you can spend time in to mark the end of your trip.
Know who to call in an emergency
If you experience a vehicle issue whilst on the road, know in advance who to call and how to get hold of them. That way, you’re always prepared, even in the worst-case scenario.
The Norfolk Coast
If you live within driving distance of Norfolk, you can drive the coastline in a day. It’s a 60-mile route taking you from Kings Lynn to Mundesley.
Hug the coast to make the most of this journey, and plan your stops where there’s stuff to see.
A village and civil parish where you can find the Sandringham Estate.
- Wells Next The Sea
This town in the heart of the Norfolk Coast offers plenty of places to refresh yourself when you’ve finished exploring its enormous beach.
Cromer is a traditional seaside resort with a signature pier. It’s perfect for families or a day out with friends alike.
Set up your sat nav in advance
Fiddling with your navigation system whilst driving is dangerous. Choose your route and get it set up before you leave.
The North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 is a well known Scottish driving holiday that spans 516 miles. It starts and finishes in Inverness, which is already a long way for most people in the UK. Getting to the start point isn’t factored into the total distance, so plan how you’ll get there first. We recommend you spend a night or two in Inverness before you tackle it.
The North Coast 500, or NC500 as it’s often shortened to, will take you between 5-7 days. It’s an entire holiday in itself, and to spend more time out of the car than in it, you’ll want to allow for the whole week.
The NC500 route stops
A city on the Northeast coast of Scotland. Inverness has an airport if your preference is to pick up a car there and then drive.
Applecross Peninsula sits between the mountains and boasts some stunning views. It’s home to just a few hundred people.
This small highland village has a few luxury hotels and is surrounded by breathtaking Scottish nature. It’s described as an ‘enchanting wilderness of water and rock.’
A beautiful port and village with various accommodation and camping options if you want to stay overnight.
Caithness is a county you’ll drive through on the North Coast of Sunderland. At this point, you’ll feel like you really are nearing the edge of the country.
- John o’Groats
This stunning Scottish village is known for being right at the tip of the country.
An east-coast town with a historic castle and plenty of pubs.
Keep a first aid kit in your glove box
Hopefully, you won’t need it, but having a first aid kit in your car gives you extra peace of mind. Whether it’s just a blister or a cut finger, have some medical supplies handy to keep your passengers in as good a condition as your car.
No matter where you’re based, there are plenty of options for a UK driving adventure to level up your spring and summer holiday plans. As most road trips involve over 100 miles in total, it’s essential to prepare your car ahead of a long journey, especially if it’s your first one of the year.
Guarantee that your UK road trip is a holiday to remember for all the right reasons and get your vehicle checked by a professional before you go. Find the best price for a service near you and get back on the roads with complete confidence that your car can go the distance.