An hour east of Manchester, the village of Hope is the idyllic start of a brilliant route. Take the A6187 towards Edale, and take some time to stop at Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern and Mam Tor – where a spectacular view of the south Peak District awaits.
After completing the loop using Edale Road, stop in the quaint village of Castleton for lunch and find Peveril Castle, the iron-age hill fort, which perches over the village. For those wanting a break from driving before heading home, why not take an underground boat ride through Speedwell Cavern.
In the Shropshire countryside, grazing the Welsh border, the A458 takes you from the market town of Shrewsbury to Much Wenlock. Expect glorious rolling hills and limestone outcrops. After a pit-stop in Much Wenlock, traverse to Wenlock Edge for walk or rock-climbing before heading to Church Stretton and taking the A49 back to Shrewsbury.
Would a list of the UK’s best driving roads be complete without the Lake District? Kirkstone Pass is the highest road in the region, at over 1,500 feet, connecting Lake Windermere with Ullswater.
On either lake, why not take the opportunity to get out the car and on to the water with a selection of watersports on offer – or a steamboat cruise on Ullswater for those who might miss the luxury of their car.
From the lakes, take the A592 towards Lakeland Fells, high above the treeline, for a panoramic view of the District. From Lakeland, head back down to the lakes to extend your stay or use the A591 to make your way to the M6 and back home.
From one of the highest roads in the UK, to England’s deepest gorge. Cheddar Gorge in Somerset was carved by the torrential floods during the ice age. It’s over a million years old and is a spectacular sight for the whole family. The gorge extends for around three miles and is 500 feet tall, with 27 limestone cliffs and a widespread cave system.
Start in the small village of Cheddar on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, then take the B3135 into the gorge. Leave plenty of time to stop, enjoy the marvel and have a go at rock-climbing or a cave tour.
If you’ve made the journey in a performance car, the sound reverberating off the gorge will certainly delight as you head deeper into Mendip Hills in search of more B-roads.
The A470 in Wales offers unparalleled vistas and covers the entire cross-section of the country. Start in Llandudno in the north – or reverse the route from the finishing point of Cardiff.
Your first stop after Llandudno should definitely be Gwydir Forest Park – for a walk or short stop amongst the pine forest. Then continue into the mountains of Snowdonia National Park, the summit at Crimson Pass, the steam train station at Ffestiniog Railway and the market town of Dolgellau.
Take a stop for lunch in the cathedral city of Brecon in the Brecon Beacons if you haven’t already. Then take in the views of the Black Mountains and cruise the last leg of the A470 into Cardiff past Caerphilly.
The A39 that runs from Fraddon in Cornwall to Barnstaple in North Devon has been colloquially called the ‘Atlantic Highway’ since the 1990’s as a way to bring tourists to the region. It’s a 70-mile route that leads to some of the most popular surfing beaches in northern Cornwall.
If you’re staying at the Barnstaple end, why not try the beach towns of Croyde, Woolacombe or Ilfracombe. As you head west along the A39, take a stop in Bude, at the mouth of River Neet.
Port Issac is a small fishing village as is well worth the small detour off the Atlantic Highway, while Padstow is the perfect lunch stop with unparalleled choice from fish and chips to Michelin-starred establishments.
For an overnight stay, try Camelford which lies on the edge of Bodmin Moor, while Boscastle and Tintagel are smaller villages within easy reach.
The Gateway to the Highlands, or the A82 to give it’s serious name, is full of breathtaking scenery and is quite possibly why we’ve left the best till last.
Although the route to Fort William only takes three hours at cruising speed, it’s advisable to leave at least a day or maybe two as you won’t be able to resist the urge to stop along the way and take in the views.
From Glasgow, head north on the A82 parallel to the River Clyde and stop at Dumbarton Castle for a final stop before the vista’s open up on approach to Loch Lomond.
Continue on the Gateway, through Bridge of Orchy and Glen Coe until you’re driving past Loch Linnhe towards the foothills of Ben Nevis and the beautiful town of Fort William. Stop here and take a walk up Neptune’s Staircase, a marvellous series of eight canal locks.
Then, after a night in Fort William, take hike up Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles. After Ben Nevis, the A82 continues to wow on the route to Fort Augustus. From there it’s not far to go to reach the infamous Loch Ness and the cathedral city of Inverness.
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