Holidays in the UK have plenty to offer Britons, and what better way to explore the country than by car. Road trips are an excellent and independent way to travel across the UK, come rain or shine. With more holidaymakers choosing to take domestic breaks than ever before, car rental website Rentalcars.com has rounded up some of the best drives the lands to offer. These are the top five best road trips in the UK – just get the music playlist and snacks ready.
1. North Coast 500
Length: 516 miles
Estimated time: Three days to drive/one week to explore
The slightly chillier counterpart to California’s Route 66, The North Coast 500 in Scotland will take tourists around the country’s stunning northern coastline.
Beginning in Inverness, road trippers will find historic architecture, the odd gin distillery and perhaps even the Loch Ness monster.
The Black Isle is another must-see location en route: neither black nor an isle, it is famed for its popular food and drink scene and is also one of the best spots in Scotland for dolphin-spotting.
2. Atlantic Highway
Length: 200 miles
Estimated time: Six hours/four days to explore
This majestically-named road (also known as the A39) stretches all the way from the Devon border into the north-eastern corner of Cornwall.
Visitors will feel as if they have veered away from the beaten track and will be able to explore some of the South West’s prettiest traditional fishing villages.
Lovers of a British drama may even recognise some locations from the scenes of a few popular TV series!
Travellers can stretch their legs by stopping off at one of the route’s impressive coastal retreats – from Bude, a triple winner in the British Travel Awards, to historic parish Tintagel, known for its connections with the legend of King Arthur.
3. Cheddar Gorge
Length: 30 miles (roundtrip)
Estimated time: 45 minutes / One day to explore
Described by some as the greener UK equivalent of the Grand Canyon, Cheddar Gorge is the perfect destination for keen explorers.
As Britain’s largest gorge, it is made up of dramatic peaks and historic caves – with the latter holding fascinating secrets about our prehistoric ancestors.
The Gorge can be found in Somerset’s Mendip Hills, which are a scenic destination in their own right! Before arriving at your destination, visitors can cruise through acres of English countryside while taking in the views and wildlife.
4. Castle to Castle, Northumberland
Length: 26 miles
Estimated time: One hour/One day to explore
Combining three castles in one trip, this route is a history boffin’s dream. Beginning at Alnwick Castle, simply follow the road past sandy beaches, rolling hills and rugged moorland towards Bamburgh Castle, before finishing at Lindisfarne Castle on what is known as Holy Island.
This route is just thirty minutes long, but with so many things to see and do along the way, you’ll have more than a day’s worth of activities to choose from!
5. The Causeway Coast Route, Northern Ireland
Length: 120 miles
Estimated journey time: 1One day to drive/Three days to explore
Studded with beaches, gorse-covered valleys and clifftop paths edged with fuchsia, Northern Ireland’s epic landscape can be absorbed by car, but holidaymakers should take plenty of breaks to properly take in the sights and sounds of this legendary location.
The overall drive is 120 miles, merging with the Wild Atlantic Way and the Mourne Scenic Route.
Its landscape varies from coast to mountain tops, busy cities and sleepy hamlets, so is ideal for those looking to pack as much into a staycation as possible.
Earlier this week, new book Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist ranked the top 500 unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.