Thrill seekers and nature lovers have been urged to experience some of the UK’s most jaw-dropping driving routes this summer. As the nation prepares to fully open up again over the coming weeks, LeaseCar.uk has revealed 12 routes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for families craving a scenic road trip.
Covering the entirety of the UK, these routes boast some of the nation’s most jaw-dropping sights including sandy beaches, awe-inspiring mountains, picturesque lakes and historic ruins. Some of the routes aren’t for the faint-hearted. Hardknotts Pass in the Lake District, for example, holds the title as one of the steepest roads in England and is full to the brim with sharp bends and turns.
1 Atlantic Highway, England
Travelling through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, this route covers many of the region’s most charming coastal towns, beaches and rolling countryside, as well as some of the southwest’s most underrated spots and hidden gems. Also known as the A39, this vast 170-mile road is famed for its jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean along the way.
2 Buttertubs Pass, England
The Yorkshire Dales isn’t short on incredible scenic routes, but Buttertubs Pass is probably one of the best. Named after the cluster of deep natural limestone potholes that can be found along the road, the pass connected the town of Hawes with the village of Thwaite, climbing across the high moorland between Wensleydale and Swaledale.
3 Great West Way, England
Also known as the A4, this spectacular 125-mile touring route stretches between London and Bristol and through some of Britain’s best-known attractions and scenery. With no rigid A to B path, the route is dotted with country lanes and hidden tracks for drivers to plot their own adventure.
4 Hardknott Pass, England
Holding the title as one of the steepest roads in England, Hardknott Pass is a single-track road leading right through the middle of the Lake District. Full of sharp bends and turns, it’s great fun to drive and boasts stunning views from every angle.
5 Snake Pass, England
Derbyshire’s Snake Pass is probably one of England’s most famous roads – and for good reason. Connecting Sheffield and Greater Manchester on the A57, it sits within the boundaries of the picturesque Peak District National Park and is fringed by the pretty rolling hills of the Pennines. With its tight bends, steep climbs and long descents, the pass is popular for those wanting a challenging but scenic drive through the countryside.
6 Cheddar Gorge, England
Cheddar Gorge is widely considered to be one of Britain’s great natural wonders. Beginning at the village of Cheddar in Somerset, the route boasts superb scenery with magnificent cliff faces on either side of the route.
7 North Coast 500, Scotland
Hailed as Scotland’s “answer to route 66”, this impressive road stretches for a whopping 516 miles along the coastal edges of the Northern Highlands. It loops through some of the prettiest regions including Sutherland, Wester Ross and Inverness-shire, and is bursting with incredible sights and scenery.
8 Snow Roads Scenic Route, Scotland
This route journeys 90 miles through the beautiful Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, beginning near the pretty market village of Blairgowrie and passing the towns of Braemar and Ballater, before ending at the northern edge of the mountains, at Grantown-on-Spey. Slicing through hills dotted with crumbling castles and rugged mountains, there’s plenty of jaw-dropping scenery to behold.
9 Road to the Isles, Scotland
Travelling from mountains to coast, this route allows travellers to take in plenty of incredible sights. Hailed as one of the best drives in Scotland, this route – also known as the A830 – covers approximately 46 miles and passes through some of Scotland’s best scenery including soaring mountains, sandy beaches, picturesque lochs, and historic ruins.
10 The Cambrian Way, Wales
This road begins at the capital city of Cardiff and finishes at the Victorian town of Llandudno. Mostly following the A470, the coast-to-coast route stretches for 185 miles, journeying through a number of towns, forests, and lakes. Passing through two national parks, the route boasts plenty of incredible natural wonders too, like a cascading waterfall named Swallow Falls.
11 The Black Mountain Pass, Wales
The Black Mountain Pass twists, dips and climbs through the beautiful Black Mountains between Llandovery and Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen – so it comes as no surprise that the road is often regarded as one of the best in Wales. Set in the eastern region of the Brecon Beacons National Park, it includes plenty of thrilling bends and turns, as well as a staggering climb 1,624 feet above sea level.
12 Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Covering an impressive 120 miles, the Causeway Coastal Route features some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful sights. Stretching between the lively capital of Belfast all the way to the historic city of Derry, the route is peppered with historic ruins, lush beaches, and awe-inspiring cliffs.
Hailed as Scotland’s 'answer to route 66', this impressive road stretches for a whopping 516 miles along the coastal edges of the Northern Highlands