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15 Epic England Road Trips for your UK Bucket List!

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Best England Road Trips UK

England is full of amazing road trips for your UK travel bucket list! For such a small country, there’s a lot of variety – and some truly epic scenic drives.

With miles of rugged coastline surrounding us, it’s no surprise England has some incredible coastal drives to enjoy. Inland, you have beautiful cities packed with culture and history, idyllic rolling countryside, picturesque villages, and so much more!

Road tripping is my new favourite way to explore my home country – especially after driving the full length of it from Dorset to Scotland a few weeks ago! So, I’ve asked a bunch of brilliant local travel bloggers to share their favourite road trips in England. Gotta get that inspiration flowing!

So load up the boot, fire up your SatNav, programme the perfect driving playlist, and get ready to discover the very best of England from the road…

15 Epic England Road Trips

1. Cornish Coast Road Trip

Recommended by: Claire, Tales of a Backpacker

  • Start: Tintagel
  • End: Fowey
  • Length: 200 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 1 week

ROUTE: Tintagel – Padstow – Land’s End – Marazion – Falmouth – Fowey

Newquay Beach Cornwall, England road trips

Exploring the Cornish Coast is certainly one of the best road trips in England. You could spend months visiting hidden coves, quaint fishing villages and jaw-dropping cliffs here. But one week is the minimum I’d recommend. 

The best of Cornwall is experienced by walking along the South West Coastal Path. There are plenty of places to park to get a good walk to admire the views. On your way between stops, take the slow roads where you can, and stop off to stretch your legs. 

On the North Cornish Coast, must-sees that are close to car parks include: Bedruthan Steps for some of the best views in Cornwall; Holywell Bay for a glorious beach; St Agnes for its rugged coast and mining history; Wheal Coates for picturesque history; and Godrevy Point near St Ives for seal spotting. 

As for villages, Port Isaac, Mousehole, and Mevagissey are some of the prettiest. Other recommended stops – if you have time – include the Minack Theatre carved out of the cliffside, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, and St Michael’s Mount.

2. Lake District

Recommended by: Me

  • Start: Windermere
  • End: Ambleside
  • Length: 95 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 3-5 days

ROUTE: Bowness-on-Windermere – Ullswater – Keswick – Eskdale – Ambleside

Buttermere Lake District England UK
Lake Buttermere

Way up in the North of England, the Lake District is the perfect place for a road trip. England’s largest National Park – and a UNESCO Heritage Site to boot – this is a stunning region of towering mountains, glacial valleys, dense forests, and glittering lakes. It’s also home to some of the most scenic drives in the country!

There are many incredible routes you can take to explore the national park. I’ve borrowed the one shared by Helen for my UK road trips post, to give you an idea. Start at the tourist hotspot of Lake Windermere, before heading to “England’s prettiest lake” at Ullswater.

Next, explore the North Lakes around Keswick – including Buttermere – then head to Eskdale. This picturesque valley is famed for glorious walks – including Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain  – as well as stunning waterfalls and swimming holes. 

Finish your almost-circular road trip back on the shores of Lake Windermere, this time in the pretty town of Ambleside at the northern end.

3. Jurassic Coast

Recommended by: Me (Dorset coast road trip itinerary here)

  • Start: Bournemouth
  • End: Exmouth
  • Length: 95 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 3 days

ROUTE: Bournemouth – Studland – Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door – West Bay – Lyme Regis – Beer – Exmouth

Durdle door inDorset at sunset
Durdle Door

Another UNESCO Heritage Site that makes a brilliant England road trip destination is the stunning Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Devon! This 95-mile stretch of coastline boasts 185 million years of history.

Famed for its fossil-rich beaches (the Victorian fossil-hunter Mary Anning lived and worked in Lyme Regis), as well as its historic seaside towns and remarkable geology… the Jurassic Coast is a dream to explore by car.

Start in Bournemouth and take the chain-ferry across Poole Harbour to Studland to visit Old Harry Rocks, a series of chalk stacks marking the easternmost point of the Jurassic Coast.

From there, drive along the coast to visit a few of the area’s star attractions. There’s the picturesque Lulworth Cove (and the nearby Fossil Forest), the famous archway at Durdle Door, and the towering orange cliffs at West Bay. And that’s just to name a few!

Stop off at the seaside town of Weymouth for fish and chips by the colourful fishing harbour, or head to Lyme Regis or Charmouth for fossil hunting. Finally, make your way into Devon to visit the white chalk cliffs at Beer, before passing a few more quaint beach towns on your way to Exmouth and the end of the Jurassic Coast.

READ MORE: If you have some time left over, head further along the coast into South Devon for more great seaside stops!

4. South England Icons Road Trip

Recommended by: Kathryn from Travel with Kat

  • Start: London
  • End: London
  • Length: 286 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 4-6 days

ROUTE: London – Amesbury – Stonehenge – Wells – Cheddar Gorge – Bath – Lacock – Castle Combe – Windsor – London

Stonehenge Salisbury

This circular road trip takes you to some of the most famous historic sites, towns and villages in southern England.

From London, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge, stopping off at the pretty town of Amesbury along the way. In Wells, don’t miss a visit to the magnificent cathedral and the caves at nearby Wookey Hole.

Drive over the Mendips and down through Cheddar Gorge for some stunning scenery. Be sure to buy some Cheddar Cheese in the village and explore the caves where traditionally the cheese is aged.

In Bath, visit the ancient Roman Baths and explore the city’s historic streets, including the famous row of shops on Putney Bridge.

The villages of Lacock and Castle Combe are also a must. The latter is said to be the prettiest village in England. It’s also close to the M4 linking Somerset to London via Windsor, home of Windsor Castle. And from here, it’s just a short drive back to London.

5. Peak District National Park 

Recommended by: Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple 

  • Start: Buxton
  • End: Buxton
  • Length: 188 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 5-7 days

ROUTE: Buxton – Glossop – Castleton – Bamford – Bakewell – Matlock – Dovedale – Buxton

Peak District England Road Trips

Covering over 555sq miles, the Peak District is one of the stunning national parks in the UK. It’s full of rolling hills, punctuated with moorlands and limestone crags.  From stunning passes, to magnificent caves, to breathtaking summits, a road trip to Peak District is sure to take you by surprise.

Highlights of the road trip include exploring Glossop and surrounding trails. Take on the Snake Pass, a beautiful drive that connects Glassop to Ladybower Reservoir.

Explore Castleton and Hope Valley, home to some stunning hiking trails like Mam Tor and dotted with caverns. And don’t miss out on driving Winnat’s Pass!

Other highlights of the National Park include Edale, Chatsworth House, Bakewell (the town famous for Bakewell tarts!), Monsal Trail, Matlock Spa town, Dovedale, and Thor’s Cave.

6. England Midlands Road Trip

Recommended by: Me

  • Start: Birmingham
  • End: Birmingham
  • Length: 320 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 4-5 days

ROUTE: Birmingham – Shropshire Hills – Worcester – Stratford-Upon-Avon – Nottingham – Peak District – Birmingham

England Road Trips - Midlands

Although sometimes unfairly overlooked by visitors flocking to the south or the famous cities of the north, there are plenty of amazing places to visit in the Midlands. Some incredibly scenic drives, lots of lovely landscapes, and plenty of historic towns and cities make the middle of England perfect for a road trip.

Starting and finishing in the lively city of Birmingham, England’s second-largest, you can draw a large circular route around the region. Head into the Shropshire Hills AONB for one of the most scenic drives in the midlands, then push down to the charming city of Worcester.

Next up, the canal-side town of Stratford-Upon-Avon is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. It’s also one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in the country! Travelling with the family? Check out these great things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon with kids for some inspiration!

Head northeast towards Nottingham for more culture and history – and pay a visit to Sherwood Forest, home of the Robin Hood legend. Then it’s into the Peak District for scenic drives and some fabulous walks, before returning to Birmingham via another gorgeous AONB, Cannock Chase.

7. Somerset and Cheddar Gorge

Recommended by: Suzanne from Meandering Wild

  • Start: Minehead
  • End: Bath
  • Length: 150 miles
  • Suggested Time: 4-5 days

ROUTE: Minehead – Exmoor – Glastonbury – Wells – Cheddar Gorge – Mendip Hills – Bath

Cheddar Gorge is one of the best road trips in England
Cheddar Gorge

This road trip starts in the seaside town of Minehead and takes you quickly onto Exmoor. This National Park has one of the highest summits in the south of England, as well as ponies, rivers for wild swimming, and castles.

From Exmoor, the route drops down onto the Somerset Levels and visits the ancient town of Glastonbury – steeped in myths and legends – and then the nearby city of Wells, the smallest in England. Spend a night or two glamping in Somerset to make the best of the glorious countryside.

After Wells, you can explore Cheddar Gorge with deep limestone caves and high cliffs as you drive up onto the rugged Mendip Hills on the way to the city of Bath.

In Bath, there is beautiful Georgian architecture and the historic Roman Baths to wander around. You can also relax with a soak in the relaxing Thermae Spa. This is the perfect end to a road trip with a real taste of everything England has to offer.

8. Isle of Wight

Recommended by: Zoe from Together in Transit

  • Start: Ryde, Isle of Wight
  • End: Ryde, Isle of Wight
  • Length: 60 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 4-6 days

ROUTE: Ryde – Sandown – Ventnor – Freshwater – Cowes’

Isle of Wight England
The Needles

Just off the coast of southern England, the Isle of Wight is a small, but stunning little island which is perfect for road trips!

The north of the island is the best location to start your road trip, as that is where you will arrive on the boat from mainland UK.

At each location, there are unique local things to fully experience for all ages. Such as searching for dinosaur fossils in Sandown, or stargazing the Milky Way in Ventnor.

While heading towards Freshwater, stop at Compton Bay to admire this pretty location with its white cliffs and gorgeous sandy beach. And don’t miss the iconic Needles, a series of white chalk stacks off the western coast of the island.

Finally, at Cowes, you can also take the chain bridge to East Cowes to visit Osborne House, the royal summer house of Queen Victoria.

9. North Devon

Recommended by: Helen in Wonderlust

  • Start: Exmoor National Park
  • End: Clovelly
  • Length: 76 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 3–7 days

ROUTE: Exmoor National Park, Lynton & Lynmouth – Combe Martin – Ilfracombe – Woolacombe – Croyde Bay – Appledore – Westward Ho! – Clovelly

North Devond road trips England
Valley of the Rocks

There are some incredible places to visit in North Devon, which is known as being one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. It’s also only a relatively small area, so if you don’t fancy too much driving, this is a good place to visit.

Starting in Exmoor National Park, which borders both Devon and Somerset, you can explore Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve, before meandering your way along the coast all the way down to the picturesque village of Clovelly.  

Devon is known for its quaint coastal towns and villages, beautiful beaches and delicious local cuisine. Outdoor lovers can take part in various water sports and there are also plenty of gorgeous hiking opportunities along the South West Coast Path.

Or if you’re feeling a little less energetic, grab an ice cream, enjoy a cream tea (cream first when you’re in Devon) or pause for a pint at one of the many pubs.

10. Northumberland Coast

Recommended by: Me!

  • Start: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
  • End: Berwick-Upon-Tweed
  • Length: 85 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 2-3 days

ROUTE: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – Alnmouth – Craster – Embleton – Beadnell – Seahouses – Bamburgh – Lindisfarne – Berwick-Upon-Tweed

Bamburgh Castle North England
Bamburgh Castle

Follow the northeastern coast of England from the exciting, culture-packed city of Newcastle all the way up to the border with Scotland. Along the way, explore magnificent castles, rocky headlands, hidden beaches, onshore reserves, and coastal islands.

The Northumberland Coast AONB is a particularly scenic part of the 85-mile drive north from Newcastle.

Explore historic fishing villages like Craster and Beadnell. Visit the impressive 11th-century Bamburgh Castle, perched on the coast, as well as Alnwick Castle, which was used as a filming location in the Harry Potter movies. And don’t miss a trip across to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, with its ruined Priory.

Optional extension: start with a drive through the North Pennines along the A686 – often voted one of the country’s most scenic roads – from Penrith to Haydon Bridge, before pressing on to Newcastle and the coast.

11. London to Oxford and the Cotswolds

Recommended by: Dymphe, Dymabroad

  • Start: London
  • End: Birmingham
  • Length: 174 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 5-7 days

ROUTE: London – Oxford – the Cotswolds – Gloucester – Birmingham

Castle Combe Cotswolds - England Road Trips
Castle Combe, Cotswolds

One of the best road trips in England is one that starts in the city of London, then goes via Oxford, the Cotswolds, and Gloucester, to Birmingham.

What makes this road trip special is that it includes both large cities and pretty countryside spots in England. This makes the route great if you like variety!

The road trip starts in London, home to dozens of famous sights, museums, culture, and so much more. Photographers won’t want to miss the many Instagrammable places in London before setting off on their road trip.

First, head to Oxford, home to one of the most well-known universities in the world. After that, you’ll visit the Cotswolds, where you can find beautiful landscapes and many stunning villages full of picturesque cottages.

Next up is Gloucester, a small cathedral city on the edge of the Cotswolds. Finally, head north – detouring through the stunning Malvern Hills AONB if you have time – to end up in Birmingham. This is the second-largest city in the UK, so there’s plenty to discover, including many landmarks and museums.

For more info, check out my 2 day Cotswolds driving itinerary.

12. Sussex Coastal Road Trip

Recommended by: Kathryn from Sussex Bloggers

  • Start: Rye
  • End: West Wittering
  • Length: 104 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 3-4 days

ROUTE: Rye- Hastings – Eastbourne – Beachy Head – Birling Gap – Brighton – Arundel – Amberley – Chichester – West Wittering

Old houses on a cobbled street
Mermaid Street, Rye

Rye in East Sussex is one of the most picturesque small towns in England, with cobbled streets lined with ancient timber-framed buildings. Be sure to pop by The Mermaid Inn, once home to infamous smugglers. Better still, stay the night.

From Rye, stick to the coastal road through 1066 Country, visiting Hastings before heading down to Eastbourne. From here the B2103 takes you via some impressive hairpin bends to the cliff tops and stunning sea views of Beachy Head.

Sticking with the coastal road head to Brighton, a colourful seaside town. Don’t miss the unique independent shops of The Lanes or the magnificent Royal Pavilion.

From here, head inland to the historic town of Arundel with its majestic castle. Visit the pretty village of Amberley to admire the traditional Sussex thatched and flint cottages.

The market town of Chichester has a lovely town centre and an excellent theatre. Finish with a trip to the seaside at West Wittering famed for its golden sand dunes.

13. New Forest Road Trip

Recommended by: Izzy, The Gap Decaders

  • Start: Lyndhurst
  • End: Lymington
  • Length: 20 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 2-3 days

ROUTE: Lyndhurst – Beaulieu – Brockenhurst – Lymington

New Forest south west england

The New Forest is not actually new at all, but was planted by William the Conqueror nearly a millennia ago. The 220 square miles of national park is a mix of woodland and heathland, home to wild New Forest ponies which roam free, and makes for a perfect road trip for lovers of nature and the outdoors.

Head to the capital of the forest, Lyndhurst, to learn about the history of the area,. Next make your way to the picture-perfect village of Beaulieu, home to the National Motor Museum and the Beaulieu River, where Nelson’s warships were once built from local wood. This is also a perfect spot for an open-topped canoe tour or a spot of paddleboarding*, just some of the New Forest activities on offer in the area.

In Brockenhurst, you’ll find the start point to many of the forests gravelled cycle tracks, as well as places to hire bikes. It’s also a great start point for a walk into the open forest before settling down with a cream tea. Your last stop is Lymington where you can hire a boat, swim in the open sea-water pool, or just enjoy fish and chips on the quay.

*READ MORE: My Review of the Aquaplanet PACE stand up paddleboard

14. Yorkshire

  • Start: Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales
  • End: Whitby, Yorkshire Coast
  • Length: 117 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 5-6 days

ROUTE: Ingleton – Malham – York – Yorkshire Moors – Whitby

Yorkshire England Road Trips UK
Looking across the North York Moors to Robin Hood’s Bay

Yorkshire is home to some of the best road trips and scenic drives in England. This county has it all: the culture and history of York, the sweeping countryside of the Yorkshire Dales and the windswept North York Moors… and a stunning coastline to boot!

Start in the Yorkshire Dales. Explore the waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails around Ingleton, before heading down to Malham Cove, a 230ft-high natural stone amphitheatre.

Take a scenic drive down to York stopping off at the charming Victorian spa town of Harrogate on the way if you have time. Plan to spend at least a day exploring York, with its ancient walls, picturesque town centre, and chocolatey connections!

Finally, drive through the stunning North York Moors to the coast. Explore the small fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, known for its cobbled streets and sandy beach. End the trip in the seaside town of Whitby, home to the famous Whitby Abbey.

15. Hadrian’s Wall

  • Start: Wallsend (in Newcastle)
  • End: Bowness-on-Solway
  • Length: 80 miles 
  • Suggested Time: 2-3 days

ROUTE: Wallsend – Hexham – Brampton – Carlisle – Bowness-on-Solway

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland

Hadrian’s Wall once marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire, stretching for nearly 80 miles from the east to the west coast. Some 2,000 years later, many parts of the wall – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – still remain.

There are many road trips you could take across the width of England, but there’s something special about following this Ancient Roman route.

Drive from east to west, stopping at historic sites like Heddon-on-the-Wall and Corbridge Roman Fort. Between Hexham and Brampton you can follow the Hadrian’s Wall Tourist route, signposted with the Roman helmet symbol.

Finally, from Carlisle, drive up through the Solway Coast AONB to reach the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea. Use this fab guide from English Heritage to plan your route and choose your stops.

Ideas to Extend your England Road Trips

Best Places to Visit on the South Coast of England

Series: Local Guides to UK Cities

17 of the Most Amazing UK Road Trips

Most Beautiful Cities to Visit in England

Have you done any of these England road trips – or any others? Share your experiences in the comments!

15 Epic England Road Trips

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