The UK is full of amazing road trips for your travel bucket list! With miles of rugged coastline, idyllic rolling countryside, epic mountainscapes, and historic towns and cities… there’s just so much to discover!
Road tripping is my new favourite way to explore my home country, and after taking on two incredible journeys in Wales and Scotland recently I’m hungry for more! So, I’ve asked a bunch of amazing local travel bloggers to share their favourite road trips in the UK.
From the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands, to the adventure-filled landscapes of the Welsh national parks, to the varied coastlines of England, and everything in between!
So fill your boot with luggage, load up your SatNav, programme the perfect road trip playlist on Spotify, and get out there. Enjoy…
- 17 UK Road Trips for your Bucket List
- North Coast 500, Scotland
- The Cambrian Way, Wales
- Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
- Jurassic Coast, England
- The Kintyre 66, Scotland
- Atlantic Highway, England
- Pembrokeshire, Wales
- Scottish Highlands
- Northumberland Coastal Route
- Mourne Coastal Route
- Lake District, England
- South West Coastal 300
- Norfolk Coast Road Trip
- Welsh Coast
- Lands End to John O Groats (England & Scotland)
17 UK Road Trips for your Bucket List
North Coast 500, Scotland
Recommended by: Maja, Away with Maja
- Start: Inverness
- End: Inverness
- Length: 516 miles
- Suggested Time: 7-10 days
ROUTE: Inverness – John O’Groats – Durness – Lochinver – Ullapool – Torridon – Inverness
The North Coast 500 is one of the most epic road trips you can take in the UK. Starting in Inverness and taking in the remote corners of northern Scotland, you’ll discover white sandy beaches, dramatic mountain scenery, and unique landscapes.
While you can rush through the North Coast 500 in 3 or 5 days, I recommend taking at least a week – or even longer. Particularly if you’re wanting to get outdoors (such as hiking Ben Hope, the most northern Munro in Scotland), or planning to take day excursions like Cape Wrath or Handa island.
Some of the most stunning beaches are Sandwood Bay and Achmelvich Bay. And don’t miss the historic sites like Dunrobin Castle and Ardvreck Castle. Driving Bealach na Bà, the steepest ascent of any road in the UK, isn’t for the faint-hearted. But the views are spectacular! Don’t miss this amazing Scottish road trip.
The Cambrian Way, Wales
Recommended by: Me!
- Start: Cardiff
- End: Llandudno
- Length: 180 miles
- Suggested Time: 4-5 days (longer if you want to climb Snowdon)
ROUTE: Cardiff – Brecon Beacons – Rhayader & Elan Valley – Snowdonia National Park – Conwy – Llandudno
Follow the Cambrian Way on this seriously stunning road trip right across the heart of Wales. Start in Cardiff and make your way north following the A470: the longest A-road in Wales and one of the most scenic drives in the UK!
Pass through the stunning mountain scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park, wind your way through the valleys and lake-lands of mid-Wales, and finally twist and turn through the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia National Park and up to the north coast.
You could stay on the same road the entire way! But it’s worth detouring at times in search of scenic stops and winding mountain roads. Check out my Wales road trip itinerary for a full breakdown of all the best stops!
Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
Recommended by: Faith, XYUandBeyond
- Start Point: Belfast
- End Point: Derry
- Length: 190 km
- Suggested time: 7 days
ROUTE: Belfast – The Gobbins – 9 Glens of Antrim – Bushmills – Dark Hedges – Giant’s Causeway – Dunluce – Carrick-a-Rede – Mussenden Temple – Derry
The Causeway coastal route begins in Belfast and ends in Derry (Londonderry) and covers around 200 miles of dramatic coastline. This is definitely one of the best road trips in the UK! Begin in Belfast and head east towards Islandmagee, where you can do the famous Gobbins Cliff Walk.
Head north through the Glens of Antrim to Cushenden the heart of the Glens. This section of your road trip is scattered with ruined castles, iconic Irish villages, Game of Thrones locations, and absolute jaw-dropping scenery.
Onwards to Ballycastle, where you can see Rathlin Island – Robert the Bruce’s hideway. In Ballycastle take time to enjoy some traditional music and fine Irish cuisine in the pubs. A short journey will take you to the Dark Hedges, then back up to the coast to Bushmills for a whiskey tasting session and tour.
From Bushmills, head out to the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Downhill Strand and the iconic Mussenden Temple is your next stop, and then onto Derry (Londonderry) to soak in some Irish history with a visit to the murals of Derry and the Bloody Sunday memorial.
Jurassic Coast, England
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
A 95-mile stretch of coastline boasting 185 million years of history, the Jurassic Coast is justifiably one of the most famous places in southern England. It’s also an epic location for a road trip, with idyllic beaches, rugged cliffs, cute seaside towns, and fossils galore!
Starting from Bournemouth, take the chain ferry across Poole Harbour to Studland to visit Old Harry Rocks. These chalk stacks off the Isle of Purbeck mark the easternmost point of the Jurassic Coast. From there, drive along the coast to Lulworth Cove. Visit the picturesque beach there, then walk over the cliffs to the Durdle Door.
Next, visit the seaside towns of Weymouth – with its colourful fishing harbour – and Lyme Regis, home of Victorian fossil collector Mary Anning. 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.
The Kintyre 66, Scotland
Recommended by: by Kathi from Watch Me See
- Start: Tarbert
- End: Tarbert
- Length: 66 miles
- Suggested Time: 2-5 days
ROUTE: Tarbert – Isle of Gigha – Mull of Kintyre – Campbeltown – Carradale – Skipness
The Kintyre 66 (K66) is a new road trip around the Kintyre peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. Often called Scotland’s only “mainland island”, it is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land and otherwise surrounded by water.
Kintyre offers pristine beaches and remote bays, charming villages and wildlife sanctuaries. You could easily drive the K66 in a day, or fill a whole week with activities and places to visit – it would be a shame not to explore the area in-depth.
The region is packed with things to do for outdoorsy types, whisky lovers, and foodies. A highlight is the ferry ride to the Isle of Gigha to visit its stunning Twin Beaches and kayak in turquoise waters. The golf course in Machrihanish is considered one of the most scenic courses of Scotland. And the ruins of Skipness and Tarbert castles round off the perfect trip!
Atlantic Highway, England
- Start: Bath
- End: Newquay
- Length: 200 miles
- Suggested Time: 2-3 days (or more)
ROUTE: Bath – Barnstaple – Bude – Tintagel – Padstow – Newquay
Often touted as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Atlantic Highway is a section of the A39 running from Barnstaple to Fraddon, near Newquay. With rich forests, pretty seaside villages, and rugged coastline as you descend into the southwest, it’s easy to see why!
Although the Atlantic Highway officially starts in Barnstaple, one of the best UK road trips starts in Bath and follows the A39 all the way down into Cornwall. As you drive you’ll pass through 3 counties and some spectacular scenery.
Pass through the Exmoor National Park, then on to the stunning bays and beaches lining the coast from Barnstaple to Bude. From there, the A39 travels inland slightly, but you can detour back to various stops along the coast. Such as the beaches at Bude, the castle at Tintagel, or the picturesque harbour town of Padstow.
Recommended by: Bella from Passport & Pixels
- Start: Tenby
- End: Fishguard
- Length: 90 miles
- Suggested Time: 5-7 days
ROUTE: Tenby – Pembroke – Barafundle Bay – Skomer Island – Solva – St David’s – Porthgain – Fishguard
This Pembrokeshire road trip starts in the cute and colourful seaside town of Tenby, then pretty much hugs the coast all the way around the county in a clockwise direction. Along the way, you can stop at two historic castles, several gorgeous sandy beaches, more jaw-dropping coastal scenery than you can handle, the UK’s smallest city, and – if you visit in the summertime – puffins!
There are plenty of activities to fill your road trip, including cold-water swimming, coasteering, or walking the coast path. If that all sounds too much like hard work, enjoy all the charming village pubs and cafes you’ll pass instead.
You can see all the sights in five days, but if you want to make the most of the hiking opportunities you might need a whole week. You won’t regret staying longer – Pembrokeshire is one of the prettiest parts of the UK. The great thing about a road trip here is that everything is really close together so you never have to do much driving.
Recommended by: Victoria from Guide your Travel
- Start: Edinburgh
- End: Edinburgh
- Length: 450 miles
- Suggested Time: 10 days
ROUTE: Edinburgh – Dundee – Stonehaven – Aberdeen – Inverness – Fort William – Edinburgh
The Scottish Highlands are almost made for a road trip. With incredible scenic locations and dozens of historic cities and towns, there’s plenty to see and do.
Start your trip in the capital Edinburgh, where you can visit incredible places like Edinburgh Castle and the impressive Arthur’s Seat. Drive north, visiting other places of interest like Dundee and St Andrews, before making a stop in Stonehaven, a little beach town that prides itself in having Scotland’s best fish and chips.
You can also visit the impressive Dunnottar Castle, which sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean. If you have time you can stop by the city of Aberdeen and some of its stunning beaches, before heading west to Fort William through the incredible Cairngorms National Park. Finally, head back to Edinburgh via the famous landscapes at Glencoe and Loch Lomond!
Northumberland Coastal Route
Recommended by: Tracy from UK Travel Planning
- Start: Alnmouth
- End: Alnwick
- Length: 59 miles
- Suggested Time: 3 days
ROUTE: Alnmouth – Craster – Embleton – Beadnell – Seahouses – Bamburgh – Holy Island of Lindisfarne – Alnwick
This drive takes you along the Northumberland Coast, passing through stunning countryside and seaside fishing villages. It features some of England’s most beautiful castles, a tidal island (once home to the Lindisfarne Gospels) and the biggest second-hand bookshop in Europe.
Spend your first night in one of the fishing villages such as Craster or Beadnell, and enjoy a beach walk and fish and chip supper. On day two, visit Bamburgh Castle before heading over to explore the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the ruined Priory. Check tide times when planning!
Fans of Harry Potter shouldn’t miss Alnwick Castle, which was used as a filming location in the movies. Finally, curl up with a book at the famous Barter Books, located in a Victorian railway station in Alnwick.
READ MORE: 15 Epic Road Trips in England
Recommended by: Joanna from The World in my Pocket
- Start: Gloucester
- End: Gloucester
- Length: 100 miles
- Suggested Time: at least 2-3 days
ROUTE: Gloucester – Bourton-on-the-Water – Moreton-in-Marsh – Broadway – Stow-on-the-Wol – Lower Slaughter – Bibury – Painswick – Castle Combe – Cirencester – Gloucester
Taking a road trip in the Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the British countryside. Stretching over six different counties, the Cotswolds can be explored on a weekend trip or on a week-long holiday, depending on how much time you have to spare.
You should also spend some time exploring the historic town of Gloucester and nearby Cheltenham at the start or end of your road trip.
There are plenty of things to do in each of the villages. If you want to really explore each one, you won’t be able to visit more than 5 villages a day. I highly suggest dividing your time in the Cotswolds, and planning your road trip either in the North or in the South.
There are picturesque villages in each. The most famous in the north is Bourton-on-the-Water, while in the south it’s Castle Combe. Keep in mind that the roads in the Cotswolds are not the fastest! You may spend quite a bit of time in traffic – but it’s worth it for one of the most scenic road trips in the UK!
READ MORE: 2-3 Day Cotswolds Driving Itinerary
Mourne Coastal Route
Recommended by: Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor
- Start: Belfast
- End: Newry
- Length: 100 miles
- Suggested Time: 3-4 days
ROUTE: Belfast – Bangor – Ards Peninsula – Downpatrick – Newcastle – Mourne Mountains.
On the island of Ireland, there are 4 significant road trip routes that connect the entire coast of the island. In the Republic of Ireland, it’s the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East. Then in Northern Ireland in the UK you have the Causeway Coastal Route and the Mourne Coastal Route road trips.
The Mourne Coastal Route follows the lesser travelled east coast route. This is known for its quaint fishing villages and scenic seaside towns. Follow the picturesque coastal roads of Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula, before reaching the majestic Mourne Mountains.
There are many highlights along the route, including Mount Stewart, Castleward (Winterfell), and Tollymore Forest Park. But the main draw, really, is the scenery in between each stop.
Lake District, England
Recommended by: Helen in Wonderlust
- Start: Windermere
- End: Ambleside
- Length: 95 miles
- Suggested Time: 3-5 days
ROUTE: Bowness-on-Windermere – Ullswater – Keswick – Eskdale – Ambleside
The Lake District, in North West England, is the perfect place for a road trip. The main tourist hotspots in the Lakes are Windermere and Keswick, but there are hundreds of great places in between to add to your Lake District itinerary.
Starting at Lake Windermere, I would explore the village of Bowness-on-Windermere, which has plenty of shops and restaurants. From there, make your way up to Ullswater, which is often called England’s prettiest lake.
Head next to the market town of Keswick, which is a great base for exploring all over the North Lakes. From there, pass through Buttermere, an incredibly photogenic lake that is perfect for a bit of wild swimming.
The next stop could be wild and untamed Eskdale, which is famed for glorious walks, waterfalls and swimming holes. From there, make your way to Ambleside, on the northern shores of Lake Windermere, for a final night of relaxation.
South West Coastal 300
Recommended by: Cazzy from Dream Big Travel Far
- Start: Dumfries
- End: Dumfries
- Length: 300 miles
- Suggested Time: 2-3 days
ROUTE: Dumfries- Caerlaverock Castle- Mull Of Galloway- Stranraer – Maybole – Ayr – Sanquhar – Lockerbie – Dumfries
The South West Coastal 300 is the perfect road trip to explore Scotland and all it has to offer. From spectacular landscapes, pristine coastlines, and exciting adventures, to delicious food and fascinating history, this road trip lets you pack so much into just a couple of days.
South West Scotland is a treasure trove of majestic hills and stunning lochs. There is so much to discover, including historical sites and iconic sceneries. Some highlights include the epic Caerlaverock Castle and Culzean Castle.
The SWC300 is a loop of 300 miles, starting and ending at the lovely town of Dumfries, though you can start and end anywhere along the route. It passes through regions like Stranraer, Ayrshire, and Wanlockhead, and reaches up to Scotland’s southernmost point: Mull of Galloway.
The route is made up of mostly quiet country roads, making it suitable for cars and campervans alike. Three days and two nights is perfect to make the most of the SWC300.
Norfolk Coast Road Trip
Recommended by: Izzy from The Gap Decaders
- Start: Norwich
- End: Kings Lynn
- Length: 110 miles
- Suggested Time: 5 days
ROUTE: Norwich – Wroxham – Winterton-on-Sea – Cromer – Blakeney – Brancaster – Hunstanton – Kings Lynn
This Norfolk road trip starts in the historic city of Norwich, and takes you through the glorious Norfolk Broads and along one of the UK’s most unspoilt coastlines. Perfect for a car or motorhome road trip, there’s lots to do and see along the way, including a few good old-fashioned seaside resorts, some great country pubs and lots of opportunities for getting on the water.
Highlights include crabbing from the harbour in Blakeney and taking a boat trip to see the local seal colony, fresh Cromer crab eaten on the pier in this quintessential seaside town, and taking a sailing trip along one of the beautiful and tranquil broads.
Head east from Norwich to Wroxham, the capital of the Broads, before making your way to the coast and following the road north, stopping at whichever beach or pretty town takes your fancy!
Recommended by: Sinead from Map Made Memories
- Start: Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales
- End: Whitby, Yorkshire Coast
- Length: 117 miles
- Suggested Time: 5-6 days
ROUTE: Ingleton – Malham – York – Yorkshire Moors – Whitby
Yorkshire is one of the best places in the UK for road trips. There’s such a diverse range of landscapes to discover!
Explore the waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails around Ingleton before heading to Malham Cove. This 230ft-high natural stone amphitheatre featured in the Harry Potter movies.
Allocate a day to hike Malham’s spectacular circular trail. Visit the historic city of York to tour York Minster, walk the medieval-era walls, or browse one of the city’s museums.
Drive across the windswept Yorkshire Moors, stopping to hike into the Hole of Horcum, a natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and ½ mile across. Detour to the car-free village of Robin Hoods Bay to wander its cobbled lanes and fossil hunt on the sandy beach.
End your road trip at Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast. Climb the town’s 199 stone steps to the clifftop ruins of Whitby Abbey, or enjoy a world-famous fish and chip dinner.
Recommended by: Abi, Inside the Travel Lab
- Start: Cardiff
- End: Liverpool
- Length: 870 miles
- Suggested Time: 10-14 days
ROUTE: Cardiff – Brecon Beacons – Laugharne – Pembroke – St Davids – Aberystwyth – Snowdonia – Anglesey – Llandudno – Llangollen – Liverpool
Driving around the horseshoe shape of the Welsh coastline is one of the best road trips in Wales – and the whole UK! Start at Europe’s youngest capital in Cardiff before swapping city sights for wild landscapes, rugged cliffs, and some of the best beaches in Europe.
Highlights include the National Parks of the brooding Brecon Beacons and puffin-strewn Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. And, of course, Wales’s highest peak at 1024 metres in Snowdonia.
Follow the literary footsteps of Dylan Thomas through his former home in Swansea and writing bolthole in Laugharne.
Then test your mettle (and your linguistic skills) against the dizzying heights of the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct near Llangollen.
And, of course, there’s the traditional British seaside experience in Llandudno. Eat fish and chips, watch Punch & Judy and stroll along the sweeping Victorian pier.
READ MORE: 6 of the Best Road Trips in Wales
Lands End to John O Groats (England & Scotland)
- Start: Land’s End
- End: John O Groats
- Length: at least 837 miles (for the most direct route)
- Suggested Time: 7 days
ROUTE: Lands End – Bristol – Stonehenge – Oxford – Peak District – York – Lake District – Dumfries – Glasgow – Loch Lomond – Inverness – John O Groats
Last up, it’s the ultimate in UK road trips: a country-crossing journey from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in northernmost Scotland.
It’s really up to you how you get from A-B. The UK is vast and there are loads of incredible stops along the way.
You could take the most direct route and get there as fast as possible. Or, meander through England and Scotland stopping off at some of the historic cities, stunning national parks, and picturesque villages along the way. The route outlined above is just to give you an idea!
Have you done any of these UK road trips- or any others? Share your experiences in the comments!