Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The UK's Finest Road Trips

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The UK is a nation which is just waiting to be discovered on a road trip - and since it's such a small country in comparison to others, you don’t have to drive far to get away from the main cities to be surrounded by miles of beautiful countryside. There's something special about exploring a place by car which gives you an incredible sense of freedom. You can stop wherever you would like. You don’t have to be limited to any timetables or schedules, and you have a unique bonding opportunity to connect with whoever you're on the trip with.

Now all you need is an idea of where to go. Well, this is what I aim to provide you with in this blog post. Though there are thousands of possible routes which you could embark upon, I'm going to focus on some of the most famous and memorable here. Any one of these trips would make for a spectacular adventure which will live long in the mind for years to come.

North Coast 500 in Scotland
This 500-mile route around the coast of Scotland is a relatively new road, but it's quickly become one of the most popular road trips to take in the whole of Europe. Along the way, you will pass quaint old towns, tiny fishing villages, ancient castles, pebbled beaches, and rugged coastal scenery. One of the highlights of the trip is when it reaches Bealach na Bà, which winds up the Applecross Peninsula and provides you with some stunning views across the ocean. Give yourself a week and you can take it on at a nice steady pace, with plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and meet some of the locals. If you're planning on visiting during the busier months of the year, give yourself plenty of time to book your accommodation as the options are likely to be quite scarce, but it will all be worth it to stay in that windswept old cottage overlooking the sea!
Southwest England’s Atlantic Highway
Right at the opposite end of the country to the North Coast 500 is another stunning coastal route which is worth embarking upon known as the Atlantic Highway. This is where the English seaside is at its finest, and during the warmer months of the year, you may even work up the courage to take a dip yourself! The Devon and Cornish coast lie before you, and there are plenty of seaside towns where you can rest your head for the night. Take a look at these Weymouth cottages if you are planning on heading out on this journey. Along the way, you can make a stop off in Exmoor National Park for some hiking across the famous moors. Towns like Newquay are famous for their great surfing opportunities, so make sure that you have packed your board if you love to ride the waves.
Finally, you will reach Land’s End, the southernmost point of England, which feels like something of an achievement in itself! You can complete this route in around five days, and even though it is called the Atlantic Highway, you will have to travel inland to complete the whole of this route.
The Northern Irish Coast
Head across the sea and there are plenty of fantastic road trip opportunities awaiting you there as well. Belfast to Londonderry is a typical route to take, but rather than a direct drive, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to make some detours along the way. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, lots of the filming was done in Northern Ireland, and there you can even head out on a guided tour if you would like. The Antrim Coast is a fantastic spot to head, where you will see the famous Dark Hedges. And, of course, no trip to this part of the world would be complete without visiting the mythical Giant’s Causeway. You can make this trip as long or short as you would like, but the western coast of Ireland is an obvious place to head if you have more time on your hands.
The Black Mountain Pass
We have covered Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland so far, so it makes sense that the next road trip which we talk about is in Wales! While this a short one, it doesn’t mean that it is any less special. The Brecon Beacons is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country, and you really feel like you get away from it all as you pass secluded farmland and tiny rural communities. Even though you can cover this entire trip in a single day, if you really want to take the time to appreciate the scenery, you should extend it to at least a couple - or even longer if you want to go at a very leisurely pace.
Glastonbury to Cheddar Gorge
There is a real historic feel to this route which starts in the famous town of Glastonbury. Of course, you will have to avoid one particular weekend during the summer when the world-famous music festival comes to town! On your way towards Cheddar Gorge, you will drive through the kind of countryside which feels like it has come straight out of a Jane Austen novel! The road that leads up to the gorge is a particularly special one, and each twist and bend that you drive around presents new and dramatic scenery. Make sure that you take the time to explore the gorge area on foot before jumping back in the car once again.
The Snowdonia Loop Road
If you would like to add the grand feeling of conquering one of the highest peaks in the UK to your road trip then the Snowdonian Loop Road is the one for you! You can start at the Caernarfon Castle area, enjoying some of the rich heritage which can be found all over the country. Continue onwards to Snowdonia National Park - a place which offers some of the most stunning scenery in the entirety of the country. Be warned that there are plenty of tight bends and steep ascents along the way, so you are better off taking it slow and steady. Of course, the towering peak of Snowdon will dominate your eye line. There are plenty of different treks which you can undertake to reach the summit. However, if you don’t have time on your hands, you could always take the train which runs to the top.
Cotswolds: Cheltenham to Stratford-upon-Avon  
Many of the drives which we have discussed so far are all about winding coastal roads and dramatic scenery, but if you are looking for a route which is a little more sedate and relaxing, you can’t get much better than a drive around the Cotswolds. Some of the villages which you will find here are amongst the most quaint and picturesque in England. History is waiting around every corner, and many of the most well-known chapters were written by William Shakespeare. You can visit his birthplace and go to take in one of his plays afterwards as well. There is so much to explore and enjoy during your time here that you can make the trip as long or short as you would like it to be.
Snake Pass
A road trip which is both short and sweet, driving on the Snake Pass is a real treat for any car lover. It's listed as one of the best drives in the country, and it will take you past some of the beautiful landscapes of the Peak District. It takes you along some of the highest points in the park and you can see Manchester and further if the weather is nice and clear. You don’t pass many buildings along the way, but there's a general feeling of mystery and excitement as you journey around each new bend in the road. Make sure that you take care on days when the weather conditions aren’t so great.
There are so many fantastic road trips all over the country, but this guide just gives you an overview of some of them. Whether you only have a day or weeks in front of you, there is plenty to enjoy in our beautiful country. Just make sure that you have stocked your car up with snacks, load your favourite music onto your phone, and enjoy!

*Please note that this is a collaborative post*

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