Top 10 UK Driving Roads for Scenic Journeys

Top 10 UK Driving Roads for Scenic Journeys
Photo by Sylvain Gllm / Unsplash

Many assume driving in Britain means dull views and too many cars. But, leave the fast roads behind and explore the A or B routes. You'll discover stunning sights, pretty villages, and nature's wonders. The UK has over 250,000 miles of roads, offering much more than a simple route.

Travel from Wales' coastal paths to the rugged roads of Scotland. The UK boasts some of the world's most beautiful drives. If you're keen on a UK driving adventure, keep reading. This journey will include thrilling turns, interesting spots, and memories to last a lifetime.

Key Takeaways

  • The North Coast 500 in Scotland covers 516 miles with a recommended trip length of 5-7 days.
  • Driving from Kendal to Keswick in the Lake District takes just over an hour, covering 29.8 miles.
  • The Coastal Way in Wales spans 180 miles, with up to a 7-day recommended trip length.
  • The Cat and Fiddle route in the Peak District provides a thrilling 11.1-mile drive.
  • The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland offers 120 miles of breath-taking views and takes 3-5 days.

North Coast 500, Scotland

The North Coast 500 is like Scotland's version of America's Route 66. It's a 500-mile loop around the north of Scotland. You start and end in Inverness. Along the way, you see stunning beaches and historic sites. This makes it one of the UK's most iconic road trips.

Route Overview

The NC500 covers six areas and is 516 miles long. You'll see beautiful views and drive on various roads. The landscapes range from moors to mountains, making it a great driving adventure. Driving on these picturesque roads, you'll see why it's loved by many. The UK motoring press often talks about this route. It's a journey that driving enthusiasts find exciting.

Must-See Stops

There are some places you must stop at. Achmelvich Beach and Applecross Village show off Scotland's beauty and local life. Dunrobin Castle and Rogie Falls are like scenes from a fairy tale. These are top spots on the route.

Don’t miss John o' Groats, the UK mainland's most northern point. The drive from Ullapool to Rhiconich is special. The Kylesku Bridge along this route is known for its beauty.

There's more than driving. You can hike, see wildlife, or take a boat trip. This lets you dive deeper into Scotland's natural wonders.

Plan to spend five to seven days on the NC500. This time frame allows you to fully enjoy the journey. You won’t feel rushed and can see Scotland’s best without hurry. Since it's a popular route, be ready for traffic and road wear. Using the Ultimate Drives App can make navigation and exploring simpler.

Kendal to Keswick, Lake District

The A591 road from Kendal to Keswick is only 30 miles long. Yet, it shows off the magical and beautiful views of the UK. You'll see peaceful and stunning countryside on this drive.

Route Highlights

  • The shimmering expanse of Lake Windermere
  • The quaint village of Grasmere, famed for its delectable gingerbread
  • The majestic reservoir of Thirlmere

This journey takes you to Keswick, a place famous for its history and natural beauty. It's a road trip you must take to see the green fields and lovely views, capturing the heart of the Lake District.

The A591 drive is just over an hour long. But to really enjoy its beauty, you should spend a whole day here. Stop to see the stunning nature and famous places on the way.

A recent study with 2,000 drivers placed this route as the UK's fourth most beautiful. It shows how many people love the UK's charming roads. More than 70% say the UK has stunning drives, making Kendal to Keswick a top choice for appreciating rural beauty.

The Coastal Way, Wales

The Coastal Way in Wales stretches for 180 miles. Along the way, you'll see where the mountains meet the sea. It's a top route for those looking for the best drives in the UK, starting at Aberdaron and ending at St David's.

Scenic Stops

Your journey starts in Aberdaron, famous for its beautiful sandy beach. You'll come across Portmeirion, with its Italian-style buildings and great food. Next, enjoy Barmouth's lively beach before moving on to New Quay for some dolphin spotting. Lastly, find hidden coves on the Pembrokeshire coast.


To really enjoy The Coastal Way, you should take about a week. This gives you lots of time to visit the beautiful spots and take in Wales' stunning views. These UK driving tours mix relaxation with exciting adventures.

Route Distance Recommended Trip Length
The Coastal Way 180 miles Up to 7 days
The Cat and Fiddle Scenic 11.1 miles Up to 30 minutes
Ribblehead Viaduct 0.8 miles Less than 10 minutes
The Causeway Coastal Route 120 miles 3-5 days
Buttertubs Pass 6.8 miles Up to 20 minutes

The Cat and Fiddle, Peak District

The Cat and Fiddle route runs from Buxton to Macclesfield and is one of Britain's most exciting drives. It's known for its tricky turns and stunning views. This 11.1-mile journey is iconic, and it ends at the famous Cat and Fiddle pub, the second-highest in the UK.

Route Details

This drive is short but full of excitement, lasting about 30 minutes. You'll wind through amazing views over the Peak District. It's a top choice for UK road trips, mixing thrill with natural beauty.

Key Attractions

Besides the fun road, there are great places to see. Poole's Cavern is perfect for a look at natural limestone caves. Tegg's Nose Country Park has lots of wildlife and beautiful views. And of course, a visit to the Cat and Fiddle pub is a must, for a good meal and unbeatable scenery.

Route Length (miles) Recommended Trip Length
The Cat and Fiddle 11.1 Up to 30 minutes
Ribblehead Viaduct 0.8 Less than 10 minutes
Buttertubs Pass 6.8 Up to 20 minutes
Black Mountain Road 14.8 Up to 30 minutes

The Cat and Fiddle road is a top pick for those who love adventures and natural beauty.

Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire

The Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire is a magnificent example of Victorian design. It has 24 arches stretching 400 metres. This makes it a must-see for anyone enjoying the beauty of the Yorkshire countryside. This top UK driving road is short, under a mile, but it's filled with breathtaking views.

Driving Experience

Driving around Ribblehead Viaduct is a joy for those who love to drive. Though short, taking around 10 minutes, the route is surrounded by beautiful hills and valleys. The viaduct provides a stunning backdrop. It's part of the UK's best roads, perfect for driving lovers.

Stopping to admire the view and taking a few photos is a must. This experience is more special when shared with someone who understands its historical and cultural importance.

Top 10 UK Driving Roads

The UK is full of beautiful drives that suit different tastes. You might love Scotland's lochs or England's coastlines. Each drive tells a story of Britain's nature and history in a charming way.

Destination Yearly YouTube Searches Visitor Statistics Highlights
Lake District 37,200 13 million visitors annually Sweeping views, picturesque lakes
Snowdonia 25,200 N/A Mountainous terrains, historical sites
The Peak District 14,400 13 million visitors annually Lush greenery, panoramic vistas
North Coast 500, Scotland 14,400 N/A Coastal routes, dramatic cliffs
Black Mountain Pass 13,440 N/A Challenging bends, mountain views

Drives like the North Coast 500 and Black Mountain Pass stand out in the UK. They mix mountain, coastal, and scenic driving. You'll see mountains, lakes, and areas with deep history.

Most routes have excellent roads. They also have parts with twists, turns, and tough sections. Some roads go high, like 526 metres in the Yorkshire Dales. Others reach 626 metres in Scotland.

These routes have a rich history. They were once used for moving cattle or built in the 19th century. The Cotswolds' routes take you through charming villages. The Scottish Highlands have beautiful valleys to cross.

You won't lack places to stay or eat on these routes. You can find a comfy bed and breakfast or a quality historical inn. There's something for everyone.

These drives are thrilling and require focus and skill. That's why many driving fans love them. They offer unforgettable experiences on the UK's best roads for drivers.

The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

Explore the breathtaking Causeway Coastal Route in Britain. Spanning over 120 miles, it goes from lively Belfast to historic Londonderry. It's a top choice for those wanting to see stunning scenery and unique spots.

Notable Sites

Begin at Titanic Belfast, an amazing tribute to the most famous ship. Travel through the Glens of Antrim to find the famous Gobbins Cliff Path. For over a hundred years, its views have amazed. Visit Glenarm Castle for its gardens and historical charm, dating back to 1636.

Don't miss the Game of Thrones filming spot, the Cushendun Caves. Nearby, Cushendall Beach offers a quiet place by the sea. Dare to cross the thrilling Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge for rugged coastal views.

Landmark Description Recommendation
Titanic Belfast A tribute to the famous ship with interactive exhibits. Start your visit here.
The Gobbins Cliff Path Beautiful coastal path. Great for a leisurely walk.
Glenarm Castle Castle with lovely gardens. Enjoy a guided tour.
Cushendun Caves Site of Game of Thrones with stunning views. Do some exploring and photography.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Offers breathtaking ocean views. Adventure across it if you're brave!

Journey Time

You can drive the Antrim Coast Road in one day, making quick stops. But, a more relaxed journey over two days lets you fully enjoy its beauty. This scenic drive should not be rushed to appreciate its wonders.

Take your time at the Glenariff Forest Park's trail. It's an 8.9km walk with breathtaking views. Finish in Derry, a city full of history and culture, for a meaningful end to your trip.

Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales

Buttertubs Pass is at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. It's famous as one of the UK's top drives, showing the best side of UK road trips. At only six miles, it's packed with steep climbs and descents. These paths open up stunning views of Wensleydale and Swaledale. Once, Jeremy Clarkson called it 'England's only truly spectacular road.' This has made it a must-see spot on the British driving map.

Route Features

Reaching 1690 feet high, Buttertubs Pass gives a thrilling journey that lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. It's well-loved by bikers and cyclists, known for being in the 2014 Tour de France as a challenging climb. A word of warning: it's narrow with lots of twists and turns. Plus, look out for cyclists. The road can be tough, especially in the rain or snow. This makes it perfect for those looking for an adrenaline rush.

Activity Highlights

The road isn't the only thing impressive about Buttertubs Pass. It's also surrounded by amazing places to stop and explore. You'll find Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force close by. These are great for anyone who loves the outdoors. For activities like fishing, boating, or watching birds, head to Semerwater and Haweswater. Then, after a full day of adventure, you can relax in one of the area's charming pubs or cafes.

Location Estimated Travel Time
Manchester 2 hours 10 minutes
Leeds/York 1 hour 50 minutes
Kendal/Darlington/Penrith 1 hour
Middlesbrough/Durham 1 hour 30 minutes

Looking for some of the best driving routes in the UK? Buttertubs Pass is perfect, whether you're a veteran behind the wheel or a tourist on a relaxed road trip. It's a mix of excitement on the road and peaceful countryside. This route ensures you'll carry memories with you forever, even after the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales is behind you.

The Atlantic Highway, England

Drive the beautiful Atlantic Highway. It covers 70 miles from Barnstaple to Newquay, showing stunning coastal views. This drive is in the top 10 UK roads, full of dramatic beauty and fun stops.

Driving Route

Starting in Barnstaple, the road winds through North Cornwall. You'll see places like Bude, with its sandy shores. Then, there's Tintagel Castle, known in Arthurian legend. Visit Port Isaac, from the TV show Doc Martin, too.

The A39 can be dangerous, with its narrow path and turns. But, driving carefully lets you enjoy the views safely. Be sure to see Bedruthan Steps and Newquay, famous for surfing.

Plan 3-4 days for this trip, especially if you want to see all of North Cornwall. This area is best explored by car as trains are rare. Even in summer, you can find peaceful spots.

Foodies will love Padstow, where Rick Stein's journey began. The Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 has great dishes. And in St Kew, you can find yummy food like sourdough bread and pasties.

The Atlantic Highway is perfect for those who love driving. It mixes stunning views, history, and great food. Don't miss this drive if you want to see the best of the UK by car.

Black Mountain Road, Brecon Beacons National Park

For those who love scenic drives in the UK, Black Mountain Road is a top choice. This road, famous as the 'Top Gear road', is 14.8 miles long. It boasts stunning views and exciting windy sections, making it a must-visit.

Scenic Details

Black Mountain Road is loved not just because of TV shows like Top Gear. It climbs up to 1,624 feet, giving you amazing views of the area. You'll see sheep on your drive, adding to the beautiful scenes. This road is perfect for both thrill-seekers and those who just want to relax.

Journey Duration

Driving Black Mountain Road takes about 30 minutes. It's best enjoyed slowly, letting you take in the area's beauty. Consider stopping for photos on quiet weekdays. It's a dream route for driving fans and a highlight for anyone touring the UK by car.

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Travelling through the Mendip Hills treats you to Cheddar Gorge's beauty. It's ranked as a top 10 driving road in the uk. This route combines thrill with amazing views.

Attraction Points

The 14-mile journey showcases cliffs that stand over 450 ft. The road weaves between these towering limestone formations, creating a stunning drive. You can also climb Jacob's Ladder for a panoramic view of the gorge. Don't miss the chance to try or buy real Cheddar cheese, aged in nearby caves.

Travel Time

The drive itself is short, only 30-40 minutes. But, you should slow down and enjoy every moment. Cheddar Gorge is a remarkable natural site in Britain. It combines natural beauty with a quaint atmosphere, making it a top pick for drivers in the uk.


Our journey through the UK's top driving routes has shown us something profound. The roads of the United Kingdom are more than just paths. They lead us on adventures, showing us stunning landscapes. From Scotland's untamed coasts to England's peaceful countryside, the routes are full of charm. The 10 best routes we discussed are not just roads. They are journeys into discovery and memorable experiences.

Driving the North Coast 500 in Scotland is a special experience. This 500-mile circuit shows off the UK's best nature and history. The Lake District's scenic drives, like the A591 and Hardknott Pass, are also amazing. Here, you'll see mountains and lakes that awe at every turn. The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland stretches 120 miles. It goes from Belfast to Derry~Londonderry and includes gems like the Giant's Causeway.

Wales has its share of amazing roads too. The Black Mountain Pass and B4520 offer stunning views of moors and mountains. The Brecon Beacons National Park adds to the thrill with its high roads and valleys. The Jurassic Coast in England is a UNESCO site. It has unique rock formations along its roads, like Durdle Door.

Every route has something special to offer. They vary in scenery, challenge, and story. Whether you prefer quiet countryside or exciting turns, you'll find roads to your liking. With beautiful seasonal views and roads connecting historic sites, the UK has something for everyone. So, get driving, whether it's a quick electric car or a sturdy SUV. A British driving holiday awaits, mixing heritage, nature, and the joy of the open road.