From picturesque coastal roads to jagged mountains, the UK is full of beautiful scenic routes waiting to be explored. With many travel plans being halted in 2020, staycations became the perfect way to escape daily life and fulfil the need for adventure. Why not continue with the staycations into 2021 and explore one of the UK’s best scenic road trips.
To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a list of our favourite scenic routes for you to choose from (or maybe even a tick list for you to complete them all!).
1. The Atlantic Highway, South West England
One of the longest roads in the South West, the A39 is the name of the road that stretches from Devon’s border the northeastern corner of Cornwall. Our favourite part of this road is the stretch between the Devonshire town of Barnstable to the Cornish seaside town of Newquay. Enjoy the lovely views of the Atlantic as you drive through Bude, Camelford and Wadebridge. Don’t forget to stop off at the lovely fishing village of Port Issac, or otherwise known at Portwenn in the much-loved tv series, Doc Martin.
The whole of the A39 is around 191 miles, but from Barnstable to Newquay the route is around 63 miles – perfect for families. Don’t forget to stop off and enjoy a cream tea in both Devon and Cornwall, remember that in Devon cream goes on the scone first and in Cornwall the jam does!
2. North Coast 500, Scotland
Often referred to as England’s answer to route 66, the North Coast 500 boasts some of the UK’s most natural beauty. This truly is the ultimate UK road trip with breath-taking landscapes, historic landmarks and beautiful beaches lurking around every twist and turn. The road trip traditionally starts in Inverness and then travels along the west coast to Applecross and then you’ll head up north to the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. During your trip, you’ll see some of the most northerly coastal points of the UK, including John O’Groats before you’ll head back down south through Dingwall back to Inverness. There are alot of must-sees during this trip, some of our favourites are spotting dolphins and seals off the coast at Chanonry Point, visiting the historical Culloden battlefield and hiking the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve.
This is one of the longer road trips at 516 miles if you follow the traditional routes and will take around a week, depending on where you visit along the way. As this is such a popular route, we recommend booking your accommodation in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.
To plan your own tour around the North Coast of Scotland, visit NorthCoast500.
3. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
If you’re wanting to explore the real Northern Ireland, then the causeway coastal route is perfect. With the dramatic, rugged coastline and castles steeped in history, we can guarantee this route won’t disappoint. The causeway coastal route starts in Belfast before heading over to your first stop at Carrickfergus Castle, one of Irelands most preserved medieval castles. Once you’ve soaked in the wonderful history, your next stop is the breath-taking cliff-face pathway, known as The Gobbins. Throughout your trip, you’ll explore many other wonderful places, from the picturesque Ballygally to the legendary Dark Hedges (definitely a must-see for all the Game of Thrones lovers out there.).
To find out more about this wonderful route, visit discover Northern Ireland.
4. Scotland Borders Historic Route
Starting at the outskirts of Scotland near Carlisle, this 84-mile picturesque route will take you to Scotland wonderful capital city, Edinburgh. Every mile of this journey will provide will present you will breathe taking scenery and lovely villages to explore. During your trip, you’ll be to stop off at plenty of excellent attractions including Gretna Green and the National Mining Museum. Once you get to Edinburgh remember to schedule in some time to explore this charming city, we also recommend seeing Arthur’s Seat.
To find out more about this lovely route, visit Visit Scotland.
5. Yorkshire Tour
A road trip around Yorkshire will allow you to explore an array of wonderful things, from the moors to dales to medieval history landmarks. There are several different routes you can take around Yorkshire to see the sights, the choice is completely up to you. Our favourite route starts at the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, which is full of wonderful shops and even the ever so famous Betty’s tea shop. After spending your day in Harrogate use the A61 to head towards Ripon (we recommended stopping at Fountains Abbey, which is one of the largest and best-preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in Britain. After continuing on the A61 to Thirsk to rest overnight. For day number two, head towards the top of the North Yorkshire Moors. Follow the A19, then the A171 for a picturesque drive to the Yorkshire coast and the fishing port of Whitby. You’ll find endless pubs and some of the UK’s best fish and chips.
After your wonderful stay in Whitby, we recommended following the coastline south past Robin Hood’s Bay to Scarborough, which has endless amounts of seaside fun and entertainment, from amusements to lovely seaside shops. Once you’ve enjoyed the beauty that is Scarborough, head towards York through farming country on the A64. While in York we recommend taking a walk down the Shambles!
How we can help!
We can’t wait to see you again for our well-loved leisure coach trips around the UK, from day trips to Llandudno to trips to the Lake District. If you would like us to host any other tours around the UK including the ones listed above, then get in touch.