Explore the Best of Britain: 12 Epic UK Road Trip Ideas

Are you ready to explore the United Kingdom like never before? From the enchanting Causeway Coastal Route to the breathtaking Scottish Highlands and picturesque Cotswolds, the UK has an epic road trip waiting for you around every corner.

There’s no better way to explore so much of the UK at once than by car, and we have plenty of UK road trip ideas to inspire you. Embark on the journey of a lifetime as we guide you through 12 of the UK’s best road trips, showcasing Britain’s finest landscapes, historic sites, and charming villages.

Discover the Causeway Coastal Route

Rocks by the sea

​The Causeway Coastal Route follows the coastline of Antrim between Belfast and Londonderry in Northern Ireland and offers an unforgettable road trip experience. Travel along the dramatic coastline, through quaint seaside towns, and to pristine beaches.

Notable attractions along the Causeway Coastal Route include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the Gobbins Cliff Walk. For Game of Thrones fans, the Dark Hedges is a must-visit location, as it was a filming location for the hit TV drama.

Cottage by a roadside

Experience the Lake District Loop

The Lake District features the beauty of the Lake District National Park and offers stops in Kendal, Windermere, Keswick, and Scafell Pike. The county offers everything from stunning lake views to picturesque towns and dramatic landscapes.

You could begin your Lake District adventure at Lake Windermere, where you can explore the charming streets and enjoy water sports or a boat trip on the largest natural lake in England. Then, head north to Ullswater and Leswick with their hiking trails such as Castlerigg stone circle and Catbells.

Make sure to visit the breathtaking Aira Force waterfall in Ullswater, and you could end your adventure in Ambleside, a bustling market town that serves as the perfect base for further exploration of the Lake District.

Journey Through the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site and a 95-mile stretch of coastline that spans 185 million years of history. It offers a unique blend of natural beauty and geological wonders.

One of the highlights of the Jurassic Coast road trip is the charming town of Swanage, renowned for its safe sandy beach, heritage steam train, and nearby 12th-century Corfe Castle which was once home to the crown jewels and offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside.

Visit Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch situated in the sea, featuring a picturesque pebble beach and the renowned limestone cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. Finally, make a stop at Lulworth Cove, a near-perfect circular bay formed by marine erosion.

Durdle Door by the coast
Coastal path by cliffs

Venture Along the Atlantic Highway

For a breathtaking road trip experience, travel along the Atlantic Highway which takes you along the remote, wild north coast, from Barnstaple in Devon to Newquay in Cornwall. This 70-mile route can be completed in 1-2 days, providing ample opportunity to explore the area.

The road runs mainly through fields, rolling hills, characterful villages, and woodlands, and offers glimpses of the sea. However, there are numerous attractions short distances off the route.

You will drive through ‘Poldark’ country, have the option to see the location of ‘Doc Martin’ in Port Isaac, visit a witchcraft and magic museum in quaint Boscastle, feast on fresh fish in Padstow, or visit a decommissioned RAF airfield.

​Escape to the Scottish Highlands

Immerse yourself in the majestic mountainous landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. This road trip takes you through stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and picturesque villages.

Start your adventure in Edinburgh, where you can explore the historic city, its impressive castle, and the iconic Arthur’s Seat. From there, head east to Dundee, St Andrews, Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle, and Aberdeen, before circling back west through the Cairngorms National Park, Glencoe and finally, beautiful Loch Lomond.

As you journey through this region, explore the local culture and history with stops in Inverness, Fort William, and the birthplace of Scottish national bard Robert Burns. 

long road entering Scottish highlands
Countryside cottages surrounded by trees

Unwind in the Tranquil Cotswolds

​Relax in the Cotswolds, a region renowned for its magnificent countryside, beautiful villages, and iconic Cotswold stone walls. This road trip takes you through charming villages like Broadway, Chipping Norton, and Castle Combe.

Begin your journey in the bustling market town of Broadway where you can explore the charming streets and soak up the atmosphere. From there, head to Chipping Norton, the perfect spot to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea and enjoy the historic architecture.

Continue your journey through the Cotswolds, visiting villages like Upper and Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Bibury. And for those who love outdoor activities, the Cotswold Water Park offers paddleboarding, kayaking, and archery.

​Explore Wales' Scenic Beauty

Discover the diverse landscapes and rich history of Wales on a road trip that takes you through spectacular scenery, historic landmarks, and charming villages. There is a range of diverse routes to explore depending on your interests and driving skills and confidence.

Travel from the beautiful Brecon Beacons in the south, through Pembrokeshire in the southwest, up the west coast and through the Elan Valley, before exploring the magnificent peaks of Snowdonia.

You will encounter stunning scenery, charming towns, historic castles, and pristine beaches. For those who love wildlife, the islands off the south-west coast offer the opportunity to see puffins, seals, and dolphins.

Snowdonia National Park
sheep on a valley

Delight in the Peak District and Derbyshire

Experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Peak District and Derbyshire. The dramatic hills, rocky outcrops, and picturesque villages make it ideal for nature lovers and history buffs alike. If you prefer shorter journeys, why not drive the Snake Pass or the Cat and Fiddle?

Snake Pass takes you across the Pennines between Glossop and the valley in which the Ladybower reservoir lies. The Cat and Fiddle drive runs from Buxton to Macclesfield and takes you high into the Peak District National Park. The route is named after the famous pub that is located at the summit. Although they are truly spectacular, it should be noted both drives require concentration and skill as they are considered dangerous thanks to the numerous sharp bends. 

Tackle Scotland's North Coast 500

Conquer Scotland’s famous North Coast 500, a route showcasing the best of the Highlands with castles, beaches, and dramatic landscapes. This epic road trip takes you on a journey through the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, with stops in Inverness and Fort William.

Begin your adventure at Inverness Castle, where the North Coast 500 route begins and ends, and make your way through the breathtaking landscapes of the Highlands. Along the way, you’ll experience ancient castles, windswept beaches, and historic landmarks.

Be sure to take the time to explore the local culture and history, with stops in places like Dornoch, Ullapool, and John O’Groats. The Scottish Highlands offers hiking and mountain biking and stargazing at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory.

cliffs by the sea on the Scottish North Coast
white cliffs of the Jurassic coast

Uncover the Isle of Wight and Military Road

Explore the Isle of Wight and drive along the Military Road, visiting historic sites and charming villages, and enjoying stunning coastal views. The route derives its name from the fact that it was built during World War II. This route, along the A3055, runs from Chale to Freshwater along the island’s west coast.

Although there are family attractions such as the amusement park Blackgang Chine and the beautiful Compton Beach, this route is ideal for those who enjoy scenic drive,s as the Military Road affords spectacular views across the English Channel from its vantage point above the cliffs.

This road is also a dream for those who delight in driving on roads that offer undulating and sweeping sections where it is all too easy to exceed the speed limit if one is not careful!

​Marvel at the Yorkshire Moors and Coast

Marvel at the beauty of the Yorkshire Moors and Coast as you travel through the glorious landscapes, offering a blend of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and picturesque villages.

Begin your journey in the market town of Richmond and explore the historic castle with its far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside. Travel to the Ingleton Waterfalls, a stunning series of cascades set within the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Continue your journey through the Yorkshire Moors, visiting other attractions such as Malham Cove, Whitby Abbey, and North York Moors Railway, a must-see for Harry Potter fans as it was used as a filming location for the Hogwarts Express.

rolling hills,  green moors and sheep
cottage by the sea with the cliffs of the Jurassic coast behind

Traverse the Sussex Coast and Countryside

This road trip takes you on a journey through the charming landscapes of the Sussex coast and countryside, offering a blend of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and picturesque villages.

Begin your journey in the historic town of Rye and explore the charming streets. From there, head to Hastings, a seaside town with a rich history and an impressive clifftop castle.

As you continue along the Sussex coast, you could visit attractions such as Eastbourne, with its elegant Victorian architecture and scenic promenade, and Beachy Head, with its stunning chalk headland offering breathtaking coastal views.

Tips for Planning Your UK Road Trip

Planning a UK road trip can be both exciting and daunting, but with a few essential tips, you’ll be well on your way to a memorable adventure.

When planning your route, consider using a physical map in addition to your GPS or smartphone, as satellite navigation may not always be accurate in rural areas of the UK, especially in national parks like the Lake District or the Peak District. Additionally, keep in mind that fuel stations may be spaced out in more remote areas, so plan your stops accordingly to avoid running out of fuel.

Finally, here are some tips to keep in mind for your UK road trips:

  • Be prepared for the unpredictable UK weather, especially if you plan to visit during the winter months of December to February.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition, with all necessary documents and a spare tyre - here are all the checks you should make on your car before a long journey.
  • Consider investing in breakdown cover for peace of mind during your journey.

Get road trip-ready with our fantastic range of new Ford cars – browse our full range today.