The UK's best drives

The UK is blessed with some of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the world. Here are some of the best, chosen by you.

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Glossop - Sheffield Ashwick - Cheddar Stratford-upon-Avon - Cheltenham Macclesfield - Buxton Windermere - Glenridding Alnmouth - Lindisfarne Cardiff - Llandudno Llandovery - Gwaen-Cae-Gurwen Newquay - Bridgwater Glasgow - Inverness

About the UK's Best Route polled a representative sample of UK drivers and asked them about their dream driving experience.

Three-quarters (75%) of drivers said that driving was all about independence. Behind the wheel, you’re the master of your own destiny.

Almost two-thirds (65%) said that they felt a sense of freedom on the road. And when you’re cruising on fresh tarmac in zero traffic, it feels like the world’s your oyster.

We also asked drivers for their favourite driving routes around the world. And while the usual suspects like Route 66 were mentioned, many great drives are right here in the UK.

Is your favourite route missing?

We want this map to showcase the very best road trips that the UK has to offer. If one of your favourites isn’t here, let us know!

Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter with your suggestion. We’ll consider every recommendation for inclusion on the map. Be sure to tell us why you think yours is a great driving route, as well as any “must-see” sights or landmarks.

The Snake Pass

  • Time icon 46 minutes
  • Terrain icon Mountains

Glossop to Sheffield

You’ll know when you hit the Snake Pass as the woodland suddenly gives way to beautiful views of the surrounding Peak District.

The route is popular with bikers, with biker-friendly cafés both at the Glossop and Sheffield ends of the route.

On the way you’ll pass the Snake Pass Inn (formerly the Snake Inn). The Snake Inn was so important for passing travellers that they named the pass after it. In turn, the inn renamed itself after the pass.

Like many roads in the Peak District, the Snake Pass is often closed during winter as it becomes quite dangerous for drivers.

Cheddar Gorge

  • Time icon 31 minutes
  • Terrain icon Countryside

Ashwick to Cheddar

A drive to the source of Britain’s greatest cheese – what more could you ask for? The B3135 takes you through Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

You’ll start off on a fairly flat and winding country road that soon becomes a series hairpin bends. The open countryside gives away to tree cover and the gorge slowly builds up around you.

Many choose to begin in Cheddar so that the countryside opens up to them as they drive through the gorge. But ending in Cheddar means you get to reward yourself with some of its famous cheese!

The Cotswolds

  • Time icon 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Terrain icon Countryside

Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham

Most other traffic in this area cruises down the newer A46. But on the B4632 you’ll be able to amble your way around 30-odd miles of Cotswolds countryside.
As well as meadows and hills, you’ll also pass by a number of quaint English villages. Be sure to stop off in Broadway, “the jewel of the Cotswolds”, that dates back to the early Middle Ages.
At the end of your journey you’ll wind up in the stomping ground of William Shakespeare himself.

The Cat and Fiddle

  • Time icon 23 minutes
  • Terrain icon Mountains

Macclesfield to Buxton

The A537 – also known as the Cat and Fiddle road – is said to be the most dangerous road in Britain. With a number of blind, hairpin bends and treacherous roads in winter, it’s not difficult to see why.

The road connects Buxton with Macclesfield and runs across the rolling hills of the Peak District. At its highest you’ll find the Cat and Fiddle Inn, after which the road is named. The pub has been around since 1815 and is the second-highest pub in England.

Kirkstone Pass

  • Time icon 29 minutes
  • Terrain icon Mountains

Windermere to Glenridding

The Kirkstone Pass sweeps across the Lake District, connecting the towns of Ambleside and Patterdale. Near its summit is the Kirkstone Pass Inn – the third highest pub in England.

The incline up the pass to the inn is so steep that locals call it “The Struggle”. The pass itself is often closed during winter as road conditions are quite hazardous.

Holy Island

  • Time icon 1 hour 7 minutes
  • Terrain icon Coast

Alnmouth to Lindisfarne

You start in the port town of Alnmouth, which in the 18th century was described as being “famous for all kinds of wickedness”.

On your way up towards Bamburgh, you’ll pass by Alnwick and Dunstanburgh castles that dominate the surrounding view.

From there you’ll head onto the A1 for a brief stint, before travelling across a two-mile causeway towards Lindisfarne – also known as Holy Island.

Be aware that at high tide the road to Lindisfarne is inaccessible, so plan your journey with time to get there and back.

Welsh Route 66

  • Time icon 4 hours 14 minutes
  • Terrain icon Countryside

Cardiff to Llandudno

Often awarded the title of “Britain’s favourite route”, this 180-mile journey across the length of Wales showcases the very best of the country’s diverse geography.

Once you leave the short-lived congestion of Cardiff, you’re quickly on a route that takes you through the mountains and valleys of Wales. You’ll pass through two national parks and see the highest peaks in both the north and south of the country.

Your journey will take you from a bustling metropolis to quiet, rustic villages – a true trip back in time.

Black Mountain Pass

  • Time icon 42 minutes
  • Terrain icon Mountains

Llandovery to Gwaen-Cae-Gurwen

The Black Mountain range is towards the western end of the Brecon Beacons. It’s considered by many to be one of the wildest regions in the country.

And wild it is. After a brief stint passing near tree cover and farmland, the rugged hills quickly rise up to meet you. Be wary of sheep that may wander in the road – this is Wales, after all.

Most of the drive through the pass is quite smooth, but there are a few sharp bends as you go further in.

Atlantic Highway

  • Time icon 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Terrain icon Coast

Newquay to Bridgwater

Roll the windows down and get some sea air in your lungs. This stretch of the A39 takes you past a number of towns as well as woodland, farmland and a range of hills.

Let’s not forget the star of the show – the Devonshire coastline that follows you along your drive from Barnstaple to Minehead. On the way you’ll drive through the village of Westward Ho! It’s the only place in the UK with an exclamation mark.

Your journey ends in the medieval market town of Bridgwater where the infamous Guy Fawkes is celebrated as a local hero.

A Tale of Two Lochs

  • 4 hours 18 minutes
  • Mountains

Glasgow to Inverness

Although both Loch Lomond and Loch Ness are on your route, you’ll actually pass nearly a dozen lochs as you make your way through the Scottish Highlands.

If Scotland was a band, the A82 would be its greatest hits album. On this route you’ll see the mountains of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe tower above you. There’s more than enough breathtaking scenery to photograph here – bring spare power packs.

Frequent breaks or a high-quality dashcam is recommended to make sure you don’t miss out on everything that this region has to offer.