We’ve been up and down the UK over the last three years and have put our best road trips into a neat ‘Top Ten’ list for you. It wasn’t easy as there are so many beautiful places and routes to choose from.
And we’ve yet to hit the shores of Ireland, somewhere we plan to go soon. We’re sure that when we do, we’ll have to add to the list!
Before you hit the road yourself make sure you also check out our Road Trip Essentials – things you should never travel without.
Ok, let’s get started…
Cliche, we know, but it really is all about the journey!
The thing about road trips, of course, is the actual journey itself rather than the destination; the way the scenery takes your breath away, and the excitement – or danger – of negotiating tight hairpin bends, not so easy in an older van.
And what about driving right on the edge of a mountain road with little to stop you tumbling over the side? Fair to say, there have been a few occasions of white knuckles during these best road trips!
Indeed, we like to think that this is our version of the TV programme, The World’s Most Dangerous Roads. In reality, it’s nowhere near as scary but it feels just as exhilarating to us.
We’ll be adding more details of our best road trips over the coming weeks and months so please bookmark this page or come back soon for an update.
The Top Ten List of our Best Road Trips (so far!)…
1. On the A82 from Loch Lomond to Glencoe in Scotland
A beautiful drive whatever the weather, the mountains on either side are rocky and wild and there is a visitor centre at Glencoe with a great campsite right next door.
Our experience driving along the A82 was one of awe and embarrassment. The former was due to the amazing scenery, especially when the sun came out. The latter? Madam blew a hole in her exhaust. People were looking for the Sherman tank coming through the glen!
2. Horseshoe Pass on the A542 in Wales
This is a lovely road trip. We drove from north to south towards Llangollen. There are some wonderful bends which reveal more of the stunning Welsh mountains at each turn.
It is one of those road trips where you are not sure which window to look out of. And there is a café at the top where you can enjoy the views with a lovely cuppa.
3. The West Coast of Wales, the Llyn Peninsula and Snowdonia
A stunning drive that took us two days, up the West Coast from Barmouth, onto the Llyn Peninsula for a night at a small campsite before ending up sleeping in the shadow of Snowdon on night two.
We’d started at Dolgellau on the southern edge of the Snowdonia National Park, and, once at the coast, enjoyed spectacular cliff-top views out to sea. On the Llyn Peninsula we passed through tiny hamlets of farms and cottages where seemingly nothing has changed for generations.
Fantastic coastal and mountain scenery and places that take you back in time to when life was slower and simpler. Just how we like it.
4. Snake Pass in the Peak District, England, on the A57
We’ve driven this on two occasions, both times heading towards Glossop. It is an exhilarating trip. We had a bit of a following at times – people seem to like travelling the “snakey” bends at speed.
The motorhome couldn’t – or wouldn’t. We were too busy taking in the surroundings anyway!
In late summer, the slopes are purple with heather. And on a clear day, beyond the blooms and wild open hills, you can see the metropolis that is Manchester encroaching on the horizon.
5. Anglesey on the A4080 and A4545
Being on Anglesey is like stepping back in time. The roads are quiet and the pace of life is much slower, ideal for a van like ours. We wildcamped the first night, overlooking the Menai Strait.
Over the next couple of days we travelled all around the island and found two spectacular locations. This island really does have everything and you can read more about it in our Anglesey Road Trip here
6. Through Glen Nevis in Scotland on the C1162
We had parked at the visitor centre and walked some way up Ben Nevis, beautiful if somewhat busy. Due to lack of time (we started out far too late) we decided instead to check out the road winding its way back down in the glen.
Stopping to speak to fellow walkers, they recommended it as a wonderful drive. And it was! Narrow in places, but we felt that we were in the real Scotland. We had to retrace our route back out as the road became too narrow for the van after the ‘River Nevis Walk’ car park. But this is one road we would gladly drive again, even if it is only a few miles. (Full story coming soon).
7. Britain’s highest road – the A93 through the Cairngorms, Scotland
“Let’s go on Britain’s highest road!” Gav announced, emphatically. Trudi found it funny. Our Cree doesn’t do hills. However, Gav was not joking.
This road – the A93 – is listed as ‘one of Scotland’s most dangerous roads’ on one website we found as we did our research for the trip. And here we are in a three-ton slowcoach with the pulling power of a snail…with a broken ankle.
The Cairngorm’s scenery might not be as dramatic as the Nevis range, with the roads mostly going over the tops of the mountains rather than in between. However, Cree managed it because, luckily for us, the long drag was downhill and the 33% gradient of the Devil’s Elbow has long since been bypassed.
And the header picture on our homepage shows where we wildcamped one night, right by the roadside, overlooking the mountain range. (Full story to follow).
8. From the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye on the A87
The road toward the Isle of Skye is wonderful in itself but the closer you get, the more stunning the scenery. We then spent two days driving all over Skye, in awe of the beauty of the lochs and mountain ranges, feeling like kids waiting for Christmas – loving the anticipation and yet wanting the day to arrive.
Skye’s roads turn potholes into an art form – they are by far the deepest we have ever seen – but this road was not peppered with them. We were able to drink in the surroundings and marvel at nature. (Full story on its way soon!)
9. North York Moors to Whitby on the A169 in England
A straight-ish main road which, on paper, just gets you to Whitby. But off paper, it traverses mile after mile of wild moorland. We decided to get closer to the wilderness and took a left turn off the main road to Goathland.
The scenery is straight out of Heartbeat – a popular English TV series set in the 1960s – but the rollercoaster roads with one or two hairpins were pushing Cree to the limit. And when we saw a sign indicating a “30% incline” we knew we had to turn back.
A great adventure though, and, once back on the A169 we enjoyed the rest of the ride into Whitby for fish ‘n’ chips. (Full road trip story coming soon).
10. The A470 in Wales from Pen Y Fan to Rhayader and the Elan Valley
The A470 stretches for miles and we’ve driven along it a few times. After climbing Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons we then drove north into Mid Wales following the river Wye, before eventually arriving at the spectacular Elan Valley. And it’s here that things get really interesting as you negotiate tiny mountain roads, described by the AA as, “one of the best drives in the world.”
We’ve done the trip twice; firstly in our van and the second time in a car – after we realised there were hills our old VW Cree wouldn’t get up!
(Full story coming soon!)
We hope you’ve enjoyed ‘Our Top Ten Road Trips’ and we’ll be adding more full stories in the coming weeks about these journeys.
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In the meantime, how about sharing your best road trips with us? Where would you recommend?
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