Our Best Road Trips in the UK

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PAGE UPDATED: 14.12.2021

If you’re based in the UK like us (or visiting from overseas), there is a fantastic choice of road trips and day drives throughout the British Isles. On this page we have collated our best road trips and put them 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 as soon as we’re able to.

These routes take in some of the best scenery throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Some can be easily done within an hour or two whereas others should be enjoyed over several days, making up different sections of longer tours around the UK.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best road trips you can take in the UK…

amazing motorhome road trips in the UK

It really is all about the journey!

Cliche, we know, but it’s so true: road trips are about the actual journey rather than the destination…

It’s about the way the scenery takes your breath away or the excitement – or fear – of negotiating tight hairpin bends (which is not so easy if you’re driving a larger motorhome).

And what about driving right on the edge of mountain roads with little to stop you tumbling over the side? Fair to say, there have been a few occasions of white knuckles during our best UK 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!

Our Best UK Road Trips and Day Drives

The first 3 road trips in this list formed part of our two-week honeymoon road trip through Scotland. Each separate road trip makes for a spectacular drive in itself but if you’ve got the time link them together like we did.

Road trips #1 to #3 take you all the way from the A82 in Glencoe, past Ben Nevis, onto the Isle of Skye, before coming back onto the mainland with visits to Loch Ness and a drive over the highest road in the UK in the Cairngorms…

Road Trip #1: 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? Our old motorhome blew a hole in her exhaust. People must have been wondering if the noise was a Sherman tank coming through the glen!

Read the full Glencoe road trip story here

the A82 to Glencoe, Scotland
The A82 in Scotland, heading to Glencoe

Road Trip #2: From Ben Nevis to the Isle of Skye

After camping in Glencoe we headed to the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. We’d started out way too late to climb all the way to the top so decided instead to check out the road winding its way back down in the glen.

And from there, we headed all the way over to the Isle of Skye where we spent a couple of days before coming back onto the mainland and an overnight stop at Loch Ness.

Read the full story of our road trip from Ben Nevis to the Isle of Skye

a magical drive on the isle of skye
A magical drive on the Isle of Skye

Road Trip #3: From Loch Ness through the Cairngorms to Scotland’s East Coast

“Let’s go on Britain’s highest road!” Gav announced, emphatically when we left Loch Ness. Trudi found it funny. Our VW Cree doesn’t do hills. However, Hobo Gav was not joking.

As we made our way over the Cairngorms we encountered the A93 – quoted as being ‘one of Scotland’s most dangerous roads’…

map of Scotland and roads with numbers of fatal accidents

The Cairngorm’s scenery might not be quite as dramatic as the Nevis range with the roads mostly going over the tops of the mountains rather than in between. However, our van managed it because, luckily for us, the long drag on this road trip was downhill. And we were even more lucky to find that the 33% gradient in one section had long been bypassed. Phew!

The header picture on our homepage shows where we wild-camped one night, right by the roadside, overlooking the Cairngorms mountain range before heading eastward the next morning.

Read the full story of our road trip through the Cairngorms

Our VW motorhome in the Cairngorms
Wild camping by the roadside in the Cairngorms

Road trips #4 and #5 could be combined (which is what we did on our second visit), going from Castleton in the Peak District, along the Snake Pass and then on into Wales. In total, there are 3 passes on this road trip: Winnat’s Pass, Snake Pass, and the Horseshoe Pass, each of them spectacular drives…

Road Trip #4: The A57 Snake Pass in the Peak District, England

We’ve driven this on two occasions, both times heading north-west towards Glossop. It is an exhilarating trip with ‘snaky’ bends, gradients, some adverse cambers and stunning scenery. But be careful when you go as this road is notoriously dangerous in bad weather.

In late summer, the slopes are purple with heather. And on a clear day, beyond the blooms and wild, desolate moorland hills, you can see the metropolis that is Manchester encroaching on the horizon.

Read the full Snake Pass road trip

Snake pass road trip, England, A57
Snake Pass, heading toward Glossop on the outskirts of Manchester

Road Trip #5: The Horseshoe Pass on the A542 in Wales

After our second drive along Snake Pass (above) we decided to carry on over the border and into Wales, heading south towards Llangollen. There are some wonderful bends along the route, revealing 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 of Horseshoe Pass where you can enjoy the views with a lovely cuppa.

Read the full Horseshoe Pass road trip story here

Driving along the Horseshoe Pass, Wales
On the Horseshoe Pass in Wales

Road trips #6, #7, and #8 are all in Wales, starting south in the Brecon Beacons, going through Mid Wales, up the West Coast and onto the tranquillity of the Llyn Peninsula before driving through the spectacular Snowdon range. And we mustn’t forget a drive around the Island of Anglesey – another place you must visit!

Road Trip #6: The A470 in Wales from Pen Y Fan to the Elan Valley

This road trip starts at Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons and takes you up the A470 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!

Read the full Elan Valley road trip story here

View from Claerwen Dam in the Elan Valley, Wales
View from Claerwen Dam in the Elan Valley, Wales

Road Trip #7: 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.

Read the full West Coast of Wales and Snowdonia road trip story here

Wild camping view in Snowdonia
Evening view from the Pen Y Pass car park in Snowdonia, with the mist rolling up the valley

Road Trip #8: The Island of Anglesey on the A4080 and A4545

You can’t go to Wales without visiting Anglesey! A drive around the island 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 wild-camped the first night, overlooking the Menai Strait, as shown in the picture below.

Over the next couple of days we travelled all around the island and found two spectacular locations, one of which is a setting used in the TV programme, Dr Who. If you’re looking to get away from it all, Anglesey is the place to go.

Read our full Anglesey Road Trip story here

Menai Strait, looking towards Wales mainland and Snowdonia
Wild camp by the Menai Strait with Snowdonia across the water

Road Trip #9: The A169 across the North York Moors

Back in England, on paper the A169 looks like a fairly straight road which just gets you to Whitby. But off paper, it traverses mile after mile of wild moorland.

Recently voted the UK’s 3rd best road trip, the scenery is straight out of Heartbeat – a popular English TV series set in the 1960s.

It makes for a great day trip and it’s easy to see why it scores so highly in the UK’s best road trips and scenic drives.

Read the full North York Moors road trip story

The wonderful desolation of the North York Moors

Road Trip #10: The North Norfolk Coast

With the pandemic limiting travel options over the last couple of years we had to stay closer to home (in East Anglia).

This 90 mile road trip along the North Norfolk Coast starts at the Wash and follows the coastal road all the way around to Gt. Yarmouth, taking in some wonderful scenery, coastal erosion, and drives through little fishing villages and tourist towns.

It’s a beautiful part of the UK and you could easily spend a week or more exploring the whole coastline.

Read about our North Norfolk Coast road trip here

the crumbling coastline at Happisburgh, Norfolk
The eroding cliffs at Happisburgh on the North Norfolk Coast

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our best road trips and that you’re chomping at the bit to explore these drives yourself. But is your van ready for the journey?

Check out our road trip planning, tips and ideas to ensure your campervan or motorhome is up to the task.

If you haven’t yet got a van of your own and are thinking of hiring a motorhome make sure you read our advice before you hit the road.

We’d love to hear about your own road trip stories so please get in touch. Where would you recommend? What’s been your best ever road trip? Contact us here or comment below and tell us about your favourite road trips.

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