There’s nothing better than a road trip: scenic views, beautiful stops, and endless adventure. Explore the ultimate road trips in UK to enjoy English Summers from full-on adventure to a peaceful scenic drive.
When someone says road trip – the first thing that comes to my mind is Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway. However, there is one road trip that rarely comes on top of the list – the epic United Kingdom road trip that offers plenty of character, history, countryside, and nature. One of the best road trips in UK is the North Coast 500, Scotland, which you cannot afford to miss.
One of the best ways to explore the United Kingdom is by car. I do agree that Public Transport in the UK is marvelous, but you will miss the beautiful countryside. We wanted to explore the U.K more than just the tourist destinations. But how will you make the most of your road trip? The answer lies in research, planning, and, of course, flexibility.
We started our road trip from London and spent 25 days discovering some of the best places in the U.K by car. You can enjoy the glorious English summer in the countryside with the breathtaking scenery.
If you’re into English Literature, this would be the best road trip as you’ll be able to visit Shakespeare’s hometown and museums dedicated to Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
Important Resources for the UK Road Trip Planning
The Best Road Trips in UK to enjoy English Summers
Bath is around 100 miles from west of London and it’s a perfect base to explore Stonehenge and Cotswold. Bath has been a well-being destination since Roman times, and it offers a dive into the history of the country. It is famous for being the only natural hot spring in Britain you can bathe in. Don’t miss Bath’s Museum – it’s a journey in itself.
Cotswold is one of the most charming and romantic villages in Britain. With quiet coffee shops, idyllic stone cottages, and serene country walks – Cotswold is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate in a rural background.
The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge is one of the most iconic man-made monuments in Europe. The best thing about driving from Bath to Stonehenge is that you can immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery and spend as much time as you want at each destination.
4. Stratford- upon Avon
Set in the picturesque countryside, on the banks of the River Avon, Stratford upon Avon is famous not only for its ties with William Shakespeare but also for its beautiful riverside houses, street markets, and restaurants.
If you ever believed in fairies, dragons, and enchanted castles, then Cardiff is a place where you want to go and explore your childhood fantasy. There are so many places to explore in Cardiff and it’s brimming with Welsh culture, language, and food – that makes this place authentic and different from other cities in the United Kingdom. We chose Cardiff as our base to explore the country of Wales.
Few Attractions you can’t afford to miss in and around Cardiff:
- Snowdonia National Park
- The Brecon Beacons National Park
- Castell Coch
We accidentally found this stunning and historic town in Wales. Tenby is considered one of the most beautiful towns in West Wales and it has got everything for everyone – castles, sandy beaches, cafes, and local stores. This is the beauty of road trips; you find treasures like this beautiful seaside town in the region of Pembrokeshire. I am not sure if the photos, I have shared, do justice to the real beauty of this place.
7. The Lake District
At this point, we took a break in Penrith before starting the mesmerizing road trip of the Lake District. The Lake District is the most loved and scenic national park in the United Kingdom. This place isn’t only about lakes (as you’d expect from its name), it’s about wilderness, walking trails, villages, and quintessential country pubs. We took a break and enjoyed our stay in Penrith before embarking on our journey to the Lake District. Drive from Penrith to Windermere can be nerve-wracking – narrow roads with little room for two vehicles to pass. If you enjoy driving, this is one drive that you will truly love. This is one of the best road trips in UK. And don’t forget to enjoy hot chocolate in Langdale Chase Hotel in Windermere. You can thank me later!
The drive from Penrith to Edinburgh takes around 2 hrs 30 minutes but we covered the distance in 4 hours. You literally can’t afford to miss the scenic drive between these two cities. Therefore, I would advise you to book your Airbnb in advance and avoid the hassle of finding a hotel at the last moment. Edinburgh was our last base to explore the Scottish Highlands.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital, and it is one of my favorite cities in the world. The charm of the medieval old town, Georgian New Town, and cobblestone streets makes you yearn for more. Apart from the touristy places of Edinburgh, do immerse yourself with delicious food and scary ghost tours. We were lucky to witness the magic of the Fringe festival in 2019. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the explosion of art and creative energy from around the globe. Although this year (due to pandemic) the magnitude of the celebration is curbed and most of the shows will be virtual, it will still remain the greatest celebration of art.
Few Attractions you can’t afford to miss in and around Edinburgh:
- The Sterling Castle
- The Kelpies
- The Falkirk Wheel
- Rosslyn Chapel
Glasgow is the UK’s fourth-largest city after London, Birmingham, and Leeds. This Scottish city is famous for its Victorian architecture, street art, and super friendly people. If there’s no paucity of time, I would highly recommend going on City Center Mural trail and spot some beautiful murals from local artists.
Book your spot-on Scottish Whiskey distilleries tour (If you love Scotch and want to know more about the whiskey-making process and the effect of water on the taste.)
10. Ballachulish and Glencoe
Edinburgh to Ballachulish is the most dramatic and scenic drive in Scotland. It is a perfect base for Glencoe adventure. You can book a hotel or a camp to enjoy your idyllic road trip and indulge in endless activities like mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and trekking. Ballachulish is also considered a part of the Glencoe. The village of Glencoe is very small with a limited facility. Do not miss the eco-friendly Glencoe visitor center that is a starting point of your Glencoe adventure. Take a break – sip a coffee and enjoy the view.
The city of Inverness is also called the capital of the highlands. It is the perfect base to explore Northern Scotland and enjoy the North Coast 500 route. The highlands around Inverness is not only picturesque but also full of history, mystery, and culture. Inverness is home to iconic Loch Ness where you might spot the mythical creature, Nessie.
Few attractions to see before you continue your journey on North Coast 500 route:
- Visit Loch Ness
- Urquhart Castle
So what are you waiting for – explore the best road trips in UK this summer.
If you’re wondering what are the essentials you can’t afford to miss then look at this post – Travel Essentials that you can’t afford to miss.
See you next time!