5 of the best road trip holidays in the UK

5 of the best road trip holidays in the UK

A driving holiday gives you complete flexibility on where you go and what you see and do, so explore the UK like never before with a road trip.

From the unspoilt beaches of the Welsh coast to the rugged Scottish Highlands and the postcard perfect English seaside, UK road trips are the ideal post lockdown escape. Whether it’s a long weekend or your summer holiday, there’s so much to explore within the UK. Here, Musement explores five of the best UK road trips to do this summer:

1. North Coast 500, Scotland

The North Coast 500 (NC500) road trip stretches for 500 miles through the vast and imposing Scottish Highlands. A true bucket list trip, it is considered one of the best road trips in the world. Beginning and ending in Inverness, you can tackle the route either clockwise (west to east) or anti-clockwise (east to west).

Working clockwise, the route leaves from Inverness and follows the west coast to Applecross. It then heads north towards Torridon and Ullapool. Continuing north past Achmelvich and Scourie, this road trip then reaches some of the most northerly points in Scotland, such as Thurso and John O’Groats. It then heads back down south, passing Wick, Dornoch and Dingwall on the way.

Tropically coloured waters and white sandy beaches, historic castles and amazing wildlife are just some of the highlights that await you on this route. Not to mention the award-winning seafood restaurants and the many whisky distilleries dotted around, this road trip is foodie galore.

Summer is peak tourist season in Scotland, so you will need to plan and book your accommodation well in advance. It is recommended to spend at least seven days doing the NC500 to explore the route to its full potential, although many people spend much longer doing it. And if you need any more persuading, then check this blog post for more reasons to do the NC500.


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2. Lake District, England

One of England’s most visited national parks, the Lake District has some of the most beautiful spots in the country. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District’s numerous lakes, pretty villages and imposing mountains make for a perfect road trip and lake-side holiday.

Home to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain and Windermere, England’s largest lake, the Lake District is an adventure seekers playground. Visitors to the area can also enjoy cycling, boating, swimming, fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding.

Many visitors base themselves in the bustling town of Ambleside, known for its winding streets, charming boutiques and lively food scene. This road trip is a beautiful one to do regardless of the season and is manageable over a long weekend.


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3. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern-Ireland

Depending on where you are, this road trip may require a ferry crossing from mainland UK. Featuring pretty seaside towns, Game of Thrones filming locations, a whole host of attractions and stunning beaches along the way, the Causeway Coastal Route is one worth making the effort for.

Stretching from Belfast to Londonderry, some of the highlights along this route include the Dark Hedges which feature in Game of Thrones, the interlocking basalt columns of the Giants Causeway and the coastal path of The Gobbins.

For those interested in history, Carrickfergus Castle, Dunluce Castle, Kinbane Castle and the old walled city of Londonderry are just a few of the many cultural places of interest. And for any whisky aficionados out there, the Bushmills Distillery can also be found on this route.

May to September is considered the best time to do this route. It is recommended to do it over a few days so you can properly visit and appreciate each of the places on the way.


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4. Atlantic Highway, England

Passing through some of south-west England’s most beautiful beach towns, the A39, also known as the Atlantic Highway, incorporates the best of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall’s countryside and coast. Make sure to take overnight stops in the picturesque coastal towns to fully immerse yourself in the quaint English seaside culture.

Highlights along the route include Exmoor National Park, with its red deer, purple moor grass and green patchwork fields in abundance. Bude, famous for its beaches and its outdoor sea pool, and postcard villages such as Newquay, with its surf worthy beaches and rows upon rows of quaint little shops.

The best time to visit is in the summer months when the weather is at its best, but you may manage to get cheaper prices for accommodation in the spring and autumn. You will need around a week to fully appreciate everything this beautiful part of the UK has to offer.


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5. The Coastal Way, Wales

The Welsh Coastal Way is a 180-mile trip that runs the entire length of Cardigan Bay. Passing by blue seas, gorgeous beaches, green mountains and National Parks, the Welsh coastline will capture your heart and minds.

Depending on where you are coming from, the town of St Davids or Aberdaron will be your starting point for the Coastal Way. In between these two towns, is picturesque harbours, fishing villages and secret coves. Stunning beaches feature throughout, and if you decide to go offshore on a boat trip then you might be lucky enough to see whales, dolphins or porpoises.

Culture lovers will delight in Harlech Castle, Cardigan Castle and St Davids Cathedral along the route. Hiking and walking enthusiasts can visit the nearby Llyn Peninsula, Snowdonia National Park and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The pubs and restaurants along this route are also famed for their freshly caught seafood, traditional Welsh cuisine and local craft ales.

You can do this one in a couple of days but depending on what you want to see you may need a little longer. Similar to all UK road trips and due to the British climate, the best time of year to do this road trip is during the summer months.


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