Discover The Top 10 Best Places to Drive in the United Kingdom

When you read about the best places to drive in the United Kingdom we’re sure you will agree it’s worth the challenge. While driving in the United Kingdom is something most travelers don’t want to consider, we think the opportunity presented by having a car far outweighs the risk.

Yes, it involves adapting to driving on the left (but our Tripiamo guide can help prepare you with comprehensive videos and 360 tours!), but in return you’ll get breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands, the idyllic English countryside, and the Northern Ireland coastline to name just a few highlights. 

Here are our top 10 best road trips in the UK:

1. North Coast 500 (Scotland): 

Discover The Top 10 Best Places to Drive in the United Kingdom

  • Why go? The North Coast 500 (NC500) is one of the most stunning road trips in the UK. A circular route that starts and ends at Inverness, the road takes you through some of the most remote and picturesque areas of Scotland: the famed Scottish Highlands, the northern coastline, pristine lochs (like Loch Maree and Loch Assynt), charming villages, and historic castles (like Dunrobin Castle, Castle Varrich, and Ardvreck Castle). The NC500 is also popular among outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of hiking, cycling, kayaking, and fishing locations along the way.
  • What to know: For all locations on this list, as it is the UK, many foreign drivers will need to adapt to opposite side driving. That said, the NC500 does pose unique challenges. It is quite an adventurous driving experience, with many winding and narrow roads, that are also now often crowded due to the route’s growing popularity. In addition, Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable, and conditions can change rapidly with rain, fog, and strong winds being common year-round. Also, stay alert for animals as the area is known for wildlife!

2. Snowdonia (Wales): 

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-2

  • Why go? Snowdonia is one of the UK’s most popular destinations for nature lovers and hikers. Within the region, visitors can take in Snowdonia National Park, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved national parks in the UK, Mount Snowdon, serene “llyn” (Welsh for lakes), rolling hills dotted with charming villages, and plenty of wildlife. Snowdonia has also been designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve, making it an excellent place for stargazing and observing celestial events due to minimal light pollution.
  • What to know: Due to the mountainous nature of the region, roads can be narrow and winding, with blind corners and sharp bends. Some roads are also single-track, meaning you may have to yield to oncoming traffic. Like most of the UK, unpredictable and inclement weather is a factor even in the summer. If considering driving through a mountain pass (such as the Llanberis Pass or the Pen-y-Pass), be prepared for steep inclines. You should also check ahead for road closures which sometimes happen in bad weather conditions. However, as long as you maintain a safe speed and remain alert to drivers and conditions, you’ll be rewarded by some of the most stunning views in the country.

3. Causeway Coastal Route (Northern Ireland):

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-3

  • Why go? The Causeway Coastal Route stretches along 150 miles of the incredible Antrim coastline. Featuring dramatic cliffs and rugged coastline, the region was also used for some Game of Thrones locations. Highlights of a roadtrip here include: the Giant’s Causeway (a geological wonder featuring over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns), Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle (a medieval ruin), Carrickfergus Castle, Dark Hedges (an avenue of beech trees featured in Game of Thrones), Glenariff Forest Park, Cushendun Caves, and Ballintoy Harbor.
  • What to Know: Driving the Causeway Coastal Route means taking certain driving precautions. For some of the more remote or coastal destinations, the roads can be narrow and winding. Parking can also be hard to come by at the more popular stops along the route. As with the rest of the UK, you should also always be prepared for inclement weather. In this region, gas (petrol) stations can also be few and far between, so plan ahead and make sure to fuel up where you can.

4. Jurassic Coast (England): 

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-4

  • Why go? The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the southern coast of England renowned for breathtaking cliffs, landforms, and fossils. A bit of a misnomer, the region is the only place on Earth where rocks from three periods (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous) can be seen in one place. If rocks aren’t your thing, the drive will also take you to the Durdle Door (a natural limestone arch jutting out into the sea), Lulworth Cove (a horseshoe-shaped bay), Old Harry Rocks (striking chalk stacks), quaint coastal villages such as Lyme Regis and Sidmouth, and also many historical sites.
  • What to know: Having a car is the best way to explore the region. Driving allows you the flexibility to stop at various viewpoints, visit coastal towns, and explore the surrounding countryside at your own pace. Keep in mind that coastal roads are often winding and narrow. Additionally, popular tourist spots, such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, may have limited parking so plan ahead. The region also boasts an array of historic architecture, including medieval churches, stately homes, and manor houses. Visitors can also explore along the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile walking trail through the countryside.

5. Cotswolds (England): 

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-5

  • Why go? The Cotswolds’ beauty, charm, and diverse attractions make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, architecture admirers, and anyone seeking a quintessential English countryside experience. The region is characterized by rolling hills, meandering rivers, and made-for-postcard villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Castle Combe.
  • What to know: Due to the historic nature of the region, the streets in the villages are often very narrow. Be prepared to drive slowly as you’ll often have to navigate narrow roads, tight turns, pedestrians, and some single-lane roads.

6. Lake District (England): 

  • Why go? True to it’s name, the district is home to several beautiful lakes, including Windermere (the largest lake in England), Coniston Water, Ullswater, Derwentwater, and Bassenthwaite Lake. But beyond that, the region is incredibly diverse, with many mountains, charming villages and towns, such as Ambleside, Grasmere, Keswick, and Hawkshead (known for its connection to Beatrix Potter), and ancient castles, such as Muncaster Castle and the ruins of Kendal Castle.
  • What to know: The Lake District offers some of the most scenic drives in the UK. Like the other regions on this list, be cautious on the narrow and winding roads, watch for single-lane passages, and be prepared for changes in weather. 

7. Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye (Scotland):

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-7

Why go? Road tripping in the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye offers some of the most breathtaking and scenic routes in the UK. Some highlights include:

    1. Glencoe: Start your road trip by driving through the iconic Glencoe valley, known for its dramatic landscapes, rugged mountains, and rich history. The Glen Etive road, which branches off from Glencoe, offers stunning scenery and has been featured in films like “Skyfall.”
    2. Isle of Skye: Cross over to Isle of Skye, a picturesque island with stunning landscapes, rocky cliffs, and beautiful beaches. Explore the Trotternish Peninsula with its famous landmarks, such as the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing.
    3. Fairy Pools: Located on the Isle of Skye, the Fairy Pools are a series of crystal-clear pools and waterfalls that offer a magical and enchanting setting for a hike.
    4. Eilean Donan Castle: This iconic castle is situated near the village of Dornie, on the way to Skye. It’s one of the most photographed castles in Scotland and is perched on a small island at the meeting point of three lochs.
    5. Loch Ness: Travel to the famous Loch Ness (and keep an eye out for the elusive Loch Ness Monster). The area surrounding the loch is scenic and offers opportunities for boat trips.
    6. Cairngorms National Park: Head east into Cairngorms National Park, the largest national park in the UK. The park is home to stunning landscapes, ancient forests, and an abundance of wildlife.
    7. Speyside: Visit the Speyside region, known for its whisky distilleries. Take a whisky tour and enjoy the flavors of Scotland’s national drink.
    8. Inverness: Explore the capital of the Highlands, Inverness, and visit historic sites like Inverness Castle and Culloden Battlefield.

What to know: The weather in the Scottish Highlands is incredibly unpredictable, especially in mountainous areas. Be prepared for rain, fog, and potential strong winds. Otherwise, take all the same precautions as you would in other regions of the UK: drive at a safe speed especially on the region’s narrow roads, watch for single-lane passages, and be on the lookout for livestock or other wildlife.

8. Peak District (England): 

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-8

Why go? The Peak District is a beautiful and diverse national park located in the central part of England. It is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rolling hills, limestone dales, rugged moorlands, and charming villages. Key attractions include: Chatsworth House (one of the most famous stately homes in the UK), the towns of Castleton, Ashbourne, and Buxton, the Peak District Villages, and hikers will like Mam Tor (the “shiveringmountain”), Kinder Scout, and popular trails like Pennine Way, the Tissington Trail, and the Monsal Trail.

What to know: Many roads in the Peak District are narrow, winding, and may be flanked by stone walls or hedges so drive cautiously. Like the previous regions listed here, there are also single-lane passages to watch out for, wildlife, and unpredictable weather. In addition, the popularity of the area means it can be quite full of other travelers at certain times of the year. With proper planning and common sense driving though, the Peak District is definitely worth the effort.

9. The Atlantic Highway (England): 

Why go? The A39, also known as the Atlantic Highway, is a major road that runs from Bath in Somerset to Falmouth in Cornwall, passing through the beautiful landscapes of the West Country. We recommend it for anyone who is drawn by stunning coastal scenery and charming seaside towns (but who isn’t?). We recommend taking in the coast around Hartland Point, Bude, and Tintagel, and stopping at the seaside villages of Minehead, Lynmouth, and Padstow. The area also boasts the “North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (the name says it all), Exmoor National Park, and quintessential English countryside, with rolling hills, hedgerows, and charming rural landscapes, especially around Somerset and Cornwall.

10. The Trossachs and Loch Lomond (Scotland): 

Top 10 Places to Drive in the United Kingdom-10

Why go? Visiting The Trossachs and Loch Lomond provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, history, and culture. Renowned for the diverse landscape featuring majestic mountains, serene lochs, and lush forests, the area is sure to impress. In fact, Trossachs National Park is known as the “Highlands in Miniature”. While there, check out the scenic drives, including the Duke’s Pass (A821), which connects Aberfoyle and Loch Katrine or A82, which connects Glasgow and Inverness.. Stopping in Loch Lomond offers plenty for those interested in boat trips, kayaking, and fishing—don’t miss the loch’s islands such as Inchcailloch and Inchmurrin. For the more historically inclined, the Stirling Castle, Inchmahome Priory, and the Rob Roy Centre (dedicated to the Scottish folk hero) are great sites to learn about the region’s past. Along the way, you’ll also find beautiful and historic villages and towns. We recommend Callander, Aberfoyle, and Luss as places to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy traditional Scottish hospitality.

What to know: Driving is the best way to discover the stunning beauty of this iconic Scottish loch and surrounding Trossachs National Park. Most of the main roads are well-maintained, but there are sections that are winding, narrow, or single-lane. Keep an eye out for wildlife as well, as the area is known for deer and other animals. One nice feature of the plethora of scenic stops (especially along the A82) where you can stop to take photos, enjoy the view, or have a picnic. Just be sure to park your car in designated parking areas to avoid obstructing traffic.

What to know: The A39 is a major route but, as it is a coastal road, some sections may be close to the cliff edge. The scenery can certainly be distracting, so take the time to pull over safely before taking your eyes off the road. The same other cautions apply: watch for blind turns, single-lane roads, and weather changes. And be prepared to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK.

Now we’ve revealed the best places to d rive in the United Kingdom we hope we’ve convinced you that not only is it possible to drive in the UK, but it’s actually the best way to see the region. While many travelers are hesitant to take on driving in England, Scotland, or Wales, proper preparation can make it safe and enjoyable. That’s why we recommend our Tripiamo driving guide to the UK – see also. our 5 best tips here. Featuring a series of informative videos and our patent-pending 360-degree tours, you’ll be able to practice from home as if you were there! From opposite side driving, to reading road signs, to how to handle roadside emergencies, we cover everything you know to drive in the United Kingdom. Check out what’s included here!