UK Scenic Drive Guest Post
The United Kingdom has an array of beautiful landscapes which are easy to access by road. Whether you’re a native or a visitor, travel by car to explore the UK’s finest scenic routes.
Scenic Route One: The Atlantic Highway
The “Atlantic Highway” stretches from Lynmouth to Newquay via Lauceston.
Start in Lynmouth and heading through a section of the Exmoor National Park towards Barnstaple. Exmoor National Park is famed for its walking trails that cover vast areas of open moorland and you may even see wild horses.
After joining the “Atlantic Highway” via the A399 at Blackmoor Gate, you could visit the local zoo. Exmoor Zoo is home to a whole host of different animals including penguins and meerkats (and there’s the Legend of the Beast, which has a dedicated Black Panther enclosure.)
Join the A39, the “Atlantic Highway” itself, and continue from Barnstaple down the coast towards Newquay. Stop off in Boscastle (PL34 0HE), a lovely village whose castle is believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur.
Your journey along the A39 will take you near The Big Sheep (EX39 5AP). This centre is home to a number of activities such as mountain boarding and high ropes, and there’s also the chance to see some edge of your seat action at the local sheep racing circuit.
Detouring to Launceston, you can take a trip on the Launceston steam railway (PL15 8DA), tackle a number of hiking paths or visit a farm park.
Details for Scenic Drive One
Lynmouth to Newquay (via Launceston.)Distance: 135 miles. Roads: A39, A395, A399. Postcodes: PL34 0HE (Tintagel) EX39 5AP (The Big Sheep) EX31 4SG (Exmoor Zoo) PL15 8DA (Launceston Steam Railway), EX35 6EO (Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway)
Scenic Route Two: Belfast to Derry
Northern Ireland is the home of the A2, which runs from Newry to Derry and passes through Belfast. This route runs alongside the northeast coastline and the picturesque Glens of Antrim.
Along this 128 mile coastal road, stop off at Ballintoy for the chance to walk the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge across a 20 metre wide chasm.
A 20 minute drive east of Portrush brings you to the ecological rarity of the Giant’s Causeway, a collection of basalt hexagonal columns produced by a previous volcanic eruption. This stunning attraction is situated in the Glens of Antrim, where the Bushmills distillery can also be found (BT57 8XH).
Details for Scenic Drive Two
Distance: 128 miles. Roads: A2. Postcodes: BT54 6LS (Ballintoy, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge) BT57 8XH (Bushmills Distillery)
Scenic Route Three: Conwy to Portmeirion
The Welsh route from Conwy to Portmeirion takes you on a journey through the Snowdonia National Park. Starting off in Conwy, with the famous Conwy Castle, you’ll pass through some traditional slate villages as well having the opportunity to enjoy Snowdon’s summit, either by sight or through your hiking boots.
Within Snowdonia, you’ll find the village of Betws-y-Coed, a camping hotspot and excellent starting point for your mountain drive. From Betws-y-Coed, Llanberis is only 17 miles away where you can enjoy a 4.7 mile trip to the summit of Mt Snowdon by means of a time-honoured steam train. From the peak, the highest point in England and Wales, you can relax and take in the panoramic views from the Hafod Eryri centre. For adults, a return ticket will cost £25, while a child’s ticket is £18. You can easily opt for a single ticket if you wish to walk part of the distance. A trip to the summit will take around 5 hours, and there are a variety of different routes to get you there, depending on how energetic you’re feeling.
Details for Scenic Drive Three
Distance: 38.5 miles. Roads: B5106, A5, A4068, A498. Postcodes: LL48 6ER (Portmeirion) LL55 4TY (Llanberis Lake Railway) LL32 8LD (Conwy Castle)
Scenic Route Four: Glasgow to Inverness
The scenic drive from Glasgow to Inverness takes you through the majestic and timeless Munros. These mountain ranges dominate the Scottish skyline and offer truly mesmerising views. The route also includes the Loch Ness, with a dedicated exhibition centre that explores the legend of the monster (£4.50 for children and £6.50 for adult entry). If you happen to visit during June, be sure to give the RockNess dance music festival a try.
You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the largest loch in Great Britain, the stunning Loch Lomond. At 27 square miles (71km2), this loch contains around 60 small islands, including Inchconnachan and its settlement of wallabies.
For water sports, Loch Lomond offers jet skiing, boating and canoeing, whereas for other kinds of driving, try out the surrounding golf courses.
On the way to Inverness, you can see Britain’s highest point: Ben Nevis.
This 4,409ft peak sits at the head of Loch Linnhe and is visible from Fort William, a popular winter sports destination. From the Nevis Range Ski Centre, you can ski, snowboard and even mountain bike. There’s also the chance to enjoy the landscape from the comforts of a 650m gondola via the Mountain Discovery Centre.
Details for Scenic Drive Four
Distance: 170 miles. Roads: A9, A82, A827, A93. Postcodes: IV63 6TU (Loch Ness Exhibition Centre) PH33 6SQ (Nevis Range) PH18 5TL (Blair Castle)
Scenic Route Five: The Lake District
For those looking to experience nature during their drive, the Lake District offers astonishing beauty. This circular route includes the popular towns of Kendal and Keswick, as well as winding around 29 miles of the national park to provide views of Lake Windermere, Lake Thirlmere and the Lakeland Fells.
The village of Grasmere has inspired poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth and today you can visit Dove Cottage, one of Wordsworth’s former houses, for £7.50 for adults and £4.50 for children.
Travelling east along the A66 from Keswick onto the A5091 brings you to Ullswater Lake, the second largest body of water in the Lake District. Ullswater offers Steamer tours (£2.80 per child, £5.60 per adult, each way) that cruise the lake from the village of Glenridding or Pooley Bridge to Howtown. The Lakeland Fell area also has many trail paths, so you can take a leisurely stroll within the lakes’ beauty.
For more demanding hike routes, travel to Glenridding, the base of the third highest mountain in the UK. At 3,117ft, Helvellyn has many tough trails for more experienced hikers, although summit routes aren’t the only ones available. Ask the local tourist information office for more information on walking routes.
Details for Scenic Drive Five
Kendal to Kendal, circular route: (via Keswick & Glenridding.) Distance: 67.8m. Roads: A5284, A591, A66, A5091, A592. Postcodes: LA22 9SQ (Dove Cottage – Wordsworth Museum) CA11 0US (Ullswater Steamers)
This guest post was written by Michael Wade of the car hire team at travelsupermarket.com