Top Five Scenic Drives in the UK


For some people, nothing beats the open road. While the idea of driving for pleasure leaves some people cold, others can think of no better way to spend their spare time. It’s a combination of the joy of seeing new parts of the country and the chance to appreciate the fine feat of engineering which is the modern car. Since Henry Ford triggered the explosion in popularity of the automobile, there have been some people who have fallen more in love with driving than others, and this continues today, with motoring clubs, car meets and other driving-related social groups and events all over the country.

For some, their holiday time is a window of opportunity to explore the roads, and the UK is a great country in which to do so. Visit England; the national tourist board, have projected that in 2012 the “staycation” – holidaying in England as opposed to travelling overseas – will “stay strong”. So, let’s take a look at some top scenic drives in the UK for those who love the smell of petrol (or diesel) and who want to use their holiday time to experience some of the best roads in the country.

Bealach na Ba, Scotland

This road, which translates into English as “pass of the cattle”, can be found on the Applecross peninsula in Scotland. The Bealach na Ba is a route through the hills to the village of Applecross, and it climbs to more than 2000ft above sea-level via a series of twists and turns. It’s a steep route, with plenty of warning signs to dissuade heavy vehicles. The views offered at the top of the pass are breathtaking, and the whole peninsula is remarkably beautiful. The trip to reach this road would make for a hefty journey for anyone south of Scotland, but the rewards are certainly worth it.

Snake Pass, Peak District.

Snake Pass certainly wins the award for the most impressive road-name on this list. Known on maps as the A57, Snake Pass is the stretch of road which runs over the peaks separating Manchester and Sheffield. The pass lives up to its namesake, offering lots of turns as it climbs and descends. The views it offers are impressive and you may even see snow – the pass is usually one of the first roads to be shut during winter as it is particularly affected by adverse weather conditions. For this reason it has also been named the country’s most dangerous road – definitely a reason to ensure your car insurance policy is up to date!

The West Cornwall Coast Road, Cornwall.

The B3306 will take you from St Just to St Ives. Both towns are great for a stop-over and the beaches at St Ives are perfect for sunbathing. This serpentine road will allow you to see some of the coastline which Cornwall is so famous, and which has made the area a holiday destination for generations of UK holiday makers. The route also goes past a number of important Bronze Age Quoits. These are dramatic stone burial mounds and are definitely worth stopping at if you have a chance.

The Antrim Coast Road, Northern Ireland.

Another coastal road, the A2 in Northern Ireland is relatively short at only 25 miles long. But the views more than make up for the short duration of the drive. This route is popular among motorcyclists as the traffic tends to be light. It will take you past a number of picturesque villages. It’s part of a larger trail which is known as the Causeway Coastal route. This route takes in 120 miles of fantastic coastal driving and terminates at the famous Giant’s Causeway, an iconic UNESCO world heritage site made up of interlocking columns of basalt rock which jut out into the sea.

Horseshoe Pass, North Wales.

Another hill pass with an interesting name, Horseshoe Pass curves around the sides of a valley between two mountains – it’s this curved shape which gives it its English name. In Welsh it’s known as Bwlch yr Oernant, which translates as Pass of the Cold Stream. The gentle climb and slow curve of the Horseshoe Pass makes it one of the less challenging scenic routes in the UK, which will give you plenty of opportunities to admire the fantastic mountain views. As with many other hill routes in the UK, the Horseshoe Pass may be impassable during winter months due to snowy conditions.