Although the expression “road trip” brings to mind the endless vistas of the American West, driving is also a great way to explore Britain’s history and natural beauty. As an added bonus, a British road trip can be finished in a few hours to a day rather than in day after day of monotony. All you need is a car, a decent map and a destination in mind.
Road trips are also a good way to help student drivers learn about the joys of driving for fun. If you’re going to take a learner as a partner on a road trip, though, don’t forget to apply for provisional insurance before the journey. With this type of insurance, a student driver will be insured to drive your car. If you’re unlucky to have an accident, it won’t affect your no-claims bonus. If you really want to give a new driver a memorable experience, consider taking them on a trip through one of Britain’s most popular driving destinations.
The Lake District
As famous for its literary association with the Romantic poets as for the wild scenery that attracted them in the first place, the Lake District is one of Britain’s most popular driving destinations. This means being strategic about your trip: the better the weather, the worse the crowds will be. Still, the Lake District is a big place and there are plenty of different ways to spend a day driving through its striking landscapes.
The Ambleside-Keswick-Ullswater circuit is a popular Lake District drive which can easily be accomplished in an afternoon. Starting at Ambleside, head north on the A591 toward Keswick. From Keswick, go east on the A66 before heading back south toward Ambleside. Along the way, you can visit Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s former home, as well as take in spectacular views over Derwent Water, Thirlmere and Ullswater. Keswick itself is a beautiful town with some unusual attractions including its Pencil Museum.
The North York Moors National Park is another popular destination for British drivers. Although its most famous feature is the rolling, heather-covered moors, this area also takes in long stretches of coastline, towns and woodland.
One way to enjoy the moors is to begin in Scarborough, a traditional seaside holiday destination. Take in the ruins of the Norman castle and walk along the shore before heading out to Whitby. The drive from Scarborough to Whitby is only 20 miles along the coast. Instead of heading north, however, make your journey in a loop, heading west toward Pickering before taking the scenic Smith’s Lane route from Pickering to Whitby. The scenery is spectacular, but be warned: this isn’t a route for lead-foot drivers. Narrow roads are the norm, and a leisurely pace will let you both enjoy the view and keep an eye out for other motorists.
Britain’s second-largest national park, Snowdonia in North Wales is the country’s most popular destination for driving tours outside England. To experience it at its best, leave the A5 at Capel Curig and head west on the A4086. Follow the road northwest through the majestic Pass of Llanberis before looping around and taking the A4085 south to the beautiful village of Beddgelert. From Beddgelert, take the A498 back to the north, passing through Nant Wynant and eventually rejoining the A5.
These three road trips combine rich history, beautiful scenery and relaxing driving. The routes can be busy, so if you want to try them at a busy time, it’s best to get an early start. Even at their busiest, though, these routes allow you to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain in the space of just a few hours.