The best UK road trips to take this summer

Laura Hampson
·4-min read
Glen Shiel in the Scottish Highlands, just off the North Coast 500 (Getty)
Glen Shiel in the Scottish Highlands, just off the North Coast 500 (Getty)

After a year of lockdowns we’re all itching to travel as soon as we can and this year we want to play it safe by holidaying in the UK.

In fact, recent research from Co-op found that a quarter of Brits are leaning towards staycations as their top holiday of choice this year.

Nearly half of the 2,022 survey respondents said that the pandemic has “put them off” travelling abroad this year and 77% said they would be willing to spend three to six hours on the road to reach their favourite holiday destinations - which could mean a road trip is in order.

Read more: The UK seaside cottages to book for your summer staycation

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While we’re still not certain when we’ll be able to get to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, self-catering options are set to open in England from 12 April, meaning our next staycation could be right around the corner.

In the hope that travel does open up across the UK, we’ve rounded up our favourite British road trips below.

North Coast 500, Scotland

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Achmelvich Beach in the Scottish Highlands (Getty)

Starting in Inverness, the North Coast 500 takes visitors to the very tip of the Highlands passing by white sand beaches, storybook castles and small fishing villages.

It’s worth putting a week aside for this trip to make the most of the area’s scenery and thriving foodie scene.

The Cambrian Way, Wales

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Mount Tryfan above Llyn Ogwen in Snowdonia National Park (Getty)

A north to south, coast-to-coast journey, the Cambrian Way is part of the Wales Way, which is made up of three separate driving routes.

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This 185-mile trip takes visitors from Cardiff, through the winding Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Park, ending at the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno.

Atlantic Highway, England

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You'll find these huts at Saunton Sands in Devon at one end of the Atlantic Highway (Getty)

The Atlantic Highway, also known as the A39, starts in Fraddon in Cornwall and ends in Barnstaple in Devon.

One of the shorter routes, at just 77 miles long, you’ll want to extend your stay to stop in at the beaches and fishing villages along the way.

Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland

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Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in County Antrim, Northern Ireland (Getty)

Taking you past Northern Ireland’s most glorious spots, the Causeway Coastal Route stretches from Derry to Belfast and stops in at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Whitepark Bay, Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges.

If you can, we’d recommend combining this trip with Ireland’s 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way, which starts from Donegal and ends just outside of Cork.

Heart 200, Scotland

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Cairngorms National Park in Scotland (Getty)

As its name suggests, Heart 200 covers 200 miles in central Scotland, taking visitors through Perthshire, the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

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Glasgow or Edinburgh are good starting points and the route can easily be done in a long weekend (but we recommend extending it, or even combining it with the North Coast 500 for the ultimate scenic trip).

Coastal Way, Wales

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Start the Coastal Way from Tenby in Wales (Getty)

Part of the Wales Way group, the 180-mile Coastal Way is ideal for those looking to hop between the best Welsh beaches this summer.

The route leads tourists along the coast of Pembrokeshire, starting in St Davids and to the Llŷn Peninsula - there are plenty of beaches and villages to explore along the way.

Lake District to the Peak District, England

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The quaint village of Castleton in the Peak District (Getty)

An excellent inland route, the Lake District and the Peak District are two of the most beautiful areas in England. Spend days hiking above Lake Windermere before moseying on down to the Peak District for more excellent walks.

If you’ve got time, tack on a trip to the North York Moors for more rugged beauty.

Watch: Why Britons will get an extra bank holiday in 2022

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