Scenic UK Road Trips To Enjoy This Summer

Scenic UK Road Trips To Enjoy This Summer

After over a year of being banished to the confines of our homes, it’s understandable to want to get out and appreciate the great outdoors. Travelling abroad is a firm no for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t enjoy a trip within your home country. There are a number of places you can visit with your family or for an intimate getaway. However, there is an equal number of routes and places for you to explore. Road trips are a perfect way to experience several spots you may have never thought about.

Believe it or not, US road trips aren’t the only ones (as popular as route 66 may be). You might find yourself wondering what is the best road trip in the UK? Welcome to the UK road trip planner! Where I present you with our top summer road trip ideas, 2021 edition!

How do I plan a road trip UK?

Firstly, decide on the road trip that tickles your fancy. There are a plethora of road trip guides, just like this one, that can show you some of the incredible options available to you. Once you know where you’re going to need to plan the journey itself. Here are a few key points to consider when planning a UK road trip:

  • Be sure to pick a car you can rely on – preferably one that doesn’t guzzle fuel.
  • Double and triple check your route, ensuring all roads of accessible for your car (especially if you plan on travelling in a bit 4×4).
  • Look up hotels and service stations that you may need along the way. You never know when you might hit traffic and have to stop for the night to refresh before continuing.
  • Possibly the most important thing: Prepare manual instructions! By this I mean write down, or type up and print out, every facet of your journey. You never know when you might lose signal or battery power. Technology has a habit of breaking at the most inopportune times. So make sure you have a backup. Include with your directions the address and directional details for emergency stops as well – such as service stations or supermarkets.
  • Pack. Obviously, with your longer trips that last over several days, you’re going to want to pack a bag anyway. But even on the shorter trips, ensure you have a fresh change of clothes (in case you stop for a walk and get caught in bad weather), as well as snacks, drinks, chargers and anything else you might need when you’re out for the day.

Road Trips – England

The Peak District – Derwent Dam

This trips shorter distance can make it the best summer round trip for families. The Peak District is renowned for its stunning scenery. There are a number of routes you can take through the area to admire it in its entirety however, the drive bordering the reservoir is by far one of the most popular. Not only do you get a tour of the stunning countryside but you’ll also catch sight of the Derwent Dam in all its glory.

Road trips
Derwent Dam itself was constructed between 1901 to 1916. Image from National Parks

The trip itself borders the left flank of three reservoirs, which include the Howden, Derwent and Ladybower reservoir. The drives duration is around eight miles and eventually comes to Kings Tree where you’ll witness Derwent Dam.

It’s worth noting here that this route isn’t always available for drivers. However, there are three alternative routes including Snake Pass, Monsal Head to Longstone Edge and Winnats Pass. During bank holidays, Saturdays and Sundays the roads may be closed to maintain the environment due to its popularity. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t get to enjoy it. There is a visitors centre situated in Upper Derwent, you can rent bicycles and even scope out a nice spot for a picnic.

Key Features:

  • Historic sites
  • Scenic views including woodlands and water
  • Bike hire (If you wish to get out of your motor and take your time!)
  • Retail area, picnic sites and refreshment kiosks
  • 8 miles – around 1/2 hour in a car

The Atlantic Highway

If you’re looking for a southern and somewhat warmer road trip, Devon and Cornwall will have you in awe of its ocean views and photogenic stops along the way. This is another one of our favourite UK road trips for families or anyone for that matter! During this 392km drive, you will explore the Southwest of England and will guarantee all the beach breaks you could ask for with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Best enjoyed during summer!

The Atlantic Highway is regarded as one of the most popular UK road trip destinations. Its drive time is estimated at around 8 hours but to fully appreciate everything this route has to offer, just take your time. Make plans to stop for a night or two at some of the wonderful accommodations available in Cornwall or Newquay.

Key Features:

  • Southern coast drive
  • Ocean views
  • 244 miles – around 5-6 hours
  • Scenic

Road Trips – Wales

The Dragon’s Spine

The name alone makes me want to complete this Welsh road trip. This is a much longer trip with a distance of 186 miles which can be completed between three to seven days or however long you’d like! Starting at Cardiff you use the A470 all the way up to Conwy in the North, passing some amazing cities and stunning countryside.

Road trips UK
Welsh beaches are absolutely stunning. Image from Wales Online

You may want to take your time with this one as it is a journey that will take you along the breathtaking coast of Wales. In addition to this, there are plenty of places to stop off at and appreciate such as the Brecon Beacons, which is an absolute must for its popular hiking trails.

Key Features:

  • Scenic route
  • National parks and cities to visit
  • 186 miles – around 4-5 hours
  • Coastal trip

The Cambrian Wilds

This is an immense road trip that will have you explore the wilderness of Wales. Interestingly, this is the second most popular Welsh adventure, according to explorers and Wales online. Starting in Aberystwyth you’ll travel through several areas, such as Llandovery and the Cambrian Mountains before eventually reaching Tregaron. There are a number of other stops you can take after Tregaron that are utterly stunning before you circle around and back to Aberystwyth.

Road trips UK
The wilds of mid Wales. Image from The Telegraph.

A number of amazing road trips will have you travel along the coast of the country but the Welsh wilderness is a marvellous sight to see. It’s probably one of the best summer road trips for families as it’s only a short one, so restless kids can get back to their beds after a day of fun with the fam.

Key Features:

  • Wilderness orientated
  • Short trip
  • Countryside and mountain views

Road Trips – Scotland

Road To The Isles

In my humblest of opinions, I believe Scotland to be one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever set eyes on. This trip will start in Fort William and take you to the Isle of Skye via the A830. To clarify, you’ll stop in Mallaig before taking yourself on a ferry to the Isle of Skye.

Does this look familiar, Harry Potter fans? Image from Timeout

Fans of Harry Potter will adore the sight of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Pictured above), as will architecture lovers. To add to this, you will also witness the UKs deepest freshwater lake, Loch Morar. This stunning Loch is said to be the home of Nessie’s cousin Morag. Which makes for a fun tale to tell the kids as you glide past the breathtakingly beautiful landscape.

Key Features:

  • Trip totals to around 2-5 days
  • Can be extended to a 1 week road trip, UK stops included.
  • Mountain and lake views
  • Historic architecture

Road Trips – Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way

Easily the biggest trip on our list! The Wild Atlantic Way travels along the western coast of Ireland from South to North, with a plethora of things to see along the way. If you follow a worthwhile itinerary to guide you through your journey you’ll be planning a fantastic 11-day trip filled with sites to see and places to go!

Image credit:

The Wild Atlantic Way is the perfect road trip to showcase the many beauties of the Irish coastline. From dramatic mountainous landscapes to flatlands that seem to brush the sea, it’s all there. You begin the trip in West Cork and work your way through Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, and ending, for the final few days of your journey, in Donegal.

Key Features:

  • Trip totals to around 11 days with activites.
  • Mountain, cliff, wildlife, and ocean views.
  • Coastal road trip.


What’s the Best Way to Get From England to Ireland?

If you’re wanting to start your road trip already in Ireland, then there are ferries available to get there nice and quickly. It will also provide you with a change of pace before you start driving. In order to get there by road, you’re looking at around 8 hours, mostly spend on the M6 motorway.

What Apps Can I Use to Plan My UK Road Trip?

The old classic would be to go to Google Maps, lay in your course, and set out! However, if you’re wanting to switch it up and go for something more tailored to the road trip experience, you could go with Roadtrippers or Waze.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across the UK?

On average, it takes between 15 and 16 hours to drive the 837 miles from Land’s End to John o’Groats. This would mean driving from the most southerly point of the UK to the most northerly, up in Scotland. Fun fact! Sean Conway swam the route between these two places in 2013, taking him 62 days in total to cover the distance.

Where can I drive to from UK?

You can drive to pretty much anywhere in England, Scotland, or Wales from within the UK (unless the roads are particularly unforgiving. With the help of the channel tunnel and ferries, you could even take your car abroad if you wanted to!

How much does it cost to road trip?

That’s entirely down to the length of the trip itself. Particularly, if you’re going for several days. As you’ll need to pay for accommodation, which will rack up the price by a few hundred. You will also need to consider the cost of food and drink – this would be worth budgeting for so that you don’t over-indulge and blow through your money too soon. There’s also the all-important matter of petrol. Without petrol, you’re not going anywhere. Try and map out your trip and then work out an average price for fuel based on the overall mileage.



Alexandra (or Allie as she sometimes prefers) is an introverted, socially awkward nerdy girl with an intense love of fiction in all genres. Films, television, books and video games occupy a big portion of her life as she was raised to cherish and appreciate the art of storytelling.

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