According to recent reports millions of British holidaymakers are opting to stay on home soil this summer rather than travel abroad.
Tourism boards and industry experts are reporting record-breaking numbers of bookings and enquiries over the past few weeks, as drivers look to enjoy scenic drives across miles of open roads in the UK. And who can blame them? From the craggy magnificence of the Scottish glens to the beauty of the Lake District and the majestic sweep of coastal routes, now is the time to plan that longed-for road trip.
And to help you on the way, Lookers has compiled 5 of the best drives in the UK. And the beauty of these routes is that they can be enjoyed in any car - and with anyone. So whether you are in an SUV with the family, flying solo in a convertible or as part of a duo in a hatchback, there will plenty to write home about!
The Lake District has many associations. From Beatrix Potter through to William Wordsworth, it is perhaps best known however as being an area of immense beauty. Located in the north west of England, The National Park, designated as such in 1951, includes nearly all of the Lake District and attracts more than 20 million visitors each year.
There’s only one road running straight through the Lake District National Park - and it’s arguably one of the most popular drives which will allow you to enjoy the stunning landscape. On the way you will pass Windermere, Grasmere and Thurlmere, plus numerous stunning peaks.
The Causeway Coastal Route will take you around the coast of Northern Ireland between the cities of Belfast and Londonderry. The 120 mile route reveals a varied and dramatic landscape. From coastal roads to mountain tops, from busy cities to sleepy hamlets and costal harbours, there is plenty for the motorist – and passengers of course - to enjoy.
Those in the know also recommend a visit to the Giant’s Causeway at Bushmills which the National Trust describes as “Northern Irelands only UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
Black Mountain Road in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, is famous for its many twists, dips and climbs. Those who enjoy a driving challenge will be rewarded with stunning views from the many hairpin bends. Just watch out for the sheep though!
The 23-mile stretch of road snakes around the mountains, peaking at 493m (1,617 ft).
And the Brecon Beacons aren’t just about the roads; the area - especially around the rivers Wye and Usk - play host to a number migrating birds, making the summer months a perfect time to visit.
Named recently among the top six coastal road trips in the world, this stunning stretch of road has been dubbed ‘Scotland’s Route 66’. Beginning at Inverness Castle, the picturesque route heads north on the A862 through Dingwall and on to the Black Isle. After sweeping past Sutherland and Caithness, the drive comes down into Wester Ross and the Applecross peninsula before turning back towards the Inverness.
Recently launched by the North Highland Initiative (NHI), along with Prince Charles, the venture is designed to showcase the outstanding beauty and landmarks of the area. Targeting car and motorbike enthusiasts, as well as cyclists and walkers looking to enjoy some of the most scenic parts of the country, NC500 (as it is to be known) looks to celebrate local food and drink, accommodation, arts, crafts and heritage.
A change of pace can be found with a drive through the Suffolk Wool Towns. Move down a gear – or two – and enjoy discovering the historic riches of this area. A route that takes in the Suffolk Wool Towns of Lavenham, Long Melford, Cavendish, Clare and the nearby hamlets of Kersey and Chelsworth covers about 40 miles and would make a great day trip.
In the 13th to 16th centuries, textile manufacture made these the richest towns in England. Their legacy can be found in the hundreds of colourful, listed half-timbered buildings, vintage pubs and great stretches of picturesque country lanes. Along the way you can buy a picnic from a local farm stall or visit one of the many antique fairs.
By Tracey McBain