OK, so no-one can say that lockdown is fun. But we all appreciate its necessity and our personal obligations. But as we move into phase 2 of the pandemic planning it’s only natural that we’re starting to think about jumping behind the wheel and hitting the road – just for the hell of it…
Even though there’s been a little relaxing of the rules, we’re certainly not advocating throwing caution to the wind – but there’s nothing wrong with getting prepared. Being as it looks likely that overseas travel is on hold for the foreseeable future, we thought it timely (and morale boosting) to set our sights somewhat closer to home.
So, without further ado, feast your eyes on our ultimate guide to some of the best British drives just waiting to be discovered…
Lockdown Liberation: Corners & bends
There’s something about powering through a corner that brings out the ‘grunt’ in all of us. Information, position, speed, gear, accelerate… it’s all about your ability to process the data as the road unfolds before you and then – pow! Makes us shiver just thinking about it.
We’ve scoured the four nations of the UK to bring you some of the most awesome offerings out there. It’s time to find out just how twisted we really are…
Best British Drives: Can you handle these epic winding thoroughfares?
- The Lake District: Hardknott Pass: Not one for the faint hearted (or those without a head for heights) – this is hills and hairpins at their very best. It runs between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley and is at the very heart of this iconic national park. One of the steepest roads in England, this is definitely one for any petrol head’s bucket list. Find out more at Visit Cumbria – Hardknott Pass
- Wales – Wild Snowdonia: Starting in Portmeirion, follow 70 miles of twisting glory to Porthmadog, Tremadog and onto Rhyd (A498 and B4410). Then had to Ffestiniog via the A487 and A496, before leaving the main road and embracing the isolated curves of the B4391/B4407 to Betws-y-Coed. There’s a brief foray with the A5 before taking the A4086 towards the might of Snowdon and beyond, to finish at the granite delight that is Caernarvon Castle. More info available at Visit Wales.
- Wales – The Black Mountain Pass: At 23 miles it’s not the longest drive, but oh-boy, does it pack a punch. The tight bends come thick and fast – and the scenery isn’t too shabby either! You can’t get lost – just start in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and follow the A4069 to Llandovery. But watch your speed, there’s many a-sneaky cameras along the entire route, plus the indigenous wildlife (AKA sheep!) have a tendency to wander into the road… Visit Wales has more information.
- Bonny Scotland: Bealach na Bà: The ‘Pass of the Cattle’ is a historical drive, the third highest in Scotland and has the greatest ascent of any road in the UK. Tight hairpins, near 20% inclines… This is truly an awesome route – one that rivals many an alpine road trip in the Alps or further afield. Whet your appetite at Visit Wester-Ross.
Best British Drives: The scenic route
We’re privileged to live in a country that offers some of the most stunning vistas on the planet, and a car is perhaps the ultimate tool by which to explore our little island. And the great thing is that even if you’re more Driving Miss Daisy than Lewis Hamilton, the wonderful UK scenery is just as beautiful, no matter how turbo-charged your journey might be to get there…
Breath-Taking Scenery in our Green and Pleasant Land
- Devon – Topsham to Paignton: 120 miles of pure pleasure as you experience remote moorland, plunging cliffs, wild coast and beautiful unspoilt beaches. Much of the route follows the A379, and we highly recommend stopping along the way for a picnic or (when lockdown rules allow) finding a B&B or hotel for a luxury overnight stop. Head to Visit Devon to find out more about the region.
- Scotland – The Highland Perthshire Loop: 100 miles of pure bliss stretches ahead as you travel from Highland Council to Aberfeldy, crossing the wilds of the Cairngorms National Park. Complete the drive in half a day or make it your own with a variety of side trip options (Loch Tummel and Pitlochry are must-see locations in which to while away a few hours or days). Check out the route here.
- N. Ireland – the Causeway Coastal Route: This stunning drive begins in Londonderry and finishes in Belfast, with 130 miles of incredible landscape along the way. Taking you through no less than three areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, even if you’re only in it for the driving you must, must, must stop and take a walk onto the magnificent Giant’s Causeway. We promise you won’t regret it… Get inspired at the dedicated Causeway Costal Route website.
- Yorkshire – Wharfedale Circuit: Yes, we know the ultimate drive in The Dales has to be Buttertubs Pass, but we wanted to highlight another – equally delightful but for different reasons – great British drive. The Wharfedale Circuit takes in castles, abbeys, quintessentially English towns and, it has to be said, some pretty damn fine driving… At just over 26 miles it’ll take around an hour if you do it in a single hit. But we challenge you not to make multiple stops along the way, if only to snap that perfect Insta frame with which to wow your followers…. Check out the route here.
Sometimes there’s almost as much enjoyment in the planning stage. And being as we’re all suffering from cabin fever right now, we’ll grab our pleasures any which way we can… All that remains now is for Boris to give us the go ahead. As soon as that happens? Well, we’ve got one thing to say to you.
Eat my dust…