When You Can’t Leave The Island: UK lockdown driving destinations

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…

Image by Tanja Schulte from Pixabay

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Why It’s The Journey, Not The Destination, That’s Important

Much as we all love an extended road trip, every single time you slide behind the wheel should be an experience. Remember that shiver of pleasure the day you went from supercar virgin to a paid up member of what is a truly an exclusive club? Well, here at Radical Rally we’re all about ensuring the thrill of the romance is as fresh today as it was the day your vehicle first seduced you with its ample charms…

Why We Love Driving

Can you remember what made you fall in love with driving? Perhaps it was the sense of freedom – of being in charge of your destiny. Maybe learning the art of car control, or the feeling of power as you hit the gas? Undoubtedly for supercar owners, there’s the thrill of speed, the wheels eating up the miles as you roll and the advanced ability of your vehicle to take corners and bends without a twitch.

The following are some of our favourite reasons we love being out on the open road, no matter where we might be heading.

  • The sense of control: Behind the wheel is perhaps the one place where you experience true control. Your ability to handle the power is yours and yours alone, and every decision you make is crucial to the quality of the drive. This level of total control is something 21st century life doesn’t often allow, making it one of the premier reasons to love being in the driving seat.
  • Privacy and solitude: How often do you really get that yearned-for ‘me time’? In a country where 24/7 attention is not only expected, but demanded, it’s certainly not a common occurrence. Shutting out the world as you drive gives you the peace and clarity to exit the rat race, allowing you to direct your thoughts and emotions in whichever way you choose without any external influences.
  • The adventure: Every drive is a quest – an undertaking of discovery. What’s around the next corner? Are you ready for the unexpected? You’re honing your driving skills and pushing the boundaries of how to best test your car’s power and ability. To be honest, nothing compares. The day the rush of driving your supercar dims is the moment you subconsciously resign yourself to swapping your supercar for ownership of a people carrier (let’s pray that time never arrives…)
  • Late night drives to a favourite playlist: The hours of darkness are one of the ultimate times to enjoy your supercar. Bluetooth your essential playlist as you roll and boom! It’s as close to paradise as you can get on Mother Earth.
  • Smiles per gallon: Okay, okay, we know it’s litres now, but it’s not as catchy. The roar of the engine, the gurgle of the exhaust, the whoosh of the turbo… Quite simply, we love the unique sounds our cars make as we drive. And if the sound of a perfectly tuned V8 revving at full chat doesn’t move you almost to tears then, to put it bluntly – there’s not much hope of us being friends…

To Plan Or Not To Plan?

A question we often contemplate is whether or not to map out a driving route or whether to ‘go rogue’. The latter would always be the preference because, after all, there are nearly always multiple ways to get from A to B.

Sure, you might be planning a substantial road trip, maybe heading to a particular country or region of the UK. But who says you have to follow a mapped route? How many times have you passed a turning and wondered where it leads? 

More importantly, what’s stopping you from finding out? Just turn, drive, and see what destiny brings. In today’s age of sat-nav and GPS, you’re unlikely to get lost. And if you do? Well, it just might lead you to a road that offers one of the most memorable drives of your life…

Great Driving Roads In The UK

Okay… So sometimes you might want to have a destination in mind. In the UK, despite its relatively small size and ever-growing amount of traffic, we’re delightfully well off for awesome roads to drive, enjoy and test our skills. It doesn’t matter where you live, there’s sure to be a classic driving opportunity within easy reach.

We could wax lyrical about commonly known routes such as the EVO Triangle (complete with its recently installed speed cameras), Cheddar Gorge (Somerset) and the Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District. But we urge you to check out roads closer to home. That way, whenever you have a spare hour or two you can get out and drive, just for the sheer hell of it.

Roads such as the following:

Or… Discover your own. 

(we also have some great suggestions for amazing driving roads in Europe if you want to travel further afield)

The key to supercar happiness is the immediate thrill of the road beneath your wheels, not where you’re heading. Relish those revs and indulge your inner Hamilton with every bend and curve. Above all, enjoy.

We’ll see you out on the road.

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

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