•Snake Pass, Peak District (A57) – 21 miles
It may sound daunting, but don’t let the name put you off. Snake Pass traverses the Peak District, running from Manchester to Sheffield, and offers drivers a winding route through the hills. There are blind bends and steep hill climbs to navigate, which mean that when snow falls, the road is almost inaccessible. Not one to attempt in winter then, but give it a go at any other time of the year for some unrivalled views.
•Black Mountain Pass, Brecon Beacons (A4069) – 27 miles
A real roller coaster ride, this route once appeared on an episode of Top Gear, when Jeremy Clarkson was seen driving a Mercedes-Benz AMG SLK along the pass. It has great combinations of bends and straights to enjoy, with visibility for miles around on a clear day. Be warned though: the steepest sections have no guard rails and there is a sheer drop down the mountain side, so it is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you do decide to brave it, views from the top of the climb are second to none, so make use of the several laybys to get out and take some photos. Watch out for the rogue wandering sheep!
•Lake District – Kendal to Keswick (A591) – 30 miles
It is no surprise to see that this was once named as the UK’s best driving road; Lake District scenery is breath taking at any time of the year and the views along the A591 route are no exception. It takes you past famous Lake Windermere and through the quaint villages of Grasmere and Ambleside, which make for great stop offs to grab lunch or a quick snack.
•Snowdonia, Beddgelert to Betws-Y-Coed (A498) – 39 miles
For those of you less keen on hiking through Wales’s popular national park, this drive will give a good sight of the summit on a sunny day. Gaze across miles of natural, untouched landscape, passing by the side of beautiful lakes as you navigate the roads. Betws-Y-Coed is a charming little village to either start or finish up at too, depending upon which direction you are travelling from.
•Glasgow to Fort William, Scotland (A82) – 167 miles (total)
If venturing up to Scotland, this whole area of natural beauty is a must see. James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ featured a driving sequence shot in this particular area, so keep an eye out for it while you are traveling through. Several parts of the road, running from Glasgow to Inverness, provide memorable driving experiences as you will be passing by the likes of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, as well as amazing valleys such as Glencoe. If you have the time, driving the entirety is definitely worth it.
•The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland – too many miles!
Listed among some of the best drives in the world recently by Lonely Planet, we couldn’t miss out this route. Take a trip along Ireland’s beautiful western coastline, which is well sign-posted and easy enough to navigate. You will need to set aside a fair amount of time to travel the whole length of the route, as it spans from north to south – but it is certainly worth covering even a fraction of the journey. It will feel like a trip back in time as there are ancient monuments, beautiful cliffs and hidden bays to discover – so ideal if with either family or friends.
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