In 2018 we spotlighted some of the UK’s best driving roads, focusing on the top five most pleasant journeys to take with your prized classic car. We’re back with a 2019 update of the best driving roads in the UK, breaking down the top five, and giving you a total of fifty driving road choices for a fantastic summer excursion. So whether you're seeking solitude this season, or wanting to put your classic car collectible through its paces, buckle up and flip the top down - here we go.
The Top Five UK Driving Roads
1. Scotland - Crianlarich to Glencoe via A82
We’ve previously featured the A82 in our top driving roads blog from last year. The 35 mile hill and dale-laden trip between Scotland’s Crianlarich to Glencoe, where the A82 forks off from Crianlarich to Fort William sees you passing beautifully frosted tipped mountains. Summer is the best time to take this run as the rising mountains are the perfect backdrop with lush greens, and clean, crisp, fresh air trailing off from the peaks.
Claim to fame:
The most notable aspect of this drive is not just the picturesque view with the cascading Three Sisters mountain range and roadside waterfalls, but it’s notoriety spreads as far as the silver screen. In 2012 Bond film, Skyfall, the Scottish highlands mountain road was featured as James Bond ripped tar in an iconic, classic Aston Martin DB5.
2. Wales - Llanberis to Capel Curig via A4086
Llanberis Pass, an A-road with 60mph speed limit is not the easiest road to get to by any means. Arriving at Snowdonia's Llanberis Pass involves traversing many challenging and heart-stopping roads (many of which are mentioned below as well). This is very literally a right of passage as getting to the Pass means you've essentially deserved the sprawling views and cascading cloud cover that seem to blanket and envelope you throughout your journey. If you're driving with the top down, prepare to face (pun intended) some uplifting winds while you ascend and descend the 11 mile stretch of hilltops.
Claim to fame:
The end of the pass connects with the A4086 near hotel Pen-y-Gwryd where the famed Sir Edmund Hillary stayed as he trained for his Everest summit.
3. Peak District - Glossop to Sheffield via the A57
Known locally as the Snake Pass, the Peak District centered between Manchester and Sheffield is one of the UK's most infamous roads. It's not called the Snake Pass for nothing as the road veers and dips, weaves and bobs, and has frequent closures during winter due to its safety record, which is not quite unblemished. While we advocate this stretch as an exciting serpentine road to take in, we also need to make mention that it's best to be as safe as possible. Rather observe caution, and save the peddle-to-the-metal manoeuvres for less hairpins and dips.
Claim to fame:
The summit of Snake Pass is home to the Snake Pass Inn pub, but instead of being named after the road, the pub (previously called Snake Inn) is actually named after its owner's coat of arms which featured the sigil of a snake.
4. Isle of Skye - Trotternish Circuit via A855
Following on from our top recommendations, the Trotternish peninsula around the the Isle of Skye is a tour that's not about speed, but sheer exhilaration of vast expanse as you coast along the post-glacial landslip. The jutting and, at the same time, cavernous rock formations of Old Man of Storr or the rocks of the Quiraing make for one of the most memorable drives you're ever likely to take in. The slow-winding 41 miles feels like a smooth bend all along the cape - this is provided you don't head straight up the tip, and rather opt for cutting across and through the Quiraing between Staffin and Uig.
Claim to fame:
Another location famed for its silver screen connection, you may recognise this sometimes foreboding, rocky expanse from films like The BFG, or more recently the Guy Ritchie directed, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
5. Northumberland - Alnmouth to Holy Island via A1068, B1339, B1340
A coastal winder that stretches out 37 miles, the trek from Northumberland's Alnmouth to Holy Island covers the last of England's furthermost north-eastern edge before delving into the Scottish border. Gaining ground between grass dunes and the sandiest of beaches. To make this trip, you'll have to start at Alnmouth and meander along the A1068, B1339 and B1340, through Boulmer, Dunstanburgh Castle, Seahouses, Bamburgh, and more. You'll drift along the causeway (at low tide, of course), to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back again (once again keeping an eye on the tide line).
Claim to fame:
Once the landing point for raiding Viking ships, the area is steeped in rich history and is the single most densely populated area of historic castles compared to any other country. While Northumberland may be famed for its idyllic castles, your destination, Lindisfarne, is home to a medieval monastery and 16th-century castle.
Rounding up the Best of the Rest: UK's Top 50 Driving Roads
- Crianlarich to Glencoe, Scotland
- Llanberis to Capel Curig, Wales
- Thwaite to Ingleton, North West
- North York Moors Lap, North East
- North Coast 500, Scotland
- Lynmouth to Minehead, South West
- Glossop to Sheffield, West Midlands
- Trotternish Circuit, Scotland
- Rhayader to Aberystwyth, Wales
- Exford to Lynmouth, South West
- A30, Wilton to Honiton, South West
- Bulford Camp to Everleigh, South West
- Causeway Coastal Road, Northern Ireland
- Loomies Moto Café to Winchester, South East
- A lap of Central London, South East
- Garnlydan to Llangynidr, Wales
- Newcastle to Slieve Gullon, Northern Ireland
- Sleaford to Cadwell Park, East Midlands
- Crawley to Brighton, South East
- Reading to Oxford, South East
- A4, Chippenham to Newbury, South West
- Brands Hatch, South East
- A483, Newton to Crossgates, Wales
- Colsterworth to Bourne, East Midlands
- Romford to Great Yarmouth, East of England
- Bregagh Road, Northern Ireland
- Kimbolton to Ramsey St Marys, East of England
- Maidenhead to London (Jenner’s Café to Ace Café), South East
- Stafford to Newport, West Midlands
- Litlington to A1, East of England
- Bedford to Kimbolton, East of England
- Alnmouth to Holy Island, North East
- Llangollen to Llandegla, Wales
- Tornapress to Applecross, Scotland
- Cirencester to Moreton-in-Marsh, Midlands
- Boscastle to Bude, South West
- Weymouth to West Bay, South West
- Cromer to Hunstanton, East of England
- The Black Mountain Road, Wales
- TT Motorcycle Course, Isle of Man
- Glasgow to Inverness, Scotland
- Clifton Suspension Bridge, South West
- Haydon Bridge to Penrith, North of England
- Warminster to Poole, South West
- Edinburgh to Darlington, Scotland and North East
- Larne to Cushendall, Northern Ireland
- Abergavenny to Aberystwyth, Wales
- Sevenoaks to Folkestone, South East
- South Harting to Lordington, South East
- Chepstow to Usk, Wales
If you're taking on these majestic road ways any time this summer, ensure safety first by kitting out your motoring classic with nothing but the best spares and parts.
Beyond just arriving alive, you'd want to be having the smoothest ride and avoiding wear and tear. Visit our products page for vintage accessories to enhance your travels, or read up about tips like classic car storage, and classic motoring events to take in.