The UK’s Top Road Trips

Posted in: Driving Tips, Motorway Driving, News.

Car to Coast, Motor to Mountain – The AA Reveal The UK’s Top Road Trips After 14% of Drivers Have Already Planned to Drive Somewhere in The UK This Bank Holiday

  • 45% of drivers polled plan to go on a UK road trip this year
  • A further 23% of drivers aren’t road tripping this year, but they’d like to go on a driving holiday
  • 14% of those polled have already planned to drive somewhere in the UK over this Bank Holiday
  • AA release their latest video and full route planners to navigate drivers through the most scenic, notable and exciting routes in the UK
  • AA release Sat Nav Roulette ahead of this Bank Holiday
  • Top tips on how to avoid a road trip break down, as AA expect a breakdown every 10 seconds during busy times on the roads

According to research conducted by the AA, 45% of drivers plan to go on a UK road trip this year. A further 25% of drivers polled aren’t road tripping this year, but said they’d like to go on a driving holiday.*

UK Road Trip This
Driving on road trips and traffic for safety at Daytime

After research revealed that 14% of drivers had already planned to drive somewhere in the UK this bank holiday,* it is clear to see that the road trip is still a popular choice. In light of these findings The AA has created a regional breakdown, ‘Guide For The Ride’ (see table 1 for summary and section 1 for extensive guide) and The AA Sat Nav Roulette which lets the driver explore new destinations depending on how far they would like to travel and their location preferences either coast, country or city. All the driver needs to do is spin the roulette and the AA will do the rest.

Table 1.

Region The South West The South The East The West The North
Where Devon to Cornwall Dorset Norfolk Wales The Scottish Highlands
Route Barnstaple to Newquay


Swanage to Lyme Regis Norwhich to Hunstanton via Cromer Aberystwyth to Llandundo via Snowdonia North Coast 500 (circular route, start and finish in Inverness)
Distance 77 miles 56 miles 63 miles 85 miles Approx 500 miles
Highlights Beaches and cliffs

–          Bude

–          Dartmoor National Park

–          Tintagel

–          Newquay

Culture and geology

–          Jurassic Coast

–          Chesil beach

–          Fleet lagoon

Both city and seaside in one day

–          Norwich

–          Cromer

–          Hunstanton

Spectacular views and mountain climbing

–          Snowdonia

–          Snowden

–          Conwy’s medieval castle

Stunning scenery

–          North coast 500

–          Loch Ness

–          Urqhuart Castle

Links to AA Route Planner AA South West route planner directions AA South route planner directions AA East route planner directions AA West route planner directions AA North route planner directions


Section 1.

Guide for the Ride

The South West

Where: Devon and Cornwall
Route: Barnstaple to Newquay
Distance: 77 miles
Highlights: Beaches and cliffs

Check the AA’s Route Planner for directions.

The Atlantic Highway offers breathtaking sea views as you drive from Barnstaple to Newquay. Clocking in at 77 miles, there’s plenty to see and do as you hug the coast on this route.

If the weather’s on your side, park up when you get to Bude. Here, you can swap out the pedals for some sand under your toes at a Bude-iful beach. Bude, in Cornwall, is a surfing hotspot, but if you’d rather catch some rays than a wave, the golden beaches are perfect for sunbathing.

Fancy a detour? You can adjust your trip slightly to go via Dartmoor National Park, with its stunning mix of moorland, woodland, coast and rivers. Look out for the native ponies as you drive through the best of British natural beauty. This detour will add about two hours to your trip.

As this is an English road trip, you can’t always rely on the weather. If you’re caught on a rainy day, why not stop off at the village of Tintagel, the rumoured birthplace of King Arthur?

You’ll finish off at the pretty surfing town of Newquay. This is your chance to sit back and relax after the drive – there are plenty of tea shops overlooking the bay where you can enjoy a cuppa and watch the crashing, rolling waves of the Atlantic.

The South

Where: Dorset
Route: Swanage to Lyme Regis
Distance: 56 miles
Highlights: Culture and geology

Check the AA’s Route Planner for directions.

Looking for stunning clifftop views? If you’re in the South, we recommend that you drive the Jurassic Coast, which is a UN World Heritage Site. The whole site stretches 95 miles from East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, and fits in over 185 million years of geological history.

Take a trip to Chesil Beach – it’s a place that’s inspired several works of art. If you’ve read Ian McEwan’s breathtaking novel, or seen the film version with Saoirse Ronan, you’ll have an idea of how beautiful Chesil Beach is. If not, you’ll soon understand why so many are in awe of the place as you make your way over the pebbles. But make sure you don’t take any as a keepsake – it’s a crime.

Running next to Chesil Beach is an 8-mile stretch of water known as the Fleet Lagoon. There are lots of marine animals and rare plants that call this lagoon home, including seahorses and seabirds.

Further along the trip, (if the weather’s nice or you’re feeling hardy), you can stop off at West Bay – where Broadchurch was filmed – for a paddle.

The East

Where: Norfolk
Route: Norwich to Hunstanton via Cromer
Distance: 63 miles
Highlights: City and seaside in one day, and delicious seafood

Check the AA’s Route Planner for directions.

In Norfolk, you can enjoy stunning sea views along roads that are almost empty.

Norwich is a fine city to start in, where you’ll be treated to plenty of history and architecture. There’s enough to keep you busy for a whole day here. An 11th century cathedral stands in the middle of the city, the medieval Norwich Castle runs lots of workshops and events, and there’s also a world-famous outdoor market.

No Norfolk road trip would be complete without a visit to Cromer, arguably one of Britain’s best-loved seaside towns. Cromer Pier is full of character (and local characters) and its own unique charm. If you’re salivating over some seafood, Cromer is also famous for its crab.

Next, make your way along the coastal road until you reach the tranquil town of Hunstanton. This is one of the few places on the coast where you can see the sun setting over the sea. It’s the perfect place to pause and watch a sunset.

The West

Where: North Wales
Route: Aberystwyth to Llandudno via Snowdonia
Distance: 85 miles
Highlights: Spectacular views and mountain climbing

Check the AA’s Route Planner for directions.

If you get the chance, travel from Aberystwyth to Llandudno via Snowdonia in North Wales. Take the trip for the unbeatable mountain views, rivers and quiet villages.

Driving those winding roads will be worth it once you see what Snowdonia has to offer. It’s hard to describe how magnificent Snowdonia is. Everywhere you look, there are sweeping valleys, majestic mountains, rolling peaks and historic, crumbling walls.

There’s so much beauty – but Snowdon stands head and shoulders above the lot. As the largest mountain in the country, climbing Snowdon is on many people’s bucket list. If you do decide to tackle the climb, set aside a whole day. The feeling of reaching the top makes it all worth it – whether you’re shrouded in cloud or have a clear view for miles.

Once you carry on your trip you’ll make it into the crescent-moon bay of Llandudno. Reward yourself with some fish and chips on the pier or pop over to Conwy’s medieval castle.

The North

Where: The Scottish Highlands
Route: North Coast 500 (a circular route starting and finishing in Inverness)
Distance: Approx. 500 miles
Highlights: Stunning scenery and opportunities for adventure

Check out the AA’s Route Planner for directions.

Finally, if you can get up to the Scottish Highlands, just about any driving route makes a great road trip. Why not take several days and do the legendary North Coast 500? It’s a coastal drive starting and finishing in Inverness.

There are plenty of places to stop off for a break along the route. For example, Dornoch, on the east coast, is an ideal place to enjoy a seaside walk and a pub lunch.

Or why not be adventurous and track down Nessie? You can hop on a RIB speedboat and take a trip around the Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal. You might not spot the mysterious monster but you will spot gorgeous scenery, including Urqhuart Castle.

A helpful tip – the North Coast 500 is growing in popularity year-on-year. So you’d be better off reserving any accommodation in advance. It’ll save you driving around tired looking for a place with spaces.

You can read the AA’s Top Tips to avoid potential road trip breakdowns here:


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