It’s 8:55am and you’re going to be late for work. But for as far as the eye can see it’s gridlock as bumpers meet brake lights yet another packed motorway.
“This isn’t how driving should be,” you think, daydreaming of the open road.
Well, Britain may not be the home of the most famous or glamorous road trips in the world, and it may still be afflicted by traffic jams and congestion, but it certainly offers ample opportunity to move through the gears and see stunning parts of the country on some fantastic driving roads.
Here is a collection of some of our favourites…
Buttertubs Pass – Yorkshire Dales, England
Named after the Buttertubs – 20-metre-deep limestone potholes formed in the rock face of the hills dissected by the route – this road stretches for just 5.5 miles from Thwaite to Hawes.
But just because it’s short, it doesn’t mean it it’s boring. Quite the contrary.
Described as ‘England’s only truly spectacular road’ by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the high mountain road combines spectacular countryside vistas with steep climbs and testing corners, making it fantastic for motorists.
Snake Pass – Peak District, England
Although this section of the A57 only extends from Glossop to the Ladybower reservoir, the Snake Pass is a road that many drivers will have experienced, as it is one of the only routes linking two great Northern cities – Manchester and Sheffield.
The road has long been regarded as one of the best driving roads in the UK. At its highest point, the road is 1,679 feet above sea level and driving enthusiasts are treated to great views of valleys, lakes and woodland along the way.
Many think that the name Snake Pass is based on the winding nature of the road, but that’s a popular misconception – it actually comes from the Snake Inn, which is now known as the Snake Pass Inn and is located in Hope Valley.
A817 – Argyll, Scotland
Although it doesn’t have quite as imaginative a name as the first two entries in our list, the A817 still gets the blood racing in all driving enthusiasts who have encountered it.
The road was built by the Ministry of Defence in the 1980s and was originally exclusively used to transport materials and equipment to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde. However, it was eventually opened to the public in 1995, much to the joy of motorists who often name it as the most spectacular road in Scotland.
Beginning alongside Loch Lomond, the largest loch/lake in the UK, the wide road curves, rises and dips through mountains a thousand feet above Glen Fruin until it reaches Garelochead.
Black Mountain Pass – Brecon Beacons, Wales
Sitting to the west of the sprawling Brecon Beacons mountain range, the A4069 is 19 miles long and links Llandovery with Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, via the Black Mountains.
This road attracts motorists looking for a mix of exhilarating scenery and exciting corners, as it twists and turns from valley to valley. Keep an eye out for stray sheep, sheer drops and sudden hairpins.
Antrim Coast Road – Northern Ireland
The A2 road follows a significant amount of Northern Ireland’s coastline. Beginning in Newry, County Down and ending near Derry/Londonderry, the road is a whopping 239 miles long.
However, the most famous – and scenic – part of this road is only a fraction of that length. Known as Antrim Coast Road, this 25-mile stretch from Larne to Cushendall is often referred to as the most scenic driving route in the British Isles, sometimes even the world.
For the majority of the journey you have on one side towering white limestone cliffs reaching a height of 330 feet, and on the other you have the Irish Sea. But that’s not all you see as you make your way up the coast – you’re also treated to waterfalls, expansive glens and picturesque villages along the way.
Written by Adam Fothergill from The Car People. Adam works as one of our call centre managers at The Car People and loves sharing stories, news, and just generally anything to do with the car industry.