6 Unmissable UK Road Trips You’ll Love

rare, TVR Tuscan S Convertible driving through peak district

With more complications heading abroad, holidays in the UK are set to become more popular than ever. The Great British staycation is a foolproof option for families and individuals alike, and best of all you don’t need to fly. That’s even better if you love a drive, with an abundance of great UK road trips on offer.

Whether you’re making your way around the Scottish Highlands or through the intertwined waterways of the Lake District, Great Britain has plenty to offer car-enthusiasts who love nothing better than hitting the open road.

While America’s Route 66 might be more famed, you’ll soon fall in love with the UK’s roads once you realise everything they have to offer. In this post, we’ll look at six unmissable UK road trips that are every bit as exciting and beautiful as their foreign counterparts.

1. North Coast 500

duncansby stacks on the north coast 500 in scotland
Duncansby Stacks, Scotland. Photo credit: Colin Horn

The North Coast 500 stretches over 800km across Scotland, taking in some of the most breathtaking pieces of road, coastline, and scenery along the way. If you manage to complete all 500 miles, you’ll witness everything from gothic and decadent ruins that are extremely well-preserved to historic castles and islands that are barely inhabited.

What makes the North Coast 500 one of the UK’s greatest road trips, aside from the sandy, shingle beaches, is the winding, single-track roads that never seem to end. Whether you’re a driving novice or self-proclaimed pro, these routes are certainly on the challenging side, which provides plenty of excitement.

Surrounded by lochs and the Applecross Peninsula, you’ll barely recognise that you’re in Britain. The isolated sights and attractions are a far cry from the densely populated cities, making this one of the most extraordinary UK road trips.

2. The Atlantic Highway

exmoor pony at the national park

The Atlantic Highway is one of the most notorious stretches of tarmac in the UK, situated in the famed southwest coast. Among many other jewels, the Atlantic Highway runs for miles across the Devon and Cornish coastlines. It takes in a host of views, but the A39 offers far more than a glimpse of surfers trying to catch the waves.

As the road swerves inland, you’ll leave the dunes and come upon the barley fields that grow metres tall. Plus, you’re only a short drive away from Exmoor, an incredible national park with hefty hikes and stunning wildlife. If that’s not your thing, continue along the A39 until you hit Newquay, where there are tonnes of bars and restaurants.

3. The Black Mountain Pass

brecon beacons in south wales
Wales is a beautiful part of the United Kingdom, and the Black Mountain Pass road trip best encapsulates its awe-inspiring vibe. Although it’s not a particularly long drive – easily accomplished in a day – the steep 1,600ft climb to the top of the pass is thrilling, so much so that Top Gear has filmed numerous videos there over the years.

It’s not hard to see why, when you reach the peak and gaze upon the 360-degree view of the Brecon Beacons below. You’d be forgiven for believing you were in the French or Swiss Alps! Car-wise, the roads are perfect, twisting and turning as you climb through the clouds.

4. The North York Moors

overlooking the north york moors
The UK has plenty of national parks to lean on. You can’t go wrong if you choose a road trip in one of the ten on offer. However, with the likes of Exmoor and the Lake District so popular, the
North York Moors often goes under the radar. Sure, the area is more isolated and less commercial, making it awkward for families, but the roads are picture-perfect for car-lovers.

Throughout the majority of the national park, the single-track roads are tight and winding, allowing motorists to press on the accelerator and open up the engine. You can take the scenic A169 route to extend your trip over two days and take in rural farm towns and market villages.

5. The Causeway Coastal Circuit

people with umbrellas on giants causeway
Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills. Photo credit: Gregory Hayes

One of Northern Ireland most breath-taking drives, the Causeway coastal route lies between Belfast and Derry. It’s almost 200km each way and is packed with tiny villages that provide visitors with an authentic Irish experience.

Of course, the real draw is the Giant’s Causeway, an area of coast that’s home to thousands of columns that look as if they’ve been crafted by the mythical creatures from which it takes its name. After you’ve witnessed the spectacular basalt columns in the Atlantic Ocean, you can continue on to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle, and the Glens of Antrim.

Whiskey-lovers can sample a tipple at the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in the world that has been operating since the 17th century.

6. The Peak District

Aerial view of Headstone Viaduct in Monsal Dale peak district
The Headstone Viaduct in Monsal Dale. Photo credit: Paul Bryan

The Peaks is one of the most loved regions in the whole of the UK, making it an excellent option for a road trip. Aside from the many humble pubs that serve strong beer and quality food, the high mountain passes and viaducts offer unrivalled views of the surrounding regions.

Whether you’re 510m above sea level on Snake Pass or driving over Derwent dam and reservoir, you’ll fall in love with Northern Derbyshire and want to explore every inch. Anyone who wants to take a break from driving can hop in the Derwent Valley cable car and get a glimpse of the Peak District’s majestic natural beauty from above.

The perfect car for your UK road trip

To really enjoy the best UK road trips, you need the right set of wheels. At My Car Credit, our hassle-free financing system makes finding the right vehicle a walk in the park, even if you’ve had issues with credit in the past. Simply speak to our team on 01246 458 810 or calculate car finance and then apply online to see how we can help you.

Rates from 6.9% APR. Representative APR 13.9%

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X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

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10 of the Best Locations for UK Staycations in 2020

boy jumping river whilst on a staycation in uk

While some countries begin to open their borders, most remain shut or subject to restrictions that promise to make travelling a far less relaxing affair. Unfortunately, holiday-goers can expect much more than lengthy check-in queues, mandatory face masks and temperature scans. Travel experts also anticipate an increase in ticket prices while airlines get back on their feet.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. Perhaps, in a socially distanced post-COVID-19 world, we simply need to reimagine the holiday experience by skipping trips and opting for UK staycations instead. As well as saving on stress, exploring the beauty on your doorstep is a great way to support local businesses that have been devastated by the lockdown.

To help you choose the right destination, we’ve compiled a list of the best staycations across the UK.

North West of England

1. Cumbria

man standing on skafell pike in the lake district
Photo credit: www.instagram.com/thevisualiza

Predominantly rural and framed by rugged mountains, awe-inspiring lakes and undisturbed coastlines, Cumbria is the perfect location to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Nature lovers will be in their element as the county possesses some of the UK’s most breath-taking areas of natural beauty, including the Lake District (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Eden Valley and part of the North Pennines.

The Lake District, in particular, provides a plethora of activities for adventure aficionados. The glacial pools and fell peaks are perfect for abseiling, mountain biking, bush-craft, archery and more.

2. Blackpool

blackpool pier for a uk staycation

Gaudy, glitzy and great fun, Blackpool epitomises the traditional UK staycation and, with an excess of award-winning attractions, there’s something to entertain the whole family.

Thrill-seekers can enjoy the Blackpool Tower Dungeons or iconic Pleasure Beach, which stays true to its roots with vintage wooden roller coasters, winding promenades and glamorous shows featuring plenty of feather boas. For something less adrenaline-spiking, there’s SEALIFE, Blackpool Zoo or the world-famous Blackpool Tower.

East of England

3. Norfolk

white boat on horsey mere great norfolk staycation

With an abundance of beautiful countryside, market towns and seaside resorts, Norfolk is the best choice for longer staycations.

Take your time as you explore 90 miles of flawless coastline and internationally famous nature reserves including Broads National Park, often described as “England’s watery jewel”. Thanks to the Broads’ open network of waterways, rivers and lakes, you can navigate the landscape by boat while enjoying the company of cranes, Kingfishers and otters.

After drinking in the region’s scenic delights, head to Great Yarmouth or Cromer for some of the country’s most delicious fish and chips.

4. Cambridgeshire

punting on river cam in cambridge for uk staycation

Cambridgeshire combines wetlands, cathedral towns and medieval markets with some of the best restaurant, shopping and cultural experiences in the UK. When visiting, most people choose accommodation in Cambridge itself, which is an excellent base for exploring the city as well as the surrounding areas.

The choice of activities on offer is indulgent – art galleries, perhaps one of the best theatre scenes in the country, live music every night and several Michelin star restaurants. Plus, there’s an established festival scene which includes the Cambridge Folk Festival and Strawberry Fair.

Oh, and there’s punting – lots and lots of punting.

South West of England

5. Cornwall

Godrevy Beach in cornwall for uk staycation

Cornwall is proof you don’t need to travel to far-flung locations to experience something otherworldly. In fact, the county’s beaches are unrivalled for their beauty, standing their own against France’s Île de Porquerolles and Italy’s Cala Tonnarella.

Perranporth and Godrevy on the north coast are surfing havens while the south coast offers more favourable conditions for sailing. Romantics might prefer the secluded beaches of Harlyn and Kynance while the bustling seaside town of St Ives has plenty of restaurants, bars and galleries to peruse.

6. Devon

brixham quayside in devon staycation

The miles upon miles of coastal walks and sweeping rural landscape makes Devon an especially attractive choice for hikers. One of the most popular activities is traversing The English Riviera, a 22-mile stretch of exceptional South Devon coastline peppered with harbour towns (including Torquay, Paignton and Brixham), rugged bays and quaint villages. For something wilder, there’s the Jurassic Coast (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), overflowing with fossils and alien-like rock structures.

Elsewhere in the UK

In light of COVID-19, it’s best to check with regional visitor centres before travelling to the following areas.

Wales

7. Snowdonia

mountains in snowdonia national park uk staycation

Glacial landforms, steep river gorges and powerful waterfalls grace Snowdonia, a region in northwest Wales that’s concentrated around the Snowdonia National Park.

People flock from all over to enjoy the area’s spectacular beauty, and there’s a smorgasbord of activities on offer including mountain biking, cave exploring, sailing and fishing. For those adverse to heights and water, roam the mighty oak, ash and hazel woodlands by horseback instead.

Thanks to the Snowdon Mountain Railway, this is also a very special place for train watchers. Nearly 12 million people have taken a trip to Snowdon’s summit on the famous locomotives since 1896.

Scotland

8. Edinburgh

edinburgh castle for staycation in uk

Scotland’s capital is one of the most memorable cities in Europe, its charm accentuated by crofts, castles and winding cobbled streets. There are two distinct parts – the Old Town and New Town.

The Old Town is the city’s historic heart, home to Edinburgh Castle. The New Town, equally as impressive, enchants with cocktail bars, restaurants and a fabulous nightlife scene.

Wherever you decide to stay, you’re never far from cultural celebrations. There are galleries, museums, castles, theatre performances and, of course, plenty of whisky pubs. Festivals are another highlight, though the famous Edinburgh Fringe has been postponed until 2021.

Northern Ireland

9. County Antrim

man on staycation standing on cliff overlooking giants causeway

County Antrim possesses the kind of scenery you read about in fairy-tales. The Glens are especially striking, comprising nine long and gently sloping valleys radiating from the Antrim Plateau to the coast.

They each offer a wildly different adventure. One minute, you’re standing under waterfalls and trailing a sheer plunging gorge, the next you’re swept up in a flurry of music, dance and craic.

Then, there’s the Giant’s Causeway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), flanked by the North Atlantic Ocean and startling cliffs. Steeped in history, this wild and often moody land fascinates tourists with stories of mythical giants and gruesome battles.

East Midlands

10. Derbyshire

man standing over winnats pass on peak district staycation

We couldn’t write an article on the best UK staycations without a mention of My Car Credit’s own location, Derbyshire! We’re lucky to sit right on the borders of the beautiful Peak District, situated at the southern end of the Pennines. Enjoy jaw-dropping views across rolling hills and expansive valleys surrounded by impressive rock formations. The Peaks are a hidden gem that often get overlooked.

As well as enjoying the countryside, the Peak District boasts many quaint villages including Buxton and Matlock Bath, Castleton (with its show caves), and Bakewell, the national park’s only town (don’t forget to pick up a proper Bakewell Tart). There is also Chatsworth House, which is well worth a visit. They often put on events, from country shows to an international horse trials.

Finally, be sure to stop by Chesterfield’s ‘Crooked Spire’, which folklore suggests the Devil is responsible for twisting!

Make travelling easy

With so many incredible destinations to visit across the UK, perhaps it’s time to upgrade your wheels or purchase the car of your dreams? That’s where My Car Credit can help. We offer quick, hassle-free car finance for drivers across the UK.

To find out more, call us on 01246 458 810 or drop us an email at enquiries@mycarcredit.co.uk. One of our specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.

Rates from 6.9% APR. Representative APR 13.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
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Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
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Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
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£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

Exploring the UK by car (Infographic)

View of Lake District explored by car

From rugged mountains to pristine coastlines, the UK has an endless supply of stunning scenery and historic towns that are crying out to be explored. There’s never been a better time to get out on the open road and see what the United Kingdom has to offer!

With over 321,000 miles of roads to explore, what are you waiting for? We’ve got all the facts you need to know to get you and your crew out on the open road. Enjoy our infographic about exploring the UK by car – we hope it gives you a few ideas for your next road trip!
My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!