The United Kingdom is an incredible destination for a road trip adventure. With its wealth of stunning natural landscapes, historic cities, and cultural attractions, the UK offers endless possibilities for an epic driving holiday. From the rocky cliffs of Cornwall to the rolling green hills of Scotland, a road trip is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in everything this country has to offer.
Planning the perfect UK road trip may seem daunting at first. How do you decide which destinations and routes to include when there are so many options? This ultimate two-week UK road trip itinerary takes you on a journey covering England, Scotland and Wales, hitting many of the top sights and hidden gems. Get ready for incredible coastal drives, fairytale castles, mystical stone circles, charming villages, and so much more.
Keep reading for a complete guide to the ultimate road trip around the United Kingdom. With this detailed day-by-day itinerary in hand, you’ll be ready to hit the open road and explore the very best of England, Scotland and Wales. Let the adventure begin!
North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands
No trip to Scotland is complete without driving at least part of the epic North Coast 500 route. This 500-mile circuit takes you on a loop around the northern Highlands, treating you to breathtaking coastal vistas, charming fishing villages, epic castles, and the remarkable Scottish wilderness.
Begin your North Coast 500 journey in the village of Inverness. From there, head north along the east coast, stopping at spots like the Balnakeil Beach craft village and the iconic Dunrobin Castle. At John O’Groats, take a ferry to the Orkney Islands and spend a day exploring remnants of Neolithic settlements and admiring the rugged cliffs.
Back on the mainland, travel down the west coast from Thurso to Ullapool. Be sure to visit Smoo Cave, have a pint at the Kylesku Hotel, and stop for photos at the gorgeous beaches of Achmelvich Bay and Clachtoll Beach. From the fishing town of Ullapool, venture into the mountainous interior to experience the epic Torridon mountain range before looping back around towards Inverness.
The North Coast 500 provides the perfect blend of jaw-dropping vistas, history, culture, and adventure. Be prepared for lots of stops to soak it all in! This is an ideal section of the UK to explore by road trip.
Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Stretching 120 miles along Northern Ireland’s north coast, the Causeway Coastal Route is one of the most staggeringly beautiful road trip routes in the UK. This drive takes you along rugged sea cliffs, golden beaches, quaint coastal villages, and some of Ireland’s top attractions.
Begin your drive in Belfast and head north towards Carrickfergus Castle, one of the best preserved Norman castles in Ireland. Continue along the coast through the seaside towns of Larne and Ballygalley on your way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Giant’s Causeway. Marvel at the 40,000 interconnected basalt columns forming this incredible natural wonder before crossing over the heart-stopping Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Further along the route, stop for photos at Dunluce Castle, a medieval ruin perched precariously above the sea, and stroll the beach at Portrush. At the end of your drive, enjoy the lively city of Derry with its well-preserved city walls and vibrancy.
With its mix of natural beauty and historical sights, the Causeway Coastal Route showcases the very best of Northern Ireland’s scenery and culture. This is a can’t-miss section for any road trip around the UK and Ireland.
With its charming honey-colored villages, rolling green hills, and immaculately maintained cottages, the Cotswolds region in central England is road trip nirvana. Taking you through quintessential English countryside, a drive through the Cotswolds lets you step back in time.
Base yourself in a market town like Stow-on-the-Wold and take day trips exploring the surrounding villages. Bourton-on-the-Water with its delicate footbridges earns its nickname of “Venice of the Cotswolds”, while Broadway and Castle Combe give you a taste of rural England at its finest.
Be sure to weave through sleepy hamlets like Snowshill and Stanway for a scenic drive you won’t soon forget. Visit stately homes like Blenheim Palace and Sudeley Castle to marvel at the history and architecture. Lastly, no trip to the Cotswolds is complete without stopping into a local pub for a pint and classic pub fare.
With so many storybook villages and attractions, you could spend weeks road tripping around the Cotswolds. It’s an ideal destination for relaxed country drives past stone cottages and green rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Peaks and Passes, England
For an injection of drama and adventure, spend a few days of your UK road trip driving through the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales. These rugged northern landscapes offer incredible hiking and breathtaking views as you traverse through passes and stop to admire iconic limestone peaks.
From Manchester, head east towards the Peak District, stopping at Chatsworth House and the charming town of Bakewell, famous for its tarts. Drive through the heart of the Peaks along the A6013, passing by the brooding Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, known as the “Shivering Mountain”.
Continue north to the Yorkshire Dales, one of England’s most beautiful national parks. Drive through the Ribblesdale valley, admiring the Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough, and Whernside before crossing the moors to Hawes. Don’t miss Hardraw Force, England’s highest above-ground unbroken waterfall.
With its striking panoramas, heritage sites, and great outdoors adventures, this part of northern England is tailor-made for an unforgettable driving route. Pack your hiking boots and ready your camera for the Peaks and Passes!
Atlantic Highway, England
For incredible coastal scenery, drive the Atlantic Highway in the southwest corner of England. This stretch of the A39 hugs the coastline of Devon and Cornwall for over 150 miles, treating you to striking sea cliffs, sandy beaches, quaint English fishing villages, and more.
Begin your coastal journey in Barnstaple and head west across Exmoor National Park. Pass through the surfing mecca of Croyde before admiring the rocky cliffs and secluded coves around Ilfracombe. Continue along the coast to Clovelly, a car-free fishing village straight out of a fairy tale.
Further along, explore parts of the Cornwall coast like Padstow, Newquay, and St Ives, home to the renowned Tate Museum. End your drive at Land’s End, mainland Britain’s most westerly point. Standing on the rocky cliffs here as the sea surrounds you is the perfect way to conclude an epic Atlantic coastal journey.
With its mix of charm, natural beauty, and culture, the Atlantic Highway showcases a dreamy side of England many visitors miss. It’s an unmissable UK road trip route.
Coastal Circuit, Wales
Wales is home to over 750 miles of breathtaking coastline, and one of the best ways to experience it is via the Coastal Circuit road trip. This 300 mile route loops through southern and western Wales, taking you along rugged cliffs, lively seaside towns, and a landscape dotted with castles.
Setting off from Cardiff, stop first at the dramatic 12th century Carreg Cennen Castle before reaching Tenby, a walled harbor town with gorgeous beaches. Further along the coast, explore Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its sea stacks, blowholes, and colorful harbors like those found in Newport.
Venture deeper into the Welsh heartland to visit places like the UK’s smallest city of St Davids and pastel-colored, art-filled Aberaeron. Don’t miss the magnificent views along the Llyn Peninsula as you head north. End your circuit at Snowdonia National Park where you can opt for hikes with epic views before returning to Cardiff.
From major attractions to off-the-beaten-path finds, the Coastal Circuit provides the best of Wales’ exquisite scenery. You’ll be planning when to drive it again before your road trip is even over!
Bath to Stratford-upon-Avon, England
For a delightful taste of quintessential England, take this pretty drive from the Georgian streets of Bath to the birthplace of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon. The route passes through sleepy villages, rolling Cotswold hills, and past historic homes and gardens.
Begin in Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admire the elegant 18th century architecture. Head east into the Cotswolds, stopping at Lacock village which served as a filming location for Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice. Continue through the picture-perfect towns of Tetbury and Chipping Campden.
Next visit Hidcote Manor Garden, acclaimed for its Arts and Crafts landscaping and endless garden rooms to explore. Further along, tour Blenheim Palace, one of England’s largest country estates set in over 2000 acres of parkland.
End your drive in Stratford-upon-Avon on the River Avon. Tour Shakespeare’s birthplace and watch a Royal Shakespeare Company production during your stay. With its combination of history, natural beauty, and literary landmarks this route provides a quintessential English experience.
Lake District Loop, England
Located in northwest England, the Lake District is beloved for its tranquil lakes, rugged peaks, and quaint villages. A driving loop through this picturesque national park takes you through the heart of the Lakes, treating you to jaw-dropping panoramas around every turn.
Base yourself in Windermere and head north to embark on your loop. Drive past Thirlmere and Buttermere lakes, stopping for scenic hikes and photo ops along the way. At Keswick, stretch your legs at the lakeside before traveling west towards Cockermouth, the birthplace of famous Lakeland resident William Wordsworth.
Continue through the lively market town of Cockermouth on your way south to Coniston. Here you can visit John Ruskin’s home at Brantwood or take a boat tour on the lake. From Coniston, head south back to Windermere, stopping at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s 17th century farmhouse.
With so many charming villages and lovely lakes dotting your route, it’s easy to spend days driving and exploring in the scenic Lake District. Its varied landscapes and cozy atmosphere make it an idyllic road trip destination.
Yorkshire Circuit, England
From wild moorlands to heritage coastline, Yorkshire offers incredible diversity for a regional road trip. This circuit takes you through Yorkshire’s iconic landscapes and historic cities, giving you a fabulous overview of northern England’s largest county.
Begin your Yorkshire journey in the charming city of York, surrounded by its medieval city walls. Head east to explore the North York Moors National Park, stopping to see the picturesque fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Travel north to the seaside town of Whitby, famous for its dramatic abbey ruins and connections to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Venture west across the moors and through the Yorkshire Dales to visit the spa town Harrogate. Continue further west back towards York, stopping at the market town of Knaresborough and the historic city of Ripon, renowned for its impressive cathedral.
With amazing scenery around every turn, the Yorkshire Circuit shows off the very best of this beautiful and diverse county. Ancient ruins, windswept moors, cosy pubs, and seaside villages make this an unforgettable UK road trip route.
Midlands Battlefields and Stately Homes, England
The Midlands region of England is rich with history, perfectly combined in a road trip route featuring famous battlefields and magnificent stately homes. Learn about crucial moments in England’s past while also admiring impressive architecture and landscaped estates.
From Birmingham, head south to Kenilworth Castle and get lost in its sprawling ruins and Elizabethan gardens. Continue to Warwick Castle, overlooking the River Avon, for history and medieval grandeur. Next visit Packwood House, a quaint 16th century manor with a world-class yew garden.
Travel west to Shugborough Estate with its grand house, farm, and idyllic parkland. Further west lies the battlefield in Telford where Henry Tudor defeated Richard III, a turning point in the Wars of the Roses. Conclude your trip at Blenheim Palace, one of England’s most resplendent stately homes set in 2,000 acres of grounds.
This route through the Midlands provides the perfect blend of history, scenery, and architectural beauty. Discover a fascinating and regal side of England as you drive between battledfields and manors.
With epic routes covering all four countries, the United Kingdom delivers incredible diversity and natural beauty for the ultimate driving holiday. From the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands to the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds, an unforgettable adventure awaits along the UK’s best road trip routes.
To make the most of your journey, be sure to pack:
- A reliable road trip vehicle
- Detailed paper and digital maps
- Your camera – you’ll need lots of memory for photos!
- Layers and rain gear – for unpredictable weather
- Picnic supplies – for impromptu stops and saving money
- Hiking shoes – for exploring the great outdoors
- Audiobooks, playlists, podcasts – entertainment for long drives
- Mobile power banks – keep devices charged on the go
With an epic itinerary and key essentials, you’re all set for the road trip of a lifetime around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland! Don’t just dream about visiting the UK’s top sights – get behind the wheel and experience them yourself on a fantastic driving tour. The open road beckons – let the grand UK adventure begin!