Many classic car owners dream of speeding down Route 66 or the Autobahn. The ability to let the pedal hit the metal and enjoy the scenery is unparalleled. Of course, international travel is still somewhat stunted, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an incredible drive. There are some beautiful lavish landscapes in this country, but are these the UK’s best drives?
Of course, we’re not recommending you break any speed limits, a speeding fine will put a real damper on your drive, and the last thing you want is the increase in your classic car insurance premiums. However, if you’re looking to take your classic motor, or camper on a road trip in the UK, check out some of the best roads the Isles have to offer.
A2 Giants Causeway
Located in Northern Ireland is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. If you’ve never heard of Giants Causeway, it comprises tens of thousands of predominantly hexagonal basalt columns descending gently into the sea. Scientists explain that this phenomenon was formed by the geological actions of an underwater volcano. If you prefer legend to science, then you’ll be tickled by the story of Fionn mac Cumhaill, Finn McCool in English, who fought and resided along the north Antrim Coast. He is said to have built the Giants Causeway as stepping stones to Scotland to avoid getting his feet wet. The area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 and now received about one million visitors every year.
You can see this beauty without spending a penny, except of course the petrol you’ll need to complete the 120-mile Causeway Coastal route. This route hugs the coastline between Derry-Londonderry and Belfast and lets you see the whole Giants Causeway rock formation. In addition to this natural wonder, you can see the Ballintoy Harbour. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could check out the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, which is suspended 30 metres above water connecting the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede.
A18 Snaefell Mountain Road
The bikers among you may be pretty familiar with the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) when the world’s greatest motorcycle riders come together to put themselves to the ultimate test racing the ‘Mountain Course’. The Snaefell Mountain Road forms part of this road-racing route. Over 13 miles of A-road connects Douglas and Ramsey and edges the peak of Snaefell, which is the tallest mountain on the island. The course goes over 400 metres above sea level with some steep gradients.
Excitingly there is no national speed limit on the Isle of Man, which means you can take full advantage of the A-18. However, make sure you are careful because dangerous and careless driving laws do apply.
A1 Great North Road
The Great North Road was previously the main highway between England and Scotland. Books have been published about the rich history of this road. Imports and exports used to all be transported via this road. The A1 runs parallel to the Great North Road and is a fantastic road to drive.
If you fancy immersing yourself in fiction, you could drive slightly off-piste and stoop oat some of the coaching inns up and down the Great North Road. It is fabled that highwayman Dick Turpin journeyed from York to London in under 15 hours on his horse, Black Bess. Some of the coaching inns that Turpin is said to have stopped at are still open, and you can stop off and visit them during your drive (no drinking, of course!).
Last but not least in the list of the UK’s best drives is…
A896 The Road to Applecross
Certainly not a route for the faint at heart, you will want to make sure your classic car is up to the challenge of the UK’s steepest road ascent, rising to over 620 metres above sea level. Built in 1822, The Road to Applecross, also called the Bealach na Bá or Pass of the Cattle, was the only road that linked Applecross to the rest of Scotland until the late 1900s.
This route resembles some of the great mountain passes found in the Alps. With gradients of up to 20% and some very tight hairpin bends, this route is certainly not for the learner driver.
Of course, these are not the only stunning roads to travel in the UK, but we hope that highlighting just a few of the gorgeous options might take some of the FOMO out of your staycation!