9 Stunning Road Trips in England You Need to Take

The Isle of Wight has some stunning coastal roads
The Isle of Wight has some stunning coastal roads | © Patrick Eden / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer22 July 2020

England is blessed with miles of coastal, countryside and calming driving routes that should all be experienced at least once. From the beautiful coastline of the Jurassic coast in Dorset to the winding roads and rolling hills of the Pennines, we round up some of the most stunning road trips.

Jurassic Coast, Dorset

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The magificant Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is part of Dorset, UK.
© Tina Bao Ngoc Truong / Getty Images
There’s nothing better than a coastal drive, and this is one of the best by a country mile. The Jurassic Coast Road drive – known officially as the B3157 road – takes in stunning countryside and coastal views at the same time. The 18-mile route starts in Weymouth and ends in Bridport (or vice versa) and allows drivers to take in stunning, lofty views of beaches and rolling hills. Don’t forget to stop off en route though, so you can visit wonderful natural, sandy areas like Durdle Door. And if you’re planning on an epic trip through the south of England, why not do it in bona fide campervan style?

Snake Pass, Peak District

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A57 Bridge in Peak District
A57 Bridge in Peak District | © Septemberlegs Creative / Alamy Stock Photo

This wonderfully scenic drive through one of the country’s most picturesque parts is aptly named after its winding route that it takes. Snake Pass, also known as the A57 road, crosses the Peak District between Sheffield and Manchester and on a clear day allows for views as far as the latter city. The road itself can be tricky to navigate in poor weather due to its various bends and dips, so often gets closed when it snows heavily. Summer is the best time to go, when country road lovers and cyclists wind their way through the bends.

The A686 from Cumbria to Northumberland

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The A686 between Alston and Melbery
The A686 known as one of the top ten driving roads in the world | © Roy JAMES Shakespeare / Getty Images

The AA have named this stretch of road as one of the greatest drives in Britain and Top Gear once voted it the ninth best drive in the country, so you might as well add this route to the top of your list. Flanked by rolling countryside, beautiful green scenery and winding, open roads, the A686 is a 36.5 mile stretch of England at its finest. Complete the experience by hiring a state-of-the-art RV to get you from A to B, and all the other letters in between.

Old Military Road, Isle of Wight

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Military Road at Isle of Wight, UK, England.
Military Road at Isle of Wight, UK, England. | © Kim Kaminski / Alamy Stock Photo
Those looking for coastal views on the Isle of Wight should look no further than the Military Road. This stunning stretch of road runs parallel with the southern coast and in turn offers numerous pit stops with beautiful views across the water. This road is packed with history too, having been built in World War II by German prisoners of war.

Cheddar Gorge, West Country

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Cheddar Gorge
Climb to the top of Cheddar Gorge for spectacular views | © David Chapman / Alamy Stock Photo
This 14-mile driving route in The West Country incorporates the impressive Cheddar Gorge and allows for versatile scenery, including cliff-edges and rolling countryside. Starting on the B3135 in Cheddar, you’ll encounter rocks, trees, grass, sand and sea, making it one of the best for those who just love getting out on the road. If you have time, make sure you stop off at Cheddar Gorge, one of the country’s most stunning natural wonders, and explore the caves. Most roads on this route are narrow and winding, though you can easily drive a high-spec camper van down them if that’s your vehicle of choice.

Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales

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Road into Thwaite from the Buttertubs, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, UK.
Road into Thwaite from the Buttertubs, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, UK. | © Wayne HUTCHINSON / Alamy Stock Photo
The Yorkshire Dales, though grandiose in size, is one of England’s best kept secrets. Its driving route, a hilly stretch of winding country roads, passes the Buttertubs, a series of 20-metre-deep limestone potholes, which supposedly get their name from farmers who would lower their butter into the holes during the summer months to keep it cool. Buttertubs Pass is also popular with cyclists too, thanks to its challenging ascent.

The Coast Road, Norfolk

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Overlooking the undercliff and beach, looking towards Cromer pier, Norfolk.
Overlooking the undercliff and beach, looking towards Cromer pier, Norfolk. | © tony mills / Alamy Stock Photo

The Coast Road – officially known as the A419 – is a beautifully picturesque road between King’s Lynn and Cromer on the Norfolk Coast. Those looking for quaint coastal towns and views should hop on this 85-mile-long road at some point – there are plenty of B&Bs dotted along the way, but if you’d rather save your money for things to do, you can always choose to hire a camper van instead.

Humber Bridge, North Yorkshire

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The Humber Bridge
The Humber Bridge | © Neil White / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most iconic bridges and the longest in England, the Humber Bridge needs to be experienced. This North Yorkshire bridge forms a rather picturesque part of the A15 route between Yorkshire and Lincolnshire – best appreciated at sunset. The Humber Bridge is also the longest single-span suspension bridge that can be crossed by foot or bicycle, meaning you don’t necessarily need a car to experience this postcard-worthy spot.

These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Richard Franks

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