Britain's Best Road Trips

When the words road and trip come together they form something else entirely – something that smells of freedom, and feels spacious - like not having to march to the beat of the alarm clock - and looks like a ribbon of road in a vast vista of possibility...

But when they're added to the initials UK, a place that, as Bill Bryson noticed, is a small island, they may not at first fill you with the same expansive feelings. Though the UK is just a Thumbelina of a country, it does has some truly spectacular views, and a lot of them you can road trip to in an afternoon. Of course you can always pack your pillow and toothbrush and take off for a lot longer...

It may not be as glamorous as its European counterparts, but the English Riviera, has been a popular holiday destination for hundreds of years. This bit of south Devon, arranged around a wide bay, has some of the country's best beaches, lined with pretty tea houses, and scenic cliff tops speckled with classic pub beer gardens, all making for a love-ely backdrop for an afternoon drive.

The coast is a pretty popular place to take a spin, with trips along the Causeway Coast - for the spectacular Giant's Causeway – and the Lands End to St. Ives run coming up trumps over the years with the British holiday making public.

A drive though Exmoor and Dartmoor, allows for an appreciation of England's scenic coastline and its green and moorish interior.

Heading north the scenery needs a much larger viewfinder to take it all in. There are plenty of options when it comes to exploring Scotland's Highlands by car. The Glasgow to Glencoe and the Highlands route takes in the lochs and glens passing pretty towns and ruined, and not so ruined castles, or shorter routes like the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs roads can be done as an afternoon jaunt from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Stirling, or head into Western Highlands for some really serious mountains.

If your road trip window of opportunity is really only afternoon sized one, the classic trip has to be the London to Brighton run – a rite of passage for the mods and rockers in the 60s - this trip is like the holiday you can have in an afternoon, and has been a staple of the shovel and pail set since the invention of the motorcar! If you can't even get out of London, a spin down the Embankment will at least get you out of the house and get the wind in your hair. If you're brave enough to drive a convertible in London.

World's Best Road Trips

Comments by other travellers

Perhaps the best bus trip in Britain (in a vintage service bus) is along a single-way road from Dunoon to the Isle of Bute in Argyll.

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Susan Kensington

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