The Best Afternoon Drives in Great Britain

by Chris Turberville-Tully in Drives

There’s nothing quite like hitting the road on a beautiful day with the top down. Being in an open top car and immersed in the surrounding landscape makes for a truly unmatched driving experience. Whether you’re roaming the countryside in a classic sports car or family saloon, these spectacular views will take your breath away. The United Kingdom has some of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world.

1. Kendal to Keswick

Kendal to Keswick
Lake Thirlmere (Image credit: Claire)

Sitting at a 30-mile distance in the Lake District National Park, this stretch of winding road on the A591 gives drivers unrivalled visibility of the banks of Lake Windermere, Lake Thirlmere and Lakeland Fells. In fact, it was this very countryside that inspired famous poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth. (Two of Wordsworth’s homes can be seen on this drive as you approach the village of Grasmere).

2. Towards Glencoe on the A82, Scottish Highlands

Towards Glencoe on the A82
Image credit: Craig James

Some of the most famous mountains in all of Scotland are the primary feature of this stunning length of the A82, and the mountains surrounding Glen Coe. As you ascend and descend through these majestic peaks of the Scottish Highlands, you’ll be amazed at their height and beauty. There’s no better way to experience this breath-taking landscape than from behind the wheel with the top down.

3. The Glens of Antrim – Belfast to Derry, Northern Ireland

The Glens of Antrim
Image credit: Jennifer Boyer

Ireland offers drivers with one of the most picturesque routes on our list. Our scenic drive takes you along a remarkably beautiful stretch of A2, that runs from Belfast to Derry. The route takes you right along the brilliant northeast coast of Ireland for a first-hand look at some of the area’s most renowned scenery – from the Glens of Antrim, through nine green valleys filled with patchwork fields and seemingly enchanted woodlands. Revered as one of the most scenic drives in the world, it also brings drivers through the charming villages of Glenarm, Carnlough, Ballygalley, and Waterfoot.

4. The Northumberland Coast

The Northumberland Coast
Image credit: Ian Britton

Wild and rugged, the roads that meander up and down the northern coast of Northumberland are the absolute antithesis of crowded. These remote, secluded routes are lined with nothing but rolling countryside, beautiful beaches and charming moorland. As an added bonus, being just a short distance from the Northumberland National Park, there are plenty of opportunities to explore this beautiful part of the UK along the way.

5. B4632 Cheltenham to Stratford-upon-Avon, Cotswolds, England

Cheltenham to Stratford-upon-Avon
Image credit: Lorna Mitchell

Sometimes the road less travelled is the best one to take; and in the case of this wonderful portion of the B4632 that’s most certainly the case. You’ll enjoy the simple luxury of a refreshing, uncrowded drive that takes you through meadows filled with wildflowers, pastures roamed by sheep and other magnificent sights and scenery. Plus, if you continue as far as Stratford-upon-Avon, you’ll be able to experience Shakespeare’s birthplace!

Discover more exhilarating, scenic drives in the UK in each edition of HR Owen’s quarterly Drive Magazine, where two stunning routes are highlighted in every issue for your enjoyment.

Which are your favourite drives to do with the top down in the UK? Please do let us know on Facebook or Twitter.