The Best Scenic drives in the UK

Ultimate Scenic Rides for Motorhome Adventures Across the UK

If you’re like us, part of the fun with motorhome road trips is the actual driving itself. Taking a scenic drive in the UK, having the windows wound down, feeling the warm summer breeze and discovering little villages and towns to explore. But let’s face it, not all roads are created equal are they?

Have you ever found yourself in this scenario? You’re planning your next getaway, eager to find those routes that will truly make your journey unforgettable. But in the midst of your excitement, there’s one burning question on your mind – which roads should you actually bother with? Which ones will prove to be right up there as far as scenic drives go? Which scenic drive will actually lead you to those amazing views and delightful discoveries that make for a perfect road trip?

If you’re nodding along, then stick with us. In this article, we’re delving into the best scenic driving routes in the UK. Whether you’re after a leisurely drive, a bit of adventure, or simply some quality sightseeing, we’ve got you covered.

So, strap in and join us as we uncover the highways and byways that define British road tripping. From the stunning coastlines of Cornwall to the serene beauty of the Scottish Highlands, get ready to fuel your wanderlust and hit the road with confidence. Let’s make some memories!

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The Coast to Coast (England)

Start and End Point

Start at St Bees near the Irish Sea and end at Robin Hood Bay on the North Sea.


Approximately 190 miles of scenic driving! Actual mileage depends on the route and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

5 - 7 days. You will traverse some amazing, pristine and scenic British countryside on this route.

Coast to Coast map of the scenic driving route in the UK
Classic Coast to Coast Scenic Driving Route

Starting from the rugged cliffs of St Bees on the Irish Sea, you travel on some of the Lake District’s dramatic mountain passes, offering breathtaking views and charming villages like Keswick. Crossing the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales brings a mix of historic sites and natural beauty. 

There are some great hikes to be had around all of this area, which can be as easy or challenging as you want.  This route culminates in the dramatic coastline at Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, where there are more beautiful walks and some fantastic little campsites too. 

Key Route: Saint Bees, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines AONB, North York Moors National Park, Robin Hoods Bay

Overall, while the Coast to Coast road trip is absolutely feasible and enjoyable in a motorhome, it requires careful planning and driving, particularly for those driving larger motorhomes. There can be some narrow, winding roads in rural Lake District and North Yorkshire Moors.

Traffic and parking can be a little challenging in some areas around the peak holiday periods due to volume of traffic.  Weather conditions are notoriously unpredictable in some areas and do take care where you are parking in the National Parks. We have all seen the stories in the newspapers about careless parking (from all vehicle types) which just causes chaos and unpleasantness. 

Classic Scenic Road Trip NC500 (Scotland)

Start and End Point

Typically it is a circular route that starts and ends in Inverness, but you can choose any point obviously.


Approximately 500 miles, although this depends on routes and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

7 - 10 days. The scenery is spectacular, but said to be best driven anti-clockwise for best passenger views!

NC500 Scenic Road Trip UK
Classic NC500 Scenic Road Trip

NC500 Introduction

The North Coast 500 (NC500) is absolutely one of the most spectacular scenic driving routes in the UK.  It’s widely celebrated as one of the best road trips in the world, and a big, big draw for motorhome drivers seeking an immersive experience in Scotland’s rugged landscapes and rich heritage.

Driving the NC500 in a motorhome you’ll encounter the rugged highlands, characterised by dramatic mountainous terrains and expansive, wild moorlands that shift dramatically with the weather and light. The coastline itself is a tapestry of contrasts, from craggy cliffs that drop sharply into the North Sea to serene golden beaches that stretch invitingly under the broad skies. You really must stop at Balnakeil Beach near Durness, it is akin to some of the beach pictures you see in magazines showcasing exotic places. 

You’ll pass through ancient woodlands and mirror-like lochs nestled within quiet alleys, each offering its own unique charm and tranquillity. You can even kick off your journey hunting for the Loch Ness monster! As you move from the interior highlands to the coastal edges, the changing landscapes provide a continual feast for the eyes. This really is the most delightful and scenic routes you could desire to take.  

Key Route: Inverness, Tain, Helmsdale, John O’Groats, Dunnet Head, Durness, Lochinver, Ullapool, Gairloch, Glen Torridon, Applecross Pass

There are things to consider when driving the NC500. In July and August, the midges are out in full swing, and you will undoubtedly be a tantalising and tasty dinner for the little critters!  You could almost say that the NC500 has become a victim of its own success when it comes to driving in high season. You should book ahead if you want to have a guaranteed site, otherwise, the rules in Scotland around wild camping are different to those in England and Wales.  The notable thing here is how the locals perceive you, so please be conscious of your surroundings, leave only footprints and respect what is going on around you. 

Driving your motorhome on this route also demands caution as roads can be narrow and winding, particularly on stretches like the Applecross Pass and single-track sections throughout the Highlands. Applecross Pass always generates the most questions.  It can be driven in a motorhome of 8m, but you will need skill and care in doing so – and personally, I would stay clear of high season if I was driving an 8m twin axle! 

Snowdonia Circuit (Wales)

Start and End Point

This circular route can start anywhere - but popular starting points include Betws-y-Coed, Llanberis, or Bala.


Approximately 100 miles, depending on route and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

2-4 days to fully appreciate the national park's beauty, including hikes, village stops, and potential climbs up Snowdon

A map of all the stops on the Snowdonia Circuit Scenic Drive in the UK
Snowdonia Circuit Scenic Drive

The Snowdonia Circuit should not be confused with the hiking trail, which operates under the same name! This driving route takes you through Snowdonia National Park, a rugged and mountainous region in northwest Wales known for its dramatic scenery, quaint villages, and outdoor adventures. It offers a mix of scenic drives, picturesque towns, historic sites, and outdoor activities. You will be able to mix up some hair raising zip lining alongside breathtaking scenery and fantastic hiking!  It is also good if you are shorter on time. 

Key Route: Conwy, Betws-y-Coed, Pen-y-Pass, Ffestiniog, Porthmadog, Beddgelert, Caernfon, Bangor

The big draw for this route is obviously trying to hike up to the peak of Snowdon. Be prepared for the real possibility of a queue to get that ‘summit’ picture. No matter which walking route you take, there is only one peak! There is some spectacular driving to be had on this relatively compact circuit – only 100 miles, but it sure packs a punch.

Ziplining is a big thing in Wales and it is home to the longest and fastest zipline in the world. Velocity is just south of Bangor, but if you don’t fancy that, there are more adventure parks on this Snowdon Circuit scenic drive, Betws-y-Coed and Ffestiniog. 

As with all of these types of drives, the high season brings more traffic and more people, so be mindful of that when you are looking to park.  There are heaps of campsites to stay at, but those nearer the ‘big’ attractions can get very booked in the high season.  The roads themselves are not difficult to drive. It isn’t single lane track, but some of the roads are winding and twisting, but they are easy to navigate with sensible driving. 

The Causeway Coastal Route (Northern Ireland)

Start and End Point

Belfast to Londonderry on the coast of Ireland is the general start and end points for this wild journey.


Approximately 130 miles, depending on route and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

4 - 6 days to enjoy all the coastal attractions, from the Giants Causeway to Game of Thrones filming locations!

Map showing the stops on the Irish Coastal Route of UK Scenic Drives
Irish Coastal Route of UK Scenic Drives

The Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Derry is a wonderfully scenic UK drive along the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland. It offers a breathtaking landscapes, historic landmarks, and cultural treasures, all waiting to unfurl before your eyes. You get to see the iconic Giants Causeway which really is an unbelievable place to see. 

Travelling from the vibrant streets of Belfast to the ancient ruins of Derry/Londonderry, you will come across plenty of beautiful walking spots, waterfalls (such as Cranny Falls,  a mere 45 minute walk which is fairly easy, but does have a bit of an incline!). On your travels you will also find Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Its great fun to cross but you need a a head for heights. 

Key Route: Belfast, Carrickfergus, Ballymena, Larne, Ballypatrick, Portrush, Portstewart, Magilligan Point, Derry

This route offers dramatic coastal views, world-class golf courses, and several filming locations for the “Game of Thrones” series. You really can have a roadtrip covering everything from beaches to bridges and castles to causeways!  Just an hours drive away from this trip, takes you to the starting point of the famous Irish Wild Atlantic Way drive, which goes from the north to the south of Ireland. Be aware that you will cross from outside the Schengen to inside the Schengen if you decide to extend your trip to include the wild journey to the south of Ireland. 

This scenic UK drive is actually an easy to moderate challenge, were roads are well-maintained which gives trouble-free driving, suitable for motorhomes. Remember wild camping is still illegal in Northern Ireland, and if you decide this is what you want to do, then legally you should get permission from the land owner first.

The Atlantic Highway Scenic Drive (England)

Start and End Point

Travelling from Barnstaple to Newquay, sticking to the coastal A39 to get the wow factor views of this scenic route.


Approximately 150 miles, depending on route and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

3-5 days to explore the surf beaches, coastal towns, and detours to attractions like Tintagel Castle.

Map of the stops and the route for Atlantic Way Scenic Route in Cornwall
Atlantic Way Scenic Route in Cornwall

How can we possibly leave the wonderfully scenic and winding roads of  Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall out? This this route boasts some of the UK’s most stunning coastal scenery. The Atlantic Highway is given to the stretch of the A39 which goes between the Surf-friendly beaches at Bude, the rugged cliffs of Tintagel Castle which is associated with King Arthur legends, and the culinary delights of Padstow are just a few highlights. Padstow is heralded as one of the ‘food capital’ places of England so it would be rude not to try a few places out. And there are plenty of places to try.  

We ate at Paul Ainsworth’s No 6 in Padstow, which does fantastic food (as you would expect!) and Rick Stein seems to have gathered a monopoly too. Of course you don’t have to go mad, dining at celebrity chef eateries. Try ‘The Prawn on the Lawn’ where the menu changes daily depending on what the fisherman have caught that day. 

I would advise parking up at a site nearby to explore this pretty little village as  some of those roads get mighty narrow, if not too narrow for motorhomes to travel around. 

Key Route: Taunton, Exmoor National Park, Barnstaple, Bude, Boscastle, Tintagel, Padstow, Newquay

Technically the starting point is Barnstaple, but we have started at Taunton for this trip, because it allows you to go through the wonderful Exmoor National Park, where you can get some fantastic walking in and see the wild ponies! As with all these popular scenic driving routes in UK, this one does get busy in the peak summer time so shoulder season will give a more pleasant experience. 

The Coastal Way (Wales)

Start and End Point

Tracing the west coast of Wales from St Davids in the south to Llyn Peninsula in the north


Approximately 160 miles, depending on route and stops that you decide on.

Approx Duration

4-7 days, giving you ample time to visit Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Welsh Coastal Way Scenic Road Trip in the UK
Welsh Coastal Way Scenic Road Trip in the UK

Our final route for beautiful scenic drives in the UK takes place in the wonderful country of Wales. A wonderful scenic route, taking in all the coastal views that are begging to be explored. Stretching the length of Wales’ west coast, you will go from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, known for its wildlife-rich islands and Ramsey Sound. Moving north, the route skirts Cardigan Bay, home to the UK’s largest dolphin population, before reaching the Llŷn Peninsula’s unspoiled landscapes.

Key Route: Pembrokeshire, St Davids, New Quay, Aberstwyth,  Fairbourne, Abersoch, Aberdaron, Llyn Peninsula.

It is a moderately easy beautiful scenic drive in the UK to undertak in a motorhome, with a few narrow sections, but nothing that good careful driving can’t deal with. 

If you want to read plenty more detail about the West Wales Coastal road trip, I wrote about this particular trip in a lot more detail, showcasing the best that you can find. It really is a beautiful trip to make. 

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In conclusion, exploring scenic road trips in the UK offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the breathtaking beauty of the countryside and coastline. From the majestic North Coast 500 in Scotland to the captivating Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland, each journey is filled with stunning landscapes, charming villages, and memorable experiences. Whether you’re cruising along the Atlantic Highway in England or meandering through the picturesque Yorkshire Dales, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Top FAQ's on Scenic Drives in the UK

Can you drive Applecross Pass in a motorhome?

100% you can drive the Applecross Pass in a motorhome. If you are a confident driver, have driven on single track roads with hairpin bends you will be OK. The main consideration is the turning circle of your van and being confident to reverse as it is a single track road. You will meet other drivers driving from the other direction. If you drive from Applecross, you will be driving downhill, which you could argue is a little easier!

There is no hard and fast rule to say that you are not able to sleep on a public road in a motorhome, although local authorities have their own regulations for many parking places. As the roads are owned by public highways, these local regulations are the ones to follow.

The NC500 in a motorhome is a massively popular road trip to do in the UK. The different seasons bring different delights to the journey.

If you want to plan a motorhome road trip in the UK, you can download our planner to assist you. It has all the key parts that you need to think about and plenty of space to write notes too.  You can read  ‘Planning Your Road Trip’, which should help out too.

The NC500 was voted the most scenic driving route in the UK last year. It is very subjective, and depends on where you look to see which is top. From all the lists available, the NC500 always comes out No1. 

The Atlantic Highway and the Causeway Coastal routes are both considered to be the most beautiful drives in the UK. Both are detailed in this article. 

This comes up so many times when people are looking to take scenic drives in the UK in their motorhomes. Read our Wild Camping Rules to understand what they are in more detail. 

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