Hit the road: three of the best scenic drives around the UK

From a dramatic coastal itinerary in Ireland and a thrilling Scottish circuit to day drives through a national park, head off on a road adventure around the UK.

By Turo UK
Published 14 Dec 2019, 00:15 GMT
Driving along the Peak District's hills and river valleys makes for a thrilling adventure, and there ...
The UK is crisscrossed by a number of scenic routes with charming towns and natural and historical attractions available for pit stops along the way.
Photograph by Turo UK

The UK is blessed with incredible driving routes, from the northern fringes of Scotland and the rolling Peak District to the craggy coastline of Northern Ireland. And there's nothing quite like a road trip to make the most of the incredible scenery while taking in both planned and unplanned pit stops along the way. But not everyone needs to have their own set of wheels to do it: car-sharing service Turo offers an excellent alternative to owning a car, enabling travellers to select the ideal vehicle for each itinerary.

Peak District, England
Best for:
Weekend wanderers
Home to Britain’s first designated national park, the Peak District extends over hills, river valleys and limestone gorges. Driving along its winding climbs and descents makes for an exhilarating experience, and with a number of charming towns available for pit stops along the way, drivers are spoilt for choice on day trips. Try a Bakewell tart in the eponymous town before continuing onto the popular thermal spa town of Buxton. Make a stop at the Derwent Dam Museum, where visitors can learn about the Dambusters’ ‘bouncing bomb’ tests performed here during the Second World War and take a stroll in the prime walking destination of Edale. Driving highlights include the narrow climb through Winnats Pass, a hilly road flanked by limestone pinnacles, or the 20-mile Snake Pass, a thrilling route crossing the Pennines with tight bends, steep hills and breathtaking views.
Length of the trip: At least a day recommended
Suggested cars: BMW 5 Series, Mazda MX-5, Tesla Model S

Road by the sea on Causeway Coastal Route in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Photograph by Getty Images

Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
Best for:
History buffs
Strap yourself in for a dramatic road trip from the outskirts of north Belfast round the top of Ireland to Derry. Tracing the Atlantic coast, the route veers from fuchsia-edged clifftops to wide, sandy beaches, with quaint fishing villages, gorse-covered valleys and historic castles along the way. The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the major draws on this route — a series of 37,000 symmetrical basalt stone columns stretching out to the sea, left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. There's more history to discover: pause at Titanic Belfast, the visitor experience paying tribute to the ill-fated ship built here; explore historical displays at Carrickfergus Castle, which dates from Norman times; and visit the ruins of Dunluce Castle, whose kitchen fell into the sea in 1639. Before your final spin westwards, nip into the Old Bushmills Distillery for a whiskey tour. 
Lenght of the trip: 154 miles,4 days recommended
Suggested cars: Jaguar XF, BMW 3 series, Mercedes C class

Kylesku Bridge on the North Coast 500 route in Sutherland, Scotland.
Photograph by Getty Images

North Coast 500, Scotland
Best for:
Outdoor adventures
Billed as the UK’s answer to the US Route 66, the North Coast 500 loops around the whole northern tip of Scotland. Starting and ending in Inverness, it travels to the coastal village of John O’Groats in the far north east, north along the coast to Durness, and down the west coast, before turning inland at the Applecross Peninsula. The route offers views of some of the country’s finest scenery — expect brooding mountains, wild moorlands, coastal meadows and gleaming white-sand beaches. The itinerary offers outdoor experiences at every turn: pause for surf (and leisurely seafood lunches) at Brims Ness; explore the gardens of Dunrobin Castle, one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses; or spot dolphins in the Moray Firth from Chanonry Point. Other natural attractions include the ancient Smoo Cave, with its cascading waterfall and boat rides, or hikes up the colossal Stac Pollaidh mountain.
Length of the trip: 516 miles. 5-7 days recommended
Suggested cars: Mini Countryman, Land Rover Discovery, Aston Martin DB9

How to do it

Turo is the world's largest peer-to-peer car-sharing platform and the UK’s only car-sharing service to accept all international licenses.

The service offers over 180,000 users and over 9,000 vehicles in the UK, with more than 600 models to choose from. Prices are up to 25% cheaper than car rental, with no paperwork required. Insurance is taken care of by Turo’s partner Allianz. Terms apply.

For more information, download the app (available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV) or visit turo.com.

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