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Motoring Journalists Pick the Best Driving Roads in the UK

| Health and Lifestyle

From the Highlands of Scotland to the coastline of South West England, we are truly spoilt with beautiful winding roads in this nation, and what better time to get to know them than during your later years?

It might not feel like it if you’ve spent most of your time on the road inching through rush hour traffic, but the UK has a plethora of spectacular roadside scenery just waiting to be explored. With more time to roll the windows down, turn the radio up and experience the thrill of hitting the open road, your later years are the perfect opportunity to get out and see more of our home country. 

To give you some inspiration to get behind the wheel, we asked several motoring journalists and self-confessed petrol heads for their recommendations for the best driving roads the UK has to offer. Use our interactive map to find roads across the country, and keep reading to find out more about why some of the UK’s leading motoring journalists love them. 

A708 Selkirk to Moffat, Scotland

Chosen by Paul Hadley (MotorVerso.com)

“Beginning with the A708’s surrounding scenery, it was just incredible. For the entire 30 miles we were surrounded with beautiful Scottish countryside. The road travels through a number of valleys and passes lots of picturesque houses, lakes, and fields. At certain points you want to just get out of the car and soak up the scenery, it is just so impressive.

The A708 has everything I would look for in a ‘good driving road’. There were some very long stretches allowing you to open up the throttle a little. Then at other points, there were constant corners with changing cambers, which are very enjoyable to drive over.

You can see in the pictures that the road just looks like ribbon placed over the hills. This was endless fun to drive over.”

Paul Hadley is the editor at Motor Verso. He has the job of benchmarking cars against one another in the UK market. Take a read on Motor Verso to learn more.

The A87, Scotland

Chosen by Graham Kellioh (TalkingAboutF1.com

“Ninety-nine miles of visual majesty. The scenery, always stunning, also is varied. It starts in Invergarry then winds and undulates through wooded landscape, with occasional fine views of Loch Garry (known for resembling, from that angle, Scotland on a map) and then of the Glen of Loch Loyne. As you reach Loch Cluanie, mountains curtain both sides. Then you descend into Glen Shiel, wind around Loch Duich on the north side, and pass the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle.

Having crossed the bridge to Skye you’ll wonder initially what the fuss is about as the road becomes unremarkable. Only past Broadford does it reveal itself. The best part awaits – you will see the sharp-peaked Black Cuillin as you yourself weave through the gentler Red Cuillin, on a steep climb and descent. The road then winds past Portree, then you reach Loch Snizort and the scenic last few miles to Uig, with loch – and on a day good day Outer Hebrides – views on one side and Quiraing rock formations on the other. In Uig you literally, and perhaps appropriately, run out of road as the A87 ends on the ferry pier, only water separating you from the Outer Hebrides.”

Graham Keilloh is a freelance motorsport journalist whose work covering several motorsport series is published regularly in Autosport and Motorsport News. Graham also writes about F1 for a number of websites including Motorsport Week and Motor Verso.

Hubberholme to the A66 via Hawes, England

Chosen by Jon Bentley (@JonBentley90)

“I can tell you what my absolute favourite road is. It’s the one that runs from Hubberholme in the Yorkshire Dales, on through Hawes, then climbing up the magnificent Butter Tubs Pass and on past the highest pub in England at Tan Hill before reaching the trans-Pennine A66.

I first discovered it while filming Top Gear items in the 1980s and 1990s – road tests of then new cars like the Peugeot 205Gti, the Fiat Uno Turbo and the Jaguar XJ40, as well as classics like old MGs and even a Jowett Jupiter (made down the road in Bradford). It’s a combination of glorious scenery and challenging bends that, for me, is unsurpassed. It’s well time for a revisit.”

Jon Bentley is the well-loved TV presenter and producer behind BBC Two’s Top Gear (1987-99), Channel 5’s Fifth Gear (2002-4), and Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. Jon is currently busy writing a book on the future of the car, which is expected to hit our bookshelves in 2019.

A4069, Black Mountain Pass, Wales

Chosen by Paul Hadley (MotorVerso.com)

“The Black Mountain Pass is situated in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. I drove the full length of it, endured the corners, flew through the mist and bonded with both the car and road at the same time. This journey really reminded me why I love driving and that sometimes you need to take some time for yourself and do what you enjoy, as we are only here for a short time. I’m sure you can guess what I did next… I turned the car around and travelled the route again. It wasn’t any less impressive second time around!

Arriving at the first hairpin bend, which is familiar from online pictures, we pulled over to take in the scenery. We were in a valley surrounded by mountains, in the middle was a river flowing under an old stone bridge. What a beautiful place!

For petrol heads in the UK, this road is sacred ground. We pictured the car at this landmark, which as you can see, does both the vehicle and winding road justice.”

Paul Hadley is the editor at Motor Verso. He has the job of benchmarking cars against one another in the UK market. Take a read on Motor Verso to learn more.

A82, Tyndrum to Fort William, Scotland

Chosen by Graham Kellioh (TalkingAboutF1.com)

“The starting point of this route is chosen deliberately. Leaving Glasgow, the Loch Lomond segment you hit first is beautiful, but the road is claustrophobic and also usually choked with traffic. Once through Tyndrum the road opens up, and you can stretch your legs. First the visuals of the wild Rannoch Moor landscape will divert. And then slowly mountains start to surround you and the road gets ever more twisty.

Now we are entering the mythical Glencoe. And it lives up to it – not only does it contain scenery that will take you breath away by its own merit, it has also a weighty and tangible sense of its history that is unavoidable. From there it’s a right turn over the Ballachulish Bridge then the long stretch to Fort William, with Loch Linnhe on the left hand side.”

Graham Keilloh is a freelance motorsport journalist whose work covering several motorsport series is published regularly in Autosport and Motorsport News. Graham also writes about F1 for a number of websites including Motorsport Week and Motor Verso.

A4086, Snowdonia, Wales

Chosen by Paul Hadley (MotorVerso.com)

“Visiting the A4086 in Snowdonia, I was impressed by the stunning landscape. The scene was perfect. Evergreen trees lined the hills at either side with a lake at the bottom of the valley and moody skies above.

I explored the region looking for good driving roads. Snowdonia spoilt us in every conceivable way. The A4086 is a formidable challenge with many corners and long straights. You can see from the pictures that everywhere we looked there were rolling hills with endless clouds sweeping over them. Take a look below. You are seeing one of the greatest feats of engineering, in a backdrop of hills that were formed by the last ice age over 10,000 years ago. It’s an incredible sight.”

Paul Hadley is the editor at Motor Verso. He has the job of benchmarking cars against one another in the UK market. Take a read on Motor Verso to learn more.

North Coast 500, Scotland

Chosen by Graham Kellioh (TalkingAboutF1.com)

“A lap of the Highlands that begins and ends at Inverness Castle. Despite the name it’s 516 miles long to be precise, but you’ll likely find yourself covering even more distance as the temptation to stop, look back, take one more photo, often overwhelms. As with many drives in the north of Scotland this requires careful planning, as you’ll go vast stretches without petrol stations or other opportunities to stock up. You’ll likely lose phone reception too. But the sense of being beyond reach seems fitting.

The magisterial part of this ‘lap’ is in the West Highlands. The route takes in the famous, high and winding Bealach na Ba, which upon entering you’ll see signs warning appropriately that it is ‘not advised for learner drivers’ and likely to be ‘impassable’ in wintry conditions. Yet even after that you head through some of the most dazzling mountain scenery in Scotland and more snaking single track road between Ullapool and Durness. The route’s remainder runs along the north coast to John O’Groats then south back to Inverness – this part is more sedate but still scenic with plenty of interesting towns to stop in.”

Graham Keilloh is a freelance motorsport journalist whose work covering several motorsport series is published regularly in Autosport and Motorsport News. Graham also writes about F1 for a number of websites including Motorsport Week and Motor Verso.

If you're planning to see more of the open road as you head towards retirement then be sure to find suitable car insurance for over 50s to ensure you're covered. 

With thanks to our contributors:

 

 

 

 

Jon Bentley (@JonBentley90)
Jon Bentley is the well-loved TV presenter and producer behind BBC 2’s Top Gear (1987-99), Channel 5’s Fifth Gear (2002-4), and Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. Jon is currently busy writing a book on the future of the car, which is expected to be released in 2019.


 

 

 

Graham Kellioh (@TalkingAboutF1)
Graham Kellioh is a freelance motorsport journalist whose work covering several motorsport series is published regularly in Autosport and Motorsport News. Graham also writes abot F1 for websites such as Motorsport Week, Motor Verso and Talking About F1.

Paul Hadley

 

 

 
Paul Hadley (@MotorVerso)
Paul Hadley is the editor at Motor Verso. He has the job of benchmarking cars against one another in the UK market. Take a read on Motor Verso to learn more.

 

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