The best bank holiday road trips in the UK

Date Posted 24th May 2024
Read Time 6 min read

This coming Monday (27th May) marks the Spring bank holiday. This is the second bank holiday for May but also the last one for a while (the Summer bank holiday is next up over the last weekend of August).

If you’re at all like half of the Hippo office, this news may have come as a pleasant surprise to you. But whether you’ve just found out you might have Monday off or you’ve had the three-day weekend marked on your calendar for some time now, the real question is, what have you got planned?

If you’re looking for some last-minute inspiration, a bank holiday road trip could be the ticket. The UK’s off-the-beaten-track roads are often criminally overlooked for their beauty, and there are plenty of places around the country where a relaxing bank holiday Sunday drive would be a few hours very well spent.

We’ve picked four of the best for your driving pleasure.

The Lake District, England

Your typical trip through Cumbria’s world-famous mountains may be done on foot with a bit of Kendal Mint Cake in your backpack, but there’s a much easier, yet still extremely picturesque alternative on offer if you’re happy to trade in your hiking boots for four wheels. England’s largest national park spans some 900-plus square miles of luscious green and glassy lakes across the North’s most historic counties, and there are some challenging road routes to match any ramble through the region.

Keswick Loop (via Buttermere and Borrowdale) is a 23-mile whistlestop of some of the Lake District’s best scenery. The sub-nine-mile jaunt between Grasmere and Windermere has a lovely stop-off in Ambleside before running along the stunning perimeter of England’s largest lake. And if you’re looking for a test of your driving mettle, the Coniston Loop will keep you on your toes while taking in some of the region’s more remote treasures.

Equally adept for a week-long or fleeting visit, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more ‘best of British’ location than England’s biggest national park.

Need more info? Take a look at the official Lake District website

The North Coast 500, Scotland

There’s perhaps nowhere more relentlessly beautiful in the UK than the Scottish Highlands, particularly up in the northernmost quarter. Should you be looking for a more committed drive this weekend, the North Coast 500 (or NC500) takes in a spectacular 516-mile loop of the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle.

Dubbed the UK’s Route 66 (although somewhat less weather-friendly for bikers), the NC500 offers a smorgasbord of top-end Scottish postcard material, ranging from the North Coast’s white sands to rugged mountainscapes and hidden villages. You’ll also stop off at the UK mainland’s most northerly point, John o’Groats, which welcomes thousands of visitors a year despite only boasting a population of a few hundred.

Such is the NC500’s reputation as prime driving bucket-list material, you’re likely to send plenty of nice cars along the way, too. It’s recommended you spend the best part of a week taking it all in, but a bank holiday speed run won’t disappoint.

Need more info? Visit the official North Coast 500 website.

Dartmoor National Park, England

Right at the other end of the UK sits Dartmoor. The pride and joy of South Devon offers an expansive tour of changing landscapes, not least dependent on the time of year you visit. One for the driving enthusiast with a penchant for cosy historical villages and stop-offs at old pubs full of friendly locals, there are several routes that can be taken on as standalone day cruises or weekend excursions.

Highlights include the winding moorlands of the B3212 that pass through the likes of North Bovey and Princetown, the scenic B3357 that connects Tavistock to Dartmeet amid the region’s famous tors, and the A386 that creeps along the west side of the moorland with Tavistock and Okehampton along the route. Between these passages, you’ll see the likes of Dartmoor’s most famous tor, Haytor Rocks, and a number of picturesque villages including Postbridge and Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

One for the wildlife spotters, too, Dartmoor is home to free-roaming cattle, sheep and Dartmoor ponies – just make sure you drive carefully as they’re not averse to occasionally straying onto the roads.

Need more info? Visit the official Dartmoor National Park website.

Snowdonia, Wales

We’d be remiss to avoid any mention of the rolling planes of Wales when talking about the best road trips the UK has to offer. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to a showstopping Welsh road trip – journeys around the Brecon Beacons or the Black Mountain pass being a couple of notable highlights. But when it comes to the best landscapes to peruse from the comfort of your car, the peaks of Snowdonia top the list.

Snowdonia offers over 800 square miles of varied scenery, including pathways through nine mountain ranges – none higher or more challenging than a venture around Mount Snowden. Snowden’s peak sits more than a kilometre up, and a road trip around the country’s most famous mountain takes in a catalogue of pastoral hills and valleys along the way, plus a stop off at the best village Snowdonia has to offer in Beddgelert.

Visitors from England can take the A5 starting in Llangollen and see some rather spectacular views on their way to Snowdonia, too.

Need more info? Visit the official Snowdonia National Park website.

Upgrade your driving experience with a new lease

Whether it’s a bank holiday road trip or the daily commute to work, life’s that little bit better spent behind the wheel of a car you love. Incidentally, we love helping people find great lease deals on whatever car they fancy – and we’d love to help you, too.

Take a look at our full car leasing range to start your journey towards better road trips, school runs and drives to the shops today.

Got a question? Speak to a member of our team.

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