The best post lockdown road trips

If there’s one thing we all have missed during the pandemic, it’s being able to just jump in the car and take off wherever we want to go. Local and national restrictions have meant that travel was restricted to essential reasons only, meaning you couldn’t even take your car to the next county unless you had a valid reason such as work or for care. 

So as lockdowns in the UK begin to ease and restrictions are lifted, you may be planning on packing your car up and heading out on the road for a little holiday. Overnight stays in self-catered accommodation where indoor facilities are not shared with other households (including Airbnbs and campsites) opened on April 12 meaning families can now head out for a break together. And from May 17 hostels, hotels and B&Bs will all be able to open again, too making that road trip even more of a possibility if you fancy stopping off overnight en-route.

So, with everything crossed for the smooth rollout of the roadmap out of lockdown, here are Nationwide Hire’s top five UK road trip destinations get the holiday vibes stirred and your feet itching!

1. The Atlantic Highway, England

The Tintagel coastThe Tintagel coast

Best time to go: Summer months when the days are longer and to make the most of this coastal route

How long to go for: At least five days to make the most of all the beautiful locations

The route: The Atlantic highway (or the A39 in its more mundane form) is a stretch of road that beautifully weaves together the three counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Known for its almost continuous views of Atlantic Ocean, the stretch of road between Barnstaple and Fraddon (the true part of the Atlantic Highway) is only part of what makes this trip so amazing. The route takes in such picturesque places such as Bude, Tintagel and Padstow. Explore the paradise like beaches, stop off for a cream tea, or just walk and take in some of the most beautiful countryside you will ever see.

Perfect for: People who love the coast and fans of Doc Martin

2. Yorkshire and the North York Moors

Whitby harbour Whitby harbour

Best time to go: Autumn when the colours start to change

How long to go for: Four or five days should give you the time you need

The route: The North York Moors National Park is one of the starkest landscapes on the British Isles as well as one of the largest heather moorlands in the England beautiful, this vast park offers some amazing walking routes with incredible views, wildflowers and wildlife. Top this off with a string of historic fishing villages along the coast such as Whitby and Scarborough, market town Malton further inland with its artisan bakeries and cheese shops and historic York and you should have a plethora of nostalgia and beauty to see you through

3. Pass of Glencoe

Glencoe, ScotlandGlencoe, Scotland

Best time to go: September to avoid the crowds

How long to go for: Two or three days to take it all in

The route: Scotland is a vast place and to see it all or do it justice you need a decent amount of time. This route on our list is one that you would probably do on a much longer trip but the stretch of the A82 known as the Glencoe Pass is a stretch of road that any self-respecting road-tripper would make sure they had driven. Views and bendy roads like this are thought to be confined to further shores, but the pass’ jaw-dropping vistas, hidden lochans, hair-raising bends and view of Buachaille Etive Mòr make it a piece of road to be travelled. With Glencoe village on the shore of Loch Leven at the end of it and Fort William just a little further up the A82, this is a trip you should definitely put on your calendar.

Perfect for: People who love mountain walks and wild camping

4. Causeway Coastal route, Northern Ireland

Portnaboe bay north antrim cliff from great stookan giants causeway Portnaboe Bay North Antrim Cliff from Great Stookan Giants Causeway

Best time to go: Summer to make the most of the longer days and sunsets

How long to go for: Five or six days to give you time

The route: The raw beauty of this coastal route is reason alone to take this trip. But with some of the most dramatic coastlines, spectacular ruins and UNESCO Heritage Sites you won’t be short of things to see and do across 195-mile passage from Derry to Belfast. Stop off at the Giants Causeway, a nature-made monument formed 50 to 60 million years ago. Pop in for some whisky tasting at Irelands oldest working distillery, the Old Bushmills Distillery. Or head for the the dramatic Cushendun Caves. With this, and more, it is certainly a trip that you will never forget and one you may have to take again and again.

Perfect for: Avid Game of Thrones fans and medieval ruins

5. The Black Mountain Pass, Wales

Brecon Beacons, Wales Brecon Beacons, Wales

Best time to go: When the weather is good for the best driving conditions 

How long to go for: Two days 

The route: Out of all our routes, this is probably the shortest and the one most geared towards those who love being behind the wheel of a car. Its popularity exploded after (ex) Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson drove a Mercedes AMG SLK across it, earning it the nickname the Top Gear road. Now, the hair-raising hairpin bends, abundance of switchbacks and steep climbs and descents have made it a favourite for test drivers and tourists alike. Twisting, climbing and dipping for nearly 20miles between Llandovery and Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen in the Brecon Beacons National Park, this road is not for the nervous driver, but a definite must if you want jaw-dropping views and landscape combined with roads that are there to be driven.

Perfect for: Driving enthusiasts