Do you remember when you first got your driving licence? Making any excuse to get behind the wheel and just driving for the sheer joy of it? For most of us, that initial excitement wanes in the faces of soul-destroying commutes, endless traffic jams and ever-increasing fuel bills.
Our new year’s resolution is to re-kindle our passion for driving, and we’ve come up with some of the best driving roads the UK has to offer, so you too can inject some fun into your motoring life. Whether you prefer a challenging stretch of tarmac to pit your wits against, or simply a road framed by stunning vistas, you’re sure to find plenty of both below.
If you’ve got to traverse the length of Wales, the A470 is a much more entertaining option that the drudgery of the M5/M6 combo. Snaking through the stunning scenery of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks the road has both narrow, twisting tarmac and sweeping stretches that will challenge even the most committed driver.
Running along the Black Mountain range in the Brecon Beacons, the A4069 was one of Wales’ best-kept secrets until Jeremy Clarkson featured it on a Top Gear road test. Start at Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and follow all the way to Llangadog. Just try not to have an accident while you’re gawping at the landscape.
Named after the performance car magazine that uses the loop as a testing ground, this route is as demanding as you could hope for. Start on the A453 Northbound, just off the A5. Turn right onto the B4501 and follow it South until you’re back on the A5. Repeat until your senses can take no more (or you run out fuel).
The Snake Pass is amongst Britain’s best-known driving roads, which can mean traffic to contend with at peak times. Climbing over the tallest hills of the Peak District, the A57 links Manchester and Sheffield and is a real test of your car’s mettle.
A narrow B road that winds its way through the Dales, the Buttertubs Pass is characterised by fast, sweeping straights punctuated by sharp turns that run along some sheer drops, so it’s worth doing a couple of runs to familiarise yourself before a fully committed drive.
A circuit route giving a full view of the stunning Elan Valley. Start at Rhayader and follow the B4518 South towards Elan Village. Keep to this road as it loops North through the valley, and passes both the Penygarreg and Craig Goch reservoirs, before eventually turning back towards Rhayader.
This route takes in the best of the Scotland’s Southern Uplands. It is varied as it is breathtaking, passing St. Mary’s Loch, before rising 1000ft above sea level. Follow the A708 from Moffat towards Selkirk, and then take the A707 and A72 to Castlecraig. Follow the A702 to junction 13 of the A74(M) which takes you back to Moffat.
The Cat & Fiddle – the collective name for the parts of the A53, A54 and A537 linking Macclesfield and Buxton – is amongst one of the most dangerous routes in the UK, meaning caution should be taken, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with its rollercoaster ride of blind corners and fast altitude changes. Those brave enough to tackle it will find it a blast.
Stretching 100 miles through the picturesque Highlands from Invergarry to the Isle of Skye, the A87 is ideal for those looking for a driving adventure. Passing through remote countryside, it can feel like you’re on another planet.
Driving from Hampshire to East Sussex may not seem the most inspired of journeys, but the A272 from Uckfield to Winchester is recommended by the experienced road testers of Autocar magazine, which means it’ll have everything a keen driver could hope for. Caution is advised however, as the road often plays host to errant sheep and the occasional police speed trap – neither of which you’ll want to run into at speed.
December 24, 2013