If you’re looking for some of the best driving roads in England, look no further than the Cotswolds. Around here it is definitely about knowing where to find them though, as well as knowing what you want from your day.
This West Country drive starts in the most northerly part and continues down to Somerset. The landscape transforms completely, and it has been one of our club members’ favourite drives for how different it is from other parts of the UK.
The route starts with the highest road in one area and ends with you driving through a gorge. The whole drive takes around four hours, so could easily split across two or three days to give you plenty of time to visit all of the interesting locations along the way.
If you’re travelling with kids or dogs, this will also give you plenty of activities friendly for either or both of these groups. From walks, to museums, village and city day trips or even cave experiences. And, finally, for those who are still planning to venture to Devon or Cornwall this summer then this route could be an ideal alternative to sitting in traffic on the M5 – or at least less time on it!
Start at the Classic Motor Hub
If you love cars and you haven’t been to the Classic Motor Hub yet I would highly recommend it. Not only is the food wonderful, but you can park up and look around two incredible showrooms of some seriously rare classic cars. Being able to grab breakfast and coffee makes it a perfect start to the day – but be warned, you might not want to leave.
This route begins by heading north to the Cotswold villages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Broadway in a loop. If you get on the A429 it’ll take you there quicker, but this is why I mention knowing what you want from the day. If you want a lazier day then split this journey in two to give you more time in each location.
Each village has its own merits, with Cotswold stone buildings giving their chocolate box looks. Bourton-on-the-Water is known for being like a little Venice in the Cotswolds with its canals and also has its own motoring museum. If you do them in the order mentioned, get on the A424 towards Broadway from Stow and prepare for the sweeping bends of Fish Hill.
Crickley Hill Country Park
This has become one of the top destinations to visit for our members as it gives you an incredible view over the whole of Gloucestershire. Stick the Rising Sun Hotel into your sat-nav from Broadway, which will put you on the B4632. This is not only a great driving road from start to finish, but also takes you to the highest road in Gloucestershire – Cleeve Hill.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stop for food, either book yourself into the Rising Sun and sit in the pub garden enjoying the view or head down to Crickley Hill Country Park where there’s also a cafe. When you reach Cheltenham, get on the B4075 and just before you see signs to join the A417 or the Air Balloon pub there’s a turning for Crickley Hill. You can drive all the way to the bottom of the car park, walk up a small hill to enjoy the view of the whole county.
From here your sat-nav will keep trying to take you on the M5 but you want to stay in the Cotswolds. Take the B4070 to Stroud and then A46/Bath Road from here. You’ll reach a crossroads and traffic lights by a B&Q, and want to turn left onto Watkins Hill. It will look like you’re in a residential area but trust me, as you’re soon thrown out into the middle of the countryside.
Keep following the hill and then turn right when you get to a confusing section with five roads to choose from. You’ll know you’ve gone the right way if you soon reach a series of sharp bends. If you’re driving you probably won’t want to look up from this winding road but make sure your passengers check out the spectacular view. From the bottom of the hill, rejoin Bath Road for more bends and stick Castle Combe in as your next stop.
If you’re into your racing, you could plan this route around a visit to Castle Combe Race Circuit for either a race or car show. There’s usually plenty to choose from! If you’re not, this still takes you on some beautiful countryside and roads as we head into Somerset. If you’re looking for more of a city escape then Bath and Bristol are both easily accessible on this route.
As I mentioned at the start, as you head further south you’ll notice a change in the way the buildings and villages look. They still have a historic British feel but a different look. On our route, we skirt around Bath getting on the A39 and then A368 towards Bishop Sutton and look out for signs for Cheddar. You’ll come to a crossroads with a sign pointing you off the A368 and towards it.
Once you see the Wellsway Inn on your right, take the next right onto Shire Lane and then the next left. Follow the B3372 until the road ends and turn right to get onto Cliff Road. Here the winding road to Cheddar Gorge begins. You’ll notice the hills start to grow by the side of the road before the rocky face of the gorge appears. Make sure you stop to grab some pictures in one of the parking places.
If you’re looking for things to do in the area, Cheddar Caves or Wookey Hole Caves are a great experience for all of the family and Glastonbury is also not far from here.
Photo credit: Kevin Bennett
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Interested in more UK Road Trips? Then check out the below –
We have teamed up with the awesome team over at The Road Trip Club to bring you some of the best road trips here in this very country. The Road Trip Club love the open road, finding new places and travelling by car, to find out more about the club head on over to - https://www.roadtripclub.co.uk/
August 20, 2021