Five of the Most Beautiful Drives in the British Isles
At Momentum, we help people learn how to drive. But today’s post is geared toward some of the things that make driving worth-while. The UK and Ireland are full of beautiful drives and stunning scenery and sometimes you’ve got to slow down enough to enjoy it from the driver’s seat.
Everyone has their favourite, but what follows is our list of five of the most beautiful driving routes in the British Isles.
Route A9 Through the Cairngorms
Route A9 actually starts in Stirling, but the scenery becomes dramatic as you pass through Perth and then head north all the way to Inverness as it cuts through the Scottish Highlands and the stunning Cairngorms National Park. It is filled with waterfalls, majestic misty mountains, rustic Whisky distilleries, and — in the late springtime — “yellow on the broom.” This trip will take nearly 2.5 hours with no stops. But with amazing vistas and boutique distilleries around every turn, you will definitely want to make a stop or two.
“King’s Road” from “Game of Thrones” is a Real Place
Back in the late 1700s, the Stuart Family planted hundreds of beech trees to line the 2000-foot long path leading up to Gracehill House — their estate near the town of Ballymoney. Today, “The Dark Hedges” is a public road in Northern Ireland that looks like it was plucked from a movie set. In fact, it is still one of the most popular sites to shoot footage for TV shows and the cinema … and you can see it for yourself.
The Glenshane Pass
Route A6 from Belfast to Londonderry is often shrouded with mist — adding an otherworldly mystery to the journey. The road climbs suddenly into the Sperrin Mountains, revealing narrow valleys and steep drops that have been used by smugglers and rouges for hundreds of years. It is even named after Shane Crossagh Ó Maoláin — a notorious highwayman who worked these narrow valleys circa 1800. Today it is a breath-taking drive in Northern Ireland that seems to transport the driver back in time.
The Lake District
Over the last two million years, five major glaciations (ice ages) have successively carved through the huge geologic mastiff that is now called The Lake District. What we see today is a series of pristine lakes, rugged mountains, and quaint towns dotted through one of England’s largest national parks located in Cumbria. There are several gorgeous routes through the region, but we suggest heading north on A713 from New Galloway to Ayr … and take your time doing it.
Dartmoor National Park sits squarely in the middle of Devonshire. You’ll pass 500-year-old castles, streams, jagged tors, and sky-blue lakes in these ancient moorlands. There are also dozens of prehistoric sites and mysterious standing stones that still whisper the incantations of the Druids who —legend has it — stood them there long before the age of the Romans. Take rural route B3212 west out of Devon as it rises into the mountains. As you cross the park from east to west you will eventually descend into the town of Yelverton. From there, Route A386 will guide you into Plymouth. This scenic route will take more than twice as long as the modern highway (A38), but it is worth every minute of it.
That’s our list of five of the most beautiful driving routes in the British Isles. It’s now up to you get get out there and see them for yourself.