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Spectacular road trips in England


Whether you live in England and are looking for great locations to take a weekend drive, or you’re visiting on holiday and would like to see the best scenery the country has to offer, in our latest blog we look at some of the best road trips in England.

The A686 from Haydon Bridge to Penrith (Northumberland and Cumbria)

The 37 mile route from Haydon Bridge in Northumberland to Penrith in Cumbria combines beautiful scenery with epic views and takes around an hour and ten minutes to drive.

It’s widely recognised as a spectacular journey with the AA naming it one of the best drives in Britain and the route also featuring in Top Gear’s Top 10.

You can reach the A696 from Newcastle by driving west on the A69, and then turning left as you approach Haydon Bridge.

The route takes you through several areas of interest, starting with the Allen Valleys, an area of outstanding natural beauty surrounded by fells and moors. You’ll drive over the Cupola Bridge, an 18th century Grade II listed building which crosses the West Allen river, before heading into Cumbria and upwards towards the heights of Hartside Summit, which offers spectacular views across the Lake District.

The Snake Pass (Derbyshire)

The Snake Pass is located on the A57 road where it crosses the Pennines between Manchester and Sheffield, with the Pass itself generally considered to be the section between Glossop and Ladybower Reservoir.

Reaching nearly 1700 feet above sea level at its highest point, the route offers fantastic views and beautiful scenery, especially at the start where the road descends into Glossop.

Whilst the Pass derives its name from a building along its route - the Snake Inn - it’s a rather fitting name for the road, which twists and turns its way through the Pennines.

The main part of the route between Glossop and Ladybower Reservoir is 14 miles long and should only take just over 20 minutes to drive, though should be driven with care. Conditions can deteriorate in adverse weather and the road is known to be a hotspot for accidents.

Buttertubs Pass (Yorkshire)

While only 5.5 miles long, the route along Buttertubs Pass from Thwaite to Hawes in North Yorkshire is rightly regarded as one of the most breathtaking drives in the country – with none other than Jeremy Clarkson calling it ‘England’s only truly spectacular road’!

The route passes through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and combines dramatic scenery with steep climbs, rapid descents, and challenging corners. It’s certainly not a road for the novice driver! The Pass derives its name from the limestone potholes that have formed in the rock; it’s said that farmers would store butter in them during the summer when they were heading to their local market.

You can start the drive in Thwaite, just off the B6270, driving south along Cliff Gate Road and ascending for a couple of miles until you reach the stunning views at the peak of the Pass. You’ll then pass through High Shaw and Simonstone before reaching Hawes and whilst the drive only takes about ten minutes, it’s definitely a route to add to your list.

Cheddar Gorge (Somerset)

14 miles long and taking just under half an hour to drive, this route starts east of the village of Cheddar and runs through the beautiful Somerset countryside to the village of Ashwick.

The drive comprises three main sections. The first section, which runs through the steep cliffs of the gorge, is a twisting route which will require your full concentration. After four miles the second section of the route becomes a less challenging drive, as the tight turns of the gorge change into wide, sweeping bends. The third and final section of the route is even easier to drive, with long straight sections of road taking you quickly to your destination in Ashwick.

A beautiful, varied drive, the Cheddar Gorge is another amazing route for you to experience.

We hope you enjoyed our round up of some of England’s best drives. If you’d like to hire a car and drive these amazing routes yourself, Mayday Vehicle Rentals has a wide range of vehicles that would be just right for the trip. Contact us today to find out more.