The British countryside is famous the world over for its breath-taking scenery. Yet, as is so often the case, many of us have never really explored the wonders that are on our own doorstep. However, with rising travel costs, the pound at record lows, and all the other concerns over international travel at the moment, this could be the perfect time to put that right.  

“Staycations,” as they are known, whereby you spend your holiday close to home, have become far more popular over recent years, and how better to explore the countryside than with a summer drive on one of the following classic routes?

The wonders of Scotland

If you have never experienced the Scottish landscape and scenery, you are in for a treat, and nowhere more so than on the spectacular 200-mile trip that takes you from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. The route passes Loch Lomond and takes you through the Trossachs National Park and then on into the Highlands. The further you progress, the better it gets, as the roads open up and the traffic thins out.

North Wales – the Evo Triangle

If you are something of a petrol head, then this is one that you just can't miss – the route is only 20 miles long, but it certainly packs plenty of smiles per mile. Starting in the small hamlet of Cerrigydrudion, it takes in a spectacular reservoir followed by some twisty roads with amazing views across the Welsh landscape. However, the coup de grâce is “Gearbox Hill,” where Austin used to performance-test its cars in the pre-war years.

Peak District – Snake Pass

The Peak District is full of wonderful scenery and picturesque villages, but the highlight of any road trip is the famous Snake Pass. Starting just to the east of Glossop, it climbs up into the Pennines between Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, reaching a height of more than 500 metres above sea level. It then crosses the Pennine Way, before descending through a beautiful forest landscape to Ladybower Reservoir. The name of the route is often assumed to derive from its twisty nature, but it is actually named after the Snake Inn, one of the few buildings on the entire stretch, and an excellent place to stop for refreshments.

South Downs – Horsham

Venturing further south, our next drive is in the UK's newest National Park, the South Downs, and it remains something of a well-kept secret. The route from Horsham to Winchester takes you through southern England's unique landscape across two counties and passes the stunning Petworth House, which is well worth a visit.

Across the sea to the Irish Coast

If you think you've seen it all, how about a ferry across to Ireland to drive the Causeway Coastal Route? The road follows the coastline for 120 miles between Belfast and Londonderry, and there is something new to see every mile of the way. One of the highlights is the Giant’s Causeway at Bushmills, home of the famous distillery – a perfect place to stop for the night and sample that famous Irish hospitality. 

Five best UK summer drives