We love a good road trip at any time of year, but Autumn really lends itself to those breathtaking views and roads windswept with golden leaves.
Thanks to our change in seasons, now is a great time to buckle up for an adventure, and whether you’re planning a day trip or weekend away, here are some of our favourite routes in the UK to really see the full effects of Autumn.
South Down National Park and the New Forest
Some of the best kept secrets of our beautiful landscape emerge at this time of year, and the South Downs are no exception. Covering an area of over 600 miles in southern England, the National Park covers the chalk hills of this region and part of the western Weald, with its heavily wooded sandstone and clay hills and vales. Hidden in this rolling landscape are a number of quirky hidden gems which make for the perfect ‘get out and explore’ trip. Stop in Slindon to experience their famous Pumpkin display, a fun, free festival running throughout October. And from a taste of Autumn to a touch of history, make a stop at Petworth House or Gilbert White’s House to try some of their wonderful events ranging from nature drawing workshops to wizard academies!
Whether you’re just passing through, or planning a day out, the South Downs is not one to be missed when planning a road trip.
North Wales; Dee Valley and Clwydian Range
It’s not called an ‘Area Of Natural Beauty’ for nothing; Clwydian Range and Dee Valley is the scenic gateway of North Wales, embracing some of the UK’s most wonderful landscapes. Almost touching the coast at Prestatyn Hillside in the north and stretching as far south as the remote Berwyn Mountains, it covers 390 square kilometres of windswept hilltops, heather moorland, limestone crags and wooded valleys.
The ruins of Castell Dinas Bran sit atop a hill, dominating the valley near Llangollen; a small town situated on the River Dee, ‘where Wales welcomes the World’. And what a way to welcome visitors, with some unforgettable views on approach. The towns and villages are the heartbeat of the region, full of great places to shop, eat and explore.
Windermere Circuit, Lake District
The Lake District is an amazing place to visit at any time of the year, but never more so than in Autumn. A drive of contrasts around England’s largest lake, Windermere, visits some of the most popular attractions in Lakeland, and also some relatively remote and peaceful parts on the western shore. The scenery is second to none throughout this 31-mile loop. Start at Waterhead, Ambleside and head towards Esthwaite water, through Hawkshead village and looping back round to where you started. This entire drive is bordered by scenic views and has multiple stopping points where you can pull up to take in the view. Plan a pit stop at Latterbarrow where the higher elevation give you a chance to look out across almost all of Windermere’s water.
The North Coast 500, Scotland
As the name would suggest, the North Coast 500 or NC500 is a 500-mile road-trip that circles the north of Scotland. The roads are much quieter in the Autumn than in Summer, but the main reasons to travel at this time of year are the colours and the views. This route deserves a little TLC, and is best enjoyed slowly with more time to explore. Alternatively you could embark on a (long) day’s drive, but this doesn’t leave many chances to get out and explore. The route way runs to and from Inverness, venturing round the capital of the Highlands, up the West Coast and back via the rugged north coast. You can now plan a whole host of itinerary’s on the official website here, where you can also become a member!
The Sperrin Mountains, Northern Ireland
The Sperrins are Northern Ireland’s most extensive mountain range and can be explored on four scenic driving routes (North, South, East and Central), which were included in National Geographic’s prestigious list back in 2012! With dramatic landscapes, rivers teaming with life, mountains, valleys, forests, lakes and whole host of indoor and outdoor pursuits, there really is something for everyone. Spend the morning taking in the scenery and plan to stop for lunch at An Creagan Visitor centre, which was designed to mirror the archaeological site of the area and lets you step back in time. Continue to follow the Central Sperrins Route, along the Glenelly Valley. The valley is carved by the glacial flows of the Ice Age and features picturesque walking and cycling routes, should you fancy stopping. These are just a couple of ideas, but you can find different routes and activities here.
There you have it, our top five favourite Autumn drives! Comment below if you’ve got a favourite we haven’t mentioned…