Driving can be so much more than a means of getting from A to B. For many, the thought of driving for fun would seem like an absurd pastime. But, as driving enthusiasts we know the thrill of a good B-road blast on a sunny day. This article will give you a definitive run down, in no particular order, of the best driving roads in the UK.
B3135 – Cheddar Gorge
Best for: Howling Exhaust Notes
This 13-mile stretch, south of Bristol, takes you through the Cheddar Gorge and emerges onto some wonderful open straights. I recommend you start this one early or late in the evening as the gorge gets very busy during the day with tourist traffic. I hit this road at 5am in the summer just as the sun rose when there was not another car to be seen The bellow of the exhaust as it bounced of the walls of the gorge was unbeatable and definitely helps to secure this road as one of the 10 best.
Butter tubs Pass
Best for: Adrenaline Junkies
Buried deep within the Yorkshire Dales this 5.5-mile B-road will test any driver to the limit. The corners are sharp and sudden and the road sits on the edge of a sheer drop with nothing more than a steel cable to stop you plunging to the depths. The road can be picked up in Twaite and heads towards Simonstone. I challenge anyone who drives it not to turn around and go back!
Best for: Avoiding the motorway
Not far from the M6, heading to the Lake District, is this gem of a route. Not only does it offer a great alternative to the motorway, it also gives travellers some amazing views of the Ribblehead viaduct and train station. It covers 16 miles on the B6255 between Ingleton and Hawes. This route could be enjoyed all year round but I find it best during the summer.
Best for: Fast cornering
This beautifully smooth 20-mile stretch of tarmac rides high over the hills of the Peak District and is a fantastic way to get between Manchester and Sheffield. The road is named after the Snake Inn which makes a great stop off point and meeting place for car and bike clubs. Beware, however, this road has a history of accidents and on a most days you will find a high police presence. Nevertheless bundles of fun can be had well within the speed limit. I was lucky to use this road on a quiet day and it is very addictive!
Best for: Club Meets
If the Snake Pass leaves you wanting more then the ‘Oopnurthring’ adds an extra 30 miles and creates a loop around the Peak District. It’s a popular run for owners’ clubs. With only a few built up areas, the run is mainly open countryside which not only promises great driving but also outstanding views. If you are travelling this way, I strongly recommend you to detour and experience this route.
Best for: Gradients
Heading north from the Peak District, The Kirkstone Pass can be found within the heart of the Lake District. The road reaches altitudes up to 1400 feet and gradients of 1 in 4. Not for the feint hearted; drivers will have to contend with hikers, fords and the odd sheep. The road surface isn’t that great and can be very slippery due to water falls in the hills. To find the road, head to Ambleside and look for the A592 signposted ‘The Struggle’.
Image credit: Google streetview
Black Mountain Pass
Best for: Power slides
Wales is a fantastic place for driving roads but one that really stands out is the Black Mountain Pass. It’s a 27-mile A-road that wrinkles through the Brecon Beacons reaching altitudes of 1600 feet. The A4069 features sharp cambered corners and hairpins which will test the handling of even the best cars and bikes. Beware of hidden speed traps and farm vehicles!
Image credit: Google streetview
Best for: Wannabe rally drivers
The road of choice for many motoring magazines, this 20-mile loop was made famous by the writers of Evo magazine. A mixture of three different roads offer up fantastic rollercoaster like sensations through acres of rolling countryside of the Denbigh Moors. There are very few distractions along the route and visibility is fantastic allowing for safe and enthusiastic fun. To find the route, head to Cerrigydrudion, pick up the A5 and head to Pentrefoelas. Then turn right into the A543 follow this until you find the B4501 which will lead you back to the start.
A29 – Arundel
Best for: Beginners
Yet be be given a nickname, this less famous route goes deep through the forests and woods of the South Downs. You will find narrow high-speed straights and tight cambered corners giving a real edge of the seat experience. This route is most busy at the time of the Goodwood festival of speed and it is the most direct route for the southbound M25 travellers. There are a few ways to get between the A272 and the A27 but this is by far the best.
A507 – Baldock to Buntingford
Best for: Breakfast
This road is the best the South East has to offer, in fact its all the South East has to offer. Start your drive with a breakfast at the Silver Ball café on the A10 in Buntingford, then it’s 8 miles of perfection with a handy roundabout at the end should you feel the need to turn round and go back. During the summer this road and the surrounding ones are heavily used by car and bike clubs.
These roads are just a selection of the many this country has to offer. Don’t let your car waste away sitting in traffic on the motorway, let it stretch its legs and explore our vast land, after all…. our road taxes pay for it.
As always please share your experiences, suggestions and comments.