10 Most Romantic Road Trips in the UK
The landscapes of the UK are incredibly romantic, and a road trip is a jolly good way to explore the postcard-perfect scenery. From rugged Scotland to dramatic Northern Ireland, wild Wales to picturesque England, driving around the UK is a wonderful way to see the sights and soak up its charms.
If you are in a romantic mood though, there are some gorgeous routes where you and your loved one can get lost in the sweeping vistas of the sprawling countryside, stop for a picnic by shimmering lakes and enjoy a hand-in-hand walk across moody moorlands and along captivating coastlines. No matter what your interests are, there’s an inspiring route waiting for you.
So, start your engines, here are the 10 most romantic road trips in the UK.
Cotswolds Romantic Road
North Coast 500
1. Cotswolds Romantic Road, The Cotswolds, England
The most romantic road in Britain is called Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds. Though it doesn’t sound romantic, the road is incredibly darling and perfectly suited for loved-up driving enthusiasts.
The Cotswolds encompasses some of the country's prettiest villages and towns, such as Castle Combe, Chipping Norton and Tetbury. And as you drive from one to the next you can admire the rare limestone grassland habitats and old growth beech woodlands for which the Cotswolds received its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation.
The Cotswolds Romantic Road splits into two loops, but both take you through the elegant Regency town of Cheltenham. The northern loop is known as ‘A Road for Today’ and the southern loop is known as ‘A Road for Tomorrow’. Both routes will take you along twisty, narrow country roads through the picturesque English countryside. Make sure you pack a picnic and stop en route to soak up the sights and sounds of the peaceful surroundings.
2. North Coast 500, Scotland
Dubbed Scotland’s Route 66, the North Coast 500 is a bucket-list road trip for many driving enthusiasts and one of the best coastal driving routes in the world.
This 500-mile (805km) epic road trip whisks you through the evocative, rugged Highland scenery and takes you past historic castles, traditional distilleries, sea caves, sea stacks and deserted beaches. How incredibly romantic. Make sure you park up and get out of the car to fully appreciate the remarkable and beautiful scenery that surrounds you.
Along the route, there are wonderful opportunities to get out on the water and go whale watching, fishing, swimming, and go white water rafting! There’s also plenty of places to stop and sample the local cuisine which is abundant with seafood. As you can see, this is a brilliant road trip for couples who like to embrace the great outdoors, as well as each other.
Cat and Fiddle Road, The Peak District
Antrim Coast Road, County Antrim
3. Cat and Fiddle Road, The Peak District, England
Looking for a route that excites and delights? Then head to the Peak District National Park in central England and take the Cat and Fiddle Road. This road crosses the wild Pennines and is famous for its wonderful vistas across the Greater Manchester conurbation, the Peak District National Park and the Cheshire Plain. It is also famous for its many bends and sharp turns, but that’s what makes it so exciting to drive. Not only will your loved one get your heart rate up, but this road will too! The road is named after the Cat and Fiddle Inn public house, which is at the summit and is the second-highest public house in England.
This road is thoroughly enjoyable to drive as long as you take your time and it’s romantic too.
4. Antrim Coast Road, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
The 385km Antrim Coast Road is a wild and rugged coastal driving route that snakes its way along the glorious County Antrim coastline from Belfast and into Co. Derry. Along the way, you’ll pass loads of places to stop so you can enjoy the sights and attractions of this part of Northern Ireland, as well as stunning views that demand you stop the car and get out and take a photo.
Highlights along the route include historic Belfast city, the remarkable landscape of The Giant’s Causeway, and the heartstopping Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
If you are a couple who like to watch Game of Thrones together, then this route is a great way to bond over your favourite TV show as it takes you past loads of filming locations. Make sure you stop off at the Cushendun Caves which were the background for The Stormlands and plan a stop at beautiful Murlough Bay which also appeared in the show. This is the perfect pitstop for a romantic barefoot stroll along the sand.
Robin Hood's Bay
Black Mountain Road
5. York to Robin Hood's Bay, England
The drive from York to Robin Hood's Bay is one of the most romantic road trips in the UK. This incredibly scenic route takes you through the North York Moors and on to the North Yorkshire coast. Along the way, you’ll experience the unspoilt heather capped moors, chocolate box villages and charming fishing towns.
You’ll also learn about the region’s many literary connections - the captivating landscape of the North York Moors has inspired the imaginations of some wonderful writers including Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, and the Bronte sisters. You can even visit the crumbling farmhouse, thought to be the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s gothic masterpiece, Wuthering Heights.
The route also takes you to Goathland village, which is famous for its railway station which served as Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Then, you continue your romantic road trip to the charming Valley Esk, and then south along the coastal cliff tops to the picturesque old fishing village of Robin Hood's Bay.
6. Black Mountain Road, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Another wonderful route taking in the romantic landscapes of the Brecon Beacons is the A4069 Black Mountain Road. One of the most scenic roads in the UK, this 32km swooping mountain pass winds and undulates up to an elevation of 493 metres and takes you on a magical mystery tour of the western part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
In this remote part of the country, the views are uninterrupted and the sky is, seemingly, neverending. Everything is bright and vivid and the landscape looks untouched, unspoiled, just as it would have been thousands of years ago. The scenery around these parts is heart-stirring, that’s for sure, and is an ideal destination for a romantic road trip in the UK.
There are plenty of places to stop for a picnic, to take photos and to get out and fill your lungs with the clean, fresh mountain air. It is a wonderful place to reconnect with nature and each other.
Lake District National Park
The Dark Hedges, County Antrim
7. Lake District National Park Route, England
Covering 900 sq miles, the Lake District National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful, must-see destination that’s perfect for couples looking for a romantic road trip. As you drive along the windy roads, you can visit 12 of England’s largest lakes as well as Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. There are numerous lovely little towns and villages such as Grasmere, which are perfect places to stop and enjoy a cosy lunch in a traditional pub.
Whilst you are driving you can read poetry to each other, especially those written by the Lakes Poets, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, who lived in Grasmere for 14 years. William Wordsworth called it "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found." Once you take a road trip through these parts, you’ll soon see why. It is terribly enchanting.
8. The Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Though you wouldn’t have guessed it from its name, the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland is actually a very romantic place. Follow the narrow roads through the rolling Northern Irish countryside till you come to the Bregagh Road in County Antrim and park opposite. Here you’ll find the wonderful display of nature - and one of Ireland’s most photographed natural phenomena - known as The Dark Hedges.
First planted in the 18th-century, these trees have, over the centuries, reached across the tarmac to embrace each other - see, we told you it was a romantic place - and have grown into an impressive, twisted tunnel of intertwined beech trees. The road flows underneath these romantic tunnels of hugging trees and it is a very atmospheric spot to enjoy a walk with your loved one, fingers entwined.
The Dark Hedges is at its most romantic in September and October when the leaves are a beautiful bronze colour and shimmer in the afternoon sunshine and the hedges burst into a brilliant banquet of yellow and red which makes for a very pretty scene.
Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint
9. Glasgow to GlenCoe via the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint, Scotland
Travelling from Glasgow, you’ll pass through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park on a road that hugs the banks of the legendary loch - one of the largest lakes in the UK by area. The scenery around here is stunning and there is a breathtaking view around every bend. As you drive, you’ll pass the towering Arrochar Alps before taking a slight detour to the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint in Glen Coe.
Park up at the roadside viewpoint, get out and stretch your legs, and enjoy a picnic as you soak up the jaw dropping vistas. From this viewpoint, you can see the old military road which General Wade constructed in 1750 following the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.
Heading back the way you came, you then make your way through magnificent Glen Coe where towering mountains loom overhead and accompany you as you drive the largely deserted narrow, twisty roads. This is an incredibly cinematic landscape which is why it has been the location for many films including Highlander, Skyfall and the Harry Potter films. Now, it can be part of your own love story.
10. Cardiff to Llandudno, Wales
For a romantic road trip through the wildness-infused landscapes of Wales, follow the 299km A470 road from south coast Cardiff to north coast Llandudno. By following this route, you’ll pass through the painterly surroundings of Snowdonia National Park and the breathtaking Brecon Beacons. This is the longest road in Wales and it is a great way to see the best of the natural beauty for which the country is famous.
This road is perfect for a leisurely drive and, of course, there are plenty of pretty villages where you can stop off for a traditional pub lunch by a roaring fire - one of the highlights of any romantic road trip.
As you drive through the park areas, keep your eyes peeled for some of the wonderful wildlife of the Welsh countryside, including otters, polecats and feral goats in Snowdonia, and the iconic red kite of the Brecon Beacons.