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Britain's most beautiful drives
  • There's no arguing that the 30-mile stretch of road (the A591) between Kendal and Keswick is spectacular. This is the only road that runs through the heart of the Lake District's National Park, and meanders past no fewer than five lakes on the way, as well as dozens of peaks and meadows and Grasmere, Wordsworth's stomping ground.

  • Wind your way through the rugged Northern Sperrins in Derry and County Tyrone for dramatic landscapes, rural towns and meandering rivers. Start at the bustling market town of Garvagh and follow the B64 to Dungiven, with its impressive castle. Then take off to the scenic stretch of coast in Coleraine called Downhill, in County Antrim, which spans all the way from Castlerock to Malligan Point. The miles of sand and sea are backed by dramatic cliffs and waterfalls. Look out for the 18th century Mussenden Temple, perched on the clifftop.

  • You can't beat the drive from Loch Lomond up to Glencoe (the A83 and A82). It takes you along the water's edge before leading into the Argyll Forest Park as well as the spectacular Trossachs National Park. If you have time, stop off at the Coach House Coffee shop in Luss. In Glencoe, the Clachaig has a nice beer garden with incredible views of the Pap of Glencoe.

  • Drive along the edge of the Cotswolds Hills on the wide but well-surfaced B4632 to the viewpoint on Stockwell Common to admire the Malvern Hills across the Vale of Gloucester. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Black Mountains in Wales. Then descend to Winchcombe and stop off at the impressive Sudely Castle and the ruined Hailes Abbey.

  • Running through the heart of the Peaks, the drive from Buxton to Macclesfield is known as the 'Cat and Fiddle' road because of the pub at the summit. The road rises high into the Peak District National Park, with amazing views all the way. The twisting turns mean it's also rather hazardous. We urge driving with caution.

  • Named as one of the UK's greatest natural wonders, the Cheddar Gorge a perfect spot for driving just for the pleasure of it. Meander along the B3135 to take in 27 cliffs and an impressive diversity of vegetation. Anyone interested in rock climbing or cave exploration will find lots of places to stop. Climb out of Cheddar, navigating tight twists and shards of rock for three miles or so before the scenery opens up. This road gets busy, so do it early morning or out of season for best effect.

  • The A272 is one of the most fascinating and scenic drives in the country. Start at Uckfield and enjoy the miles of undulating hills, winding country roads and woodland. Highlights include the Sussex Weald (pictured) with its spectacular views, and the beautiful Ouse and Itchen Valleys. Sheffield Park Gardens and the wonderful Bluebell Railway are both places to linger.

  • Cross the Berwyn mountain on the road connecting Welshpool and Bala (the A490, which becomes the B439). You'll pass through quaint villages and take in lovely valley and mountain views as the road wiggles along the edge of Snowdonia's National Park (pictured). If you get as far as Llandudno, don't miss the Marine Drive, a four-mile trip around the base of the Great Orme headland. It's a toll road, but the charge includes parking.

  • The long and winding road along the north Cornwall coast, aka the Atlantic Highway, is a must. For 165 glorious miles between Barnstaple in Devon to Newquay, this wild ride takes you through some of England's most dramatic coastline, and is easy to follow. Don't miss the drama of Bedruthan Steps (pictured) and Constantine Bay near Padstow (the B276), and the private toll road to the lighthouse at Trevose Head. On your way back, the A395 to explore the brooding landscape of Bodmin Moor.

  • The drive from Penrith to Haydon Bridge has been named by the AA as one of the best drives in the world, and anyone who has done this will know why. From Penrith, take the A686 and climb to Membery, stopping at the Hartside Top Cafe to admire the view – on a clear day you can see as far as the Solway Firth in Scotland. Continue on to Alston (the highest market town in England) and then over the spectacular Pennines before descending to Haydon Bridge. From here, you can head north to visit Hadrian's Wall.