THE TOP 5 MOST SCENIC DRIVES IN ENGLAND
William Blake called it “this green and pleasant land”. Shakespeare trumpeted the virtue of “this sceptered isle”. Saint George’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the glorious English countryside, and in celebration we’ve put together a list of the five greatest scenic drives in the country. We’d love to hear what you think, tweet @fuelgenie with your favourite drives.
Kendal-Keswick (A591) - Lake District
There’s only one road running straight through the Lake District National Park - and it’s arguably the best drive in Britain if you’re looking for some spectacular natural beauty. You’ll pass Windermere, Grasmere and Thurlmere on the way, plus dozens of majestic peaks.
Look to the right as you pass the southern edge of Thurlmere, heading north, for outstanding views of Helvellyn. Travellers driving south, from Keswick to Kendal, will be rewarded with the best angle from which to see the Langdale Pikes (on your right as you approach Grasmere).
Cheddar-Cheddar Gorge (B3135) - Somerset
For heart-stopping clifftop views, you can’t beat the B3135 at Cheddar Gorge. An initially steep climb away from the village is extremely twisty, with the road navigating sharp spurs of rock and tight bends. When the vista opens up three miles in though, all the tricky driving is instantly made worthwhile. The Gorge’s 27 cliffs march into the distance, rivalling any roadside view in the country.
Barnstaple-Newquay (A39 Atlantic Highway) - Devon/Cornwall
The South West is famed for two things: a micro climate so different from the rest of the UK it supports the growth of palm trees, and the rugged Atlantic coastline. You’ll benefit from both on the 77-mile stretch of the A39 between Barnstaple in Devon and Newquay in Cornwall.
Drive past rolling fields, through villages whose streets are dotted with wavy-headed palms and along the most famous coastal route in Britain. Highlights include Constantine Bay, and the chance to see the country’s biggest waves at the Cribbar.
Prestbury-Winchcombe (B4632) - Cotswolds
The short route from Prestbury to Winchcombe (just 14 minutes) takes in some of the most beautiful countryside in Gloucestershire. Driving north from Prestbury, you’ll pass through Southam and Cleeve Hill before taking in the far-reaching views from Stockwell Common. From here, the Malverns wander across the landscape, with the Welsh Black Mountains completing the picture.
Stockwell Common is the highest point on the route, which glides down into the Cotswolds village of Winchcombe. Bring a picnic, and while away some hours in the ruins of Hailes Abbey, or step back in time with a visit to the impressive Sudeley Castle.
Cheltenham-Stratford upon Avon (B4632) - Cotswolds
William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about English beauty. His home town is the finishing point for this glorious stretch of road, which carries the traveller through 35 miles of classic Bard country. Generally light traffic along the route (the neighbouring A46 bears much of the brunt between Cheltenham and Stratford upon Avon) gives you plenty of time to admire the rolling fields and forests that inspired Shakespeare’s immortal lines. Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!
If that’s got you inspired too, let us know what your own favourite English scenic drives are. Follow us at @fuelgenie