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North Coast 500
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The 15 most Instagrammed road trips in the UK

Get behind the wheel to find these photo-worthy driving routes and dreamy roadside views in the UK

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott

There’s nothing quite like exploring a country by car, as long as you have the time to swerve monotonous motorways and take to tarmac less travelled. In the UK, you can easily drive from the heart of a capital city like London to a medieval village, an ancient woodland or a deserted sandy beach – and, no surpise, the journeys are photogenic ones. 

Here are arguably the best of the bunch: the most Instagrammed road trips, or stretches of road, in the UK, based on the number of times the road was tagged in an Instagram post. They range from the northenmost edges of mainland Scotland to the coastal road that sweeps through the counties of Devon and Cornwall. Let’s hit the road.  

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1. North Coast 500, Scotland

A scenic route taking in just over 500 miles of stunning Scottish landscapes, the NC500 is one of the best roadtrips on the planet – and the most Instagrammed in the UK. It’s a loop through the Highlands, starting and ending at Inverness Castle, which takes in incredible deserted beaches, glassy lochs and heather-covered peaks. The route is studded with castles, whisky distilleries and roadside eateries, too.  

How long does it take? Around 14 hours (though most people take 7 to 10 days to complete the route.) 

2. Cheddar Gorge, England

The road that runs through Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge is something of a stunner. Cliff Road (otherwise known as the B3135) wiggles its way through the verdant countryside down into a valley where the road is flanked by dramatic high cliffs. At 400 feet deep and three miles long, this is England’s largest gorge, and the road runs right through the middle of it. No wonder it’s a hit on social media. Pull over to explore the caves or sample the local Cheddar cheese which is aged in them. 

How long does it take? Around 20 minutes. 


3. Elan Valley, Wales

The UK has its fair share of natural wonders, but this valley in Wales, part of the Cambrian mountains, is actually home to a man-made spectacle too: a series of linked reservoirs and dams which were constructed around a century ago. The photo-taking opportunities from the road are great, while there are a number of car parks if you’re keen to stretch your legs.  

How long does it take? Around 40 minutes. 

4. Causeway Coastal Road, Northern Ireland

Running along the coast from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry, this road is not only super-pretty, it also takes in a bunch of Northern Ireland’s must-see sights. You can hit Belfast’s high-tech Titantic museum, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway along this route, not forgetting a bunch of snappable ‘Game of Thrones’ locations too, like Cushendun Caves and Ballintoy Harbour. 

How long does it take? Around four hours. 


5. Snake Pass, England

Though actually named for a pub along the route, not the reptile, this road’s wiggling route does resemble its namesake. Snake Pass, which later turns into Snake Road, wends through the Penines in England’s Peak District National Park. The shortest route between Manchester and Sheffield, it’s no longer the main road, but is a popular touring route thanks to its great views of the moors, woodland and heathland.  

How long does it take? Around 20 minutes. 

6. Hardknott Pass, England

This single-track road runs right through the middle of the Lake District National Park. The twisting and winding road, which runs close to the route of an ancient Roman road, is pretty precipitous (it’s actually one of the steepest in the UK). Add in a few hairpin bends and the likelihood of poor visibility on bad weather days, and it’s a tricky drive. But it’s also considered one of the most fun, and, if the weather is on your side, the vistas are at the top at certainly worth it.  

How long does it take? Around 15 minutes. 


7. EVO Triangle, Wales

This set of roads owes its rather unusual name to British motoring magazine EVO, which regularly uses the roads to test-drive cars. You can expect tight bends and great views from this route, which rolls right past Llyn Brenig lake. 

How long does it take? Around 30 minutes. 

8. Llanberis Pass, Wales

Roadtrippers will get up close to world-class mountain scenery along the rugged Llanberis Pass, which runs for five miles between Llanberis and Pen-y-Pass in Snowdonia National Park. Look out for craggy peaks and the slate-strewn foothills of Mount Snowdon. 

How long does it take? Around 15 minutes.  


9. Atlantic Highway, England

Despite its grand name, this stunning stretch of road, also known as the A39, passes some lesser known spots in Devon and Cornwall. The entire road connects Somerset with Cornwall, but the stretch between Barnstaple and Fraddon is named the Atlantic Highway thanks to the almost-constant views of the Atlantic Ocean you can spy from the tarmac. The route passes photogenic places like Bude, Clovelly, Boscastle and Tintagel, a dramatic clifftop ruin. Guaranteed likes. 

How long does it take? Around one hour 45 minutes. 

10. Great West Way, England

A 125-mile route, the Great West Way connects London in the east to the city of Bristol in the west of England. There are quicker roads (hello, M5) but, if you’re not in a rush, the Great West Way (otherwise known as the A4) is based on ancient routes around England and passes some lovely places, like Marlborough, Chippenham and Bath

How long does it take? Around four hours. 


11. Road to the Isles, Scotland

Another stricking Scottish drive, the Road to the Isles (A830) takes travellers from Fort William to Mallaig, via lochs, coast, incredible scenery and the Glenfinnan Viaduct (which you’ll probably recognise, thanks to the Harry Potter movies). The road ends where it meets the sea in Mallaig. To keep heading west, you’ll need to jump on a car ferry to the Isle of Skye, Eigg, Rùm or another of the Inner Hebridean islands. 

How long does it take? Around one hour. 

12. Woodhead Pass, England

An alternative to the Snake Pass, Woodhead Pass (otherwise known as the A628), is a major road with mega roadside appeal. Cutting through the Peak District National Park, the road runs alongside reservoirs, hills and impressive mountains. Its altitude means it is sometimes closed because of snow and high winds, but if it’s open, you’re in for a treat.  

How long does it take? Around 20 minutes. 


13. Buttertubs Pass, England

A narrow drive through the Yorkshire Dales, often with sheer drops to the side of the road, Buttertubs Pass isn’t the one for timid drivers. Driving efforts are rewarded though, with lush views of the wild moorland and a natural rock formation, which is the source of the adorable name. Near the summit, the road, which runs from Hawes to Thwaite, passes deep limestone potholes, affectionately known as buttertubs. 

How long does it take? Around 15 minutes. 


14. Coastal Way, Wales

Wales’ Coastal Way hugs the Cardigan Bay coastline for 180 miles, starting at Aberdaron and ending at St Davids. Stop off at the technicolour town of Portmeirion; Barmouth, where the sea meets the mountains of Snowdonia; and pretty beaches like Barafundle Bay.

How long does it take? Around four hours. 


15. Black Mountain Pass, Wales

A popular route with thrill-seeking drivers, the Black Mountain Pass (A4069) cuts across the Brecon Beacons, from Lower and Upper Brynamman to Llandovery, via an impressive peak. You’ll pass valleys, rivers, sweeping vistas and twisting turns, some with steep drops and no protective barriers for added adrenaline surges. 

How long does it take? Around 40 minutes. 

This list was compiled using data from Click4Reg

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