Driving in Britain: Road trips and tips

Glencoe, Highlands, Scotland Britain by car

Are you considering flying into Britain and then hiring a car? British roads are generally in good shape but there is a lack of major roads and motorways. For instance, the M1 peters out north of Newcastle, leaving drivers along the east coast stuck on slow two-lane roads to Scotland. Still, once you’re exploring beautiful routes in the lovely countryside such as the far north of Scotland, the Lake District or Cornish coast, then the drive itself becomes the reason for the journey.

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Useful road tips for exploring Britain by car:

  • In Britain, you drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • The UK still uses the imperial system (miles and yards) for road signs
  • It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in Britain
  • Traffic congestion and parking can make city driving a chore
  • There can be long delays around even small towns
  • If you want to drive in London you’ll need to pay the congestion charge (and register your car’s number plate in advance)
  • All the major car hire/rental firms have offices across Britain, and rates can be very cheap. However, petrol (gas) is expensive.
  • British motorways are not known for their scenery
  • British auto clubs AA and RAC have a wealth of practical information on their sites. The AA also has a great route planner.

Wherever you need to get to in the UK, you can find all your travel options on Rome2rio.

Looking for inspiration? Here are 4 breathtaking road trips around Britain:

Cheddar Gorge Somerset England
Cheddar Gorge: Miles of glorious Somerset views (Credit: Pixabay)
Snake Pass road bridge Ladybower reservoir Peak District England
Snake Pass: 42 miles of twists and turns through the Peak District (Credit: Simon Harrod/Flickr)


Hardknott Pass Lake District England
Hardknott Pass: Hairpin bends and heady views in the Lake District (Credit: Barney Moss/Flickr)
Lochranza castle Isle of Arran coastal route Scotland
Isle of Arran coastal route: 56-mile loop around the Scottish island, with bewitching views (Credit: Harry McGregor/Foter)
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