Cover Image taken on a road trip through Glen Shiel in the Highlands of Scotland. (Photo: Getty Images)

Village hopping, chilling by the lake and driving through magnificent valleys... here are some of the most picturesque places to visit for an exciting road trip around the country

Now that quarantine-free travel destinations are burgeoning with the Vaccinated Travel Lane extending to more countries like the UK, US and Canada, we can anticipate how everyone who is vaccinated might be scurrying to get plane tickets and planning their next trip to the countries listed.

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Missing road trips? The United Kingdom (UK) boasts some of the world’s most impressive locations that will let you explore the country in the best way possible. Just make sure to pack some warm clothes because the weather will be quite chilly there this time of year. And if you know the UK well enough, it is always a good idea to pack warm clothes!.

To see as much of the UK as possible on your trip, here are some great road trips to consider planning for.

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1. Villages in the Cotswolds

What’s more English than exploring a quaint village that will immediately transport you to a world of dragons and magic? The well-preserved villages around the Cotswolds are a thing of Old English fables and fairy tales as they are interspersed with the iconic Cotswold stone walls, lush countryside greenery and winding country lanes. Check out some of their prettiest villages while you're there such as Bourton-on-the-Water—which is frequently referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to the patchwork of attractive little bridges that criss-cross through the River Windrush—and Castle Combe which has been featured in a number of films and television shows, from War Horse to Doctor Dolittle. 

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2. Norfolk Coast

Go for a relaxing drive around the eastern coastline of Norfolk where you get to see scenic waterways and a rich variety of wildlife while having the option to laze around on a boat. With an 84-mile walking trail that runs from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, you can be sure to experience a long stretch of seaside towns and villages, tidal marshes teeming with wildlife, wide sandy beaches, pine woodlands and huge skies. Take some time to relax at the traditional seaside resort Cromer—home to the UK’s only remaining end-of-the-pier variety show—walk in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love on Holkham beach and spend your afternoon relaxing by the sea at Brancaster Beach.

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3. Atlantic Highway

Explore the best of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall’s countryside and its magnificent sights as you drive along the Atlantic Highway that stretches from Barnstaple in Devon to the popular Cornish seaside resort of Newquay. As you drive along the coast, you’ll be able to take in a myriad of breathtaking views of the Atlantic as you pass through Bude, Camelford and Wadebridge. With the region being particularly family-friendly, some of the highlights of the area include Newquay—which is often voted the nation’s favourite seaside town where families love the walking and cycling trails—and the Exmoor National Park that has beautiful hiking trails for the active traveller.

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4. Land of the Lakes

Located in Lake District in Cumbria, this scenic route is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it is the perfect adventure for any wanderlust traveller with sights to behold like the Lake District National Park and Windermere—England’s largest lake and a picture-postcard resort for a tourist’s memento. You can explore the mesmerising nature sightings at the popular holiday destination and get a drink in the beautiful lakeside villages of Ambleside and Grasmere, with the latter being home to William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage where the poet wrote the famous Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

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5. Wild Wales

Take in the awe-inspiring sights of valleys and explore the mountains against the magnificent Welsh backdrop at the Snowdonia National Park in Wild Wales. Containing the highest peaks in the UK outside Scotland, the national park is a highlight no nature lover wants to miss. North Wales is also home to lakes that offer thrilling watersports facilities. You can even go white water kayaking on natural rapids at The National White Water Centre! Feel free to also take the scenic route on your way across the Strait by swinging by the historic Caernarfon before heading over to the water to explore the beautiful Isle of Anglesey.

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6. North Coast 500

The famous Scottish highlands boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK, if not the world. It showcases the best of the Highlands, with ancient castles, windswept beaches and historic landmarks that are lurking around every corner. Highlights of the area include the Inverness Castle and a bevy of idyllic towns and villages such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch. Those looking for adventure can surf the reef breaks of Caithness or head to Corrieshalloch Gorge to try canyoning. The extreme sport combines mountaineering, climbing and diving and tour operators offer safe lessons for beginners. 

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7. A82 Glencoe Valley

From mountain peaks and deep valleys, to plummeting waterfalls and vast lochs, the scenic sights along the iconic Scottish highlands of A82 Glencoe are truly magical. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or a staycation destination, Glencoe showcases Scotland in all its splendour. Some of the highlights of the location include the Glencoe Valley which is rich in lush greenery, volcanic activity and history, and it is also home to a mass of Scottish wildlife. The Lochs is also a sight to behold for any newbie traveller in Scotland where you can explore Loch Tulla, the Bridge of Orgy and Lochan na h-Achlaise, which is a lovely stopping point for a stroll around the banks of the loch to admire the water and the many small islands on the water. 

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8. Peaks and Passes

Take a tranquil adventure around one of the UK’s most beloved national parks and highlights of the area—the Peak District—where you can clear your mind and rejuvenate after a long drive around the country. Full of lush greenery and verdant views, the park will impress any road tripper that comes along. Some of the other must-visit highlights of the area include the popular Derwent Dam that offer great trekking opportunities and the Blue John Cavern, an underground network of caves which offers guided tours if you feel like an alternative to hill walking on your way ever southwards.

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