This 14-mile route from Cheddar to Ashwick in Somerset cuts through the deepest canyon in the country. Drivers will have to focus all their attention on the road as it twists and turns through countless tight bends, but passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic limestone landscape. Once you’re safely through the gorge, the route becomes easier, but you should still watch out for cyclists and sheep straying onto the road. If you need to stretch your legs, there’s a 4-mile National Trust walking trail through the gorge, which gives the driver a chance to take their eyes off the road and take in the scenery of the surrounding Mendip Hills.
Castle to Castle
The A1 is Britain’s longest road, connecting London with Edinburgh, and much of it serves as a busy commuter route. But there’s a short stretch in Northumberland that’s a paradise for drivers. Start your journey at Alnwick Castle and take the road north through windswept moorland towards the village of Haggerston. After 20 miles, take the right turn signposted Lindisfarne Castle. The route now passes through Lindisfarne Nature Reserve (an oasis for wildlife and birds) then across a tidal causeway to Holy Island and the famous castle itself. Check local tide times to make sure you’ll be able to drive off again, or you could be stranded for several hours!
The Atlantic Highway
The Atlantic Highway is a 72-mile stretch of the A30 running from Barnstaple in Devon, to Fraddon in Cornwall. The route hugs the coast pretty much all the way, offering spectacular views of rolling hills on one side, and the dramatic Atlantic Ocean on the other. If you’ve time for a detour, take a stroll along the beaches around Ilfracombe, or explore the quaint villages of the Quantocks. The Atlantic Highway comes to an abrupt end at Indian Queens junction, where you can tick off another adventure and head for home. Or if you’ve plenty of fuel left in your tank, turn right onto the A30 and keep going till you reach Penzance.
Whenever you’re heading off on a long journey, you should take a few minutes to perform some basic car safety checks. Firstly, have someone help you check that your exterior lights (including indicators and brake lights) are working, and make sure they’re all clean and clear. Check your tyre pressures too, and carefully examine the tread on each tyre. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm in a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of the tread, and around the entire circumference. And check your oil and wiper fluid, because you don’t want to suddenly discover your levels are low when you’re miles from anywhere.