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Future living

7 unmissable road trips across the UK

7 unmissable road trips across the UK
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A self-drive adventure through this beautiful land of ours is a journey of discovery like no other. Get ready to hit the road

In partnership with Ford

Our national obsession with foreign getaways makes it easy to forget that Britain’s blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. But until recently, the idea that you would seriously think about undertaking a days-long (or even day-long) road trip in an all-electric car might have raised some serious eyebrows. The new breed of electric cars, however, have changed all that. 

Take the all-new, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. With up to 379-mile charge range*, the Mustang Mach-E doesn’t so much make range-anxiety a thing of the past, it almost makes you forget it even existed in the first place. 

This is a vehicle that, on a single charge, will make light work of any and all of the suggested routes below. So much so, in fact, that only the 500-mile route around the Scottish Highlands (known as the North Coast 500) – considered by many to be one of the world’s best self-drive adventures – would need to be charged at some point en route*. 

The beauty of a road trip, of course, is that it isn’t prescriptive: you’re in charge of where and when you go and how long you want to take to get there, from short, relatively local runs to days-long adventures to come. So let the following serve as inspiration as much as road map – then wend, detour and journey as you will. 

And with over 10,000 charge points added across the UK in 2019 alone – bringing the overall total above 30,000 in over 11,000 locations – you’ll quickly discover there’s never been a better time to drive electric.

North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands

Widely touted as one of the world’s greatest road trips, the NC500 – as veterans like to call it – covers 500 miles in a circular route that both starts and finishes at Inverness Castle (in, you guessed it, Inverness).

Along the way it takes in more picture-postcard Highlands scenery than you can shake a gear stick at, from heather-covered mountains to endless lines of deserted beaches, as well as lochs, castles and more, including whisky distilleries, golf courses and more.

With the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s* range you could do the whole round trip in just two charges** (and yes, there are charge points for lesser-powered electric vehicles to complete the route – check Zap Map to find charge points), but most people allow a more generous seven-to-nine days to explore what’s on offer and enjoy it.

The Peak District

As the UK’s first national park, the Peak District is an astonishing backdrop for a road trip, with a run of famous trails, such as the famous Snake Pass and Winnat’s Pass which at around 11 miles and just six miles respectively are as easy to manage in a day as they are as part of a longer trip.

If you’re going to make several days of it, the picturesque spa town of Buxton is well located and a great base from which to explore to numerous regional attractions, all backdropped by exceptional scenery.

These include the stately delights of Chatsworth House (where nearby Churchdale Farm offers a charging station as well as cottages for rent) just outside Bakewell (home of the famous tart and lesser-spotted but just as delicious pudding) and the beautiful River Wye.

The Cambrian Way

Running 185 miles from coast to coast, Wales’s most epic long-distance road trip deserves every hyperbolic accolade thrown at it. Starting from cosmopolitan Cardiff and finishing at the cute coastal resort of Llandudno, the drive (like the equally epic walk it shares a name with) takes you north to south through the ‘spine’ of the country – the beautiful Welsh mountains.

And you get to cross off two national parks – Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons – along the way. There’s plenty to see and do – Cyfarthfa Castle, for example, with its museum and art gallery nearby – check out Zap Map for charge points at nearby Merthyr Tidfil.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take another day to experience what is often hailed as one of the UK’s most epic drives – the dizzying series of hairpin bends of stunning scenery of the 20-mile Black Mountain Pass.

The Atlantic Highway

Not to be confused with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Highway drive, this 70-mile trip is a picturesque section of the A39 running from Barnstaple, on the edge of north Devon, through to Fraddon in Cornwall, but it packs a lot of punch for such a short run.

From the (relatively) genteel surroundings of Exmoor National Park to some of the lesser-visited parts of Cornwall’s ruggedly beautiful coast – with plenty of opportunities for everything from cream teas to magic (if you stop off at Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur) with charging stations aplenty en route, including at foodie-friendly Padstow (yes, we are giving you permission to stop for lunch).

Causeway Coastal route, Northern Ireland

This is Northern Ireland at its most spectacular – 120 miles of dramatic coastline that runs point-to-point from Derry to Belfast or vice-versa. Yes, you can do it in a single run should you so fancy – there and back in fact, on just one charge of the Ford Mustang Mach-E* ** with well over 100 further miles in spare change).

Better yet, take your time and – if you can tear your eyes away from that incredible scenery – tick off some of the country’s finest visitor attractions along the way.

Must-stops include Glenarm Castle, the surprisingly sturdy Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and, of course, the awe-inspiring Giant’s Causeway (where, fyi, you can charge your vehicle in the nearby Park n Ride). 

Heart 200

Not quite the epic undertaking of its Highland brethren (above), but at 200 miles the Heart is perfect for a weekend break or longer should you wish to travel a little off-route. As the name suggests, Scotland’s newest ‘official’ road trip takes you in a circuit through the very heart of this very beautiful country – a circular route that covers Perth, Stirling and the Trossachs – with plenty to see and do along the way.

You can start at any point, but why not kick things off with an adrenaline-inducing zipline through Trossachs National Park (where there are charge points at Loch Lomand Shores, among other places), then set out to uncover ancient castles and monuments (Game of Thrones fans, may we direct you to Doune Castle – it was used as the site of Castle Winterfell in the pilot episode) alongside more – and more – of that amazing Scottish scenery.

The Cotswolds

This pretty part of England boasts everything from chocolate-box villages to stately homes. As such, a visit to the Shires (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire) could just as easily serve as a daytrip as it would a wonderful week-long holiday.

Must-sees include that stateliest of stately homes, Blenheim Palace (look out for the charging stations at its Estate Office), the Saxon-designed Broadway Tower, just a short drive from the cute market town of the same name and Burton on the Water. The so-called Venice of the Cotswolds is just a short drive from wildlife park, Birdland, and home to over 500 species of (you guessed it) birds.

Come summer, the Cotswold Lavender Farm and its hundreds of Instagrammable acres of the heavenly-scented purple stuff are opened to the public. Something for everyone then!

*Based on full charge. Estimated range using Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) applies to RWD model with extended range battery. Actual range varies with conditions such as external elements, driving behaviours, vehicle maintenance, and lithium-ion battery age.

** Charging times shown are for a Mustang Mach-E RWD Extended range. Charge power can decrease with increasing state of charge. Actual charge times and charge speeds can vary based on different factors such as the weather, temperature, driving behaviour, vehicle condition, lithium-ion-battery age and used charging infrastructure.

Feeling inspired? Ford makes it easy to stay connected and explore, near and far. For more information on the Ford Puma MHEV, Kuga FHEV & PHEV and All-Electric Mustang Mach-E ranges, or to request a contact, visit ford.co.uk

  Get more reviews, news and expert advice on Ford's exciting new line-up of electrified vehicles

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