7 scenic roads in United Kingdom you wouldn’t want to miss

There’s no denying: seven might just be our favourite number. For starters, there are seven days of the week, seven colours of the rainbow, seven seas and seven continents. But there’s more: James Bond was 007, Snow White hooked up with seven dwarves, there are seven wonders of the ancient world and seven deadly sins, and … we’ve selected seven scenic Motorcycle Diaries Roads in the UK, for your eyes only. Lucky you!

 

B885, Isle of Skye

 

Skye is a truly magical place. The largest of the Inner Hebrides, it's home to some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes. Whether you are visiting for a few days whilst on a tour of Scotland or staying for a longer spell, the island has countless ways to enchant you.

Not in the least if you’re planning on devouring it on your motorcycle: riding the Isle of Skye will without any doubt leave a lasting impression on you. The ancient island, located a stone’s throw away from the West coast of Scotland, is full of natural wonder.

The island isn’t huge but it’s worth spending some time enjoying everything it has to offer. From the rugged, rocky and wild Cuillin ridge, to the colorful town of Portree, the Old Man of Storr or the Quiraing, the roads in between those marvels on the peninsula are just as incredible.

As with any magical place, the island did not remain secret - au contraire - it’s become a very popular tourist destination. But don’t start hyperventilating just yet: even during peak season the roads are rarely really flooded with traffic. Beware of distracted drivers though,  concentrating on the scenery rather than the road…

Since the island stretches about 100 kilometers from coast to coast, running out of petrol shouldn’t be a concern. The part of the A885 we’ve selected swerves from Portree, along the eastern coastline towards the utmost northern part of Skye, before snaking its way back down towards Idrigil.

One of the most stunning coastal roads we’ve encountered. Do yourself a favour and pack your sturdiest of boots before leaving for this ride, so you can explore some of the unique sights on foot - where your motorcycle can’t or isn’t allowed to go.

You won’t regret it.

See here the B885 on the Isle of Skye

 

A896, Strathcarron to Kinlochewe

 

Scottish Highlands! Must Ride! Do we have your attention? We thought so. And rightfully so, as the A896 from Strathcarron to Kinlochewe is nothing shy of perfection.

Our road kicks off in the hamlet of Strathcarron, which is situated at the head of the sea loch of Loch Carron, between the rivers, River Carron and River Taodail, in Wester Ross (not Westeros - although the landscape does remind us of Game Of Thrones as well), and carves its way into the heart of the western Scottish Highlands.

This gem of a town is mostly known for its peace and tranquillity. With an abundance of wildlife and scenery, the area around Loch Carron is an ideal location from which to explore further the west coast of Scotland with easy access to the Isle of Skye, Applecross, Torridon and Gairloch.

The road surface might be as unpredictable as the gazillion times it switches direction, the stunning scenery ahead, on the side and in your rear view mirrors is to die for. Well, not literally, we hope.

As that means you’d miss the final part of this road - which would be a shame. Because around the end of this road, the fiercely winding road to Kinlochewe offers one of the most iconic views on the North Coast 500. Looking down Glen Docherty, you'll catch your first sight of stunning Loch Maree, a magnificent freshwater lake stippled with sixty-odd islands which contain some of the last fragments of the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest.

A truly marvellous view, which will haunt your travel dreams for the remainder of your life.

See here the A896 from Strathcarron to Kinlochewe.

 

B8043, Fort William

 

You’re right, there's a lot more to Fort William than simply clambering Ben Nevis - although mounting the tallest peak in the UK is quite the accomplishment. Wherever you ride around Fort 'Bill', you'll be in the shadow of the majestic mountain, which measures a towering 1.345 m.

If you decide to give your bike a rest, the mountain track can easily be accessed from the visitor centre in nearby Glen Nevis - well, easily - if you really decide to take it on, your motorcycle boots or sneakers won’t suffice: the ascent takes about eight hours on average.

But the reward is there: from the summit, you’ll be treated with splendid panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and Lochaber.

But as said - there’s much more: take for instance the loads of pubs that stock the finest Scotch whisky, daredevil mountain biking that attracts World Cup aficionados each year, loch-side wanders and even trips aboard the steam train that took Harry Potter to Hogwarts.

But we’re wandering from the object(ive): riding those magnificent roads in and around the mountain shadow.

The B8043 is without a single doubt one of the most impressive Scottish roads we’ve ever ridden - especially the side of Loch Linnhe is extremely beautiful. However, try to lower your speed in order to avoid the plentyfull of potholes, which will give you the chance to enjoy the spectacle even more.

See here the B8043 to Fort William.

 

Kielder - Saughtree - Bellingham

 

If you’ve ever ridden your way up the British Isles, you know the Anglo-Scottish border is an absolute gem. A place of savage beauty, with a rich, poetic and - no need to gloze things - a rather bloody history.

This is the land of the reivers, fierce clans who from the 13th century until the Union of the Crowns in the beginning of the 17th, fought the British conquerors with every fiber in their bodies.

But, of course, we’re mostly interested in the beauty part of that story - as you would have to be blind not to spot it while riding the roads which unbridledly stitch the two borders together.

From north to south, our road starts by running through Thorlieshope Farm and losing itself in a quiet Borders valley. Watch your speed here: sheep tend to lazily wander over the single lane road.

Pass through a copse of fir trees and suddenly you're in England. From now on the road slowly becomes wider, accommodating a centre line.

Then, after the village of the same name, Kielder Water is visible on your left. Wind up the bike and soar along the smooth tarmac, drinking in glimpses of the reservoir as you go.

Pause for a ride along the dam wall to the south, and a closer look at the wacky Valve Tower. It's 50 metres tall, but mostly hidden underwater.

See here the Kielder - Saughtree - Bellingham road.

B6277, Middleton-in-Teesdale - Alston

 

The North Pennines is the next contender in an extensive row of special places in England.  It offers a stunning landscape of open heather moors and peatlands, plunging dales and hay meadows, tumbling upland rivers, wonderful woods, intriguing imprints of a mining and industrial past, and a rather distinctive fauna and flora.

No wonder the area has been designated as an  AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), while also being an UNESCO Global Geopark - which marks it as globally important natural heritage.

The really good news however, is the fact that our road carves right through this natural marvel: the B6277 initially takes you through the rolling hills typical of the southern North Pennines National Park.

We’d suggest you take a break at the aptly named High Force waterfall. There are parking opportunities on the right of the road, while a walk to the famous cascade starts on the left. Not long after Langdon Beck the road leaps onto moorland.

Fly past snow markers lining the road and bask in the wilderness. One to ride over and over again.

See here the B6277 from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Alston.

A57, Ladybower reservoir - Glossop

 

Aah, the Peak District! An area known and loved for its breathtaking views, buzzing market towns and fairylike villages, ancient houses and hundreds of traditional events.

From the high, moorland plateaus up north, to the plunging valleys and rolling green hills in the south of the area, the Peak District and Derbyshire have just about any landscape you can imagine in Britain, making it one of the finest areas in the country to go hiking - and of course, riding.

Couple the fantastic scenery with amazing local cuisine, the Peak District might end up on your motorcycle bucket list. Even more so if we add some of the most exquisite strings of asphalt in the UK.

Our road kicks of in Ladybower, where a few smart straits lead up to the turning to Rowlee Farm, which marks the beginning of a tight and undulating section that takes you through farmland and a wood to the Snake Pass Inn.

After that, the road dares you to ride faster as it steers you along through forest, a tight valley and finally out onto the moor. The descent into Glossop is a glorious succession of well-marked open sweeping corners down the moorside.

It's short enough to warrant turning back and riding this final section again. Don’t overthink, just do it!

See here the A57 from Ladybower reservoir to Glossop.

 

A470 from Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog

 

A road of merely 16 kilometers? It’d better be worth your time and effort, right? Well, it is.

A forest of lakes and mountains in the heart of Snowdonia, Gwydyr Forest Park is home to a very varied assortment of activities, as well as bird- other wildlife. We’re thinking old miners’ paths, cycle trails and long-established forest walks make this forest a delight to explore on foot, in the saddle, or - indeed - on two wheels.

The fact that there’s easy access from Betws-y-Coed, the bustling mountain resort, may have something to do with the popularity of the area.

Our road starts of in the latter:  just follow the River Lledr from Betws-y-Coed up into the mountains of Snowdonia National Park.

This section will take you across the top of the pass and drop you down into the quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, while twisting as violently as your tongue when trying to pronounce the village’s name correctly.

The town’s slate quarry - which is still in use - is well worth a visit, by the way. And of course, once you’ve ‘completed’ the ride, the rest of Snowdonia National Park awaits.

Not a punishment at all, as the upper part of Wales is duly famed for its utterly dramatic, panoramic and contrasting scenery. Not in the least by its tallest ‘resident’ the Snowdon, a mountain of 1.085 meters which towers over the gobsmackingly beautiful area of north Wales. Vista you won’t get tired of anytime soon, we promise.

See here the A470 from Betws-y-Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

 


 

Where next?

Explore the best roads & POI's around and plan your next trip based on those roads.

 


 

 

 

 

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