Top 10 scenic UK roads to drive – Scotland’s North Coast 500 takes top spot

Nearly three-quarters of British drivers believe the UK has some of the most scenic roads in the world – with the North Coast 500, in northern Scotland, taking the top spot.

A poll of 2,000 motorists saw them name the top 10 most scenic roads to drive in the UK, with breath-taking views throughout Scotland, England, and Wales making the list.

The NC500 route, starting and ending at Inverness Castle, came out on top as the favourite UK road to drive, thanks to its 516 miles of epic coastal scenery, rugged mountains, and sandy beaches.

The road from Kendal to Keswick, in the Lake District, came in second place, followed by the dramatic, winding road through Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills, Somerset.

The drive from St Ives to St Just in Cornwall also appeared among the top 10, along with The Black Mountain Pass in the Brecon Beacons, Wales.

It also emerged more than three-quarters of drivers (78%) prefer to take the scenic route when travelling to a destination – to make the most of the view.

The research was commissioned by car brand Fiat, to launch its Scenic Drives Near Me: The Best Drives in the UK guide.

The interactive map – which takes into consideration those who drive electric cars – details great roads and interesting waypoints on the way, as well as where the electric charge points are, and a pre-loaded route that can be downloaded straight to a mobile phone.

Greg Taylor, managing director at Fiat and Abarth, said: “It’s interesting to see the best open roads in the country to drive – and some of the scenic routes the UK has to offer are a sight to behold.

“The NC500 in Northern Scotland has always been a popular choice, with its additions of remote fishing villages and a wealth of unforgettable experiences along the way.

“But let’s not forget the Snake Pass in the Peak District, the Cotswolds, or even the best of the Moors in Yorkshire – all incredible roads to explore on any given day.

“Clearly there are motorists who are keen on taking a more scenic route to their destination.”

The study also found that over half of drivers (54%) prefer taking a picturesque journey, even if it takes them longer to get to their location.

Of those, 44% said driving on longer roads helps them de-stress, while 41% enjoy going somewhere they haven’t been to before.

And 38% enjoy the extra freedom on the open road – with 57% finding driving in general relaxing.

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It also emerged the ocean, rolling hills, and mountain cliffs were among the types of beautiful scenery drivers want to see while driving.

Scotland was named the best region to drive in the UK, followed by London and the South West of England.

But of those polled, nearly two in ten prefer to drive a convertible, with 29% feeling envious whenever they drive past one with the rooftop down.

However, the survey, carried out via OnePoll, found poor road conditions often prevents drivers from taking a scenic route, while 29% are also put off by bad traffic.

Other reasons for avoiding a longer journey include having to talk to passengers, and worrying about the fuel.

And more than half of drivers (56%) who have driven through a scenic route get jealous of other passengers who can concentrate on the beautiful views – with seven in ten having pulled over to the side of the road to admire the scenic views for themselves.

Greg Taylor added: “Our research found that drivers think the UK has some of the best scenic roads in the world.

“There’s no better way to experience great driving roads than in an electric convertible, like the 500.

“We know there can be some anxiety around going on long journeys when in an electric car, which is why our guide highlights where people can charge their car en route – giving them the peace of mind to simply enjoy the beautiful open road and quiet of an electric car.”


  1. The North Coast 500 route, starting from Inverness in northern Scotland
  2. Kendal to Keswick, in the Lake District
  3. Cheddar Gorge, through the Mendip Hills in Somerset
  4. St Ives to St Just, Cornwall
  5. Snake Pass, in the Peak District National Park
  6. Best of the Moors (A169 and A170), in Yorkshire
  7. Cheltenham to Stratford, in The Cotswolds
  8. A82, towards Loch Ness
  9. A39, from Minehead to Barnstaple
  10. The Black Mountain Pass A4069, in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

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