- North Coast 500, Scotland
- Brecon Beacons, Wales
- The South Downs and New Forest, England
- North Devon, England
International travel is still very tricky for most citizens of these fair isles, forcing the adventurous to get a bit creative and explore those untapped corners and routes that the UK has to offer. The truth is, we are blessed with an interesting and varied landscape, some fantastic roads and enough places to bed down to rest weary biking behinds.
There’s very little else that can compete with the liberating feeling a fully-loaded motorcycle and endless stretches of empty blacktop can afford, so we’ve collated some of our favourite routes for maximum escapism. These are based on personal experience and are all verified as excellent places to ride and explore.
Granted, some of the mentioned locations might require a hell of a ride just to get to, but there is always the option of renting, with the likes of Harley-Davidson offering its own rental service from a number of locations strategically dotted around the UK. If Harleys aren’t your thing, Ducatis, Suzukis, Kawasakis and much more can be hired with pick ups local to the suggested road trip start/finish point.
North Coast 500, Scotland
It’s a classic but every biker should try this fantastic route at least once in a lifetime. The only issue is that the route starts in Inverness, so it’s a fair hike just to get to this point if you live anywhere other than the very north of the UK.
Fret not, because there are plenty of rental opportunities in Glasgow, Edinburgh and further north, so flying, driving or getting the train not one of these points could be a good idea. From here, they staggering route takes in Applecross on the western coast of Scotland, hugging the craggy shoreline and skirting lochs to Ullapool and Durness on the north coast. The A838 from here is stunning and ribbons its way across the north coast to Thurso and John o’ Groats on the northeastern tip.
You’ll then hack down the east coast to the start/finish point at Inverness, marvelling at the incredibly varied vistas and amazing, often empty winding roads the seem to go on forever. Ensure you plan plenty of stop off points to recharge the batteries, as 500-miles is no mean feat on a motorcycle.
Brecon Beacons, Wales
It’s not difficult to find a beautifully empty stretch of epic road in Wales, which is why it has long been a road-testers favoured destination to really get to know a new car or bike. Generally, the further north you head, particularly where the Snowdonia National Park is involved, the more interesting things get, but the Brecon Beacons also provide some of the best routes for those who fancy the shorter hop over from the Cheltenham or Bristol areas.
The A470 fast-tracks motorcyclists to the depths of the Brecon Beacons National Park from Cardiff or Newport, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of fast, flowing and open roads with spectacular views. Take your pick from the B4560, A470, A4059 or A4067, and marvel at how vast, exposed and empty the various routes are.
Skirt off some of the major connecting routes and things get really quiet, with the A4069 to the west of the park proving one of the most challenging and breathtakingly beautiful of all roads in this region.
The South Downs and New Forest, England
Ok, we admit, this trip isn’t going to boast the sense of solitude that the outer reaches of Scotland or the depths of Wales provide, but there are some fantastic roads to lap up and plenty of great spots to stop and ogle fellow biker’s machines.
Heading from London? Peel off the A3 around Haslemere to take in some of the best scenery the South Downs National Park has to offer. Beautiful areas of elevation afford some great views over the rolling hillside, with roads just outside of Goodwood House and the A286 towards the brilliantly-named Cocking proving challenging enough for riders of all skill levels. Catch this on a quiet day and it can be a hell of an opportunity to stretch the legs of your chose machine.
Cut across the coast via a slightly bland schlep on the M275 and there M27 but cut off the latter as soon as you see signs for Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Lymington or any one of the many quaint villages nestled deep in the the New Forest.
Check out the Blackwater Arboretum if mimicking the expansive oak-lined routes of America’s North West is your thing, or pop into Sammy Miller’s motorcycle museum if you fancy staring slack-jawed at one of the most amazing collection of vintage and classic bikes in the south.
North Devon, England
This fantastic stretch of road is easy to reach from the likes of Bridgwater, Taunton and Yeovil, because it essentially consists of taking in as much of the A39 as you possible can in a solid day’s worth of riding.
The road starts off fairly mundane but gets really good after Porlock, as you head into North Devon, while the route into Countisbury affords some spectacular views. There are sections after Lynton that become extremely narrow, so take care traversing these, but the roads generally hug the cliffside, offering fantastics spots to peer out over the wild Atlantic.
The properly adventurous can carry on clinging to the craggy coastline by taking the smaller A399 towards Combe Martin, ticking off Watermouth and Hele Bay for the stunning azure water of these small coves. The further south you start heading, the busier the roads are going to get, as these lead to the holiday/surf hotspots of Croyde, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands, but hey, there’s not much cooler than strapping a surfboard to a bike and hitting the open road, so why not combine the two pursuits?
Are you thinking of kicking off a summer radventure in an EV rather than on two wheels? Check out our guide to all things electric and road trips here