The stunning North Coast 500 which takes in the sights of Northern Scotland has been named the most scenic road to drive in the UK according to research from Fiat.
A study of 2,000 motorists saw the 516 miles of epic coastal scenery, sandy beaches and rugged mountains, which starts and ends at Inverness Castle, come out on top, followed by the Kendal to Keswick road trip in the Lake District.
North Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge through the Mendip Hills was third and Cornwall’s route from St Ives to St Just came in at fourth. The coastal A39 linking Minehead to Barnstaple, the A82 leading to mystical Loch Ness, and The Black Mountain Pass in the Brecon Beacons were also among the top 10 beautiful roads to drive in the country.
It also emerged 78 per cent of drivers prefer to take the scenic route when travelling to a destination – to make the most of the view.
Research was commissioned by Fiat to launch the guide Scenic Drives Near Me: The Best Drives In The UK
The interactive map, which takes into consideration those that drive electric cars like the fully electric convertible Fiat 500 – details great roads, interesting waypoints, electric charge points and features a pre-loaded route that can be downloaded to a mobile phone.
Greg Taylor, Managing Director, Fiat and Abarth, said: “It’s interesting to see the best open roads in the country to drive. 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 72 per cent believe the UK has some of the most scenic roads in the world.
Further findings revealed 54 per cent prefer taking a picturesque journey even if it takes them longer to get to their location.
Of those, 44 per cent said driving on longer roads helps them de-stress while 41 per cent enjoy going somewhere they haven’t been to before. And 38 per cent said it gives them more freedom in the open road – with 57 per cent finding driving in general relaxing.
It also emerged the ocean, rolling hills and mountain cliffs were also 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.
Nearly two in 10 motorists prefer to drive a convertible, with 29 per cent envious whenever they drive one with the rooftop down. According to OnePoll data, poor road conditions often prevent drivers from taking a scenic route while 29 per cent were put off by poor traffic. Other reasons for avoiding a longer journey include having to talk to passengers, worrying about the fuel tank and driving on unfamiliar roads.
Over half, 56 per cent, of drivers who have driven through a scenic route said they get jealous of other passengers who can concentrate on the beautiful views. While seven in 10 have pulled over the side of the road to admire the scenic views.
Greg Taylor, Managing Director, Fiat and Abarth, continued: “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.”
TOP 10 BEST SCENIC ROADS IN THE UK
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 4. St Ives to St Just in Cornwall 5. Snake Pass in Peak District National Park 6. Best of the Moors (A169 and A170) in Yorkshire 7. The Cotswolds – Cheltenham to Stratford 8. A82 road which goes towards the mystical Loch Ness 9. A39 coastal route linking Minehead to Barnstaple (Cornwall and Devon) 10. The Black Mountain Pass A4069 in the Brecon Beacons, Wales