Are you looking for some of the most beautiful motorcycle roads in the UK? Look no further! From the North Coast 500 in Scotland to the Black Mountain Road in South Wales, plenty of amazing routes exist to explore.
Here’s a look at some of the best motorcycle riding routes in the UK.
Scenic Roads in the UK: Scotland
Scotland is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and scenic roads. From Aberfoyle to Callander, the Three Lochs Forest Ride, and the Road to Skye via Glen Shiel (A87), Scotland has a variety of routes that offer breathtaking views and stunning scenery. Scotland is one of my favourite places to ride a motorcycle. And if you love taking in the scenery along the way, it’s one of the best (if not THE best) places to ride a motorcycle.
The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a world-famous scenic route covering around 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery in northern Scotland.
Launched (officially) in 2015, the route has quickly become a bucket list destination for travellers looking to explore breathtaking landscapes, visit historic castles, and experience Scottish hospitality.
The route takes you via the coastline, with white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rugged cliffs. You will pass through the charming towns and villages of Ullapool, Torridon, Dornoch, and John O’Groats.
If you’re into wildlife, the route is also known for offering some of the best opportunities for spotting dolphins, whales, and red deer.
Whether you are a seasoned rider or a first-time visitor to Scotland, the NC500 is the ultimate road trip for those who love to explore and seek adventure.
Scenic Roads in the UK: The A701 from Moffat to Peebles
The A701 is a scenic route that runs from the town of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway to Peebles in the Scottish Borders.
The road is approximately 36 miles long and takes you through some of the most picturesque countryside in Scotland, including the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands and the Moffat Water Valley.
The road is narrow in places and has plenty of twists and turns, making it perfect for riders who want to mix scenery with a challenge. You’ll find opportunities to stop and enjoy the views along the route, including scenic viewpoints and walking trails.
The route is also known for being a haven for wildlife, offering plenty of opportunities for spotting birds of prey and other animals.
If you’re looking for a less well-known but equally stunning route to explore in Scotland, the A701 from Moffat to Peebles is worth the trip.
Applecross Pass is a stunning mountain pass on the Applecross Peninsula in Wester Ross, Scotland. It’s a single-track road that boasts hairpin bends, steep gradients, and breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery.
The road takes you up to over 2,000 feet, providing some of the most stunning views of the Scottish Highlands. The journey along the road is challenging, but it offers a rollercoaster experience for any seasoned rider.
Along the way, you will pass through the beautiful Scottish countryside with Highland cows and grazing sheep. Continue north for some of the most beautiful vistas of Loch Torridon and the Isle of Skye.
If you are looking for challenging mountain driving combined with spectacular views, Applecross Pass is the road for you!
Scenic Roads in the UK: The Lake District
Where Scotland is rugged, raw, and often unforgiving, the roads of the Lake District offer picturesque views over some of the most attractive landscapes in the UK. You can easily spend a weekend pottering through the Lakes without a map – and still spend all of your time surrounded by scenes that will take your breath away. But here are three of our favourites.
Kirkstone Pass is a stunning mountain pass located in the Lake District National Park. The pass rises to a height of 1,489 feet and connects the beautiful towns of Windermere and Patterdale.
The road is single-track with challenging bends and narrow sections, making it a thrilling riding experience for any adventurous biker. Along the way, you’ll be treated to excellent views of nearby Lake Windermere and the surrounding valleys.
Once you reach the summit, stop at the iconic Kirkstone Pass Inn, the third-highest pub in England, to enjoy a refreshing drink and some excellent pub food.
Kirkstone Pass is a must-see for any rider visiting the Lake District, and it’s a perfect road for those who enjoy mountain riding combined with stunning panoramic views.
Honister Pass is one of the Lake District’s most dramatic and scenic mountain passes. The road is a ribbon of tarmac snaking through stunning valleys and rocky outcrops, connecting the towns of Keswick and Buttermere.
The pass is approximately two miles long and rises steeply to a summit of 1,167 feet, offering riders excellent views of Honister Crag and the surrounding fells. Of special note is the picturesque Honister Slate Mine, located at the summit of the pass.
Honister Pass is undoubtedly one of the Lake District’s most exhilarating and memorable riding experiences with its narrow lanes, hairpin bends and stunning scenery.
Scenic Roads in the UK: Wynrose & Hardknott Pass
Wrynose and Hardknott Pass are two of the most challenging and breathtakingly scenic mountain passes in the Lake District National Park. Both passes can make for tough riding and require caution (as my dad can, unfortunately, attest to!)
Wrynose Pass is approximately 3 miles long and connects the village of Little Langdale with the Eskdale Valley, while Hardknott Pass is around 2 miles long and connects Eskdale with the Duddon Valley.
The steep gradient and tight hairpin bends provide a thrilling riding experience, while the stunning scenery on either side of the passes offers panoramic views of the rugged landscape of the Lake District.
Stop and enjoy a walk to the Hardknott Roman Fort or explore ancient quarries and waterfalls dotted around the routes.
Wrynose and Hardknott passes are a must-see for any rider visiting the Lake District.
Scenic Roads in the UK: The Peak District
Often overlooked by the achingly pretty Lake District and the imposing scenes of Scotland, the Peak District is quieter – but just as exhilarating. The Peak District is best enjoyed by starting in the North and winding your way south – or vice versa. But if we were to pick a few standouts, we’d choose these two.
Snake Pass is one of the most famous and challenging mountain passes in the Peak District. Further, it’s considered one of the most scenic rides in the country.
The road stretches around 13 miles from the Derbyshire town of Glossop to Sheffield in South Yorkshire. The road takes its name from the snakelike curves carved in the rock faces that make up the route. Winding through beautiful scenery, expect stunning views over the landscape and Ladybower Reservoir.
In general, it’s a fast road. But some of the bends can catch you out – as can the hoards of people (and riders) who flock there during the summer months. However, this is offset by the stunning scenery surrounding the route, which is beautiful throughout the year.
With its twists, turns, and panoramic views, Snake Pass is a must-visit destination for any rider visiting the Peak District.
Scenic Roads in the UK: Cat & Fiddle
The Cat and Fiddle Road is one of the most iconic roads in the Peak District. This legendary road stretches some 11 miles between Buxton and Macclesfield. And it offers riders one of the most challenging and exhilarating driving experiences in the UK.
The hairpin bends provide you with a challenging and memorable riding experience. And it takes you through the heart of the Peak District’s stunning landscapes.
Expect to see heather-strewn moors, rolling hills, and picturesque stone cottages.
The summit rises to a height of 1,690 feet, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
With its dramatic views and challenging driving conditions, the Cat and Fiddle is one of the UK’s most legendary and remarkable roads. It’s just a shame it’s now peppered with speed cameras!
Staying up in the North, we can’t forget Yorkshire – God’s own country! As with the Peak District, it isn’t as magisterial as Scotland or the Lakes. But it’s vast, open, and full of varied scenery. If you’re heading to the Dales, check out the roads below.
Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales
Buttertubs Pass is a glorious mountain road running through the Yorkshire Dales’s heart. It stretches for around 5.3 miles between Hawes and Thwaite, taking you through some of the most stunning scenery in the UK.
The road is named after the distinctive limestone potholes, thought to resemble butter churns, found near the summit. It features steep gradients, sharp bends, and vanishing points, providing a challenging and exhilarating riding experience.
Along the way, stunning views of the surrounding Dales unfold, from the green pastures of Wensleydale to the rugged moors of Swaledale. The pass offers a chance to experience the best of the Yorkshire countryside and is a popular route for motorcyclists.
Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire
The Ribblehead Viaduct Road is a spectacular winding road that takes you through the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The road stretches some 8.7 miles between Whernside and Ingleton, offering brilliant views of the surrounding countryside.
Along the way, you’ll have the chance to pass by iconic landmarks such as Britain’s highest navigable aqueduct, Blea Moor Tunnel. Then, there’s the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, which towers over Batty Moss moorland.
The road is full of hidden gems, from rolling heather-strewn hills to the spectacular limestone crags and limestone pavements at Malham Tarn Nature Reserve.
With its stunning scenery and thrilling riding, Ribblehead Viaduct Road is one of Britain’s most memorable rides.
Scenic Roads in the UK: Wales
As our regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of Wales. Like Scotland, it has a personality and charm that is (somehow) otherwise not found in other parts of the UK. To enjoy it fully, start in Snowdonia and ride South to the Valleys – or vice versa. For a few standouts, we’d go for these.
The Coastal Way
The Coastal Way Road in Wales is one of the most picturesque routes through the country. Expect a gloriously winding road that hugs the coastline for some 60 miles.
Along this beautiful ride, you will pass by historic towns such as St Davids and Cardigan. You’ll also witness breathtaking scenery featuring sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and undulating hills. Throughout the journey, you’ll see some of the best viewpoints across Wales. These include Mewslade Bay in Gower Peninsula and Strumble Head Lighthouse on Pembrokeshire’s north coast.
Whether you are looking for an adventure or a peaceful ride, take a trip down the Coastal Way Road for a memorable experience.
Black Mountain Road, Brecon Beacons
The Black Mountain Road is in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s a deliciously winding road that offers some of the most spectacular views in all of Wales.
As you ride this mystical route, you will be surrounded by dramatic peaks, lush green fields and quaint villages. Along your journey, you’ll have the chance to witness captivating waterfalls cascading down craggy rocks and the towering ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle.
You can enjoy breathtaking views over the Usk Valley on one side and peaceful valleys on the other.
It’s well worth the trip!
Gospel Pass, Brecon Beacons
Gospel Pass, located in the Brecon Beacons National Park, is one of Wales’s most picturesque and peaceful routes. The route takes riders along a winding road that offers stunning views over mountain valleys and lush green fields.
Along your journey, you’ll have the chance to witness some of the best wildlife spots in Britain – like red kites circling overhead and wild ponies grazing in the fields. You can also stop at St Mary’s Church, which dates back to the 11th century, or explore Hergest Ridge for spectacular views over Herefordshire.
Whether you are looking for an adventure or want to enjoy some peaceful scenery, a trip down Gospel Pass will not disappoint.
Other Scenic Roads in the UK to Consider
Not to be outdone by the big players above, the rest of the UK has thousands of secret gems – if you’re prepared to look. For example, don’t discount the Ribble Valley in the northwest – a route we wrote about here: Ride This Route Through The Forest Of Bowland. Here are a few of our favourites across the UK.
The Causeway Coastal Route, Nothern Ireland
The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful and dramatic road trips in Europe.
This 125-mile journey takes you along a winding road that hugs the rugged coastline, offering stunning views over dramatic cliffs, wild beaches and untouched islands.
Along your journey, you’ll have the chance to explore some of Northern Ireland’s best attractions. These include the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Mussenden Temple and Giants Causeway.
The Atlantic Highway, Devon & Cornwall
The Atlantic Highway is one of the most scenic and dramatic coastal roads in England. This 156-mile stretch takes travellers along a winding road that hugs the rugged coastlines of Devon and Cornwall, revealing breathtaking views over wild beaches, untamed cliffs and remote villages.
Along the journey, you’ll have the chance to spot some of Britain’s best wildlife, including seabirds, dolphins and seals. Some attractions include St Michael’s Mount, or you can enjoy a dip at one of the many golden sandy beaches.
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Cheddar Gorge Road in Somerset is a stunning adventure through Britain’s most dramatic and beautiful landscapes. This winding 10-mile road travels along the rocky side of the gorge, offering views of spectacular cliffs, wild caves and deep ravines.
Along your journey, you’ll have the chance to explore some unique attractions, such as Gough’s Cave or the Lookout Tower. You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as abseiling or picnicking in the valley below.
Military Road, Isle of Wight
Military Road, A3055, on the Isle of Wight, is a breathtaking coastal ride with spectacular views over the English Channel and Solent. This winding 10-mile route takes riders along a road that overlooks sheer cliffs and pristine beaches, perfect for spotting wildlife such as seabirds and seals.
You can explore some of the Island’s iconic landmarks along your way. These include The Needles or visiting old military fortifications at Yarmouth Castle.
Scenic Roads in the UK
Whether you’re looking for a winding coastal ride, dramatic gorge road, or rugged moorland pass, the UK has some of the most stunning roads in the world.
From Cheddar Gorge Road in Somerset to Military Road on the Isle of Wight and everything in between, these scenic routes offer something for everyone. So get out there and explore – you won’t be disappointed!