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Fuzz Townshend gives his top tips for finding an enjoyable drive nearby.


There are many great driving roads wherever you may be in the UK, or indeed, around the world. Choosing a classic, such as the North Coast 500, or Snake Pass, can indeed lead to exhilarating experiences, but such trips often take a fair amount of planning, and aren’t spur-of-the-moment jaunts, unless you live nearby, of course.

Rather than looking at specific roads, what I offer here are a few of my favourite destinations. If you visit them, I’m sure that you’ll have a great time getting there, and you’ll be able to take family or friends along for the ride, safe in the knowledge that even if they’re not overly fond of journeys, there’s a treat awaiting them as a reward for your meandering route.

The key here is to avoid motorways and the like, opting instead for ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, giving opportunities for impromptu stops at places of interest along the way. You may not reach your intended destination, if such a stop yields treasure you didn’t realise existed, by way of beautiful villages, gardens, an excellent pub lunch… I once had such a lunch and enjoyed it so very much that I placed an offer on a house nearby. Bishops Castle, Shropshire, was the place, by the way, and it remains an excellent place to visit on many levels.

Turn off the in-car entertainment and allow the windows to provide the pictures and the car to provide the sounds. Before you set out, make sure that your car’s fluid levels are correct, and that its tyres are in good condition and set at the correct pressures.

Highest point

Heading out to the highest reachable place, within an hour’s drive from your point of origin can often reward you with astounding views, ancient settlement remains, an eccentric building, or simply an ice cream van. Achieving the peak may require an amount of walking, so do take suitable footwear and outerwear, as well as water and a snack, just in case you get caught out by the weather. Expect a few twists and turns along the way and take it easy regarding speed. It’s about the journey, too.

Roman Road

A long, straight, Roman road may seem counterintuitive when it comes to great drives, but part of the joys of them are the towns and villages they pass through. Take the Fosse Way, for example. This ancient, 1st and 2nd centuries AD route stretches between Exeter and Lincoln, and although not all of it is driveable, much of it remains as sometimes major, often minor roads.

My preferred section of this road is from where it crosses the A5 in the Midlands, down through to Moreton in the Marsh and Stow, Bourton on the Water, with an alternative peel-off to the ancient town of Burford, with many a rewarding Cotswold bakery or café along the way. Of course, the Romans left a few bits and bobs along the way too, so be prepared to stop and take a look around.

Coast Road

I am going to suggest that you do a Kylie Minogue and step back in time… No? I’m actually suggesting that you acquire an Ordnance Survey map or two and pre-plan a coastal drive.

I like the larger scale, ‘Explorer’ range of maps, as they are larger scale and give greater detail, although you may require more of them for your planned route. Satellite Navigation systems will often attempt to steer you back toward the quickest route to your chosen end point, whilst a map will positively seduce you into taking in the twists and turns of a meandering route between coves and ancient fishing villages, alternating between breezy sea views and hunkered shelter.

Look for somewhere unfamiliar and stretch it out for a few days, if you have time.


There’s no need for you to get your feet wet. I suggest that you follow the route of a river as it cuts through town and countryside, sometimes arrow straight, and at other points coiling,serpent-like as it finds the path of least resistance in its relentless journey towards the sea. Take for example the River Wye. I’d suggest enjoying its almost oscillating twists from Hay-on-Wye, via the only city on its course, Hereford, and on down its eponymously named Wye Valley, through Monmouth to Chepstow, taking in the gloriously impressive (especially at dusk) Tintern Abbey along the way. Again, using a map will reveal far more otherwise hidden treasures along the way.

Village Fêtes

The summer months are the season of the village fête. From the bravest of events in May to the concluding hurrahs of Michaelmas in the latter half of September, these locally organised events are the unsung heroes of recycling, rehoming ancient bottles of obscure liqueurs from the depths of cocktail cabinets via tombolas, and giving well-thumbed page-turners another turn on bedside cabinets.

Village fêtes are a fabulous way of enjoying bucolic British village life without spending a fortune, and there’s sure to be a generous offering of delicious cakes and home bakes available, too. If you have a classic car, you might be able to book it in as part of a display, giving you a plum parking spot in the bargain.


Whatever type of drive you decide on, take a couple of lightweight outdoor chairs or a rug, and perhaps a picnic. Rest a while, breathe in the air, and enjoy using your car for a true journey, instead of transport.

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Tyre Size Guide

The normal width of the tyre
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The diameter of the tyres inner rim in inches
Load capacity of the tyre
The maximum speed for this tyre at full load