Motoring 28 Friday, 3 July 2009 London Lite PackupthecarandexploresomeofBritainsmostscenicstretchesofcountry BY HENRY BIGGS E VEN before this weeks heatwave, the fashion for a staycation had taken hold. This is more than just an irritat- ing buzzword, it refers to the fact that many people are shunning expensive foreign holidays and instead are stay- ing put in Blighty. This may be terrible news for travel compa- nies but it is surprisingly good news for petrol- heads because, in spite of what you may believe about congestion, fuel prices and speed cameras, Britain does still have some great driving roads. Plus, of course, theres no jet lag, no awful airports and you get to enjoy those routes in your own motor, rather than in a small, boxy, asthmatic hire car. So, make a break for the open road this weekend with our pick of some of the greatest British drives... StIvestoStJust 15 MILES, ONE HOUR BRITAIN has nearly 8,000 miles of coastline, and among the most spectacular is that of northern Cornwall, shaped over millennia by the advancing Atlantic. The scenery and the gentle light of this part of Britain inspired an artists collective to gather in St Ives in the last century and the town is now home to a branch of the Tate, a sculpture garden and a pottery studio. The best way to enjoy the scenery is to head out of St Ives on the B3306 towards St Just, 15 miles away and the centre of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Normally a twisting stretch of road like this is best enjoyed at speed but we definitely recommend taking it easy, particu- larly on a summer evening. Zennor, about halfway along the route, is reputed to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the country, so stop the car and find a nearby stile to sit on to catch the last rays of the day with nothing between you and America. ScarboroughtoWhitby 40 MILES, ONE HOUR A HOLIDAY resort in Yorkshire might sound like an oxymoron but Scarborough became Britains first seaside destination way back in the 17th century when a spa was established in the town. The spa still exists and has its own orchestra, jazz festival and theatre. The rest of the town is also thriving, winning awards for its entrepreneurship. Rather than take the coast road from Scarborough to Whitby, the more interesting option is to turn inland towards the village of Pickering. Here you can pick up one of the finest moorland roads in Britain, the A169. This passes through scenery so spectacular it can be the only explanation for the continued popularity of Heartbeat, filmed nearby. Worth a stop on the way is Dalby Forest, occupied since the Bronze Age and now home to tricky m o u n t a i n b i ke trails, gentle walks and a Go Ape tree- t o p a d v e n t u r e course. But if that sounds too much, there is also a zero-effort forest drive. Yo u p r o b a b l y want to arrive in Whitby before dark, however, given that it is where Dracula landed in Britain. The account of his ship, the Demeter, running aground is based on a real shipwreck in the area and it was in the Whitby library that Stoker came up with the name Dracula. The town hosts a twice annual Goth festival for anyone wanting to keep in touch with their dark roots. LondontoGoodwood 70 MILES, TWO HOURS IT IS still possible to find some driving fun in the crowded South-East, as this route proves, and if you head off this weekend theres an extra treat in store at the end of it. All right, the slog out of the capital itself is never a pleasant one but once you have negoti- ated the torture of the M25, it improves immeas- urably. Exit at Junction 8 on to the A24 and head for Horsham. But, rather than follow this down to the coast, opt for the A29 instead. This follows the route of the old Roman road, known as Stane Street, that linked London with the Roman palace at Fishbourne. The Roman influ- ence is certainly obvious at first, the road runs arrow-straight either side of Billingshurst but as it approaches the South Downs that all changes. At the village of Pulborough turn right on to the A283 and shortly afterwards left on to the A285. The roads become much more interesting, climbing up and over the South Downs accom- panied by challenging corners and spectacular views. The destination, Goodwood, is just as enter- taining for any car buff, this weekend hosting the Festival Of Speed and in September the Revival, two of the worlds most popular motor- ing events. It also regularly hosts breakfast meetings where members of the public can come and drool over the supercars. TheLlanberisPass 18 MILES, HALF AN HOUR AS BACKDROPS to an enticing driving route go, there arent many in Britain better than the Snowdon Massif. The Llanberis road, marked on your map as the much less romantic A4086, runs from Caernarfon to Capel Curig, built in the 1830s to transport ore down from the mountains. Today this would no doubt be an arrow- straight bypass but being built in the days before bulldozers means it snakes through the Snowdonia National Park. Snowdon itself, the highest mountain in Britain south of the Scottish border, can be best explored from the famous Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, used as a training base by the team which successfully conquered Everest for the first time in 1953. For the less hardy, theres the opportunity to swap the car for the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which hauls its way to the top in a pleasingly quaint Thomas The Tank Engine fashion. Here there is a brand-new 8m visitor centre, display- ing the message: Copar Wyddfa: yr ydych chwi yma, yn nes at y nefoedd. -- The summit of Snowdon: you are here, nearer to Heaven. InvergarrytotheIsleofSkye 80 MILES, TWO AND A HALF HOURS SCOTLAND has no shortage of enticing roads, made even more so by the fact that they are generally much freer of traffic than anywhere else in our crowded little island. The A87 leaves Invergarry and runs along the bonny banks of Loch Lochy to Fort William, the Scottish Highlands biggest town. Here you are within striking distance of both Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. More importantly, this is also the start of the Road To The Isles; a route so romantic there is even a traditional Scottish song in its honour. More prosaically known as the A830, it links Fort William to the port of Mallaig, known to Harry Potter fans as the destination of the Hogwarts Express. There is a road bridge to Skye but by far the most picturesque way to approach the island is on the ferry. Once there, look out for red deer and golden eagles on your way to the Talisker Distillery, the only one on the island, for a tasting. Best to leave the car where it is for the evening. Five great drives Drive time: the romantic Isle Of Skye is the perfect place to stay overnight Invergarry Isle of Skye S C O T L A N D A87 Guildford Horsham Pulborough LONDON GOODWOOD Gatwick A24 A29 A283 A289 Whitby Scarborough A169 A170 Y O R K S H I R E St Just StIves Penzance Zennor B3306 C O R N W A L L Caemarfon Capel Curig W A L E S A4086 Llanberis Pass A N G L E S E Y index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html