The UK is home to some of the world’s most incredible scenery, but where can drivers go to explore it without the chaos of traffic congestion?
We have compiled a list of the 15 least-used scenic roads using a combination of traffic figures from the Department for Transport and recommendations from Visit Britain.
These roads take drivers through some of Britain’s most picturesque areas, including the Brecon Beacons the Yorkshire Dales and the Scottish Highlands. With only 800 vehicles passing per day they make some of the country’s least used A-roads.
Britain’s 10 quietest scenic A-Roads
1: A838 – Laxford Bridge to Tongue – Sutherland, Scotland
- This 77 mile road on the north coast of Scotland passes Loch Eriboll – often used by Royal Navy ships, as well as Smoo Cave – a dramatic sea and freshwater cave. The route is also the least used in the Scottish Highlands with 96 vehicles a day using it.
2: A821 – Aberfoyle to Callander – Stirling, Scotland
- Known as the “Duke’s Pass”, this road cuts through the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It is only open between March and October every year and is one of the quietest roads in Western Scotland with 405 vehicles using it per day.
3: A44 – Aberystwyth to Rhayader – Ceredigion, Wales
- Heading east from the postcard town of Aberystwyth, the A44 ascends the Cambrian mountains passing through miles of lush green moors, hilly vistas and stunning valleys. It also passes by Devil’s Bridge, home to the dramatic waterfall which inspired Turner and Wordsworth. On average, only 431 vehicles drive along this route each day.
4: A4069 – Llangadog to Upper Brynamman – Carmarthenshire, Wales
- This 14-mile stretch is known as the ‘Black Mountain Road’, and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s best driving roads. The route twists and turns its way through the stunning Breacon Beacons National Park. Despite its reputation among petrol-heads, it is only used by 462 vehicles per day.
5: A686 – Penrith to Haydon Bridge – Cumbria/Northumberland, England
- Spanning 38 miles between Cumbria and Northumberland, this road passes through through the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The first part of the route climbs the Hartside Pass to Alston, England’s highest market town. It is also one of England’s quietest A-Roads with just 800 cars using it a day.
6: A592 – Windermere to Penrith – Cumbria, England
- Known as the ‘Kirkstone Pass’, the A592 is surrounded by show-stopping scenery in the heart of the Lake District. The road reaches 1489 feet at its peak, and near Ullswater, sees just 1,266 vehicles use it a day.
7: A39 – Minehead to Barnstaple – Somerset/Devon, England
- Known as the ‘Atlantic Highway’ in Devon, the route starts at the tourist town of Minehead and heads westwards into Devon. The A39 ascends Porlock Hill, where it becomes the steepest A-Road in Britain. For this reason, it is the 3rd quietest A-road in all of Somerset with 1,377 vehicles passing through each day.
8: A87 – Kyle of Lochlash to Uig – Isle of Skye, Scotland
- This route across the Isle of Skye offers some of the most scenic views anywhere in Scotland. Sections of this route see as few as 1,493 vehicles pass through it each day.
9: A4086 – Llanberis to Blaenau Ffestiniog – Gwynedd, Wales
- This is one of many scenic routes running through Snowdonia National Park, the A4086 is definitely one of the quietest. Despite being awash with stunning photo opportunities, only 1,985 vehicles pass through the route daily, while other roads in Gwynedd see more than three-times as many vehicles each day, on average.
10: A684 – Hawes to Aysgarth
- No scenic tour of England would be complete without a visit to the Yorkshire Dales, yet the A684 running through the heart of the national park is a road less travelled – with an average of 2,000 cars using it per day.
The Scene But Not Heard project analysed more than 60 popular routes, based on recommendations from Visit Britain, Trip Advisor and ‘1001 Scenic Drives You Must Experience Before You Die’ by Darryl Sleath. The list was narrowed down to the five quietest routes each in England, Scotland and Wales according to traffic flow on sections of those routes.