Land's End to John O' Groats by car

A few years ago in this thread, I asked for suggestions for a “quick” drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats. For reasons I’ve forgotten, I never made the trip. Ironic. Now that I don’t live in England, the trip’s a go. To avoid the May Bank Holiday, mid-May looks like the time and I’m allowing most of a week.

The question is what are some good sights to see? I haven’t checked the schedules yet but a county/country fair is definitely on the list. I’ll adjust my travel dates to make a good one. Other than that, I know I’ll be passing a million interesting places and need help deciding what to see. Some things I’m interested in: historical sites including ruins that aren’t too ruined; unusual architecture; and beautiful landscapes such as farms, lakes, shores, and rolling hills.

Oh, and whichever Waitrose the queen will be shopping for spotted dick in, that’d be peachy. Bonus points if she’ll be in her housecoat and pink fuzzy slippers.

I only know about the Scottish part of this - I’m only really familiar with eastern England and western Scotland.

The suggestion I have is to take the A82 once you pass Glasgow, rather than the faster A9 route to Inverness. It is a beautiful road, taking in Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and the Great Glen including Loch Ness. It has moorland and hills, a few castles and such here and there, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view. I also love watching the small boats go through the five lock “staircase” at Fort Augustus as they enter/exit Loch Ness at its southern end.

“From Land’s End to John’a’Groats
There is no bell can better my note.”

(from The Nine Taylors by Sayers; nothing of substance to contribute to the OP, but I like that little verse. )

Here is Google’s suggestion for a quick drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It’s a mere 3.8 miles with not much to see on the way, except for a view of the 405 freeway. You did mean Los Angeles, didn’t you?

The A9 is quite scenic as well, but I definitely second this.

You could detour slightly and go up through the Lake District.

I’ve done this. Not quick as I was back-up car for a friend who was riding a bike. Highlights were the lochs, Chester, the Lake District, then nothing really until we got to Chepstow, then Dartmoor, then Cornwall.

Hilariously I see I answered the other thread too. My first answer was better. Though I think I can’t tell Carlisle from Chester.

If it were me, I would avoid the motorway network as much as possible. For example, the Bristol to Manchester-area stretch - the boring option would be M5/M6, probably much quicker as long as you don’t hit one of those horrendous jams between Birmingham and Manchester. But I’d go round the west side of Birmingham. Lots of rolling hills and pretty towns like Ludlow and Great Malvern along that route. The roads are still pretty good, so it wouldn’t be too slow.
From the Lake District north, I’d be tempted to cross over to the east coast in the English/Scottish border region, just because that stretch of coast up to Edinburgh is beautiful.

following up on PaullParkhead’s suggestion, if you take that route, I found the Duke of Argyll’s castle at Inverrary well worth a visit, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

That would be a detour but definitely scenic and it would also give you an opportunity to have some grub at the Loch Fyne Oyster restaurant.

PaulParkhead, Floater and Northern Piper, A82 past Glasgow. Lots of natural beauty, check. A Scottish castle, check. Possibility of seeing the Loch Ness Monster, check. Loch Fyne Oyster restaurant, on the list.

jjimm, I wondered if you’d post the same suggestions. I’m not sure about the Lake District. Isn’t that infested with coaches full of OAPs this time of year?

nudgenudge, I like your thinking. Help me with some routing away from the M5/M6 between Birmingham and Manchester. Also how would I cross to the east coast to Edinburgh? Google isn’t helping.

Thanks for your suggestions and please keep 'em coming.

Many different routes you could take, but with up to a week to play with I think you can afford to lean toward “scenic” rather than “fast”. So, off the top of my head, if it were me, from Bristol I’d take the M48 over the Severn estuary then head north into the Wye valley. (Possible diversion, Hay-on-Wye, but it’s right out at the extreme west of the route and you’ll probably be too early for the celebrated Hay literature/arts festival).
Then the A40/A449 to Malvern, a spa town set in scenic hills. Continue north through Worcester, then the A449/A442 to Bridgnorth and Ironbridge gorge, with several museums attesting to the area’s importance in the early Industrial Revolution.
The A548 goes north from here through Much Wenlock, with its slightly cheeky claim to being the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games, to Shrewsbury, which I admit I’ve only been to once but I seem to remember was pleasant enough. Then the A49/A41 through Shropshire and Cheshire. More quaint towns, but you might be getting sick of “quaint” by now. Chester’s worth a look, but quite touristy. I’d then take the M53 to Liverpool and up through coastal Lancashire (A59 or coastal roads).

There are not that many routes east-west across northern England, because of the Pennine hills. The main ones are the A66/A685 from the Kendal or Penrith areas, or the A69 from Carlisle. If you want to skip all the OAPs in the Lake District, an alternative more southerly route with maybe slightly fewer pensioners and caravans would be through the Yorkshire Dales. Emerge somewhere like Harrogate or Ripon and take the A1, or again coastal roads where more scenic, all the way to Edinburgh.

Thanks. That helps. I’ll map it out and see how it works.

Heh. So I’m not the only one who read the title and thought “first an outlet mall, then dinner?”