3 Best Motorcycle Routes in the U.K.

3 Best Motorcycle Routes in the U.K.

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With its hazy isles and seaside cliffs, the United Kingdom is one of the best places to go exploring on a motorcycle. But going for a ride in a foreign country can take some getting used to. The U.K. includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which contain spectacular routes that are sure to take your breath away. Each is home to rich terrain, quaint country cottages, historic towns and scenic ocean views. 

Ready to see something new? Use this guide to enjoy the best motorcycle routes in the U.K. without getting lost along the way.

What You’ll Need

Let’s start with everything you need to ride a motorcycle in England and beyond. You will need a provisional license or international driver’s license to start riding in the U.K. If you have a valid driver’s license from your home country, you can use it to drive in the U.K. for 12 months. After that, you will need to switch over to the local system by applying for a provisional license and completing certified basic training (CBT). If you have an EU license, you can also exchange it for a Great Britain license. There are different license categories for each type of motorcycle, so make sure you apply for the right one.

You also need to get insurance for your vehicle. If you are renting a motorcycle in the destination country, the vendor should offer this option. You can also contact your insurance company to see if they will cover accidents and damage in a foreign country. If not, you can sign up for a short-term policy in the U.K., but some companies are hesitant to issue policies to non-U.K. residents.

Riders are also required to wear the proper motorcycle safety gear, including a full-face helmet, gloves, long sleeves, pants and riding boots. Adding reflective layers to your gear is also encouraged.

Traveling in a group? Use a motorcycle helmet communication to talk hands-free with your companions as you navigate so you don’t have to take your hands off the handlebars. Roads can be narrow in the U.K., so you will need to get used to riding in single-line formation. The headset stays in range for up to a mile to help you keep the conversation going.

Use Motorcycle Helmet Communication During Your Trip

If you’re more interested in spending time with your favorite podcast, audiobook or radio station, look for motorcycle helmet speakers that produce quality audio without distracting you from the road.

Where to Go

Kylesku Bridge along the NC500

Source: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock.com

North Coast 500

Distance: 516 miles

The NC500 weaves around the north, south and east coast of Scotland, helping you explore it from every angle. You will encounter a range of thin, curving roads that take you from one rocky overlook to the next. Slow down and give yourself plenty of time to pass other drivers.

Traffic tends to heat up during the summer, so consider traveling in the spring or fall when temperatures are cooler and there are fewer people on the road.

Traversing this entire gauntlet can easily take you the better part of a year if you want to stop and smell the flowers. Spend the night in a historic village to enjoy the atmosphere.

Snake Pass Loop

Distance: 41 miles

Perfect for an afternoon jaunt, the Snake Pass Loop takes you through the center of England just east of Manchester, so you can still get back to your hotel before sundown. It takes you through steep mountains coated in greenery and charming villages that seem to exist in a different time.

Watch your speed as the route dips and rises with the elevation. Keep your eyes peeled for local animal life, including peacocks (yes, you read that right!)

The Antrim Coast

Distance: 60 miles

Causeway Coastal Route with cars

Source: Nahlik/Shutterstock.com

Head up to Northern Ireland to experience the beauty of the Irish coast. The Antrim brushes past a range of iconic landmarks, including the Giants Causeway, Ballycastle and two of the country’s most notable wildlife parks. If you have a need for speed, stop by the infamous Triangle Racecourse to go up to 200 mph without getting a ticket.

Your motorcycle riding bucket list just got a little longer. Ready for more adventure? Learn about the best motorcycle routes in Germany to keep the fun going!