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How To Find a Scenic Drive from London to Wales
London To Wales Scenic Route
Start Point: The Big Town; London
Dolgellau Wales Fantastic Scenery
Road Trip London to Wales
The chance to drive to Wales via a scenic route is possible from London if you use mainly A roads. The road system in the UK involves M roads, or fast roads with blue and white signs, A roads with green signs and B roads with black and white signs.
If you program city destinations into your satellite navigation tool the best thing to do is realise as you come close to one of the city destinations, if you follow the sat nav it will take you into the town centres. If you want to bypass the town centres, keep driving on the M or A road you are on, until you see an exit sign for the next destination on the list.
London A40: Once you are on the A40 West take this road all the way to Oxford. The route is covered with steep and rolling hills and is quite scenic. Some farmers build enormous sculptures along the roadside farms so keep an eye out and you might have a bit of a laugh. If you stop in Oxford you could see Oxford University and some excellent shopping and foodie stops. Beware though, parking is very expensive in Oxford, up to £30 for a few hours, so I always give it a wide berth if I'm not planning a day there.
Oxford to Cheltenham A 435: As you near Oxford begin to look for the sign for the A435 Cheltenham exit and take this. The route begins from the A40 West and will eventually take you to the M5 so if you see a double sign for both roads you are on the right path. Cheltenham is horse country so look out for stables along the route.
Cheltenham to Worcestershire M5: This will be the fastest part of your route and a short spin on the M5 of approximately 19 miles is not too bad if a bit whizzy. If you feel like a stop at this point, you can do roadside cafes, or try Worcestershire itself. Junction 6 A449 exit off the M5. Otherwise keep going on the M5 looking for signs to Shrewsbury A458.
Worcestershire to Shrewsbury and Welshpool A458: Drive the M5 until you see the A458 exit for Shrewsbury or miss Shrewsbury all together and continue on the A458 and you will then see signs for Welshpool. The first part needs to be followed for approximately 20 miles until you see signage for the A5191 and Welshpool, Wales, which rejoins the A458. This road is a very scenic drive full of gorgeous farmland, sheep and old cottages.
Welshpool A528 to Dolgellau Wales A470: Approximately 20 miles after Welshpool you should see signs for Dolgellau Wales and be on the lookout for the A470. This road will take you all the way to Dolgellau which is a National Trust stop for information on the Snowdonia Mountain Ranges. The route is extremely beautiful with rolling mountain ranges and stunning vistas.
Dolgellau Wales A470 to Ffestiniog Wales A470: Another 15 miles or so and you reach Ffestiniog which is part of the Snowdonia area and makes for a scenic drive also. There is abundant B&B accommodation here and many camping sites, lake trail walks and areas to explore.The Dolgellau area is famous for waterfalls (see the video above) and is well worth a visit on its own. Ample information for tourists is available as well as more detailed local walking and driving maps of the area.
Overall this trip should take approximately four hours at a leisurely pace. I always advise people travelling this distance in the United Kingdom to purchase a land map, some of which I've placed below, as it will allow the passenger driver to check ahead where the road changes are and warn you. They are conveniently coloured green for A roads and blue for M roads and the route on the Google map above is the direction to go for a scenic and leisurely drive to Wales from London.
United Kingdom Road Maps
Manod Mawr nr Ffestiniog Your Destination
© 2012 Lisa McKnight