The Lake District, Devon to Cornwall and the Peak District have been named as the UK’s happiest road trips in a new poll conducted by leading fuel brand – JET.
One of the most beautiful and beguiling parts of the country the Lake District is where happy driving memories are made. 33% of UK drivers cited the National Park as their happiest road trip with the breath-taking, coast-hugging, Devon to Cornwall drive taking second spot and the brooding, dramatic Peak District putting a smile on driver’s faces – taking the third spot.
Conducted online in June 2023, 2000 UK drivers were asked to take a trip down memory lane and vote for the road trips they have happiest memories of. They were also asked to define what it is about those trips that makes them happy and how driving makes them feel.
Stonehenge, Norfolk Coast and Waterloo Bridge
The Kinks sang about it, Michael Caine as Alfie walked across it, Matt Smith as Doctor Who drove a scooter across it and the poet Wendy Cope famously wrote about falling in love on it. The drive across Waterloo Bridge, an iconic stretch spanning the Thames and connecting the South Bank with Aldwych and the Strand, is officially memorable with 10% of drivers citing the iconic London bridge as one of the UK’s happiest road trips – making the top 10 in 8th place.
Stonehenge, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, that never fails to intrigue and excite (as well as slowing down the traffic on the A303 as drivers steal a glance of the majestic stones) has been voted the UK’s 4th happiest road trip with the wildly romantic Norfolk Coast continuing to bring joy to UK drivers – taking the 7th spot.
The rest of the top ten is made up of the North Yorkshire Moors/Road to Whitby (5th); the Scottish Borders between Northumberland and Edinburgh (6th); Cotswolds roads (9th) with the beautifully rugged Snowdonia to Anglesey road trip eliciting happy memories and bagging the 10th spot.
Freedom, deep-and-meaningfuls and being a ‘passenger Princess’…
The poll has revealed that 52% of UK drivers experience feelings of happiness and joy with ‘driving through beautiful scenery’ (56%) and ‘a feeling of freedom’ (44%) identified as the top two factors for making driving a happy, pleasurable experience. Other happy-inducing factors include ‘listening to your favourite road trip playlist’ (37%); having uninterrupted ‘deep-and-meaningfuls’ with a partner/family/friends (28%); singing like no one is watching (27%) and (although not strictly from a driver’s perspective) being a ‘passenger princess’ – which polled 17% of the votes.
The joy of driving and mental clarity
When asked to explain the emotions experienced while on a favourite road trip – UK drivers were surprisingly candid about sharing their feelings.
Alongside happiness (the top response taking 52% of the votes), just under half (45%) said that they experience feelings of ‘calm and contentment’ with 42% experiencing ‘excitement’ and one-quarter of UK driver’s identifying a feeling of ‘mental clarity’ (23%). Other emotions cited by the 2000 drivers polled included: ‘love’ (26%); ‘nostalgia’ (22%) and ‘empowerment’ (18%).
“At JET, we are all about facilitating and celebrating the joy of driving – and it’s gratifying to see how many UK drivers derive genuine happiness from taking to the road.” says Áine Corkery, Manager, UK Brand, Phillips 66 Limited “We have an array of beautiful and spectacular road trips in the UK – ranging from iconic urban bridges through to wild coastal drives and glorious lakes – and as a driver-first company we look forward to being a part of this summer’s road trip adventures and the making of new memories.”
The UK’s Top 10 Happiest Road Trips:
Lake District (33%)
Devon to Cornwall (25%)
Peak District (18%)
Stone Henge / Cotswolds (14%)
North Yorkshire Moors / Road to Whitby (12%)
Scottish Borders between Northumberland and Edinburgh (12%)
Norfolk Coast (10%)
Waterloo Bridge, Central London (10%)
Cotswolds Roads (10%)
Snowdonia to Anglesey (9%)