The North Coast 500 has been thrust into first place in a poll to find the UK’s best touring route for the summer – despite its huge international following on social media.
The 516-mile circuit, which starts and ends in Inverness and en route features some of the most spectacular scenery in Ross-shire, Caithness and Sutherland, was also judged to have the most tourist attractions among the best routes driving in the UK – 286 – but was boosted to second place by the 95-mile trip up the Jurassic Coast in the English West Country.
The study, which was conducted on behalf of auto finance and loan specialist Moneybarn, looked at factors such as TripAdvisor’s top 40 routes and reviews, crash data, social media stats, hours of sunshine and tourist attractions.
The Dorset and Devon Jurassic Coast emerged the best trip in the study with a score of 8.69 out of 10, scoring the highest for Instagram and TikTok views, Google searches and sunshine, with 225 hours of sunshine. sunshine during the sunniest month.
The NC500 wasn’t far behind with a 7.68 rating.
Summarizing its appeal, the Moneybarn research report states: “You will never be short of things to do or places to see. The local authority also reported 215 crashes on local roads in 2020, so you can be sure that you are safe on such a long drive.
“Regarded as one of the most beautiful road trips in the world, the North Coast 500 is full of stunning coastal scenery, white sandy beaches and rugged mountains, which offer you a trip to remember. Located at the very top of Scotland, one of the few things that lets the NC500 down is the lack of sunshine, with just 178 hours in its sunniest month, May.”
The NC500 was one of two Scottish routes to score in the top five in the Moneybarn study, with the West Highlands to the Islands route slipping in just fifth with a 5.60 rating.
Wales and Cumbria were also in the top five with Horseshoe Pass (6.07) coming in third and Wynrose Pass coming in fourth (5.89).
The full breakdown of the study can be viewed at www.moneybarn.com/road-trip-recommendations/