Road Maps

Finding your way in the UK

Road Maps

The UK’s roads are designated by letters that define the type of road, followed by a route number. Motorways (coloured blue on maps) have the prefix ‘M’ followed by a low number such as M1, M2, M3 or M25.

Trunk roads link principal towns and cities, as well as taking in more remote parts of the country. They’re coloured red on maps and have the prefix ‘A’, e.g. A1 or A2. The higher the number, the more minor the trunk road. Minor or secondary roads, many of which are prefixed with the letter ‘B’, link small towns and villages, and are coloured brown or yellow on maps. In Wales, town and route signs are in English and Welsh. There are a vast number of road maps available, from local town maps to road atlases for the whole of the British Isles. The following road maps are among the best available:

  • Geographers’ A-Z Map Co. Ltd produces an excellent range of street atlases, street plans, town maps, and road and county maps for all areas of the UK, many containing a comprehensive index of every street.
  • The AA and RAC motoring organisations and the Ordnance Survey produce a variety of comprehensive maps, including the AA Big Road Atlas Britain. Other good large-scale maps (around 3mi/5km to the inch) are the Ordnance Survey Motoring Atlas, Collins Road Atlas Britain and Philip’s Motoring Atlas Britain.
  • Local town maps are often available from libraries and tourist information centres, including touring maps such as the AA county series of ‘day drives’. Detailed town maps are usually available from local bookshops and newsagents.
  • Good free maps are available from tourist information centres, libraries and car hire companies.

This article is an extract from Living and working in Britain. Click here to get a copy now.

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