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Great Britain road numbering scheme facts for kids

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United Kingdom A road zones
The numbering zones for A & B roads in Great Britain

In Great Britain, roads are given a letter with 1-4 numbers after it. This is how they are named. The letter is the category of the road. There are two main types of categories: motorways (with the letter M) and non-motorways. There are two types of non-motorways: A roads (with the letter A) and B roads (with the letter B). A roads are more important than B roads. There are also a very small number of C roads.

This system only applies to the island of Great Britain. Northern Ireland and other islands have their own systems.

Motorways (M roads)

A roads

Single-digit A roads

In England and Wales, the six A roads with one number are most important roads coming out of London. Starting with the A1 which goes north, numbers go clockwise around London:

  • A1 London to Edinburgh, (Also known as the Great North Road)
  • A2 London to Dover, (The southern part of Watling Street, also known as the Dover Road), however, the A2 past Rochester has been replaced by the M2.
  • A3 London to Portsmouth, (Also known as the Portsmouth Road)
  • A4 London to Avonmouth, (Also known as the Great West Road or the Bath Road), although this route is not used anymore to travel far since the the M4 was built.
  • A5 London to Holyhead, (The Northern part of Watling Street)
  • A6 Luton to Carlisle (The A6 first started in Barnet on the old A1).

In Scotland, important roads from Edinburgh have A roads with one number:

  • A7 Edinburgh to Carlisle, although the M74 and M8 motorways now are mainly used.
  • A8 Edinburgh to Greenock, which used to link Edinburgh to Glasgow, however it now ends and carries on as the M8 25 miles (40┬ákm) away from Glasgow.
  • A9 Falkirk to Scrabster. First went from Edinburgh to Inverness.

Other A roads

  • Zone 1 A roads
  • Zone 2 A roads
  • Zone 3 A roads
  • Zone 4 A roads
  • Zone 5 A roads
  • Zone 6 A roads
  • Zone 7 A roads
  • Zone 8 A roads
  • Zone 9 A roads

B roads

C32 Rare C road sign in Ribblesdale - geograph.org.uk - 260339
C road sign in Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. There are not many C roads.
  • Zone 1 B roads
  • Zone 2 B roads
  • Zone 3 B roads
  • Zone 4 B roads
  • Zone 5 B roads
  • Zone 6 B roads
  • Zone 7 B roads
  • Zone 8 B roads
  • Zone 9 B roads

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