|Maintained by National Highways (England) and North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent|
|Length||243.0 mi (391.1 km)|
|Southeast end||Marble Arch, City of Westminster|
|Northwest end||Port of Holyhead|
|London, St Albans, Milton Keynes, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Cannock, Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Llangollen, Betws-y-Coed, Bangor, Holyhead|
The A5 (commonly known as the London-Holyhead Trunk Road) is a major road in England and Wales. It runs for about 243 miles (391 km) from London to the Irish Sea at the ferry port of Holyhead. In many parts the route follows that of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.
The section of the A5 between London and Shrewsbury is roughly contiguous with one of the principal Roman roads in Britain: that between Londinium and Deva, which diverges from the present-day A5 corridor at Wroxeter (Viroconium Cornoviorum) near Shrewsbury.
Telford's Holyhead Road
The Act of Union 1800, which unified Great Britain and Ireland, gave rise to a need to improve communication links between London and Dublin. A parliamentary committee led to an Act of Parliament of 1815 that authorised the purchase of existing turnpike road interests and, where necessary, the construction of new road, to complete the route between the two capitals. This made it the first major civilian state-funded road building project in Britain since Roman times. Responsibility for establishing the new route was awarded to the famous engineer, Thomas Telford.
Through England, the road largely took over existing turnpike roads and mainly following the route of the Anglo-Saxon Wæcelinga Stræt (Watling Street), much of which had been historically the Roman road Iter II. However between Weedon, Northamptonshire and Oakengates, Telford's Holyhead Road eschews the Watling Street corridor, picking up instead the major cities of Coventry, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton; this routing being far more useful for communications.
From Shrewsbury and through Wales, Telford's work was more extensive. In places he followed existing roads, but he also built new links, including the Menai Suspension Bridge to connect the mainland with Anglesey and the Stanley Embankment to Holy Island.
Telford's road was complete with the opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge in 1826.
Notable features of Telford's road
The road was designed to allow stagecoaches and the mail coach to carry post between London and Holyhead, and thence by mailboat to Ireland. Therefore, throughout its length the gradient never exceeds 1:17 (5.9%).
The route through Wales retains many of the original features of Telford's road and has, since 1995, been recognised as a historic route worthy of preservation. An 18-month survey by Cadw in 1998-2000 revealed that about 40% of the original road and its ancillary features survives under the modern A5, much more than previously thought. These features include the following:
- many surviving and distinctive toll houses
- 'depots' along the route, being roadside alcoves to store grit and materials
- distinctive milestones at each mile – many originals having survived and been restored, others now replaced by replicas
- distinctive gates in a 'sunburst' design, a few of which have survived
- a weighbridge at Lon Isaf, between Bangor and Bethesda
Tŷ Nant cutting
In 1997, a section of bends on Telford's road between Tŷ Nant and Dinmael was by-passed by a modern cutting. However, investigation in 2006 revealed that the rock face in the cutting had become unstable, and the A5 was closed from the end of May 2006. Traffic was diverted onto the old A5 route, on a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) stretch known as the Glyn Bends, while the rock face was made safe. This involved the removal of 230,000 tonnes of rock and alluvial deposits. In July 2007, the A5 through the reconstructed cutting was reopened.
Starting at Marble Arch in London, the A5 runs northwest on the Edgware Road through Kilburn and Cricklewood. The A5 number disappears at the A41 near Edgware but the original road continues as the A5183 through Elstree, Radlett, St Albans, Redbourn and Dunstable. A few miles north of Dunstable, the A5 regains its identity at the M1 motorway junction 11A, rejoining the old Roman Road and passing through Hockliffe before becoming a dual carriageway as it approaches Milton Keynes.
On entering the City of Milton Keynes, the road becomes an (almost) fully grade-separated dual carriageway and passes through Milton Keynes. This stretch was opened in 1980, replacing the original route along Watling Street. From just north of MK, after entering Northamptonshire, the road resumes as a single carriageway that continues through Towcester where it crosses the A43 dual carriageway just north of the town. The road accompanies the Grand Union Canal and the M1 motorway through the Watford Gap. It then bridges the M45 motorway and continues to Kilsby. As it passes close to Rugby, the road is diverted slightly around the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal and then passes the remains of the Rugby Radio Station.
The next phase north-west-bound takes it under the M6 motorway and passing close to Lutterworth. Along this stretch, the road frequently alternates between being a single and a dual carriageway. After meeting the M69 motorway at a roundabout, with the motorway passing above, the A5 runs between Nuneaton and Hinckley.
After this section the road continues to run through the northern fringes of Nuneaton and then on to Tamworth. At Tamworth, the road follows a more recent dual carriageway bypass, permitting the original alignment to become a local road in the town. From this point the road is a grade separated dual carriageway up until its junction with the A38 and M6 toll. After this junction it passes just to the south of Cannock and then enters Telford, where it loses its identity and route-shares with the M54 motorway from junction 5. At junction 7 the motorway ends and the A5 continues to Shrewsbury as dual carriageway, on its new alignment. (The original route through Telford, and then via Atcham to Shrewsbury, is unclassified through Oakengates and as the B5061 through Wellington and the B4380 through Atcham). Continuing from the end of the M54, the route runs around Shrewsbury as the town's southern bypass (still as dual carriageway), combining for a stretch with the A49. (The route once ran through the town, but was first bypassed in the 1930s, then by-passed again in the early 1990s).
After Shrewsbury the A5 continues as single-carriageway except for the Nesscliffe bypass. It then multiplexes with the major South Wales – North Wales road A483 and forms part of the Oswestry bypass, running to the east of that town. Shortly after, it crosses the River Ceiriog and enters Wales to continue from Chirk. The A5 continues through to Snowdonia via Llangollen, Corwen, Capel Curig and through the centre of Bangor.
From Bangor the road crosses the Menai Suspension Bridge to Anglesey and then runs roughly parallel to the A55 expressway to the outskirts of the village of Valley where the A5 continues onto the Stanley Embankment. The A5 from Valley to Holyhead is named London Road running through to the Port of Holyhead. The A5 traditionally terminated at Admiralty Arch (1822–24) on Salt Island, which was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate a visit by King George IV in 1821 en route to Ireland and marks the zenith of Irish Mail coach operations. The A5 currently terminates at the junction of the A55 near the Port of Holyhead.
Parts of the A5 have been replaced by sections of the M1 north of London, the M54 through Telford, the M6, and the M6 Toll. The A55 route in North Wales is now the usual way to get from Chirk to Holyhead, avoiding the mountainous A5 route through Snowdonia and instead going via the much gentler Cheshire Plain and along the coast.
|Greater London||Westminster||0.0||0.0||A402 west (Bayswater Road) / Park Lane (A4202 south) / Oxford Street (A40 east) to A3 / A4 – Westminster, Notting Hill Gate||South-eastern terminus; south-eastern terminus of A40 concurrency; northern terminus of A4202; eastern terminus of A402|
|0.08||0.13||Wigmore Street (A5204 east) / Seymour Street||No access from A5 to A5204; western terminus of A5204|
|0.5||0.80||Old Marylebone Road (A501 east) / Sussex Gardens (A4209 south-west)||No access from A5 to A501/A4209, from A501 to A5 north, or from A4209 to A5 south; north-eastern terminus of A4209|
|0.6||0.97||Chapel Street to A40||South-east access only|
|Harrow Road (A404 west) to A40 – Oxford, Wembley, Ealing, Paddington||North-west access only; virtual north-western terminus of A40 concurrency; eastern terminus of A404|
|Ring Road east to A400 / A1 – The City, Euston, King's Cross||South-east access only|
|1.2||1.9||St. John's Wood Road (A5205 north-east) to M1 / A41 – The North, Brent Cross, St. John's Wood||Destinations signed north-west only; south-western terminus of A5205|
|Brent||2.6||4.2||Willesden Lane (A4003 north-west) – Willesden, Neasden||Destinations signed north-west only; south-eastern terminus of A4003|
|3.8||6.1||A407 (Cricklewood Lane / Chichele Road) to A598 – Golders Green, Willesden Green, Harlesden||Information signed north-west only|
|A406 (North Circular Road) to M1 / M25 – Wembley, Brent Cross||To M25 south-east only|
|Barnet||5.7||9.2||Herbert Road (A504 east)||Western terminus of A504|
|6.2||10.0||A4006 west (Kingsbury Road) – Kingsbury, Kenton, Harrow||Harrow signed north-west only; eastern terminus of A4006|
|6.8||10.9||Colindeep Lane (A5150 east) to A41 – Hendon Central||Western terminus of A5150|
|8.2||13.2||Deansbrook Road (A5109 east) / Camrose Avenue to A5100 – Mill Hill, Queensbury||Western terminus of A5109|
|8.5||13.7||A5100 east (Station Road) / Camrose Avenue (B461) – Mill Hill||Information signed north-west only; western terminus of A5100|
|9.4||15.1||A410 (Spur Road / London Road) to M1 / M25 / A41 / A1 / A409 / A4006 – Aylesbury, Watford, Mill Hill, Harrow, Wealdstone, Stanmore, Brent Cross||Aylesbury signed north-west only, Brent Cross south-east only|
|London Borough of Barnet—Harrow—|
|10.7||17.2||A41 (North Western By-Pass) / A5183 (Elstree Hill South) to M1 / M25 – Central London, Brent Cross, Aylesbury, Watford, Elstree||North-western terminus of southern segment; southern terminus of A5183|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
|Bedfordshire||||0.0||0.0||M1 / A5505 south – London, Luton, The North, Bedford, Dunstable, Houghton Regis||South-eastern terminus; northern terminus of A5505|
|Dunstable town boundary||2.9||4.7||A505 (Watling Street) / Thorn Road to B5120 – Aylesbury, Luton, Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable||To B5120 and Dunstable signed south-east only|
|Hockliffe||4.9||7.9||A4012 west (Leighton Road) – Leighton Buzzard||Eastern terminus of A4012|
(City of Milton Keynes)
|Little Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Woburn||Grade-separated junction; Woburn signed south-east only|
|||11.6||18.7||A4146 south / Brickhill Road / Watling Street to A418 / A421 – Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, Great Brickhill, Stoke Hammond, Water Eaton, Woburn Sands, Bow Brickhill, Bletchley, Fenny Stratford||South-eastern terminus of A4146 concurrency|
|A4146 – Milton Keynes (south & east), Bletchley industry||North-western terminus of A4146 concurrency|
|A421 to M1 – Milton Keynes (south), Buckingham|
|A509 – Milton Keynes (central and east)||Southern terminus of A509|
|A422 east – Milton Keynes (north), Bedford, Newport Pagnell, Wolverton||Newport Pagnell and Wolverton signed south-east only; south-eastern terminus of A422 concurrency|
|Old Stratford||A508 north / A422 west to M1 north – Northampton, Buckingham, Cosgrove, Yardley Gobion, Deanshanger||North-western terminus of A422 concurrency; southern terminus of A508|
|Towcester||28.6||46.0||A43 / Towceser Road to M1 / M40 / A4525 – Northampton, Oxford, Brackley, Banbury, Blisworth, Tiffield, Greens Norton|
|||36.4||58.6||A45 to M1 / A4500 – Northampton, Coventry, Daventry|
|Kilsby||44.5||71.6||A361 south-west (Daventry Road) to B4038 – Daventry, Banbury, Barby||North-eastern terminus of A361|
|||45.8||73.7||A428 (Crick Road) to M1 / M6 – Northampton, Rugby|
|||46.2||74.4||A5 Spur south-east to M1 / M6 – Milton Keynes, Northampton||Information signed north-west only; north-western terminus of A5 Spur|
|||51.2||82.4||A426 (Rugby Road) / Gibbet Road to M6 / A14 – Lutterworth, Rugby, Coventry, Kettering, Shawell||Coventry and Kettering signed north-west only|
|||53.6||86.3||A4303 east (Coventry Road) / B4027 (Lutterworth Road) / Coal Pit Lane – Lutterworth, Brinklow, Pailton, Willey||Western terminus of A4303|
|||60.1||96.7||M69 / B4109 / M1 / M6 – Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, Hinckley, Wolvey||M69 junction 1|
|Hinckley||62.7||100.9||A47 east (Dodwells Road) / B4666 (Coventry Road) to A447 – Earl Shilton, Market Bosworth, Hinckley town centre||South-eastern terminus of A47 concurrency|
|63.1||101.5||A47 west (The Long Shoot) – Nuneaton||North-western terminus of A47|
|||66.0||106.2||A444 south (Weddington Lane) – Nuneaton||South-eastern terminus of A444 concurrency|
|||66.1||106.4||A444 north (Atherstone Road) to A42 – Burton, Ashby, Twycross, Sibson, Fenny Drayton||North-western terminus of A444 concurrency|
|Warwickshire||Atherstone||69.5||111.8||Atherstone (B4116)||Grade-separated junction; south-east exit and north-west entrance|
|M42 / Trinity Road to M1 / M6 / M5 / M40 – The North, Nottingham, Burton upon Trent, The South West, Coventry, Birmingham, Kingsbury||M42 junction 10|
|Staffordshire||Wilnecote||73.9||118.9||B5404 / B5080 – Wilnecote, Fazeley, Stonydelph||B5404, Wilnecote, and Fazeley signed north-west only|
|B5440 – Wilnecote, Glascote|
|To A51 – Tamworth|
|A453 to A38 – Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Fazeley, Hopwas, Whittington, Hints||No westbound entrance; To A38, Birmingham, Whittington, and Hints signed north-west only|
|M6 Toll / A38 / Roman Road to M6 / M42 south – The North, The West, The South, Cannock, Coventry, Birmingham, Burton, Lichfield, Hints, Weeford||The North, The West, and Cannock signed north-west only; M6 Toll junction T4|
|A5148 north-east (Birmingham Road) / A5127 to M6 Toll north / A38 – Burton, Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield||To M6 Toll north signed north-west only; south-western terminus of A5148|
|Muckley Corner||85.1||137.0||A461 (Walsall Road) – Lichfield, Walsall|
|Brownhills town boundary||86.8||139.7||A5195 north-west / B5011 (Chase Road) to M6 Toll / M6 – Cannock, Burntwood, Brownhills||To M6 signed north-west only, B5011 and Brownshills south-east only; south-eastern terminus of A5195|
|West Midlands||Brownhills||88.0||141.6||A452 south-east (Chester Road North) / Wilkin Road – Brownhills||North-western terminus of A452|
|M6 Toll south / A34 (Walsall Road) / A460 (Lodge Lane) to M6 – The South, Burntwood, Walsall, Cannock, Rugeley, Wolverhampton|
|Cannock Chase||92.6||149.0||A4601 to M6 south / A460 – Cannock, Wolverhampton|
|||95.0||152.9||M6 to M6 Toll – The North West, The South, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Birmingham||M6 junction 12|
|Gailey||96.2||154.8||A449 to M54 – Stafford, Wolverhampton, Telford||To M54 and Telford signed north-west only|
|||104.2||167.7||A41 to M54 / M6 – Whitchurch, Shropshire, Wolverhampton||To M6 signed south-east only|
|Shropshire||Telford||108.5||174.6||A4640 (Redhill Way / Castle Farm Way) to M54 / A518 – Stafford, Donnington, Priorslee|
|110.0||177.0||A442 / Stafford Park 1 / Hollinsgate to A518 – Whitchurch, Stafford, Bridgnorth, Telford city centre||Grade-separated junction on A442|
|110.6||178.0||M54 east / B5072 / Forge Gate to M6 – Birmingham, Lawley, Telford city centre||South-eastern terminus of M54 concurrency; M54 junction 5|
|A5223 to A442 – Telford (west), Whitchurch, Ironbridge||Ironbridge signed south-east only; M54 junction 6|
|B5061 – Wellington||North-western terminus of M54 concurrency; western terminus of M54; M54 junction 7|
|||121.5||195.5||A49 north to A53 – Whitchurch, Newcastle||South-eastern terminus of A49 concurrency|
|||122.6||197.3||A5064 north-west (London Road) / B4380 (Thieves' Lane / Emstrey Bank) / A458 – Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock, Ironbridge, Cross Houses, Atcham, Wroxeter|
|||123.4||198.6||A458 – Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Cross Houses, Much Wenlock||Grade-separated junction; south-east exit and north-west entrance|
|Shrewsbury town boundary||124.8||200.8||A49 south (Hereford Road) / A5112 north-east – Shrewsbury, Leominster||North-western terminus of A49 concurrency; south-western terminus of A5112|
|Edgebold||126.8||204.1||A488 (Hanwood Road) – Shrewsbury (west), Bishop's Castle, Hanwood, Pontesbury, Minsterley|
|||128.8||207.3||A458 (Welshpool Road) – Shrewsbury, Mid Wales, Welshpool, Bicton Heath, Shelton||Mid Wales signed north-west only|
|A483 south / B4579 (Shrewsbury Road) – Welshpool, Oswestry||South-eastern terminus of A483 concurrency|
|Oswestry||143.4||230.8||A495 north-east / B4580 (Whittington Road) – Whitchurch, Oswestry, Ellesmere, Whittington||South-western terminus of A495|
|Wrexham||||149.2||240.1||A483 north – Wrexham||North-western terminus of A483 concurrency|
|Denbighshire||Llangollen||155.1||249.6||Castle Street (A539 east) to A542 – Ruthin||North-west signage|
|A539 east (Castle Street) – Ruabon||South-east signage|
|||166.1||267.3||A494 north-east to A5104 – Ruthin, Chester||South-eastern terminus of A494 concurrency|
|Druid||167.5||269.6||A494 south-west – Bala||North-western terminus of A494|
|Conwy||Pentrefoelas||179.9||289.5||A543 north-east – Denbigh||South-western terminus of A543|
|||186.3||299.8||A470 south – Dolgellau, Dolwyddelan, Blaenau Ffestiniog||South-eastern terminus of A470 concurrency|
|||186.4||300.0||A470 north to A55 – Llandudno, Conwy||North-western terminus of A470 concurrency|
|Capel Curig||192.4||309.6||A4086 west to A498 – Caernarfon, Porthmadog||Eastern terminus of A4086|
|Gwynedd||||204.8||329.6||A4244 south (Felln Hen Road) – Llanberis, Pentir||Pentir signed north-west only; northern terminus of A4244|
|||204.9||329.8||A55 (North Wales Expressway) to A487 – Conwy, Holyhead, Caernarfon||To A487 and Caernarfon signed south-east only; A55 junction 11|
|Bangor||208.5||335.5||A4087 south-west (Caernarfon Road) to A487 / A55 – Holyhead||North-eastern terminus of A4087|
|210.3||338.4||A487 south (Treborth Road) to A55 / A5 – Caernarfon, Conwy, Holyhead, Betws-y-coed||Holyhead signed north-west only; northern terminus of A487|
|Menai Suspension Bridge over Swellies (Menai Strait)|
|Anglesey||Menai Bridge||210.7||339.1||A545 north-east (Telford Road) – Town centre, Beaumaris||Town centre signed north-west only; south-western terminus of A545|
|Llanfairpwllgwyngyll||212.0||341.2||A55 east (North Wales Expressway) to A487 – Bangor, Caernarfon||Access only from A55 west to A5 and from A5 to A55 east; A55 junction 8A|
|212.5||342.0||A4080 west (Brynsiencyn Road) – Newborough||Eastern terminus of A4080|
|||215.0||346.0||A5152 to A55 – Holyhead, Bangor||Southern terminus of A5152|
|||218.1||351.0||A55 (North Wales Expressway) / A5114 north – Bangor, Holyhead, Llangefni||Southern terminus of A5114; A55 junction 6|
|||223.9||360.3||A4080 east / B5112 to A55 – Rhosneigr, Aberffraw, Llannerch-y-medd||Western terminus of A4080|
|||226.7||364.8||A55 (North Wales Expressway) / Minffordd Road – Bangor, Holyhead, Bodedern, Llanfihangel yn Nhowyn||A55 junction 4|
|||228.3||367.4||A55 (North Wales Expressway) – Bangor, Holyhead||A55 junction 3|
|Valley||228.8||368.2||A5025 / B4545 (Station Road) – Amlwch, Trearddur Bay||Western terminus of A5025|
|Holyhead||231.7||372.9||A5153 south-west to A55 – Holyhead, Bangor||Holyhead signed north-west only, Bangor south-east only; north-eastern terminus of A5153|
|232.3||373.9||A55 east (London Road) to A5154 – Town centre, Bangor||North-western terminus; no access from A5 to A55 west|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
In June 2008, a 9.9-mile (16 km) stretch of the A5 between Daventry and Rugby was named as the most dangerous road in the East Midlands. This single carriageway stretch had fifteen fatal and serious injury collisions between 2004 and 2006, and was rated as 'red'—the second highest risk band—in the EuroRAP report publish by the Road Safety Foundation.
- Google (12 November 2022). "Directions from Charterhouse St, London EC1N 8AA, UK to 51.487462, -0.256987 to Ellesmere Rd, Chiswick, London, UK to Chiswick, London, UK to 564 Great West Rd, Hounslow TW5 0TH, UK to 51.481919, -0.471081 to Wellington St, Slough, UK to 51.519721, -0.633138 to 39 Bath Rd, Maidenhead SL6 4RH, UK" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 12 November 2022.
- Google (22 November 2022). "Chalton Roundabout, Luton LU4 9TX, UK to A5, Towcester NN12 7QG, UK to Kilsby, UK to 4-59 A5, Dordon, Tamworth, UK to A5, Norton Canes, Cannock WS11 9XG, UK to A5, Wheaton Aston, Stafford, UK" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- Google (22 November 2022). "A5, Wheaton Aston, Stafford, UK to Priorslee, Telford, UK to Llanllechid, United Kingdom" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- Google (22 November 2022). "Llanllechid, United Kingdom to 53.231050, -4.113263 to Antelope Inn, Bangor LL57 2HZ, United Kingdom" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- Google (22 November 2022). "A5, Menai Bridge LL59 5DU, UK to Lon Tyddyn Mawr, Gaerwen LL60 6LB, United Kingdom to Trewalchmai, Holyhead, UK to 16 Rhenysgol, Caergeiliog, Holyhead LL65 3PJ, UK to Holyhead, United Kingdom to THE BOSTON, Holyhead LL65 2NE, United Kingdom" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- "Holyhead Road". sabre-roads.org.[self-published source]
- "Telford highway to Holyhead found intact under the A5". The Independent. London. 5 August 2000.
- "Closure Of A5 Trunk Road Between Ty Nant And Dinmael" (Press release). Archived from the original on 24 May 2011.
- "A5 at Ty Nant reopens ahead of schedule".[full citation needed]
- "Highest risk road sections in each UK Government Office Region (2004–2006)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 February 2012.
Media related to A5 road (Great Britain) at Wikimedia Commons
- Society for All British Road Enthusiasts entry for the A5
- Road to Nowhere: A5
- Nesscliffe bypass opened 21 March 2003.
- Milestonesweb entry
- EuroRAP GB Tracking Survey Results 2008
- Road Safety Foundation
- 1815–1830 reports of Select Committees on roads to Holyhead digitised by Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers On Ireland