Sleeping under the stars in the Lake District, surfing monster waves in Cornwall and driving a few feet from an African lion in the Midlands. All these experiences are just a car trip away.
As more families opt to holiday at home rather than abroad, self-drive vacations are a great way to see the sights in the UK and enjoy a family adventure on the road. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.
Camping has advanced over the last decade or so and is no longer associated with muddy tents and bad toilets. Modern campers can now choose from luxury Mongolian-style yurts (domed tents), handcrafted Native American tipis (conical tents) and stylish wooden pods.
When you’re not sitting around a campfire, you can take part in various family-friendly outdoor activities, from canoeing and fishing to hiking and cycling.
Head to the Lake District if you want to wake up near England’s largest natural lake, Windermere, or try the wilds of the Scottish Highlands for scenery on a breathtaking scale.
With thousands of campsites across the UK to choose from, online resources such as The Camping and Caravanning Club website are a good way to start your search. Remember to book well in advance if you’re travelling in peak season.
Britain’s coastline has plenty to offer the beach-loving family. Rugged cliffs, endless beaches and water sports make seaside holidays a popular choice. While a week in the sun sounds irresistible, there are things that can make your beach holiday a washout. Make sure you consider the following factors before booking:
- Ensure that your destination has enough indoor activities for rainy days. Look out for good-quality leisure centres, theme parks and other activities that don’t depend on our less-than-dependable weather.
- Do a quick online check of the beach quality. You can get details on how clean they are, how often they’re patrolled by lifeguards, and when pets are allowed on the sand.
- Although the sun, sand, sea and surf are usually enough to keep most families occupied, you can always get more out of your holiday by planning it around certain activities. Enrolling the kids in a surf school or taking kitesurfing lessons could make a seaside holiday that much more enjoyable.
No room in the diary for a holiday? Consider these fun destinations for a memorable day trip.
- North – Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester
The fantastic plastic world of Lego has something for everyone. Watch how the famous Lego bricks are made and marvel at the incredibly realistic miniature displays.
- Midlands – West Midlands Leisure and Safari Park, Bewdley
You don’t have to travel far to experience the thrill of driving among Bengal tigers, African lions, rhinos, giraffes and other wild animals. The park has the largest pride of white lions in the UK, and regularly takes part in conservation and breeding programmes for endangered species.
- South East – Dover Castle, Dover
With a stunning location on the white cliffs of Dover, this ancient castle has played a significant role in English history for 2000 years. Costumed actors will introduce you to the medieval court life of King Henry II. You can also explore the secret tunnels under the castle which were used to mastermind the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War.
- South West – The Eden Project, St Austell
The famous domes in Cornwall hold enough surprises for all the family. Get a taste of the tropics by walking through the world’s largest indoor rainforest, or sample the delights of a Mediterranean garden. There are plenty of activities for children, including live storytelling sessions, ice-skating, and music and arts events.
Before you set out for an adventure on the road, make sure you have sufficient car insurance cover, so you can relax and get the most out of your trip.
Gargi Shastri writes for the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog on topics ranging from car insurance to family holidays. A road trip fanatic, she has clocked up thousands of miles in her trusty MPV.
I am a member of the Sainsburys Bank Blogger Network. I have not received payment or incentive for this guest post.