The combination of ‘restless children’ and ‘road trip’ probably doesn’t sound all that appealing. But a road trip doesn’t have to mean spending lengthy durations of time on the road, instead you can make it into something your entire family can enjoy.
From cruising through the Peak District to spend some time at the Monkey Forest, to driving through Cheddar Gorge for a game of crazy golf, this article looks at the UK’s most family-friendly road trips.
Plan before you go
Before you head off on your adventure, it’s important to pack all of the essentials. Start with the practical elements of a road-trip; check the spare tyre and pack jump leads. You don’t want to get stranded! You should also pack your insurance details, car manual, a map, a torch and plenty of water.
If you have a large family, or you’re bringing your children’s friends along for the ride, it can be a good idea to invest in, and insure a minibus for maximum comfort.
Once you have the practical elements sorted, make way for the fun stuff. Besides, you don’t want your kids getting bored 15 minutes into the journey – so packing an emergency bag filled with snacks, handheld consoles, colouring books and pens is always a good idea.
To keep your kids engaged and enjoying the journey, you could incorporate a game that’s much more fun than the classic ‘I-spy’.
For example, before you set off, you could hand out pieces of paper filled with pictures of places or landmarks that you’ll pass on the journey and ask your children to spot them along the way. Once they’ve spotted the place or landmark, they get to tick it off their list. Think of it as a kind of ‘location bingo’.
Hit the road!
Once you’ve got all the essentials packed, it’s time to hit the road. Here are five of the most family friendly road trips in the UK:
1. Trentham Monkey Forest
Situated just off of the M6, the Trentham Monkey Forest is the perfect family day out and provides a variety of access routes to choose from on the way. Set in a stunning 60-acre woodland, the forest is home to 140 free-roaming Barbary macaques. With no barriers or cages, this beautiful endangered breed can roam as they please and may even come and join you and your family as you stroll along the ¾ mile pathway.
Depending on where you’re travelling from, a scenic route to take would be the one that passes through the stunning Peak District. While this could add on more miles and time to your route, it’s well worth it. If you take the A53, you could even make a quick stop at the quaint town of Buxton, or perhaps visit a few of the Peak District’s famous caves and caverns. If you’re approaching from the south, you could stop off or pass through Cannock Chase AONB, a place full of beauty, history and wildlife.
2. Old MacDonald’s Farm and Fun Park
If you’re in London or the surrounding area, a great place to plan a road-trip to is Old MacDonald’s Farm and Fun Park. Driving on the M25 is never much fun, so for a slightly more scenic and lengthy route, you might want to take the A12, the A127, or the winding A414 – depending on where you’re travelling from.
Home to more than 200 animals and packed with amusements, rides, outdoor play areas and more, Old Macdonald’s is the perfect place to make a stop whether you’re venturing in or outside of London.
3. Cheddar Crazy Golf
Possibly one of the most picturesque places to play crazy golf in the UK, Cheddar Gorge is a well-known road-tripping route and is great for families. With Cheddar Crazy Golf – a wacky game surrounded by stunning landscapes – intense escape rooms, rock climbing activities and adventure caving, there is plenty for the entire family to experience here.
The roads which wind through Cheddar Gorge are impressive and offer spectacular views, giving both you and your children something to ogle at. If you want to take a route that will be a little more lengthy and even more incredible, you might want to take the B3135 which takes you from Ashwick all the way to Cheddar. Filled with hairpin turns and sweeping bends, this rollercoaster-like journey is sure to please the little ones.
4. Treak Cliff Cavern
The Peak District is another picturesque place known for its epic road-trips. While there are many stunning routes you can take, one that should not be missed is Snake Pass. Starting from Sheffield, if you head along the A57, famously known as ‘Snake Pass’, you’ll pass by the Ladybower Reservoir and find yourself in the very heart of the beautiful Peak District.
If you head slightly south of the Ladybower towards Castleton, you should find Treak Cliff Cavern, where you and your kids can marvel at impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
5. Edinburgh Castle
There are plenty of incredible routes to take if you’re heading in the direction of Edinburgh Castle, the heart of the city. If you take the A1, you’ll drive along a stunning, scenic coastal route. Or if you opt for the A702, you’ll pass the Pentland Hills Regional Park where you’ll see endless rolling hills and beautiful landscapes.
Once you make it to Edinburgh Castle, your children are sure to love exploring the ramparts and the cavernous cells, where prisoners of war were once locked away. If you make it there for 1pm, you’ll witness the daily firing of the medieval One o’Clock Gun cannon – a tradition which dates back to 1861.
Wherever you choose to start your journey, there are plenty of family-friendly road-tripping routes, activities and events dotted around the UK for the whole family to enjoy.