Written by Graham Cutbill-White
February half term is just around the corner and if you’re like many parents up and down the country, you’re probably struggling to find new and exciting ways to keep your children entertained and spend quality time with your family.
Typical British weather and busy half term crowds can really reduce your day-out options, but rather than staying at home with the kids get restless and, there are tons of new adventures to have wherever you are with a road trip around the beautiful British Isles.
From quick trips down the coast to journeys through the countryside, there’s a perfect driving day out for everyone. What better way to have fun at half term and make memories with the ones you love.
To help you pick the right road trip for your family this half term, we’ve put together this handy guide of 5 perfect driving days out that are ideal for Half Term.
A trip to the Cotswolds in the west of England has something for everyone. From quaint, traditional villages full of unique local shops including the “most perfect high street in England” to steam railways, you’re guaranteed to keep your kids entertained and have days full of adventure.
For the drivers, you’ll get an endless series of smooth but exciting twists and turns backed by stunning scenery that only the Cotswolds can provide.
In between the sweeping roads, there’s plenty to do for kids including Cotswold Wildlife Park and for a bit of history, you can visit the stunning Capability Brown designed gardens of the World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace.
Staying down south, another fantastic trip that’s full of beautiful scenery, a chance to get up close and personal with nature, and truly experience the best of the English countryside.
Despite a reduced speed limit, there’s still plenty for the driver to enjoy on this scenic trip through the heart of the forest.
Your kids can enjoy the local wildlife including horses and deer as you cruise along but if you fancy something a bit more testing, head off to the “Ten Bends” on the Brockenhurst to Burley road or head north between Downton and Salisbury and drive the 10-mile twisting road with views of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance.
With tons of country parks and outside adventures as well as the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, there’s plenty to tire the little ones out.
Heading up north this time to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. What better way to spend a day or few days than heading to wilds of the dales and driving, hiking, and exploring the picturesque villages and rolling hills between them.
Take a trip up to the highest pub in Great Britain – the Tan Hill Inn for a spot of lunch. There’s plenty for the driver to enjoy as the route up via the B161 and B160 passes through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
You could also visit the home of ‘Cracking cheese, Gromit’ and visit the Wensleydale Creamery which has cheese-making displays, a children’s play area and of course a gift shop for cheesy souvenirs of your visit. This also means you get the opportunity to head down the Buttertubs Pass, a 6 mile stretch of road described by Jeremy Clarkson as ‘England’s only truly spectacular road’.
If you want a road trip for you and your family with something different around every corner, head east to Norfolk.
Starting off in the Area of Natural Beauty that is the Norfolk Coast, your kids can get down and dirty in the treacle-like mudflats of Burnham Deepdale (a place to shower after is highly recommended) and then you can head along the coastal roads full of sandy beaches one minute and pine woodlands the next.
The drive from Hunstanton to Cromer and even down the east coast to Great Yarmouth has everything you could need for a relaxing road trip along the coast. The weather might not be ideal for the beach but there’s plenty of places to keep you warm from museums to the circus. If the weather is on the warmer side, head out to the sandy grasslands at Blakeney Point and try and spot the grey seals on the shore.
For a true kid’s day out, you can head inland through the Norfolk Broads to BeWILDerwood, a truly magical theme park that focuses more on imagination and the fun of climbing trees, building dens and having adventures. There’s something for kids of all ages from puppet shows for the toddlers to zip wires for young teens and older.
Not quite as intense as the Indy 500, the North Coast 500 is a relaxed, stunning dream of a trip and a must for all drivers. Known as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the 500 miles of sweeping straights, tight turns and postcard picture beauty wherever you look takes you from Inverness to the west coast and then up north hitting the world famous John o’ Groats before heading south again finally back to Inverness.
However much of the route you want to do is up to you but wherever you go you’re sure to find those once in a lifetime experiences.
From a scenic point of view, there’s mountains, beaches, lochs, and natural wonders galore. There are more castles than you can shake a stick at and in Moray Firth, you and your kids can visit one of the best places in Europe to see dolphins in the wild. 130 bottlenose dolphins are believed to live there and if you venture further out (with a trained professional, of course) porpoises and killer whales can sometimes be seen.
A popular stop on the North Coast 500 is Applecross. A remote peninsula at least 1,300 years old, Applecross is at the end of the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle).
A world-famous road that’s one of the highest in Britain at around 2,053ft in places, it’s not for the faint-hearted or for a less experienced driver.
A single track for coming and going with hairpin bends which head into the clouds. It’s a challenge for most drivers but well worth the effort – perhaps while the kids are enjoying some lunch in the town.
Wherever you are headed this half term, remember that you could save time and money with temporary car insurance.
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