The family road trip is an iconic part of growing up. Probably all of us can remember at least one occasion of piling into the car and taking off for a weekend or longer during the summer, and no doubt it’s a tradition we’d like to keep going with our own families.


Before embarking on a road trip of any duration there are certain preparations you need to make first. The number one priority is of course making sure that your vehicle is roadworthy and not going to give you any trouble – the last thing you need is to break down at 6pm in the Scottish Highlands! So get your car serviced at a garage such as well in advance.

Next you’ll need to plan your route – with the kids coming along for the ride you want to have lots of fun diversion along the way to break up the journey and let people stretch their legs. You also want some nice photo opportunities.

Lastly, when you’re going to be covering a lot of mileage, ensure you pack some pillows and healthy snacks and drinks so the family are comfortable. Bring along some in-car distractions too – travel-size board games, audio books, crayons, and brush up on the rules of I-Spy!

Now, where to go? I’ve selected three of the best UK family road-trips…


Cornwall offers some of the most attractive and diverse scenery in the UK, and it’s no surprise that many families choose to return here for their holidays year after year. About 300 miles west of London, the roads around here will often run along gorgeous sandy beaches. Always watch your speed because the roads can be narrow, and it may be necessary to avoid bikes and walkers, or back-up to allow another car to pass.

There’s no end of ways to keep the whole family entertained here – in St Austell you’ve got the incredible Eden Project; try some surfing lessons on the North coast; explore charming bays and fishing villages such as Polperro; introduce the kids to the joys of crabbing and rock pooling; take a ghost walk at the old Bodmin jail, and don’t forget to have a pasty on the Lizard Peninsula, where they’re reckoned to be some of the best.

Wiltshire & Salisbury Plains

Gorgeous scenery abounds in this part of the country, and it’s a lot easier to get about than Cornwall, where you can sometimes find yourself stuck in tailbacks for miles! There are many lovely towns or villages in the area where you can find reasonably priced accommodation to hole up for the night, as well as campsites, if that’s your thing.

Fantastic excursions for all the family include wandering around the mysterious ruins of Stonehenge and trying to decide what they were used for; city stops in attractive Bristol or Bath; seeing the wild animals at Longleat Safari Park (definitely get your car checked over beforehand, don’t want a flat in the lion zone!), and Sarum Castle.

The Lake District

Unquestionably one of Britain’s most gorgeous destinations, the roads around the Lakes are a dream to drive, with splendid panoramic views in every direction.

There are plenty of nice, stile-free walks you can do which are fine for buggies or little legs to cope with. Also, for older kids, there’s an abundance of water-based activities especially around Coniston, such as sailing or windsurfing. The Lakes have inspired many famous children’s book writers too – Postman Pat’s Greendale was inspired by Longsleddale, Thomas the Tank Engine travelled through here, Beatrix Potter’s animal creations wandered the Lakes, and much of the famous Swallows & Amazons stories were written here too. So if your children are into these books, taking them on a tour of the relevant sites will capture their imaginations.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 10th June 2014