A couple laughing with their dog, sat on blanket for a picnic
Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte is the Digital Marketing Specialist here at Carparison, in charge of getting all our brilliant emails out. She has a wealth of marketing experience under her belt, and there is no-one better at finding their way around automations.

Read time of 6 minutes.

Stuck for ideas to amuse the kids over the holidays? 

Pack up your lease vehicle and hit the road!

As a child, the summer holidays were a thing of beauty. Six whole weeks with no school stretched out before you with the promise of blazing sunshine, endless days of playing and the tantalizing tones of an ice-cream van. As a parent, however, the notion is slightly different.

Combatting boredom, battling with traffic and extortionate prices as venues compete to lure in tourists can be frustrating. The holy grail of holidays, particularly in a post-pandemic world remains the staycation. A road trip to somewhere new offers ample opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the nation.

The UK really is home to some of the most picturesque countryside in the world. From stunning coastlines, rugged moorland, and quaint chocolate-box villages to bustling cities filled with excitement and culture, there’s something for everyone.

Our intrepid explorers have taken to the road to scope out the best places to take a leisurely drive to this summer. All you need to do is make sure your vehicle is roadworthy, assemble a playlist, pack all the snacks and hit the road for an epic road trip!

1.    Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Snowdonia, Mountain, waterfall

Located in Northwest Wales, Snowdonia is the largest national park in Wales. It is concentrated around glacial landforms, mountains and over 100 lakes. The area offers stunning views and a plethora of activities to suit every taste.

Adrenaline seekers can hit Wales’s very own rocky mountain range, which boasts 14 peaks over 3000ft – known as the Welsh super-mountains. Possibly the most well-known is the formidable Yr Wyddfa/Snowden, which stands some 1,085 feet above sea level and is the highest peak of the British Isles outside of the Scottish Highlands.

Of the six main paths to the summit of Snowden, the easiest is the Llanberis Path. Although those with young children may find it a challenge to complete the full walk. It’s a strenuous 9-mile round trip with an ascent of 3,199 feet and takes, on average, 6 hours to walk, there and back.

If that sounds a bit too active for your family, don’t fret! Snowdonia isn’t just about the mountains. Au contraire, it’s also home to some of the country’s most stunning coastlines too. The area harbours some of the sandiest stretches of beach in Britain with the northern arc of Cardigan Bay, a designated AoNB.

Culture vultures will enjoy a visit to the Llyn Peninsula -otherwise known as Snowden’s Arm. It can be experienced by walking the Wales Coast Path and in doing so you can expect to take in oodles of culture and heritage, traditional farmsteads, quaint ports, beaches, bays, and sea cliffs that are utterly breathtaking.

For those wanting to experience the beauty from the comfort of their car, there’s the option to take a scenic drive from Trevor along the A5 towards Llangollen, where you can drink in the scenery and even get a glimpse of the Castell Dinas Bran.

 

2. The Jurassic Coast, South West England

Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door, Beach

Stretching from Exmouth in Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast is 96 miles of pure, unadulterated coastal beauty. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2001 and anyone who has been lucky enough to visit will know why.

For budding geologists, the area is rich with natural geological evidence from the Jurassic period however, there are also rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous periods aplenty. Children and adults will enjoy a fossil hunting trip to Lyme Regis, where the beaches are littered with ammonites. Potential treasure seekers can join a guided fossil finding tour under the eye of an expert or you can go it alone, Indiana Jones style.

Beach bunnies are spoilt for choice with Exmouth, Sidmouth, Beer, Seaton, Charmouth and Chesil Beach all immensely popular seaside destinations. As well as stunning coastlines, visitors can expect idyllic seaside towns that wouldn’t be out of place in an Enid Blyton book.

Nature-lovers should definitely visit the Undercliffs Nature Reserve – one of the great wilderness areas of Southern England. The Undercliffs were formed from sandstone and chalk slipping over clay and limestone, leaving a beautifully ragged coastline. The landscape is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife and plant life.

Who could forget Durdle Door? One of the most iconic coastal landscapes in the country, the natural limestone arch protrudes almost vertically from the sea. It stands at the foot of a steep path followed by a set of wooden steps. It’s best to park above in the designated car park and pick your way down – which takes around 15 minutes.

 

3. The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

Family on a beach

Brimming with history and stunningly beautiful, the Lizard is one of the most visited areas in the country for good reason. Rather than a homage to our scaley reptilian friends, the name is thought to be a corruption of the Cornish ‘Lys Ardh’ meaning high court. Although coincidently the peninsula is mostly made up of serpentinite bearing rock, which has a scaley appearance that is reminiscent of snakeskin.

The site of numerous shipwrecks, a WW1 Naval Air Station at Bonython and home to RNAS Culdrose (the home of Europe’s largest helicopter base), the Lizard is rich in naval and avion history – a must for seasoned and history buffs alike.

Famous for its crowd drawing beaches such as Kynance Cove, Poldhu and Mullion, the Lizard is the ultimate spot to head to with teenagers for sun-worshipping, water sports and Instagrammable sunsets.

Hop back in the car and treat yourself to a trip to the most southerly point and visit the Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre in Helston. With its distinctive twin towers, the landmark is still in operation and has been since 1752.

In terms of nature, the Lizard is home to over 600 species of flowering plants, which accounts for nearly a quarter of all UK species. The mild microclimate is positively tropical in the summer, but winter months are prone to gales and salt winds, so pack accordingly.

 

4. Bath, Somerset

Pulteney Bridge, Bath

The perfect city break. Brilliant for those with an interest in Georgian architecture, history, Ancient Rome, wellbeing, shopping and good food to name a few – Bath is a fantastic place for a trip, whatever your age. Get behind the wheel and drive to the city via the rolling hills of the Cotswolds for a real visual treat.

Once you arrive in the city, you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do. Luxury lovers should definitely take a dip in the Ancient Roman baths – hot public baths or thermae that are fed from rainfall in the nearby Mendip Hills. They are the only natural thermal hot springs that you can bathe in in Britain, which is enough of a draw in itself, frankly.

Packed with picturesque, cobbled streets and teeming with history, Bath is a glorious place just to wander around and soak up the culture. With acres of green parkland to boot, you could easily park up, pack up a picnic and spend the day mooching.

Places of note include The Circus, Royal Crescent and the looming beauty of Bath Abbey.

Alternatively, Bath is awash with all the shops from high street stalwarts to independent boutiques, it’s a veritable paradise for gift hunting. If all that shopping takes its toll, the same logic applies to the plethora of cafes, restaurants and bars that Bath has to offer. Including (but not limited to) the wonderful Sally Lunn’s Eating House.

Situated in one of the oldest houses in Bath, Sally Lunn’s dates back to 1689, where the eponymous baker fed the elite of Bath with her buns. Still made to the original recipe today, the Sally Lunn bun is a type of large bun or tea cake made with yeast dough, cream and eggs. It is similar in taste and texture to the French brioche and is served with a number of fillings.

All of their dishes are based on historical fodder, and their specialty a ‘Trencher’ replaces the traditional plate with a bread-based alternative, which soaks up the flavours of the meal and is to be eaten alongside.

 

5. Plymouth, Devon

Smeaton's Tower in Plymouth

Possibly something of a surprise addition for anyone who resides in the Plymouth environs, it is actually a fantastic destination. Alternatively, for those on the longer haul down the M5 to Cornwall, Plymouth offers a great opportunity to stop off and explore before heading further South West.

Britain’s Ocean City often suffers from poor press but as cities go, it has a lot going for it. Nestled conveniently between some of Devon’s most sublime beaches and rugged moorland, there are plenty of places to stretch your legs.

For a more cultured wander, the National Trust property Saltram House offers a healthy dose of history, pretty gardens, a park, bike pump track and a duck pond. For a more organized day out, the National Marine Aquarium provides fun and fish aplenty.

Free fun and stunning views can be found in the historic Barbican and Hoe areas. The Barbican boasts quaint little streets and lovely restaurants as well as a more modern complex including a cinema, bowling, and fitness centre.

Smeaton’s Tower Lighthouse stands proud on the open Hoe and the view from the top over Plymouth Sound takes some beating. The Hoe itself is a network of paved and grassy areas and in the summer months is a haven for 80s-style rollerblading. Definitely worth a go.

Fancy a dip but not quite brave enough to dip your toe in the sea? 

Then Tinside Lido is for you. The Art Deco lido is perched right beside the sound and is fed by seawater. It’s a stunning spot for a swim and for those wishing to stay dry, also has several cafes and ice cream parlors to whet your appetite and refresh your palette.