Forget sweltering in a steamy sun-baked airport departure lounge, the driving holiday is the new way to take a summer break for many British travellers. It coincides with the increase in popularity of the ‘staycation’ that will see a dramatic 250 per cent increase in the number of people holidaying in the UK compared to five years ago.
New research from Green Flag reveals that this summer 56 per cent of people will be driving to their holiday destination. And 13.2 million of us have already been on a driving holiday this year. If you’re one of the millions planning a road trip this summer, we’ve compiled the following list to help you break your journey.
Six great places to stop during a driving holiday
Portishead Lido, Somerset: For messing about in the water
Just 10 minutes from Junction 19 of the M5, this open-air swimming pool boasts fun, exercise, and free parking. It’s even got an acclaimed restaurant that overlooks the north Somerset coast.
Diggerland, Cullompton, Devon: Great digging diversion
Big kids and small alike will love Diggerland and it’s less than three miles from the M5, Junction 28. There’s a restaurant plus picnic tables. And you can ride on and drive all sorts of diggers and dumpers. It’s not scenic, but it’s fun, particularly for older kids.
Tebay Services, Cumbria: Motorway services ‑ at their best
Probably one of most famous motorway service stations, and for all the right reasons, Tebay features locally cooked meals and fantastic views of the dramatic Cumbrian hills. Although it’s on the M6 there are soft play areas for kids and footpaths for leg stretching.
Mottisfont, near Southampton: Tranquil retreat
If you’re heading for Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, take either junction two or three on the M27 and within minutes you’ll be transported to a world of ancient trees, babbling brooks and rolling lawns. You can take your own picnic, enjoy light snacks in the café or a more formal lunch in the restaurant.
Farm Café in Suffolk: Best for breakfasts
No road trip to East Anglia would be complete without a stop at the Farm Café. A few miles from Woodbridge in Suffolk on the A12, it combines a café that describes itself as ‘passionate about food’ with a farm shop so you can stock up on quality goods on the way to your destination.
Nostell Priory and Parkland: Central northern stop-off
The beauty of this National Trust property is that it’s equidistant between Junctions 31-33 of the M62 and Junction 38 of the A1M and also close to Junction 39 of the M1. The house has a fine collection of antique furniture and there are different activities aimed at kids every day of the week. Or you can simply enjoy a leg stretcher in the gardens.
Nick Reid, head of transformation at Green Flag, said: “We’re pleased to see that more people are enjoying holidaying closer to home – and that so many are opting to hit the roads to explore the local sights. At Green Flag we believe it should be about the journey as much as the destination. Having the ability to stop and relax as many times as you need, is one of the many advantages of getting behind the wheel.”
The Green Flag research shows that driving holidays have increased in popularity over the last decade, with 41 per cent of Brits claiming they go on road trips more than they did 10 years ago. And more than half (54 per cent) cite exploring the landscape as the reason they get behind the wheel. More than a third (39 per cent) say they choose this way of travel because it guarantees quality family time.
However, with more cars taking to the road, Green Flag is expecting 97,596 breakdowns. More than 21,000 of those will be caused by flat batteries and 12,187 will be through punctures.