Driving throughout each season can be an exciting time, and there’s always a great reason to go on a road trip with your favourite people. With autumn in full swing; there’s the opportunity to go and take advantage of some beautiful views at the leaves change colour, and the UK countryside becomes a sea of rusty browns, oranges and reds. Winter isn’t too far away, and that’s when the roads seem to become their most treacherous. Therefore, there’s no better time to seise the opportunity and go on an adventure for the weekend, before you have to deal with any frost or snow on the roads.
It’s also an unusually warm autumn this year, meaning that camping for the weekend might be the break away from the suburbs or city that your family needs. An affordable mini getaway; UK road trips are a great way to spend time together without the major cost of a typical family holiday, which is especially handy at this time of year before the festive season creeps up. The following are some ideas, tips, and inspiration for those looking for a mini-adventure they can have with their family as soon as the weekend arrives.
There are a plethora of fun, family-friendly destinations in The UK, that would be perfect for a lengthy drive and to set up camp when you get there. Fortunately for Brits; there are limited threatening wildlife in the national parks, woodlands, and forests, so you won’t have to worry about wolves or grizzly bears. How far you want to drive, what your preferences regarding terrain and scenery are, and how many home comforts you want from a campsite (or not) will determine the outcome of your trip.
To really escape the rat race; the Scottish Highlands are full of breathtaking and awe-inspiring views that make you feel like you’re the only people for miles around (probably because you are). If you’re up for very dark nights, star gazing, and are an adept family when it comes to setting up camp; the Canadian-style location could be right for you. You’ll need to ensure that your vehicle will be able to handle some of the more challenging roads and can survive when you take a wrong turn or go off track. Less north, and more west; Pembrokeshire has a wealth of coastal destinations that reach, what feels like, the furthest points of that side of the UK. You might feel like you’ve been driving forever by the time you hit Newgale, Solva, or even St Davids; however, the trip will be well worth it when you’re taking in the mixture of countryside and coastal views. There’s also plenty of options in that area of Wales, as many flock there to hike, surf, and enjoy some fresh Welsh air, so you can relax in as much or as little comfort as you want.
Heading down south to one of the three popular counties like Cornwall, Devon, or Dorset, will also give you beautiful coastlines and areas of nature to drive around and enjoy. Less off the beaten track; these places are firm favourites with many holidaymakers, so expect to find all the campsites, B&Bs, and hotels you could wish for. It’s worth making a plan for the weekend; you can always veer off course, but it’ll ensure that you have enough time to back in as much as possible. Take a look here for some of Britain’s coolest campsites; it might help you finalise you road trip decision!
History, vast fields and woodland, and seaside towns and villages are in abundance when you head up to Yorkshire. Another beautiful county: Yorkshire offers a weekend road-tripper all they could want in terms of scenic views and welcoming destinations after a long drive. Again, you’ll need to make sure that your vehicle is up to scratch, and you’re stocked up on fuel, especially when driving through the Moors and up towards places like Whitby Bay for some of the best fish and chips you’ll find in the North. It can get pretty windy and rainy this time of year, especially near the sea, so you might want to pick a campsite further inland, and drive out to the various places each day.
Comfort In The Car
The best part of any road trip is the drive; so it’s crucial that you and your family are set up for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. Planning is key, so it’s time to get the notes app on your phone up, or even better, a notebook and pen. Write a list of the admin stuff you need to take care of regarding the car and your accommodation (campsite) first; your vehicle is how you get there and back, and will contribute greatly to the enjoyment of everyone’s trip, so it’s vital that it’s in top shape. It’s worth going over some information on how to get compensation for a road accident, along with what you’ll need to do when claiming for insurance, should the worst happen. Don’t focus on the dangers and risks of the road, but do make sure that you’re fully prepared for most eventualities, as it will give you and your passengers peace of mind.
Make sure that all electricals are charged up, and you have spare batteries or chargers in the glove compartment; you don’t want your sat nav or iPhone to die on you an hour before you’ve reached your destination. Kids of all ages are often glued to a tablet or smartphone; if these are charged and full of programs, apps, and games to keep them occupied on the boring motorways, they’ll be happy. Encourage them to put down their tech when you’re heading through areas of natural beauty; these are views they won’t forget, and they may influence their holiday decisions in the future.
Once you’ve sorted out everyone’s tech and connections to the modern world; you’ll need to stock up on comfort and sustenance. It’s a treat and adventure, so pull out the odd bag of sweets or packets of biscuits every now again for a car full of smiling faces. It’s important that you and the rest of the car stays hydrated, but you’ll need to factor in plenty of bathroom breaks and stops on the side of the road when you’re in the middle of nowhere. Packing all the kit, like a picnic and flasks of hot drinks is another way to enjoy the journey. You can stop off at multiple points along the way, sit and eat together, and take in your surroundings (these don’t have to include a Burger King at a service station).
Try to leave early on a Saturday morning; you can utilise an early night on Friday, and you won’t run the risk of drifting off at the wheel. Autumn nights are dark and cold, so it will be much safer to drive as the sun comes up rather than the other way around. Your passengers can enjoy a few pillows and blankets, especially if the crack of dawn doesn’t suit them. Stop for a hearty family breakfast en route, and everyone will soon perk up, and excitement about the trip will grow. If your partner can drive; take it in shifts to give each other a rest, and make sure that when you stop for food and bathroom breaks that you’re stretching your limbs and clearing your head with fresh air.
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Equip Yourself For The Adventure
Lastly, but (definitely) by no means least; you’ll need to ensure that you’re packed-up and ready for when you arrive. You don’t want to reach your destination without the correct equipment as it would be a long drive back to pick things up. Again, lists can become your best friend; make a detailed one the week before you plan to head off, check you have everything on Thursday, and double check on the Friday night. Sort out the majority of your packing on the Friday evening, then when Saturday morning arrives; you can do one final sweep of the house, car, and your trusty list, before leaving for the petrol station.
When it comes to your camping gear; you’ll need to make sure you have the accommodation itself, everyone has somewhere comfortable to sleep, and you’re stocked up on torches. And if you’re planning on doing some hiking, make sure you have the right equipment for that too. Think about how you plan to eat meals too; you might need campfire equipment, and plenty of food for each meal, not forgetting bottles of fresh water. Paper maps might seem a little old-skool, but they could come in handy when you have no signal on your phone, so pop one in the car just in case. Ask all your passengers if they’ve packed all of their essentials, and squeeze as much into your car as possible, while also keeping it at a safe amount. Drive carefully; autumn can bring challenging road conditions, so don’t rush to get places and take your time. Now, all that’s left to do is to get everyone in the car, put the radio on, and shout ROAD TRIP! Have fun!