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Self Drive Holidays with Kids

29 July 2022

Self-drive holidays are perfect for families, so pack up the car and take the kids on a road trip this Summer! Head off on an adventure and explore some of the most exciting destinations the UK has to offer, from sightseeing in Llandudno to playing on the sands of Eastbourne beach.

Self-drive holidays are perfect for families, so pack up the car and take the kids on a road trip this Summer!  Head off on an adventure and explore some of the most exciting destinations the UK has to offer, from sightseeing in Llandudno to playing on the sands of Eastbourne beach.

There are so many options available when you plan a self-drive holiday. You could make your way to the coast for a traditional seaside break, or journey right to the other end of the country to discover what family attractions await you there.

Follow our tips and we’ll make planning that self-drive holiday a breeze. Here’s everything you need to do before you embark on a self-drive break with your kids.

What to Take on a Self Drive Holiday with Kids

If you’re taking the kids on a self-drive holiday, organisation is key. While many might feel anxious about the idea of taking children on a self-drive trip, as long as you have everything you might need you’ll be guaranteed a great time.

Take a look at our list of must-have items for family self-drive breaks, and make sure you’ve got everything ticked off the list before you hit the road.

Self-drive must-haves: 

  • Snacks
  • Podcasts or music
  • Headphones for everyone
  • Car-friendly entertainment (aquadoodle, colouring books, travel games)
  • A cooler
  • Comforters and a blanket
  • Water
  • Milk, bottles and sterilising fluid if you’re travelling with babies/toddlers
  • Wet wipes
  • Fresh clothing for the kids 
  • Changing bag (for younger children)

Remember, if you’re travelling with little ones you’ll need to stop more often for toilet breaks and to give them time to stretch their legs. Make sure you factor this into your travel times, particularly if you’re heading off on a long journey. 

Where to Take the Kids on a Self Driving Holiday

The UK is home to some truly stunning places, and thankfully almost every destination is easy to reach by car. So, whether you’re thinking of travelling into the heart of the country to enjoy beautiful unspoilt landscapes and national parks, or you’re dreaming of taking a trip to the coast to make the most of one of Britain’s best beaches, it’s all possible. Here are some of our favourite areas to explore on self-drive holidays.


Activities for Under 5s

Llandudno is home to some fantastic attractions for little ones. Take your children to see the animals at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, where they’ll be able to see big cats, reptiles, primates and so much more. There’s even a brand new resident to meet – the red panda. If the weather isn’t great why not head to Bonkerz Fun Centre for an afternoon of soft play. That’s guaranteed to help them burn off some energy!

Activities for Over 5s

If your children are older, you can make the most of some great family-friendly destinations in Llandudno. Knightly’s Fun Park is one of the area’s best theme parks. With rides and attractions galore, it’s sure to keep kids of any age entertained all day long.

If you’re visiting Llandudno during the summer months, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine with a trip to Eirias Park and Waterpark. Here you’ll find tennis courts, bowling greens, a children’s play area and a huge 25m swimming pool complete with an epic water slide.

Where to Stay

Choose from two excellent Llandudno hotels and you’ll be assured of a comfortable and luxurious stay. The County Hotel always offers a warm welcome. With beautiful views over the Great Orme, this traditional Victorian hotel is within easy reach of the beach and pier. The Marine Hotel is another popular choice. Also on the seafront, this hotel comes complete with its own swimming pool as well as an on-site restaurant.

Great Yarmouth

Activities for Under 5s

Great Yarmouth is always a popular holiday destination. If you’re travelling with young children, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this Norfolk seaside town.

Within easy reach of Great Yarmouth, you’ll find outdoor adventures at BeWILDerwood and even a Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure for budding palaeontologists. There’s also Pirates Cove crazy golf, and the Joyland theme park which has plenty of great rides for little ones.

Activities for Over 5s

The Pleasurewood Hills Family Theme Park is perfect for older children. Treat young thrillseekers to a day out here and you’ll be amazed by the selection of rides available. If your kids are real adrenaline junkies, don’t miss Go Ape – this high ropes course will give them an opportunity to put their climbing skills to the test. It’s perfect for families, particularly if you’re looking for something a little different!

Where to Stay

The Carlton Hotel is our top tip for accommodation in Great Yarmouth. This hotel is moments from the Pleasure Beach, so you’ll be able to make the most of the beach, pier and surrounding attractions throughout your stay.

There are standard, standard plus, superior, and family rooms to choose from at the Carlton Hotel, and many rooms come with beautiful views of the seaside. All of the hotel’s 97 rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, an iron, a hairdryer and a flatscreen TV, and there’s even a pub on-site, offering live entertainment throughout the week.


Activities for Under 5s

If your little ones can’t get enough of Thomas the Tank Engine, they’ll love one of our favourite attractions in Ilfracombe. The South Devon Railway has created a day out with Thomas, a brand new attraction that’s perfect for under 5s.

Other great options in the area include the Ilfracombe mystery trail, and the Ilfracombe aquarium. There are also some brilliant playgrounds and parks to choose from in Ilfracombe, including the ever-popular Bicclescombe Park which has excellent facilities for younger children.

Activities for Over 5s

You’ll find plenty for older children to enjoy in Ilfracombe, too. Activity centres such as Keypitts Quads are perfect for families. Here children can try their hand at driving a quad bike, after a short safety briefing and demonstration of course. Young children can start off on an inflatable practice track, while older ones who are confident enough can head straight onto the bigger, tyred track. Other interesting attractions in the area include Watermouth Castle and Theme Park, and Tunnels Beaches.

Where to Stay

The Dilkhusa Hotel was originally built as a luxurious private home, but it’s since been transformed into a stunning hotel on the seafront. The hotel overlooks one of the most popular beaches in the area, and it’s moments from the harbour where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants. There’s also a lounge and restaurant within the hotel, providing live entertainment for guests all week long.


Activities for Under 5s

In the heart of East Sussex, Eastbourne is a great destination for self-drive holidays with kids. If your children are under five, look out for family-friendly attractions like Leo’s Play Den, or PUPstation Eastbourne. Little ones can of course enjoy days out on the sandy shores of Eastbourne Beach, and if the weather is warm why not book tickets to Fort Fun, the indoor and outdoor water park.

Activities for Over 5s

Older children can explore the beaches of Eastbourne and make the most of the fun entertainment the seaside resort has to offer. If your children are interested in history, don’t miss Redoubt Fortress. This impressive landmark was built to protect the area during the Napoleonic Wars, and it’s now open for members of the public to explore. There are beautiful National Parks within easy reach of Eastbourne too. Head to Princes Park for a day in the great outdoors – the kids will love it.

Where to Stay

The Burlington Hotel is one of the finest in Eastbourne. Located on the seafront, and promising stunning views over the water, the hotel is perfect for family breaks at the seaside. There’s an on-site restaurant and lounge, and all rooms have a flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, desk, daily housekeeping services and free WiFi. Choose from a range of options for your stay, including standard, double and twin rooms with the option to upgrade to a sea view.


Activities for Under 5s

There are all sorts of fun indoor and outdoor attractions in Melrose, many of which are aimed at the under 5s. Some of our top picks include Bowhill House and County Estate, which offers endless opportunities for little ones to let off some steam. There’s a great adventure playground here, with equipment suitable for both younger and older children. Teviotdale Leisure Centre is ideal if the weather isn’t great, you’ll find a toddler pool and Lagoon style swimming pool here, and there’s even a soft play centre which is ideal for young children.

Activities for Over 5s

Older children will love Wilton Lodge Park, which has everything from putting and crazy golf to bowling, croquet and tennis courts. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not grab your walking boots and head out to explore the Pennine y. Way National Trail. As you walk you’ll be treated to fantastic views. You may even discover High Force, which is the largest waterfall in England.

Where to Stay

Waverley Castle offers luxurious accommodation in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The hotel is within easy reach of many of the area’s best-loved attractions, making it a great place to stay during your break.

The hotel itself is set in five acres of stunning parkland, and has over 70 beautiful, well-appointed rooms for guests. The on-site Eildon Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there’s a hotel bar where guests can enjoy regular live entertainment, such as musicians, cabaret acts, comedians and even Scottish Pipers.

Take your family on a self-drive holiday and make the most of some of the UK’s best family-friendly destinations. Whether you’re heading to the Scottish highlands or you’re looking forward to a week of relaxation at the seaside, we’re here to help you find the perfect accommodation for your stay.

You can now find Coast and Country Hotels all over the UK, from the south coast to the highlands! Talk to our team to find out more about our hotels, and start planning your next big adventure.

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