5 Best Family Day Trips in the UK by Car.

For many of us currently losing the will during the quarantine period, one of the things that is keeping us going is the idea of planning a trip for when we get out. Summer is only just around the corner, and with any luck some of the restrictions will have been lifted by then, giving us the chance to hopefully enjoy some sunshine, ice cream and pleasures that a getaway offers.

We cancelled our Summer holiday to Cyprus last week due to worries about losing all of our money if we were to pay in full, so now I am very much thinking of the UK, and places that could be visited by car, either as a day trip or a road trip.

Sandown Mercedes tasked me with thinking about my top five destinations for a family day trip in the UK, and it has to be said it is difficult to keep it to just five, but here is my guide to enjoying some of the beauty the UK has to offer.

The Lake District

The Lakes are absolutely one of my favourite places to visit in the UK. The combination of the little Lake towns and the stunning scenery make them a place that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. Add in the association with Beatrix Potter and you have a place that is filled with fun and beauty that all can enjoy. My favourite town is Bowness-on-Windermere where you can take a number of boat trips around the lakes on a sunny day, or just enjoy some amazing ice cream as you admire the scenery.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital is a truly majestic city, one of peerless architecture, including the castle and Holyroodhouse, the seat of Scottish royalty. You can enjoy a city tour on the hop-on/hop-off bus, or, if you are feeling athletic and energetic, you could take a trek up Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano that looks across the city and gives the best views.

An amazing tour to take is that of the Former Royal Yacht Britannia, which is now situated at the Ocean Drive Ocean Terminal in the city, and is a fantastic experience for anyone with an interest in the Royal Family.

Oxford 

The City of Dreaming Spires offers a lot for those who love vibrant cities and art lovers. Oxford is worth a visit for the Ashmolean Museum alone, where your family can enjoy meeting the Egyptian mummies either through an organised tour or at your own leisyure.

You can take a trip to the world famous Bodleian library, or enjoy a leisurely riverboat tour of on the Thames, and don’t forget, Oxford is a dream destination for fans of Harry Potter fans, with a myriad of tours of destinations within the city that have been used as Hogwarts.

York

York is another city that offers lots of experiences that a family can enjoy. From the magnificence of York minister, to the gory go there if you dare York Dungeon, York takes its history and packages it in a number of ways to appeal to all.

For those who are interested in the Vikings, there is the brilliant Jorvik centre, whilst shopping lovers can enjoy a ramble in The Shambles, a treasure trove of small and independent shops in a beautiful setting. Take a walk to the city walls, or enjoy York Maze, which has lots of activities for warm Summer days.

Bath

My favourite city of them all. Bath is wondrous, a beautiful city that boasts the incredible, still working Roman Baths, the Regency elegance of John Nash’s Royal Crescent and glorious afternoon teas at the Pump Room. You can get your best views of the city from Bath Abbey, where you can do the Tower Tour to enjoy the panoramic views (212 steps, so not for the faint hearted), but my own personal favourite place in Bath, my must visit since I was a little girl, is the brilliant Fashion Museum, which has both a permanent collection and brilliant featured exhibitions including their dress of the year.

Where would you like to visit once the quarantine is over.

7 ways to save money when travelling

It can take a lot of time to save up enough money to go on holiday. 

And when you do, you often end up spending more than you expected or needed to.

So for those of you looking to cut down on travel costs, here are seven super tips.

  • Look for free activities 

If you do a little bit of research, you’ll find that there are lots of fun activities you can do for free whilst travelling. Start by looking at community calendars to see if there are any special events going on, such as festivals and ceremonies. You could also download a free tour app such as GPSmyCity and head on a self-guided walk around your destination. 

  • Use a travel credit card 

When you use a travel credit card to pay for a trip, you’ll earn rewards for your spending which can go towards future travel costs. Depending on your provider, you might also enjoy perks such as lounge access and free seat upgrades. It’s basically like getting money for nothing as you’ll be paying for purchases anyway. 

  • Go incognito 

When you’re looking for flights and accommodation, websites can use cookies to track your visits and inflate the price each time you return to pressure you into purchasing. However, you can avoid these cheeky cookies by browsing from an incognito tab. 

  • Watch where you eat 

Restaurants that are close to tourist destinations often charge disproportionately high prices for food. It’s therefore worth heading a few blocks out and enjoying a much fairer price. 

  • Book accommodation with cooking facilities 

Sampling authentic cuisine at fancy restaurants and other food outlets is one of the best parts of travel. But it’s an expensive hobby, so choose an accommodation with kitchen facilities such as an Airbnb apartment. This way, you’ll have the facilities to cook your own healthy and affordable meals and save eating out as a treat. 

  • Pre-book your parking 

When you’ve got heavy luggage, driving is usually the most convenient way to travel to the airport. However, airports are notorious for changing a small fortune for parking. Thankfully, you can bag yourself a bargain by using comparison site Looking4.com – it has early-bird deals for UK hubs such as Birmingham and Bristol. 

  • Book a hidden city flight

Hidden city flights work on the assumption that fares are determined by consumer demand rather than distance. For example, if you wanted to fly to Boston, you might book Manchester to Boston to New York and skip the last leg, because it’s cheaper than flying direct to Boston. If you can’t be bothered putting the work in, airfare search engine Skiplagged does it all for you. 

Follow these seven tip-top tips and you’ll be able to slash your travel costs in half – you’re welcome! 

How else can you save money when travelling? Shared your thoughts in the comments section.

7 Airport survival tips for Heathrow flyers

With the warmer months approaching, you’ve probably started planning a family getaway, which means super exciting times are coming! However, before you arrive in your dream destination, you’ll have to overcome various obstacles at the airport. And when you’re flying from Heathrow – the UK’s busiest airport, those challenges will be multiplied.

To help you on your way, here are seven airport survival tips. 

 

  • Arrive early

 

Why on earth would you want to spend more time at the airport than necessary? You wouldn’t really, but when it comes to airports, it’s better to be safe than sorry, otherwise you could end up missing your flight. So rather than following the two hour rule, arrive a little earlier and enjoy a more relaxed trip through Heathrow. 

 

  • Join Heathrow Rewards

 

Joining the Heathrow Rewards scheme allows you to earn points on pretty much everything you buy at the airport from food to shopping to currency. And you can use your points to pay for future travel expenses such as parking and flights. So if you’d like to be rewarded for your custom at Heathrow, head to the official website to sign up.  

 

  • Book fast-track security

 

Can you think of a worse part of the airport than the security checkpoint? From the massive queues to the invasive and ever-changing checks, it’s a real pain. However, you can speed things up a little by booking fast-track security and enjoy more time to explore the airport shops and restaurants before your flight. 

 

  • Install the Heathrow Airport app

 

Not many airports can boast having their own app – Heathrow can. So if you’re looking for a little bit of assistance with getting through the airport, installing the Heathrow Airport app is a must. You can use this clever little app to pre-order food and drink, and reserve goods from the airport shops – it even provides live flight updates. 

 

  • Dress in layers 

 

You can never be sure what the temperature’s going to be like at the airport or on your flight. It’s therefore a good idea to wear thin layers, so you can easily adjust your outfit to suit the varying climates you might encounter. 

 

  • Book airport parking early 

 

Airport stress often kicks in before you’ve even left the house. Booking your airport parking in advance is one way to minimise this stress because it gives you one less thing to worry about and saves you looking around for a spot when you arrive. One of the best places to find Heathrow Airport parking deals is comparison site SkyParkSecure.com. 

 

  • Keep an eye on the time 

 

With so much going on around you and a family to look after, it’s easy to lose track of time in the airport. So remember to keep an eye on the time and set an alarm to remind you to head to your gate. It’s also worth locating your gate in advance so you know exactly where to go. 

Follow these seven tip-top tips and you and your family will pass through the airport with ease, next time you fly from Heathrow. 

That’s our list! Share you own airport survival tips in the comments section.