Guest Blog Series – We’ve asked travel experts to create the best European road trips itineraries. This guest blog post is written by Dana Zeliff of the popular family travel blog, The Talking Suitcase. Read on to find out where she recommends you stop when road tripping around England.
England, with its deep-rooted history, offers no shortage of kid-friendly cultural activities. Birthplace of Shakespeare, the Beatles and JK Rowling, you’ll find attractions suitable for all ages. Let kids be a prince or princess for the day in a castle tower, learn about ancient Romans and run through a giant hedge maze in a real palace.
This road trip through England will guide you along some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, from the rolling landscape of the Cotswolds to the coastal city of Portsmouth. Pick up your rental car in London then set off on an unforgettable road trip.
Read on to Drive to Discover the best kid friendly cultural activities in England!
1. Tower of London in London
Starting your road trip in London could keep your family busy for days. The activities in England’s capital city are virtually endless. One of the must see sites in London that is sure to please kids of all ages, is a visit to the Tower of London. Kids can tour the fortress, see the Royal Armouries collection in the White Tower and see the famed Crown Jewels. Download the new digital missions app, so kids can complete challenges, meet historical characters and earn badges during your visit.
Next stop: 1 hour 20 minutes
2. Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire
Visit the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and explore the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. After touring the staterooms and admiring the 18th-century baroque architecture, take the kids to see the Pleasure Gardens. The gardens are reached by a ride on a miniature train. Then kids can find their way out of a giant hedge maze, see the butterfly house and burn up some of their energy at the adventure playground.
You may also choose to rent a car in Oxford to explore the home of one of the greatest universities in the world as well as the surrounding countryside.
Next stop: 49 minutes
3.Warwick Castle in Warwick
Experience history, adventure and magic at Warwick Castle. Explore the castle interior, spending time in the State Rooms, The Great Hall, State Dining Room, the Earl’s private Chapel and more. Watch the multimedia experience in the Time Tower, allow your little one’s dreams to come true in the Princess Tower and let tweens and teens test their bravery in the Castle Dungeon.
Afterward, head outside to see the gardens, playground, Horrible Histories Maze and Trebuchet. You can even extend your visit and stay within Knight’s Village in a themed Lodge or go glamping in a Mediaeval Tent.
Next stop: 13 minutes
4. Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Family Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon
Visit the restored, half-timbered house believed to be where Shakespeare was born in 1564. Visitors can see where Shakespeare grew up and learn about the lives of his family. Time should also be set aside to visit the home of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Kids can learn about some of his famous works by acting in a scene with Shakespeare Aloud!, dressing up, making crafts, and following the kids trail booklets.
Next stop: 1 hour and 36 minutes
5. Roman Baths in Bath
Even kids will enjoy the Roman Baths, an ancient bathing and socializing complex. Young visitors can listen to the kids audio tour, complete a family activity trail guide to learn fun facts about the early Romans, hear stories from costumed characters, and make a craft in the kid’s activity center. Visitors can even try the spa water just before exiting the complex. Just be warned – it tastes awful.
Rent a car in Bath and discover the many hidden gems of the city at your own pace. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe
Next stop: 45 minutes
6. Stonehenge in Salisbury
Explore the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge and dive into the many theories surrounding who built it, when and why. The hands-on exhibition area, family audio tour, and reconstructed Neolithic Houses will allow kids to imagine what life would have been like for a Neolithic family thousands of years ago.
Beyond exploring Stonehenge we encourage you to explore this picture-perfect town as well. Visible to you long before you get there, because the spire of its cathedral beckons from the horizon, as it’s the tallest in England. Rent a car in Salisbury and explore the valley of River Avon in more depth.
Next stop: 1 hour and 2 minutes
7. National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth
Through interactive activities, kids will learn how the Royal Navy “operates on the sea, under the sea, on the land and in the air.” To help kids discover the history of the Navy, pick up the Young Explorers Logbook from reception. Additionally, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard backpacks for kids under 12 contain interactive trails and creative learning activities. Both are free of charge for visitors. If traveling with kids under 5, save time for them to play at the Cabin Play Area.
Time back to London Heathrow Airport: 1 hour and 27 minutes
Explore These Kid-Friendly Spots with an Auto Europe Car Rental
You can circle your way back to London after visiting Portsmouth, if that’s your departure point.
While we’ve only recommended 7 kid friendly cultural activities for your next road trip, there are countless other activities along our suggested route. Stop for a lunch of fish and chips in one of the quaint villages, pull over and let the kids have a short break when you pass one of the many playgrounds or enjoy traditional afternoon tea. Whatever activities you chose, kids and parents are sure to fall in love with this beautiful country.
Looking for additional road trip itineraries for the UK? Check out our other Drive to Discover guides where we explore the best places to visit in the United Kingdom including 7 sights in western Scotland, scenic drives in the UK, and must-see sights east of London
Pin this post and start planning your family trip to England!
Dana is a family travel expert and owner/author of the website, The Talking Suitcase. Currently living in Nice, France, she has been traveling Europe with her husband and two children for over 2 years. Dana shares kid-friendly destinations, practical travel advice and tips to help parents experience the world with kids.
If you’d like additional travel inspiration for your trip to the UK, check out our UK Road Trips, and if you’d like to see how much you can save on your next trip by bundling discounted airfare with your hotel reservation and car rental, give our travel specialists a call toll-free at 1-888-223-5555. We look forward to helping you plan the ultimate trip to England.