The four-day bank holiday weekend that is running from Thursday 2nd June to Sunday 5th June provides caravanners with a great opportunity to embark on a tour and head to one of the best caravan parks in the country, with events being held up and down the country in honour of the occasion.
However, something that can put people off travelling this weekend is the thought of the crowds. That’s where we come in. We’re sharing our top tips for a bank holiday getaway where you can beat the crowds, including our top driving tips, activities to head to, and some easy wins, to ensure your touring experience is that bit more pleasant…
Bank holiday activities to suit all
A key part of a bank holiday tour is picking out the right activities! We’ve picked out some brilliant activities that should cover all the bases, from family-friendly fun to what to do on a budget…
For all-weather activities that will keep the whole family entertained, head to the Ironbridge Museums in the heart of historic Shropshire. Famed as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the village now forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a host of fascinating specialist museums. Blists Hill Victorian Town is an immersive open-air museum where you can walk alongside Victorian villagers and explore a 19th-century school, factory and shops (entry is £21.50 for adults, £14 for children).
Nearby you’ll find Enginuity, a fun-filled interactive science museum (adults £10, children £6.50), plus the iconic Iron Bridge itself.
For blowing off some steam, you can explore the footpaths and cycle routes nearby.
Find out more: ironbridge.org.uk
Stay at: Stanmore Hall Touring Park, morris-leisure.co.uk
There’s so much for everyone to enjoy at Adrenalin Quarry, near Liskeard in south Cornwall. Set against the truly dramatic backdrop of this former working quarry, you can try your hand at go-karting, ziplining and wild swimming, and there’s also a giant swing and an aquapark to rival Total Wipeout.
This is an absolute haven of well-organised chaos, perfect for kids and adults alike. Entry is free, but each activity is priced differently, starting from £3.50 for an open-water swimming session and going up to £45 for 30 minutes of go-karting.
Dogs are permitted on site and you’ll find free parking and a huge lawn, where those who don’t feel like jumping off cliffs can simply sit and relax!
Find out more: adrenalinquarry.co.uk
On a budget
The area around the Cotswold canals is perfect for building your own walking itinerary, and with the help of Discovering Britain’s guide, which is free to download as a PDF or an audio guide, you can make the most of Gloucester’s great history.
Beginning in Stroud, the route takes you on a fascinating trip through the area’s interesting heritage and is made up of 21 pit-stops, including mills, locks and bridges. The tour ends on the Stroudwater Navigation, near Stonehouse Court, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch.
Find out more: discoveringbritain.org
Stay at: Tudor Caravan Park
Pick the right routes and you can escape the more crowded parts of the hugely popular Peak District, home to many impressive sights, such as Win Hill. Sitting between Bamford Edge and Lose Hill, it offers fantastic views of Hope Valley and the moors.
Nearby are the splendid Ladybower Reservoir and Ladybower Dam. This enjoyable walk can be made as challenging as you like, depending on which side you decide to tackle it from.
Find out more: peakdistrict.gov.uk
Stay at: Laneside Caravan Park
Voted most dog-friendly day out in the Kennel Club’s Dog-Friendly Awards, Amberley Museum, in the heart of Arundel, West Sussex, is dedicated to providing a top-notch experience for visitors and their canine companions. Set in some 36 glorious acres of the South Downs National Park, the museum is home to fascinating nature trails and hosts all kinds of exhibitions, such as steam engines and major historical collections.
Charming vintage trains run a regular service on the restored narrow-gauge railway through the site, providing free transport for visitors and their dogs.
Adult tickets are £14.50, while a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) costs £39.
Find out more: amberleymuseum.co.uk
Visit a jungle
Cornwall’s Lost Gardens of Heligan are an absolute treat for all ages, especially when you discover that the team of gardeners have created an exotic jungle right here on the south coast of Cornwall. There’s a raised boardwalk that snakes around four ponds, past giant rhubarb, banana plantations and avenues of palms, and the Jungle sits in a steep-sided valley, creating a microclimate at least five degrees warmer than its surroundings.
There’s also one of the longest rope bridges in Britain, stretching 100ft above ancient tree ferns and across the Jungle floor.
Tickets to the gardens cost £18.50 for adults and can be booked in advance.
Find out more: heligan.com
Face the chop
Ever wanted to discover your inner Viking? In that case, it’s high time you booked yourself in for a spot of axe-throwing with Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing. This is not a hatchet job, however, just a great day out at a choice of locations in London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol.
Before you take up the axes, you’ll receive a safety briefing, learning how to throw an axe correctly, then you can take part in a throwing tournament and try out some trick shots, including the fine art of throwing two axes at the same time.
Fully instructed 70-minute sessions are available on a shared throwing lane from £20, or you can book your own lane with a group of friends or family.
Find out more: whistlepunks.com
Turn your life upside down
See the world from a very different perspective at an Upside Down House, in Brighton, London, Clacton-on-Sea, Milton Keynes, Bristol or Great Yarmouth. One for the
Instagram fans, these unique houses feature fantastic optical illusions, giving you the perfect opportunity to channel Lionel Richie and dance on the ceiling!
This is a fun way for the family to spend 20 minutes or so and the photos will last a lifetime.
Tickets can be booked in advance and cost £3.50 – £5 per person, depending on the location.
Find out more: upsidedownhouse.co.uk
Spooky! This year, 26 May marks the 125th anniversary of the appearance of classic Gothic novel, Dracula. To celebrate this slightly chilling milestone, why not enjoy a seaside break in beautiful Whitby?
There are some wonderfully atmospheric places to visit here, including the famous 199 steps to reach Whitby Abbey, and lots of enjoyable events such as guided ghost walks.
But for something a bit different and in honour of the celebrated vampire’s arrival at Whitby by sea, how about taking a Twilight Cruise? It’s also a great way to get an unusual view of this picturesque town and its dramatic surroundings. The boat leaves Whitby harbour at dusk and sails out to sea as the last of the daylight gently fades away. Be sure to pack the garlic!
Tickets cost £9 for adults and £4.50 for children under 14.
Find out more: whitbycoastalcruises.com
Stay at: Whitby Holiday Park
Dark Skies Snowdonia
It’s great to see light pollution being properly addressed, with the introduction of International Dark Sky Reserve status. Snowdonia, in Wales, is one of only 10 such reserves in the world, and on a clear night, you can observe the wonders of the Milky Way, major constellations and shooting stars. For exploring further afield, the village of Betws-y-Coed is a good base, giving access to Llyn Geirionydd, a popular lake and viewpoint. You’re also near Zip World, if you fancy ziplining!
Stay at: Riverside Touring Park
Our top bank holiday touring tips
You may have decided on where to visit – we’re now sharing our top tips for a smoother touring experience…
When it comes to saving money on petrol and diesel, it makes sense to use a smartphone app, especially given the current volatility in fuel prices. The PetrolPrices app aims to find the cheapest or nearest petrol stations in any UK postcode, town or city, potentially saving you significant sums over the bank holidays, and the rest of the season.
Keep it local
You don’t always have to travel far to enjoy touring – why not treat yourself to a holiday in your local area? Advantages can be significant. You know the best places to visit, as well as where to eat and drink. You have local knowledge of any traffic bottlenecks and ongoing roadworks. Fuel costs are minimised. You also get to rediscover your own patch, but as a tourist – and let’s face it, whether it’s five or 500 miles away, once you’re on site, you’re in holiday mode!
This useful driving app notifies drivers of any road accidents, traffic buildups and speed cameras. It will also give you up-to-date ETAs and help you to find the cheapest fuel prices along your route.
A sat-nav is another device that can be useful with navigating – in our guide to the best caravan sat-navs, we share our pick of the standout products on the market.
Early birds and night owls
Planning your travel for off-peak periods will save you a whole world of traffic jam pain.
Many caravanners opt for the super-early start (a good idea if you can get on the road as the birds start stirring), but if you don’t mind a later arrival on site, you might also consider starting your journey when the traffic begins to thin. If you’re arriving very late or early, check in advance that the campsite will be able to receive you.
Back to basics
Be prepared – inside the car, consider carrying warm blankets, bottles of water, travel sickness bags, snacks (including sweets and fruit), phone chargers with adapters and a perfect playlist. Outside, think windscreen wiper fluid, clean wiper blades and pumped-up tyres. And can you remember the rules for pub cricket?
If you’re looking for some help with preparing for your trip, our guide to pre-tour checks for your caravan will talk you through the essential information you need to know.
Whatever the weather (even if it’s snowing!), try taking flip-flops on tours. They are much more convenient for quick trips to the toilet block than hefty trainers that you have to lace up on the way out and unlace again on the way back in – usually standing in the rain! One pair takes up hardly any space.
Food, glorious food
Caravan kitchens can be tricky to cook up large meals in, but that doesn’t mean you should stock up on costly microwave meals. Even one night before you go spent preparing meals to take with you on your journey can save many otherwise wasted pounds.
You’ll thank yourself when you arrive on site and find nothing is open, too.
A family membership of English Heritage provides free or discounted entry at more than 400 locations and costs only £111. Park for free in any English Heritage car park and get free or reduced-price entry to hundreds of events. Even better, your Tesco Clubcard points can also be put towards a membership. The National Trust offers similar benefits – family membership is £133.80.
Yes, it always pays to book in advance, and many attractions and food outlets prefer you to do so online.
But if you’ve left it too late this bank holiday and the place is full when you come to book, it’s still worth a call – not all websites will mirror the situation on the ground and you might find you get lucky and bag a cancellation. It’s worth a try!
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