What to do when the kids are at home and you want nothing more than to get out of the house? Rent a car!
It’s so easy to get around in the city on public transport, but when you have cabin fever there’s nothing better than taking to the highway with your own set of wheels. Rent from home and take off on an easy road trip, or fly to another city and explore a new part of the United Kingdom
Embrace the cold and head into the chilly north. The border is only half a day’s drive from Manchester
, Sheffield or Leeds
, less than that from Newcastle
and a full day from London
. If you can’t face the drive, fly in to Glasgow
and collect your keys from there.
With a rental car full of kids, free and cheap activities are the holy grail. The United Kingdom has plenty of free museums, including the wonderful National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. With a Children’s Zone and Natural World Gallery it has something for everyone. On New Year’s Eve, be sure to get in on some of the public Hogmanay celebrations - the big cities often host street concerts and fireworks, and in the small towns the festivities are a little more low-key but still great fun. If you are willing to brave the snow and head outdoors, there are plenty of green spaces to enjoy. Scotland has two national parks and plenty of country estates and parklands which are free or inexpensive for the public - and in Falkirk you have the fantastic Callendar Park which has crazy golf, a large playground, an Arboretum and the stunning mansion Callendar House, open to visitors at no charge.
Visiting castles is a great way to spend a winter break in Scotland as they are indoors but often out in the countryside, so you can catch a little scenery along the way! Edinburgh Castle is the most famous, perched above the city’s Royal Mile. The incredible Stirling Castle is handily placed between the two biggest cities, and Glamis Castle to the north is something out of a fairytale with turrets and towers. There are more scattered all over the country and at each one you can peruse restored rooms, learn a bit of history and enjoy a tour.
While you can never completely escape the UK winter, rent a car and head towards the south-west of England
. Cornwall is a peninsula and has a maritime climate which means it is significantly warmer than the rest of Britain, even in colder months. Although it is far from tropical in December and January, it is still the seaside and a wonderful place to go when being cooped up is driving the family crazy.
The beaches of the Cornish coast are chilly in winter but have the extra beauty that comes from desolation, stormy skies and a distinct lack of tourists. Bundle up and enjoy walking on the sand, while you can get rid of excess energy on walking trails all over the region. Try the coastal path to Logan Rock at Porthcurno right at the tip of the peninsula, the seafront promenade at Newlyn, North Helford countryside walk or, if you have bigger kids with strong legs, the Lizard coastal walk at Landewednack.
The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro is free for all under the age of 18 and cheap for adults. The school holidays always mean a family-friendly exhibition which is hands on and fascinating for the little ones. The folk museums at St Agnes and Perranzabuloe, run by their respective communities, are also free, informative and fun.
The Lake District
This beautifully scenic part of England is a real winter wonderland when it snows. Charming in the summertime, the snow-topped hills and clear dark skies of winter are another experience completely. For a school holiday family escape from gloomy reality, you can’t choose much better than the idyllic and peaceful Lakes - perfect for a UK car rental holiday.
Lake cruises operate in winter as well as summer, and are a fantastic family day out. Walking is a popular pastime and there are spectacular trails which are great for an outdoorsy clan. Borger Dalr in Borrowdale is a favourite, as is the slightly morbid but interesting Corpse Road in Loweswater. The west side of the district is largely untouched, with an abundance of wilderness to explore.
England is not really considered a ski destination, but a winter holiday in the Lake District could include a little action on the slopes. There is a ski field in the area and although it has short seasons, it is convenient and worth the trip for ski bunnies. Raise in the National Park is operated by the Lake District Ski Club and has a lift and lodge, as well as access to some amazing off-piste runs. On the Helvellyn range (England’s answer to the Alps) you can enjoy a domestic snowsports getaway en famille.
Make the most of the UK’s winter school holidays with a car rental! The open road works wonders to blow away the cobwebs and create memories with the family.