5 Best Back to School Breaks for U.K. Car Hire
With temperatures across the country peaking this summer, you can enjoy a balmy late summer family break in the U.K. before the autumn routines set in. You’ll need to act quickly to get your accommodation and U.K. car hire sorted, but once you do, here are some great suggestions on where to go:
The Lake District has long been one of the United Kingdom’s most popular holiday destinations, and it’s not difficult to see why. Hire a car in Lancaster or avail of Carlisle car rental and you’re only about a half-hour’s drive from the Lake District National Park – England’s largest national park. Climb England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), admire its deepest lake (Wastwater), and visit picturesque towns and villages including Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere.
It’s not all about cream teas and gentle strolls beside the picturesque lakes, either. The Lake District is now home to the country’s first net adventure park, with the opening of Treetop Nets, a 1,500-square-metre playground that lets you roam the forest canopy from nine metres above the ground. This is a unique way of seeing 250-year old oak trees, with 35 treetop adventures, culminating with an exciting 250-metre triple zip from a 14-metre high treetop tower to the shoreline.
There’s more forest adventure from the company Go Ape, at Whinlatter Forest Park – a 20 minute drive from the Lake District National Park – or Grizedale, which is a similar distance away. for you to enjoy. You get a quick safety demonstration before you’re ready to glide down zip wires, jump off the Tarzan Swing and take on the challenge of tree-top crossings while enjoying a breath-taking view of some mind-blowing scenery. The Grizedale tree-top adventure is particularly lofty, perched as it is on the side of a hill.
England is not the only place for adventurous families. Adventure sports seem to have taken off across the entire United Kingdom, with more zip wires in North Wales. Indeed the district of North Wales has been described as the “zip wire capital of the world.”
Zip World Snowdonia gave visitors to North Wales a taste of flying in March 2013, when it opened Zip World Velocity at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. There are two zip lines here, more than 150 metres from the ground. The initial ride, to the base of the quarry will see you reach speeds of up to 60 km an hour, before a customised vehicle brings you on a tour of what was once the world’s biggest slate quarry. Once you reach the top, you zoom down a mile-long zip wire that opens up a magnificent panorama of the North Wales coastline.
The latest addition to Zip World is Zip World Titan, at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, where zip line riders travel more than 8km of cable on the Moor, Mountain, and Mine zip lines. It’s two hours of heady excitement, so book well in advance, and remember that children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult for both zip line experiences. At Zip World Titan, you will also find Bounce Below, a subterranean playworld of bouncy nets hng within the disused slate cavern.
Jersey’s climate tends to be warmer than that of southern England, with temperatures often exceeding 25Cin August, so you’re off to a winner straightaway when you hire a car at Jersey Airport. Add to the balmy climate some beautiful beaches and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities (think cycling, water sports and horse riding), and you have the perfect location for a late summer break.
What child doesn’t like animals? Jersey’s Zoo has been reinvented as the amazing Durrell Wildlife Conservation Park, home to some of the rarest animals on the planet. It’s open from 9.30 to 5pm daily, with children under four going free.
Other places worth seeing in Jersey include the well-known port of St. Helier, St. Aubin’s Bay, Elizabeth Castle, and La Corbiere – where a lighthouse is connected to the rugged shoreline by a causeway. Then there’s the food on Jersey: This agricultural haven produces gorgeous Jersey cream, famous new potatoes, and superb fresh vegetables. Your kids certainly won’t go hungry here.
Cornwall may be in England, but it feels like a place apart. Defined by a dramatic Atlantic coastline crowned by the spectacular granite cliffs of Land’s End, Cornwall is a holiday haven of sandy beaches, picturesque harbours, and rich culture and history.
This is the longest stretch of unbroken coastline, so the maritime is bound up with virtually everything in Cornwall. Expect tiny fishing ports, ancient smuggler’s inns and imposing granite breakwaters, as well as child-friendly attractions such as the Blue Reef Aquarium, National Seal Sanctuary, and various sea safaris.
The adults will love the fascinating blend of old and new, where wonders such as the Eden Project and world-leading galleries share the space with ancient mines and historic market towns. The Eden Project biome is a mind-blowing facility, encasing the world’s largest rainforest in captivity in what is, effectively, a 50-metre-tall conservatory – but unlike any conservatory you have ever seen before.
Included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2014, Outer Hebrides is a group of 119 islands situated off Scotland’s north-west coast. Let your family loose in a natural wonderland of powdery beaches backed by grassy sand dunes, lochs embraced by majestic hills, and exciting castles and prehistoric sites worth discovering.
The unspoiled beaches are among the best on the continent with some of the most attractive including Traigh Eais and Tangasdale on Barra, West Beach on Berneray, and the award-winning Luskentyre on Harris. Try surfing – there are some world-leading waves around Lewis and Harris.
Take your kids on an adventure with a boat trip to some of the islands, including the Flannans, Mingulay, and the National Nature Reserve of St. Kilda. Here you can come face to face with a whole plethora of majestic birdlife and marine animals.