Attractions to drive to this summer
Summer is coming to an end, but to celebrate the season that has seen GB create Olympic history and has seen temperatures soar in parts of the country we think you should drive to some of the UK’s top attractions before the dark evenings draw in.
Taking the family on a car journey is really fun and in this guide we take you through some of the best attractions you can drive to in the UK.
Beaulieu Motor Museum, Hampshire
If you have just bought a new car from Ford dealers in Hampshire then why don’t you compare it to some classic models at the Beaulieu Motor Museum?
Located in the charming village of Beaulieu, at the head of the Beaulieu River, the National Motor Museum offers the family a great day out.
There are over 250 stunning vehicles on display from every motoring era, ranging from some of the world’s most iconic Land Speed Record breakers to motoring oddities such as a giant orange on wheels!
There are also exhibitions that make predictions for alternative power in the future and special displays on “For Britain & For The Hell Of It” featuring Beaulieu’s iconic Land Speed Record cars and “The Motorcycle Story” which takes you on a journey through motorcycling history.
There is also an On Screen Cars display featuring Del Boy’s Reliant Regal as featured in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses and the flying Ford Anglia used during the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
There are so many more exhibitions and activities to do at the museum so book your tickets now. It costs £19 for adults if you book in advance online, £18 for concessions and £9 for children aged 5-17.
Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project is another great place to drive to with the family as not only is there so much to see at this award-winning attraction, but it is very educational as it teaches visitors about the living world and explores how we can work towards a better future.
Based in a huge crater near St Austell in Cornwall, huge biomes house the world’s largest indoor rainforest, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories that serve as a backdrop to the Eden Project’s striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.
There are a number of summer programmes on at the Eden Project such as the Dinosaur Uprising: Land, Sea and Air exhibit.
Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Hampshire
There is nothing better than a coastal visit in the sunshine and this summer you can get a unique birds-eye view of a stunning coastline, sparkling waters and a bustling harbour from the top of Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.
At 100 metres above sea level, visitors can get jaw-dropping panoramic views of the coastline, whilst thrill seekers can dare to go on the glass sky walk.
Earlier this spring, visitors were granted the chance to upgrade their tickets to go on guided tours, which run from 11am and 3pm daily, and receive a fascinating insight into the tower’s iconic structure.
After a long drive you can put your feet up and enjoy a cuppa at the Café in the Clouds where you are able to savour the views from 105 metres above sea level, while back on the ground the Waterfront Café’s summer menu serves up locally sourced Hampshire produce.
Monkey World, Dorset
If you are collecting a new vehicle at car dealers in Dorset then why not make your first drive a special one to the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre.
The rescue centre is located in 65 acres of beautiful Dorset woodland and is home to over 250 primates, including the largest group of chimps outside of Africa.
After either being the subject of cruelty, being neglected or living in unnatural conditions, Monkey World lets them live in a safe and natural environment.
Visitors can not only get really close to these incredible animals, but can learn about man’s closest living relative in the variety of half-hourly talks that take place throughout the day.
The Great Ape play-area for children is definitely worth a visit with its range of swings, slides, and climbing frames sure to keep their kids entertained.
Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum, Somerset
The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum is located just off the main A303 in Somerset and is home to the largest collection of naval aircraft in Europe.
Visitors can see giants of aviation from the past and present and can take a trip on board the replica aircraft carrier.
Visitors can also climb on board the first British Concorde and can see the technology that meant the aircraft was able to travel over twice the speed of sound.
Sherborne Castle, Dorset
Sherborne Castle was built way back in 1594 and this historic house is certainly worth driving to as guests can see a range of decorative styles from over 400 years of English history.
The castle is also home to famed collections of furniture, art and porcelain as well as archaeological finds from the old medieval castle.
The Grade One listed building also boasts a 42 acre garden where visitors can stretch their legs and take in some absolutely stunning sights.
The tea rooms serve coffee, cream teas, light lunches and wine. The castle is definitely a perfect stop on your tour of the West Country and drivers can then drive from the outskirts of Sherborne to the old market town to take in other attractions like the Abbey.
Stonehenge is undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions in the world and this UNESCO world heritage site allows visitors to walk in the footsteps of their Neolithic ancestors.
This wonder of the world can be explored on foot and the Neolithic Houses allow people to discover tools and objects from Neolithic times. The visitor centre is home to 250 ancient objects as well as a 5,500 year-old man.
The Dinosaur Museum, Dorset
The Dinosaur Museum is the only museum in the UK that is dedicated to dinosaurs and it combines life-sized reconstructions of dinosaurs with skeletons and fossils to create a hands-on and interactive experience that will entertain the whole family.
The exhibitions tell the story of the dinosaurs and their habitats from millions of years ago, whilst life-size reconstructions of the Tyrannosaurus rex, Deinonychus and Triceratops give visitors an idea of just how big these animals were.
Other attractions at the museum include a ‘feely box’ where you decide what a dinosaur might have felt like and the ‘feel a fossil’ where you touch fossils that are millions of years old.
Perfect for families, the museum also offers a special discounted family tickets and throughout the summer holidays the attraction is running Great Dinosaur Hunt Trails around the museum.
The New Forest, Hampshire
With 300 square miles of idyllic woods and open moorland, charming towns and villages and 43 miles of wonderful coastline, the New Forest is certainly worth driving to.
There are a host of activities visitors to the forest can do from romantic walks and cycles to full-on family fun. Despite just being 90 minutes away from London it actually seems like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the capital as the ancient woodland sees ponies, cattle and deer roam.
The New Forest is a walker’s paradise with miles upon miles of car-free woodlands ready to be explored and the large number of riverside walkways offering ramblers spectacular scenery.
Some of the forest’s top attractions include the 18th Century riverside ship-building village Buckler’s Hard, the world-famous Rothschild Collection and its year-round riot of colour at Exbury Gardens and Breamore House and Countryside Museum.
The Tank Museum, Dorset
Bringing history to life, the Tank Museum has the world's best collection of tanks and also offers visitors the chance to see a live explosive display.
The fantastic displays at the museum tell the story of armoured warfare that spans over 100 years of history. Visitors can come face-to-face with almost 300 armoured vehicles as well.
The variety of tanks on display include the world's first ever tank, the feared German Tiger and the modern Challenger 2. Other displays tell the story of the First World War, the making and makers of tanks and the rise of the tank.
The Teddy Bear Museum, Dorset
The Teddy Bear Museum is home to hundreds of cute teddy bears and has on display some of the first teddy bears ever made and some names that were made famous on TV.
There are antique and vintage bears that date back to 1906 and there are designer bears that have been created by artists in the 20th century.
Popular bears on display at the museum include Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear and Rupert Bear. International bears like Yogi Bear are also on display at the museum.
A road trip attraction
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
If you want to go on a bit of a road trip then why not drive to Scotland to see the impressive Edinburgh Castle, which is certainly one of the most impressive castles in the UK.
There are plenty of highlights where visitors can discover the rich history of this castle. The Great Hall, for example, is a wonder of medieval Scotland and was built in 1511 for James IV and its magnificent wooden roof is remarkable.
The Royal Palace is another must-visit part of the castle as it was here that Queen Mary of Guise, last defender of the Auld Alliance with France, died in 1560 and where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI in in 1566.
There is also of course the breath taking sight of the crown jewels of Scotland that are displayed in the Crown Room and the One o'clock Gun that has been firing since 1861.
Image Credit: Beaulieu Motor Museum, Matt Jessop/The Eden Project, Edinburgh Castle, Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Monkey World, Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum, Sherborne Castle, Stonehenge, The Dinosaur Museum, The New Forest, The Tank Museum, The Teddy Bear Museum.