Five family-friendly stop-offs for your next road trip

Five family-friendly stop-offs for your next road trip


Summer road trips can be a bit of a slog, and it’s not long until you’ve I-spied everything in sight. But what happens if we slow down, embrace the detour and allow the journey to be part of the adventure?

Introducing the Grand Adventure Map – a fully illustrated guide to over 600 National Trust and National Trust for Scotland sites that you can swing by en route to wherever you’re heading. Complete with practical information and bonus trivia, plus a brand-new route taking in the best of the UK in 80 stops, the Grand Adventure Map is a must-have for your next road trip.

With the summer holidays just around the corner, we’ve picked out five family-friendly sites that are ideal for recharging before you hit the road again


Nestled in the ‘garden of Wales’, Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire is the perfect pit stop for those heading to South-West Wales. A spectacular estate redesigned in 1775 by Capability Brown, Dinefwr comprises over 324 hectares (800 acres) of parkland with a 17th-century Jacobean mansion, Newton House, sitting at its centre. After various renovations, the house now has a neo-Gothic façade – fitting for one of Wales’s most haunted places.

During August, there will be plenty to keep the whole family busy with playful spaces around the estate, including a giant chess set in the garden, water play areas and a children’s bookshop. Dinefwr is also dog-friendly, with dogs allowed on-lead in parts of the house, in the café and parkland.

 St. Abb’s Head Nature Reserve

Just off the A1 in the Scottish borders is the beautiful National Trust for Scotland nature reserve St. Abb’s Head. A haven for nature lovers and the perfect antidote to any car-induced claustrophobia, St. Abb’s head promises a restorative visit for everyone.

Formed over millennia by a series of volcanic eruptions and consequent erosion, the reserve now lends its stacks, cliffs and gullies to a colourful colony of seabirds. From May to July every year, you’ll find tens of thousands of greedy guillemots, cacophonous kittiwakes and rambunctious razorbills nesting in the reserve. If birds aren’t your jam, be sure to cast your gaze seawards for a chance to see the dolphins and porpoises often visible in the crystal-clear water. Those visiting in late summer might even be lucky enough to see a whale!

Although primarily a wild area, St. Abb’s Head boasts a range of facilities, including toilets, a picnic space and a designated Nature Centre. The nearby Borders Pottery has a café open from 10am until 4pm, and there are several more cafés a short way away in the village of St. Abb’s.

 The Argory

Travel back to 19th-century Ireland with a visit to The Argory in County Armagh, conveniently located 3 miles off the M1. Built for the Bond family between 1820 and 1824, The Argory is a beautiful neo-Classical house which sits against a backdrop of 127 hectares (315 acres) of stunning parkland.

Inside houses a diverse range of art reflective of Mr Bond’s travels and eclectic taste. Gilt-framed engravings sit alongside a magnificent six-barrelled organ and a striking Jamaican head sculpture by David Miller Jr, brought back from one of Mr Bond’s annual winter visits to the Caribbean. Mr Bond’s artistic legacy lives on at The Argory through the artisan pop-up shop, where local artists regularly display their paintings.

Younger visitors can let off steam at the natural wooden playground or in the indoor interactive Light Box. Balance bikes are available to borrow from reception, as are sensory bags for visitors with additional needs. Those looking to stretch their legs will find a host of trails to choose from, each highlighting seasonal wildlife. In late June, The Argory commemorates 200 years of its history with a BBQ and classic lawn games, as well as boat trips on the lake.

 Sutton Hoo

Hidden in the East of England is the famous historic site at Sutton Hoo. Perfect for a detour or a day trip, the ancient Anglo-Saxon burial ground brings to life the burial of 625 AD, and its discovery in 1939, with an array of interactive audio and visual displays, countless dressing-up opportunities and more, for a truly immersive dip into Anglo-Saxon life.

Relive Edith Pretty’s moment of discovery with a tour of Tranmer House or visit the High Hall for a look at the treasure trove that awaited the archaeologists. Fans of the 2021 film The Dig should look out for the cinema room where world-famous images of the original dig take centre stage.

There’s a packed programme of events running at Sutton Hoo over the summer holidays, including visits from the Sae Wylfings re-enactment group, Anglo-Saxon costume making, photography workshops, quiet hours and Riddlequest – Sutton Hoo’s unique escape-game experience!

 Castle Drogo

Perched on the edge of Dartmoor with breathtaking views over the Teign Gorge is 20th-century Castle Drogo, one of the architectural masterpieces of Sir Edwin Lutyens. The joint vision of retail tycoon Julius Drewe and Sir Edwin, Castle Drogo was uniquely designed to include features that span several centuries of architectural history. A must-see for architecture aficionados, the house contains a Norman-style entrance hall and library, a Georgian-style drawing room, state-of-the-art Edwardian bathrooms and more.

Castle Drogo also has an impressive hydro-electric turbine that was originally installed in 1927. After the turbine fell into disrepair as other energy supplies became more popular, the National Trust has restored it to full working use, and it’s now a green electricity source for the visitor centre and parts of the castle.

Designed for the outdoor-loving Drewe family, the garden surrounding the property is equally impressive with herbaceous borders, a rhododendron garden, and the Circular Lawn to admire year-round. An abundance of trails runs through the castle and grounds for curious kids, including an all-new nature trail for the summer holidays. Pick up a leaflet from the Visitor Centre for more route options that take in the Teign Gorge, including a popular walk over Piddledown Common.




The Grand Adventure Map is a must-have for National Trust and National Trust for Scotland supporters – and anyone who wants to plan amazing adventures in the UK.