5 Festive Winter Road Trips

1. Manchester through Snake Pass

This year help the family snap out of those winter blues and pack the car for an enchanted winter road trip along Snake Pass (A57). Snake Pass stretches across the Pennines and cuts right the way through the National Trust’s High Peak Estate with breathtaking views of the Peak District along the way.

Be sure to stop off to explore the rugged landscape of Moorland around Bleaklow and Kinder Scout. By this time the family will have worked up an appetite so be sure to stop off at the Snake Pass Inn for some good old Pub Grub before continuing on the other side in to Manchester.

In Manchester there is plenty to do in the city centre with countless winter events running from late November right through to February. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and a friendly northern community then this is the place for you. Cathedral Gardens Ice Rink, Christmas Markets and the Winter Wonderland, are just a few of the places we recommend you try and all done in perfect Mancunian style.

No doubt you’ll be travelling with foodies so be sure to continue your journey to Cheshire Oaks Christmas Corner for an Apres-ski experience at the alpine themed bar. Theres plenty for everyone and Cheshire Oaks Outlet Village is perfect for picking up those last minute Christmas presents.

2. Escape to the Cambridge Countryside

If the countryside is what you’re craving then Cambridgeshire is the place for you. Tear up the winding country roads, through quaint little villages before you arrive in the historic Cambridge. The city has the best in British heritage with outstanding examples of British architecture and traditional markets.

Located on the River Cam, our first location is Grantchester Village. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll along the waterside. Enjoy the surrounding scenery and quaint pubs such as the Rupert Brooke to warm up and enjoy a pub lunch before resuming your journey to Cambridge.

When you arrive in Cambridge, the real fun begins. Expect postcard-like views as you take part in the cities walking tours. They’re all year round and they’re the perfect way to discover the hidden treasures of the city. If you’re going in January it’s worth remembering to wrap up warm as its the coldest month.

Travel north of the city centre and you’ll come across the well known landmark, Ely Cathedral. Every year the Cathedral opens it’s doors to host an array of Christmas events such as, markets, carol services and right through December and January the fantastic light display takes place which takes inspiration from the Star of Bethlehem.

3. Seaside stay in Southend-on-Sea

Thinking of heading to the coast this winter? Then Southend-on-Sea is the place to be. This is the south’s answer to Blackpool illuminations and like many seaside towns it’s quieter during the wintry season so its the perfect time to get together with the family… but don’t forget the dog. Just 40 minutes from Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea is a firm favourite for any winter road trip.

Kick off the festive fun with a Santa in the woods trail. Travel to Southend from Essex and you’ll come to one of our favourite detours, The Hanningfield Reservoir. This nature reserve is packed full of Christmas inspired events. Follow the Santa trail to get to his grotto. There’s plenty to do and the festivities run until Christmas Eve with a Wind in the Willows style family Christmas trail. But it doesn’t stop there as there are plenty of other festivities. If you’re planning a trip after Christmas, there are lots of outdoor activities that will give you a worthwhile reason to brave the cold.

As you continue, be sure to stop off again for various crafty events at the likes of Battlesbridge Antiques & Craft Centre or the Clay and Craft Cottage Pottery for some creative fun. For those days when you don’t feel like braving the outdoors drive straight into Southend and visit Adventure Island. Its the perfect family day out, with an indoor activity centre.

After a busy day of adventures it would be rude not to enjoy the stunning views out to sea as you take a stroll long the shore. Great news for dog lovers too, as from the 1st October till 30th April your dog is welcome on the beach. There are also plenty of dog friendly hotels and pubs in Southend so don’t let your furry friends miss out this winter.

4. Winter by the Riverside in Shrewsbury

Start your journey heading west out of Birmingham along the M6 or A41 in the direction of Shrewsbury. There’s plenty to see and do in this heritage town and thousands visit each year to experience their winter celebrations.

If you’re unsure how to entertain the kids this Christmas, be sure to stop off on the way to take advantage of Telfords wonderful Winter Village. Join Santa and his Elves at Telfords newest enchanting winter event.

Resume your journey along the A5 and over the River Severn into the centre of Telford where you’ll find the eagerly anticipated Winter Festival. Located at the Quarry Park, this special event combines mouthwatering food stalls and family-friendly crafting sessions that the kids will truly love. Embrace the Yuletide spirit and enjoy the many retail stores by shopping until you drop.

Interested in the performing arts? Great! Shrewsbury hosts an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. The Shrewsbury School Community Choir heads up the event all organised by local musical scholars in aid of charity. Enjoy other musical events with Carols in the Square in mid-December and the family pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs until early January.

To end your road trip, take the guided tour and discover what the great heritage town of Shrewsbury can teach you abut it’s past. The tours can be tailored to the specific period you are interested in and they run all year round.

5. Experience Milton Keynes this winter

Treats are in abundance in the town of Milton Keynes and it’s no surprise either. Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing towns in the UK. So for anyone looking for a road trip through Buckinghamshire then this is the place. There is really something for everyone here, with a selection of urban spaces dotted around the town and plenty to see and do.

Kick start the Christmas period by taking the kids to one of the many locations hosting a Meet Santa Event. It’s a great experience for smaller children and is the perfect way to get in the festive spirit.

Resume your journey through Milton Keynes to celebrate Christmas at Gulliver’s Theme Park Resort. Gullivers is open all the way through winter but their Winter Wonderland is particularly special. Gullivers pays particular homage to this magical time of year with Christmas rides, spectacular shows and huge attractions.

Bletchley Park is a great place to join in on the festive fun. Enjoy more Christmas. Experience a vintage Christmas in the 1940’s Grotto they have designed within the grounds. If you visit the park after Christmas visitors can soak up the history of Bletchley as the home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology.