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Long car drive advice .....

(13 Posts)
Cheesecrumpets01 Thu 07-Apr-16 14:20:45

We will be driving from North Buckinghamshire to St Ives last week of July for a week holiday with our (will be almost 4 year old)....

Using the sat nav it estimates around 5.5 hours which I am thinking is underestimated, if you factor in stops.

How long has it taken you for a similar journey?

Have you got any recommendations for places to stop with soft play/parks ect?

We don't want to travel through the night, but was thinking maybe leaving at 4/5am so DD will hopefully go back to sleep. As we can't get into the property until mid afternoon we don't want to get there too early and be stuck waiting around.

Just looking for general advice as this will be our first long distance trip.
Thanks in advance.

noramum Mon 11-Apr-16 12:21:07

We just returned from a 9 hour journey driving from SE London to the Dutch/German border.

DD is nearly 9 but gets car sick when reading or looking at magazines so this is what keeps us sane:

Storytapes and Audiobooks for all of us to listen to.

getting her an old iphone made into an ipod and headphones. DH put some of the stuff we can't hear anymore but DD enjoys to hear it in silent

DVD player with one movie per journey

Decent break for lunch

Letting her play with teddies/dolls. She normally makes up stories.

We left the house at 6am, but there is never a chance DD will go back to sleep, she would be awake all night and just fall asleep 1/2 hour before arrival.

A lot of your roads are country lanes and single lane B-roads, so traffic will be slow, we once drove back from Devon/Cornwall border, one way was 5 hours, the return was nearly 9 thanks to weekend traffic and an accident with road blocks. So be prepared. It may be worth checking out what country parks are around or National Trust properties, they make a good break point to get a child to run around and easy for a picnic lunch.

Animal petting farm or whatever your DD likes.

For bad weather look up soft play. A friend used a dip into a swimming pool as a break.

FishWithABicycle Mon 11-Apr-16 12:36:43

As this will be in the school holidays the road down into Cornwall will be a nightmare on the Friday and Saturday as every other building in the county is a holiday let. Expect to crawl along at 10mph or less for much of the length of Cornwall. Can you consider taking an extra day either side and breaking the journey with a night stop somewhere en route? If you can do this and get up early to be on the road long before other holiday makers have enen got to the end of the m5 it might not be too bad.

Don't worry about getting there too early. If you are lucky enough not to spend the day in traffic jams you can find plenty to do in the area until the house is ready.

FusionChefGeoff Mon 11-Apr-16 12:49:01

If you go along m4/m5 then there's a fab looking farm / day out place just past Bristol - we never did stop in the end but I'm quite disappointed as it looked great - Noah's ark zoo farm looks like it might have been it. Leaving that early though, you might get there before it opens as its about 2.5 hrs to Bristol - as pp said the torturous bit is as you get closer to Cornwall

TheSandgroper Sun 17-Apr-16 10:17:49

After many solo trips, I decided that properly brought up children are regularly patted, cuddled etc. A long trip strapped into a car seat is very isolating. So, I found that when I would stop, I would park away from the public toilet, carry DD to the toilet and put her down when we got there. After that, she would be happy to walk back to the car or whatever but she did need that original cuddle to centre herself again.

TheSandgroper Sun 17-Apr-16 10:22:05

After many solo trips, I decided that properly brought up children are regularly patted, cuddled etc. A long trip strapped into a car seat is very isolating. So, I found that when I would stop, I would park away from the public toilet, carry DD to the toilet and put her down when we got there. After that, she would be happy to walk back to the car or whatever but she did need that original cuddle to centre herself again.

Chickpeachick0 Sun 17-Apr-16 10:28:13

We do a similar journey . If doing whole journey , then would set off ridiculously early - like 4 am . Usually stop at Exeter overnight then get up at 5/6 and off - beats the rest of the midlanders ! Traffic can be absolutely horrific , friends have taken 9 hours !
Always get new DVDs , comics , boggle , drawing stuff .
St Ives worth it !

AlpacaLypse Sun 17-Apr-16 10:32:34

NT membership paid for itself with this type of holiday. Free beach parking for some lovely ones (Godrevy is quite near St Ives) and lovely places to stop for lunch and a run around.

TobikkoRoll Sun 17-Apr-16 10:38:02

A family National Trust membership will be your life saver on that kind of journey. We do a similar journey from Berks down to Cornwall most summers and often will stop at an NT place for lunch and a little break. We've stopped at several places off the M5 and often stopped at Lanhydrock off the A30.

It will often take us 7 hours to make that journey, including an hour's stop, and that's a good trip. The shortest we've done is 4.5 hours coming back from Cornwall leaving at 7pm (just a quick stop for toilets and a change of driver).

Don't worry about arriving in Cornwall early, once you've made it pass the A30 traffic and you're almost there, you could always find a little beach to stretch your legs before bracing yourself for the St Ives traffic... grin St Ives is lovely, we make a day trip most years we're down there, have a great time.

deepdarkwood Sun 17-Apr-16 10:40:55

Audio books/singalongs are a complete godsend (we travel down to Devon 3-4 times a year from SE)
Small new toys/magazine (wrapped adds a level of excitement if you can be bothered) to be produced at intervals
Little snacks that can be related to eye spy type tasks (e.g one hazelnut/but of dried apple after you spot 5 red cars
We do get going and keep going rather than lots of stops, but that's maybe just us. Another thing we've done before is a cheap travelodge/B&B part way - so you do 2-3 hours, then sleep, then 2-3 hours the next day.
Agree with others that the last bit of the journey will be the slow bit
Spotting/waving games (let's see how many children we can see in other cars to wave to is a good one in slow traffic - we once have a coach assistant run over in a traffic jam with chocolate for the kids after we'd waved at him about a million times in a traffic jam - it's family legend now!)
Make sure the car seat is comfy - e.g extra padding/pillow to rest on

Crunchy121 Wed 11-May-16 14:48:01

Thanks that's all really helpful advice. It's hard to know when you will need to stop.
Looking at google maps it says we can get down to roughly Exeter/Okehampton in around 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Not to sure how accurate this is? Leaving at 4am would mean we could cover that long section by 8am. Beating most the traffic (I hope)
It then estimates you can get from Okehampton to St Ives in 2 hours shock but if you have all suggested this last section is the slow moving longest bit, I'm guessing it will take much much longer....
Have decided we need to update iPod for good music, not sure how much of the Frozen soundtracks I can take wine , sticker/colouring books and DVDs. Just hoping the weather holds out.

Crunchy121 Wed 11-May-16 14:50:22

I am the original poster by the way (forgot to add in above post)

NicknameUsed Wed 11-May-16 22:58:46

Sadly Fish's advice about the roads is spot on. It once took us nine hours to drive from near Sheffield to Padstow - because it was a Saturday in August.

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