I'd like to know good places for a 4yo and 1yo to have breaks, we are driving from South Manchester to Sevenoaks. Could take M6 then either M1 and clockwise around M25, or M40 and anti-clockwise M25. Are either of these better, do you reckon? (Google Maps says 4h15 & 4h29). And any good stops with space to run about or interesting garden centres etc? Or know any apps etc to find such places?
I do the journey from Kent to Cheshire very frequently. Always do M24, M40 and M6. Never the far side of the M25 with bridge and tunnel as there are more frequent traffic jams that side I feel. Also less places to stop. M40 has several places. Warwick, Oxford etc, plus there is a new service station on M25 now, around J10 ish I think?
If you can get google maps on your phone the live traffic is very good, you can see where these is congestion, roadworks, etc. The M25 can be hell on earth so we tend to decide on the day whether to go clockwise or anti-clockwise. Although it's 'longer' on paper it can quite often end up being quick to go anti-clockwise.
FYI if you are using the Dartford crossing you have to pay the congestion charge either before or just after you use it.