Tips for driving London to Dorset

(22 Posts)
babypeach Sun 05-Aug-18 15:01:08


We’re off on holiday to Bridport in Dorset in a couple of weeks. We’ve booked a cottage with a Saturday start and due to work can’t leave any earlier so have to do the journey on the Saturday!

I haven’t driven this route for about 12 years so wondered if anyone has road/timing/stop-off recommendations?

We’ll have two young ones with us, the 3 year old having in the last month or so started to be travel sick frequently so there’s that to add in to the mix!!

Any tips very much appreciated

Thanks in advance smile

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Ta1kinpeace Sun 05-Aug-18 15:06:29

Colouring books are your friend.

Get down the M3 as early as you can.
Have a snack break in the New Forest - Minstead turning is nice and easy to get back on again.

When you get into Dorset, read all the village names along the piddle valley to your 3 year old.

Biccy break in the layby after Tolpuddle on the top of the hill.

Make sure you go to the Hive Beach Cafe at Burton Brastock (not the one in West Bay) while in that part of the country

Enjoy the walk from Bridport to West bay to get seafood

babypeach Sun 05-Aug-18 20:21:54

Thanks so much Ta1kingpeace much appreciated x

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Ta1kinpeace Sun 05-Aug-18 20:29:45

And if in Burton Bradstock, go for lunch at the Anchor and let the kids play in the playground
In West Bay, rent a row boat
or walk on the beach to the west
can you tell that I LOVE that part of the country

babypeach Sun 05-Aug-18 20:43:48

I am very excited! When I was a teen I had loads of holidays there and must have visited very beach plus numerous geography trips and adored it.
Haven’t been really since having kids one reason or another so very much looking forward to sharing it with them😁

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ShotsFired Sun 05-Aug-18 20:51:12

Go early as pp says and enjoy gloriously open roads. I left home at 5.30am and arrived in Cornwall 3hrs later; and the ONLY reason I stopped was to flex my foot which had been prone on the accelerator for so long! My trip shaved a good hour, possibly two, off the same journey than when a friend does it.

(I don't have kids so appreciate you may need to stop a bit more often for them, but the theory of arriving for breakfast is a solid one. And if you go early enough, they might sleep some of the way down too!)

Avocado0nToast Sun 05-Aug-18 21:17:46

I regularly drive from London to Dorset. In the summer the traffic gets really bad, hot spots seem to be around Winchester, through the new forest and around Bournemouth but it is slow most places. Leave as early as you can, and drive back in the evening if you can to avoid the worse of it.
Kingston Lacy is a lovely national trust on the way with nice gardens if you have a membership - the allotment gardens have ride ons for the kids and good cake wink.
Was just in Bridport Monday and it was lovely, I noticed the Broadchurch effect though - lots of nice eateries, cafes etc sprung up around West Bay. We had delicious sea bass fish cakes from the little huts around the harbour and a delicious chunk of Dorset apple cake! Really reasonable as well.
Enjoy - gorgeous part of the world!!

babypeach Sun 05-Aug-18 21:26:27

Thanks avocado!

Yes I have read since booking about Broadchurch. It wasn’t something I watched so didn’t realise until recently!

But definitely will be taking advice to leave early. Thinking of packing everything ready in car and just bundling small people into car once they’re up if I can organise myself grin

Thanks both for taking time to reply xx

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Needmoresleep Sun 05-Aug-18 21:30:53

Its a journey I do regularly.
1. Set off early. Traffic seems to build up during the day. Last week the A31 was like a car park.
2. Check google maps before you set off or leave the sat nav on. Things can change fast. A crash on the M3 and you might be better off taking the A3, etc.

Avocado0nToast Sun 05-Aug-18 21:49:10

Oh needmoresleep reminded me...if traffic builds up on the a31 the sat nav may try and take you another way through Salisbury. If you have a child who gets sick I would avoid this if you can! It's really bendy and my son (3, who doesn't get car sick really) threw up all over the car!
Traffic definitely builds up through day, packing up car and throwing the children in is for sure the best bet wink. If your kids don't moan too much about walking, the cliff paths round that way are wonderful as well!

sunsalutations Sun 05-Aug-18 21:57:26

Marking place, we are going to same area soon too!

Peabody25 Mon 06-Aug-18 08:15:45

Not a driving tip, but park at west bay road when you're going into west bay and there's this brilliant playground by it!

Let me know if you need more ideas as we go to see grandparents in Beaminster a fair bit with a five year old.

loveka Mon 06-Aug-18 08:18:59

Try to set off as early as possible. Coming home, leave as late as possible.

Eve Mon 06-Aug-18 08:19:56

From about 10am to 1pm on a Saturday the A31 is a car park! Would leave very vey early.

LEMtheoriginal Mon 06-Aug-18 08:20:32

There is a turn off before Stonehenge that takes you behind it and you can rejoin it further up avouding the queues

LEMtheoriginal Mon 06-Aug-18 08:23:48

As you drive ibto westbay there is a wee housing estate - lots of parking there just a short walk into town. Parking is manic but def worth a visit we'll go back for sure

Ohyesiam Mon 06-Aug-18 08:30:43

We used to go to Scotland leaving at 4 am, kids would wake about 8 with half the journey done.
Bridport is about 3 hours from central London so a version of this could work.
And as not feeding the child is the best way with car sickness , them being asleep
Is a major bonus.

FinallyHere Mon 06-Aug-18 08:35:22

My favourite memories of summer holidays as a child, was going to bed in a sleeping bag the night before the early start. My parents would 'throw' us into the back seat in our sleeping bags. We would remember from year to year how far they had got before we woke up

#before rear seatbelts and #laughing in the face of child seats

DonkeyPunch88 Mon 06-Aug-18 08:44:50

Go via the A303 instead of M3, it takes half an hour more but the views are beautiful x

Twistella Mon 06-Aug-18 08:47:52

It's such an easy drive! M3 then a303 then x country. It takes me 2.5 hours from west London to Beaminster.

SidTheSquirrel Mon 06-Aug-18 09:01:14

We are heading that way soon. Plan is to pack car night before, up at 5am get adults ready finish off car then pop two kids in still in pjs and leave at 5:30 / 6ish. Hopefully they will go back to sleep and breakfast on the way.

babypeach Mon 06-Aug-18 23:26:44

Thank you so much everyone great tips!

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