Are your kids mad about cars? Do your little ones have a huge collection of matchbox cars, buses and trucks? Perhaps your teenagers have a passion for motor racing? If the answer is yes, then organising a family day out with something car related in the mix is an absolute must.
We all know that taking kids around a National Trust property is a tad idealistic. As parents we’ve all done it. A child’s threshold for ‘boring’ activities really isn’t that high. Trudging around a country estate often results in you managing sulky or difficult behaviour amidst cries of ‘I’m bored, can we go now?’ Sound familiar? Badly planned days out with the kids don’t serve anyone well and usually end sooner than they were supposed to after a fortune has been spent in overpriced cafés and gift shops. As parents we’ve all been there.
Plan carefully and your day doesn’t have to be that way. Save the National Trust visits for your own guilty pleasure. For your car-crazy kids, there are some brilliant places to visit that will keep them interested all day long. Here are our top 5 places and things to do for kids with a passion for cars.
- London Transport Museum
If you are planning a trip to London, spending a few hours at the London Transport Museum will give your car-crazy little ones just the fix they need. Learn about the history of London’s transport system and have fun in the family play zone. Kids can play on real buses and trains, as well as drive Tube train simulators. Tube line milk shakes and transport-shaped pasta available in the upper deck café will give your kids the fuel they need to have a fun-filled experience. There are special events and extra activities during most school holidays.
Set in the heart of the New Forest, Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum is one of a handful of attractions set within the beautiful Beaulieu estate. This place has much more than just motoring memorabilia and cars, so there should be something here for all the family to enjoy. The motor museum itself offers up an incredible display of cars and bikes, and there are also separate displays of Top Gear cars, and an exhibition of cars from the movies.
A monorail and an old-fashioned bus will transport you around the estate. Attractions include a Gothic Palace House, Abbey ruins, and a museum documenting Britain’s secret training centre for agents during WWII. There are Victorian gardens, motor-themed play areas and interactive go-karting. Picnic in the gardens or eat in the restaurant, which offers dishes using vegetables and fruits grown in the gardens on site. A fun day out for the whole family.
- Car driving experiences
If your kids are desperate to get behind the wheel, then why not arrange a special driving treat? Car driving experiences used to be confined to petrol head adults, but there are now plenty of options for children too. Experience day companies, like Into the Blue, offer kids’ driving experiences with everything from rally driving to 4×4 off-roading and even kids’ truck driving and monster truck driving. It makes a great birthday gift for petrol head teenagers and will give them an experience they’ll never forget. Try not to worry, they’ll be in dual-controlled cars.
- Haynes International Motor Museum
Describing itself as the ‘motoring mecca for the diehard enthusiast’, Haynes International Motor Museum won’t disappoint for a great family day out. Based in Somerset, the museum offers activities for various age groups, including guided tours and events for teenagers.
A dedicated indoor soft play area, outdoor themed play areas, including ride-on cars, mini roads and an interactive garage, will delight your youngsters. There are plenty of kids’ activities for a whole range of ages, with a top trumps trail, a motor racing penny arcade and lots of interactive play. For your petrol head teenagers there’s also a go-karting track.
- Santa Pod Raceway
If you can stand the noise, Santa Pod hosts over 50 drag racing events throughout the year, including some great family days. Santa Pod Raceway at Wellingborough in Bedford is Europe’s first permanent drag racing venue built on a disused Second World War air base. Check out their website for a list of upcoming family events here. Most events feature drag car racing, stunt displays, monster truck rides, fairground rides and plenty of kids’ entertainment.