A driving holiday in the UK and Ireland is a great way to see a lot of the country and spend time with your friends and family. Read on to find out more…

Why choose a driving holiday?

Well for starters it could work out cheaper than flying abroad. Plus you can mix up your accommodation choices. If the weather’s good, break out the tent; if it’s raining, then stop over in a B&B or treat yourselves to a local hotel. The choices are endless. If you can allow yourself to make a loose plan and go with the flow you might even discover some off-the-beaten-track gems.

Should you decide to cut your holiday short or extend it then there are no fines for changing your flights – just hit the road for home or follow the open highway.

Best driving routes

The UK and the Republic of Ireland are great driving holiday destinations. They are both relatively small islands compared to the routes you could be looking at in Europe, Australia or America and there are lots of interesting diversions for adventurous drivers. Driving around the UK and Ireland can also mean the added frisson of getting on and off a car ferry.

Some of the most used routes include going from the mainland of Scotland up to Orkney and Shetland; going from Scotland to Northern Ireland; or from England across to the Republic of Ireland. Whichever route you choose, the convenience of bringing your own car across the water will more than make up for any additional expense. Here is one of our favourite routes for families:

Holyhead to Dublin

A driving holiday is great if you have kids. You can chuck all their toys and other essentials in the boot without having to worry about baggage allowances, and there’s no more stressing about other passengers getting angry because your child is crying. Also, having your car means you can easily transport them to lots of great family-friendly attractions.

Why not head for beautiful North Wales? There are plenty of great things to stop and do along the route. Visit the Greenwood Forest Park (from the south on the A487 or from the north by the A55) and experience the treetop towers, roller coasters and jungle boat adventure at Best Family Attraction in North Wales 2012. Then take in the stunning Welsh Mountain Zoo near Colwyn Bay on the A55 if you are coming from the south.

Kids will love the multi-coloured birds and exciting sea life displays, and there’s plenty of room in the car for all those fluffy animal-themed toys from the gift shop. Hop back onto the A55 and drive for about 45 minutes to reach the port at Holyhead and get aboard the ferry to Dublin.

The journey takes about 3 hours and is a great chance for the kids to stretch their legs and breathe in some sea air. Dublin Ferryport is just 2 miles from the capital; however, we suggest that you head straight onto the M1 north and take in some of the sights around the Boyne Valley.

Come off the M1 at Drogheda and turn west onto the M51 to discover Newgrange, an impressive Stone Age passage tomb that will inspire your kid’s imagination and is a great day out. Then tire the kids out with kayaking, white water rafting and a high ropes challenge course.

A few quick tips before you go

Your car is your chariot – so treat it well. Standing in the rain on the hard shoulder of a motorway waiting for the breakdown truck is no one’s idea of fun. The best way to avoid car problems is to get your vehicle serviced before your trip and address any issues before you’re a long way from home, but having said that, make sure you’re adequately covered with breakdown insurance as well.

Another way to have a really great trip to make sure you’re driving a comfortable car like a sedan so the family have plenty of wiggle room.

What are your favourite driving routes in the UK and Ireland?

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Author Bio: Stella Connor is a freelance writer and frequent blogger who enjoys writing about travel, cars, and the great outdoors. She and her family are currently planning a driving holiday in the UK this summer in their trusty family sedan.