• 20% of people surveyed had a holiday in the UK booked this summer compared to 4% abroad.
  • 55% of those travelling by car said it was because they can plan their own route, while 51% said it was so they can make additional stops.
  • Nearly two thirds of people (61%) said they plan where they stop before starting the journey when travelling by car.

Holidaymakers are planning on staying in the UK this year, with 20% of people having booked a holiday at home compared to just 4% who have a holiday abroad planned. 95% of individuals opting for staycations plan to travel to their destination by car. These are the results of a recent study conducted by the AA about travel plans of UK residents this summer.

The survey showed that 55% of people travelling by car to their UK holiday destination like to do so as they can plan their own route, while 51% also said it was so they can make additional stops. 61% of these respondents said they plan where they stop on a car journey. 

Where to stop on your next road trip 

When reviewing key factors as to where people choose to stop on a car journey, 64% said access to amenities was important while 62% mentioned a convenient location. 61% said the availability of food and drink was a key factor.

Over a fifth of people mentioned that landmarks and attractions played a part in deciding where to stop, highlighting that for many people it’s about the journey as well as the destination. 

The AA has rounded up some of the best places to stop on a road trip that suit passenger needs. They  looked at the 20 busiest motorway junctions in the UK, which are located across England, to reveal the locations and attractions that are within a short drive of them. A  range of factors, from customer reviews to food and drink options helped decide the list which includes independent eateries, fine dining, family-friendly activities and even overnight stays.

Where to stop when travelling through North West England

With 26,061 miles of the England’s 188,500 miles of road in the North West alone, it’s not surprising that it’s also home to five of the UK’s busiest junctions. The five busiest junctions are the M60 A34, M60 J15, M56 J10, M60 LA Boundary and M56 Spur.

M60 A34

The Cheshire Line Tavern is a former railway station which has been converted into a pub restaurant.

  • Less than 10 minutes from the M60 A34.
  •  Open Wednesday to Saturday 12pm to 11pm, Sunday to Tuesday 12pm to 10pm

For something that will keep the kids entertained, Head over Heels creates play experiences for children but also features a large café and seating area for parents.

M60 J15

Worsley Old Hall

  • Less than 15 minutes from the M60 J15. 
  • Features cosy rooms for overnight stays as well as a large central bar for refreshments. 
  • 4.4-star rating on Google.

If you and the family want to try out horse riding on your holiday, Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre is also less than a 15-minute drive from the junction.

M56 J10

Ring O’Bells is a pub restaurant which was originally Daresbury’s courthouse and still has a session room where court proceedings once took place.

And for the kids, Apple Jacks Adventure Farm is just six miles away and offers a range of fun activities.

M60 LA Boundary

The independent Coffee Sack offers lovely coffee, loose leaf teas and a brunch/lunch menu. 

  • Less than a 15-minute drive from the M60 LA Boundary.
  •  4.6 and 4.5-star ratings on Google and TripAdvisor. 

M56 Spur

The Hayrack Church Farm Park & Café for animal lovers. 

  • Five-minute drive away. 
  • Offers you the chance to feed and interact with a variety of animals and birds. 
  • The café also serves freshly prepared snacks and meals, and kids can also enjoy the adventure playground.

Where to stop when travelling through Yorkshire and the Humber

The roads running through Yorkshire and the Humber are largely used by those travelling to and from the region, or through it to and from Scotland. The four busiest junctions are the A1(M) J44, M1 J40, M62 J30 and M1 M18 spur. 

A1(M) J44

The Crooked Billet Inn is a good dining spot.

  • Less than 10 minutes from the A1 (M) 44. 
  • Near the famous battle of Towton fields.

Also near the A1 (M) 44, Bramham Park is located in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside. The house can be visited by appointment and the gardens are also available to wander around when open.

M1 J40

The Star Inn is a real ale pub which serves lunch and sharing boards for a refreshment break.

  • Just over five minutes from the M1 J40.
  • 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor.

Cheeky Monkeys, an adventure play centre with two separate play areas, is also just over 10 minutes from the junction.

M62 J30

Oulton Hall, the countryside mansion house offering  fine dining and overnight stays.

  • A short drive from the junction.
  • 4.3 rating on Google.

Kids will likely prefer Diggerland – the theme park features 20 different rides and is just over 10 minutes from the junction.

M1 M18 spur

Winthrop Park is a small sensory garden.

  • Over 10 minutes from the junction.
  • Perfect for relaxing and very family friendly.
  • Tea rooms available. 
  • Hot and cold food and drinks on offer. 

Where to stop when travelling through the East of England

It’s unsurprising that the roads in Norfolk and Suffolk are busy, particularly those leaving London. Two out of the 20 busiest junctions in the UK are in the East of England, the M25 21A and LA Boundary.

M25 J21A

Cheslyn House & Garden is located just a 10-minute drive from the M25 21A. Originally owned by Henry and Daisy Colbeck. 

  • The house and 3.5 Acres of land Managed by Watford Council, since 1965.
  • Features a pond and aviary. 
  • Free access, available parking and child-friendly.

M25 LA Boundary

Original Tea Hut, a little green hut in the heart of the ancient Epping forest.

  • Speciality teas and coffees.
  • Food including vegetarian options.
  • 5-star rating on Tripadvisor. 

Where to stop when travelling through London

Being the capital of the UK, London’s orbital road is home to two of the busiest junctions in the UK, the M25 J14 and J25. While most of the traffic is from those travelling to and from the city, it’s also used by many people on their way to other places.

M25 J14

The George at Wraysbury the pub boasts 600 years of history, including being the training place for the boxer Henry Cooper.

  • 10-minute drive from the M25 14. 
  • Ideal stopping point for other local attractions, including Magna Carta, the Queen Mother Reservoir and the famous National Trust Ankerwycke yew.

M25 J25

Myddleton House Gardens is a restored botanist’s gardens, complete with a carp lake, Victorian glasshouse, visitor centre/museum and café.

  • Two miles from the junction.

 It regularly hosts events so if you plan ahead you might be able to catch one on your trip.

The Zebra Riding Club is a restaurant with a difference – it uses the growing farm, woods and produce surrounding it throughout the year. 

  • Two miles from the junction.
  • This locally sourced approach has gained it a 4.8-star rating on Google.

Where to stop when travelling through South East England

The South East of England is home to some of the country’s best-known tourist spots, and, because of this, it also has some of the main connecting motorways between different areas of the UK. The five busiest junctions are the M25 J16, M27 LA Boundary, M4 La Boundary, A3(M) 4 and M3 J4. 

M25 J16

The Apple Tree is a premium pub, bar and restaurant. 

  • Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
  • Less than 10 minutes from this junction.

Go Ape is also an adventurous and friendly-friendly alternative and is just a short drive from the junction. Open from 10am until 3pm on weekdays, and 9am until 5pm on weekends.  

M27 LA Boundary

The Solent Sky Museum in Hampshire for aeroplane enthusiasts near the M27 LA Boundary. 

  • 4.6 Rating on Google reviews.
  • Museum tells the story of aviation in the Hampshire and Solent region, which was a centre for this industry in the first half of the 20th century.

M4 LA Boundary

The historic village of Grittleton is just a few miles from this junction, 17-century stone inn the Neeld Arms is a place to dine or stay overnight.

Lacock Abbey, Fox Museum of Talbot and village for those interested in History. The country house with monastic routes was once home to William Henry Talbot, inventor of the photographic negative.

A3(M) J4

The Ship Inn is a good place to stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Open 10am until 11pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 10.30pm on Sunday.

  • Family-friendly seaside pub and restaurant
  • Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

M3 J4

Macdonald Frimley Hotel and Spa for some fine dining at the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, a swim or treatments at the pool and spa or even an overnight stay.

There is also the Gravity Force Camberley Trampoline Park.

  • Less than a five minute drive from the junction
  • 4.3 Star rating on Google Reviews
  • Family-friendly

Where to stop when travelling through South West England

When the lockdown first eased in 2020, over 80,000 visitors were expected in Cornwall in one weekend, making the roads on the route there very busy. Home to some of England’s most beautiful coastlines, we expect summer 2021 to be no different. The two busiest junctions are the M5 LA Boundary and M4 Junction 20/15 M4/M5.

M25 LA Boundary

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing and your summer road trip will take you via the M5 LA Boundary, the Wave is the stop for you – this inland surf destination provides safe waves for all ability levels. 

M4 Junction J20/15 M4/M5

The Folly is a pub – a good stop off point if you’re passing Junction 20/15 M4/M5 on the M4. 

  • Serves a selection of drinks and food.
  • Dog-friendly.

Almondsbury Garden Centre is another good stopping point near this junction, just five minutes away and complete with a café.

Road trips in 2021

Travelling by car to your holiday destination provides a great opportunity to explore new places on the journey, whether that’s an independent café, historic pub restaurant, country mansion house or family-friendly activity centre.

Wherever you choose to visit on the journey, make sure to plan regular stops on long journeys to avoid getting tired and allow you to stay focused on the road.

More information is available on the AA website: https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/alternative-service-stations


By Alison