Museums, art galleries, historic houses, country parks and zoos from Land’s End to John O’Groats will be bustling hives of activities on long weekends and school holidays.
Our Census survey of 1,000 UK people shows over half (57%) of British families are planning a ‘staycation’ this year, travelling an average of 100 to 200 miles to reach their destination – the majority by petrol and diesel-powered cars.
Each ICE car (based on the Department Transport’s UK average of 136.4g/km) will emit around 44kg of CO₂ meaning staycation emissions are forecast to total over 600,000 tonnes of CO₂ in 2023 – the equivalent of planting 38,000 acres of trees (an area larger than Bristol).
Despite being preferable to a family taking a plane (for context, a return flight to Spain from London emits around 200kg of CO₂ per passenger), it’s still a sizeable impact on the climate.
That’s why electric cars are so important to ensuring we can continue to enjoy and explore the best this nation has to offer responsibly. Even more important when you consider around half of the UK’s tourist attractions are unreachable by public transport.
However, as only one in 10 of sites currently offer EV charging, planning ahead is vital – and that’s where GRIDSERVE can help. We’ve analysed the most popular tourist attractions across the country (excluding central London, because who wants to drive there?!) and calculated an overall score.
Points are awarded on a sliding scale for how close the tourist attraction is to a GRIDSERVE Electric Super Hub or Electric Forecourt®, where EV drivers can take advantage of 350kW-capable High Power chargers to top up in less than 30 minutes.
Most councils across the country have installed a number of on-street AC chargers, while shopping centres or supermarkets also offer low power connectors. We’ve analysed the area of each attraction and calculated a weighted score based on number of AC chargers per visitor.
Similarly, there are a number of public faster DC connectors available to use beyond the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway. Just like AC connectors, we awarded a weighted score based on chargers per visitor.
As a visit is likely part of a road trip, drivers need somewhere to stay. Using Zap Map, we analysed how many EV chargers were available at hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks and other accommodation sites per visitor.
Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, tells the story of life in the north east during the 19th and early 20th century – ironically the era that the first electric car was actually developed.
Just over six miles from the new Washington Electric Super Hub and with plenty of local public chargers and a healthy dose of EV accommodation for the nearly half a million annual visitors – Beamish scores well across the board to finish top of the GRIDSERVE EV Holiday Hotspot Index.
Midlands Art Centre. The arts complex, which hosts theatre, dance, music and comedy performances, plus cinema and workshops, is helped by a large number of local chargers in Birmingham city centre as well as impressive accommodation options.
The almost 1,000-year-old Durham Cathedral, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some Harry Potter filming, rounds out the top three, with a good amount of local chargers as well as being just 10 miles from Moto Washington.
While the UK-wide Top 10 showcases the biggest tourist hotspots (those with at least 500,000 visitors a year), we’ve also compiled a regional shortlist with smaller attractions, so if you’ve already got a trip planned, you can find the best nearby options.
The Harley Foundation, Worksop (Art Gallery)
Kedleston Hall, Derby (Historic house)
Wollaton Hall, Derby (Historic house, park and gardens)
Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester (Museum/Art Gallery)
Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire (Zoo)
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge (Museum)
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (Art Gallery)
Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge (Country Park)
Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk (Historic house, park and gardens)
Brandon Country Park , Suffolk (Country Park)
The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre, Northumberland (Heritage/Visitor Centre)
Locomotion, County Durham (Museum)
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle (Art Gallery)
Wallington House, Gardens & Estate, Northumberland (Historic house, park and gardens)
Cragside House, Gardens and Estate, Northumberland (Historic house, park and gardens)
The Old Bushmills Distillery, near Giant’s Causeway (Museum)
Dundonald International Ice Bowl, Belfast (Leisure centre)
Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh (Museum)
The Titanic Belfast, Belfast (Museum)
Pickie Fun Park, Bangor (Amusement park)
Highland Wildlife Park, Highlands (Nature Reserve)
Crathes Castle, Aberdeen (Castle)
Glenfinnan Monument, Highlands (Historic landmark)
Stirling Castle, Stirling (Castle)
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow (Museum/Art Gallery)
Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes (Museum)
Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe (Historic house)
New Forest Heritage Centre, New Forest, Hampshire (Heritage/Visitor Centre)
Museum of the History of Science, Oxford (Museum)
University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford (Gardens)
Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Cornwall (Zoo)
Brownsea Island, Dorset (Nature Reserve)
Cotehele, near Plymouth (Historic house, park and gardens)
Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury (Cathedral)
Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol (Museum)
LC Swansea, Swansea (Leisure centre)
Conwy Castle, Conwy, North Wales (Castle)
Cardiff Castle & National Museum, Cardiff (Castle/Museum)
Folly Farm, Tenby, Pembrokeshire (Zoo)
Pembrey Country Park, near Llanelli, South Wales (Country Park)
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (Art Gallery)
Thinktank, Birmingham (Museum)
Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon (Zoo)
Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden, near Coventry (Castle/Gardens)
Biddulph Grange Garden, near Stoke-on-Trent (Gardens)
Royal Armouries, Leeds (Museum)
Harewood House, near Harrogate (Historic house, park and gardens)
Kirkstall Abbey , Leeds (Museum)
Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds (Art Gallery)
Leeds City Museum, Leeds (Museum)
With Electric Super Hubs and Electric Forecourts® spread right across the UK, 60% of the UK’s top tourist attractions are within 40 miles of a site offering 350kW-capable High Power chargers.
But the closest is Nymans – a Grade II-listed National Trust garden and historic house that’s less than three miles from Moto Pease Pottage. A close second is the iconic Stonehenge landmark, which is just six miles from Solstice Park.
Some councils have been more proactive than others in installing on-street chargers and there are two outstanding districts when it comes to local AC and DC connectors: Milton Keynes and Birmingham.
That means Bletchley Park, located a few roundabouts from the centre of Milton Keynes, comes out on top. The once top-secret home of the World War Two codebreakers is now a fascinating museum – especially of interest if you’ve seen The Imitation Game.
For those looking for multiple accommodation options, it’s the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes that’s top of the list, undoubtedly helped by the fact it’s just a few miles from central London.
It’s well worth a visit though, as it’s all about biodiversity. The 105 acres of blue and green spaces features some of the nation’s rarest wild birds and was one of the first urban projects of its kind when disused reservoirs were reclaimed by nature in 2000.
Ahead of the trip, make sure your car is charged either using a home charger or one of GRIDSERVE’s charging points. After your car is fully charged, make essential checks as you would before any car journey. These include checking your tyre pressure, windscreen wipers and screen wash and making sure warning lights are all working as they should.
Once you’ve decided on your destination, plan your route using GRIDSERVE’s location map to plot out any stops along the way.
If you need to charge on the go, then make sure you identify a spot that’s at least halfway into your journey. Combining a charge stop with a food and drink break means your car will be charged by the time you’re finished. And remember, you don’t need to charge beyond 80% as charging speed drops – it’s often quicker in the long run to carry on your journey and top up again later.
Save time on charging by staying at hotels that have electric car charge points. Plug your car in overnight and have a fully charged car in the morning. These are usually free to use for customers – ideal for those looking to save money and time.
Similarly, make use of EV chargers near landmarks, restaurants or other attractions. That way you can pass the time exploring the attractions of the UK.