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Calm places to stop on the motorway

A view of Stourhead House with rhododendrons in full bloom during late spring.
A view of the house at Stourhead in Wiltshire with rhododendrons in bloom | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

Going on a long drive? Swap the busy service stations for a calmer alternative. Many of the places we care for are located near motorways, A roads and other main routes, so you can stretch your legs somewhere with a view. Refresh yourself at our cafés and picnic tables, surrounded by scenes full of nature and history.

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Get a taste of 1930s luxury with a stop at Anglesey Abbey. Explore the Jacobean-style house, take a seat in the garden or grab a refreshment in the Redwoods Restaurant. Find Anglesey Abbey off A14 J25 – approximately 7.5 miles/11 minutes.Stop at Anglesey Abbey
Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire
Baddesley Clinton's medieval-moated manor house is a convenient place to stop just outside Birmingham. Have tea in the Barn Restaurant and then browse the second-hand bookshop. Find Baddesley Clinton off M42 exit 5 – approximately 6 miles/7 minutes south; or off M40 exit 15 – approximately 10 miles/18 minutes north.Stop at Baddesley Clinton
Basildon Park, Berkshire
With more than 400 acres of parkland to explore, Basildon Park is the ideal spot for a leg stretch. Wander through grand rooms filled with paintings, explore the gardens or run wild in the parkland with its year-round seasonal colour. Find Basildon Park off M4 J12 – approximately 7 miles/15 minutes.Stop at Basildon Park
Beningbrough, North Yorkshire
From the wealthy teenager who built the mansion to its occupation by the RAF in the Second World War, Beningbrough is full of intriguing stories. Check out the changing exhibitions in the gallery or find a tranquil spot for a mid-drive picnic. Find Beningbrough Hall off A19 – approximately 2.9 miles/8 minutes.Stop at Beningbrough
Chartwell, Kent
Take a break at the former home of Sir Winston Churchill. Look out for the wall he built in the Kitchen Garden, explore his former study in the house or pause in Lady Clementine’s Rose Garden. Find Chartwell off M25 J5 or J6 – approximately 8.5 miles/15 minutes.Stop at Chartwell
Crom, County Fermanagh
Located on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, Crom is a peaceful place to pause for a while. This 2,000-acre estate is surrounded by tranquil islands and ancient woodlands, and home to a wealth of wildlife including otters, red squirrels and pine martens. Find Crom off A4 – approximately 13 miles/25 minutes.Stop at Crom
Tulips at Gibside, Tyne & Wear
A walled garden with pink and pale green tulips in the foreground | © National Trust Images/Frances Warnell
Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
The lavish collections inside Dyrham's grand country house reflect the fashion in the 17th century for all things Dutch. Set in extensive parkland and situated between Bath and Bristol, the sloping parkland is full of far-reaching views and ancient trees. Find Dyrham Park off M4 exit 18 – approximately 3 miles/4 minutes.Stop at Dyrham Park
Gibside, Tyne & Wear
The extensive 18th-century landscape garden at Gibside offers a taste of the country on the edge of the city. Discover sweeping Derwent Valley views, winding paths and open spaces to stretch tired legs in. Find Gibside off A1– approximately 4.5 miles/9 minutes.Stop at Gibside
Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire
A tranquil setting off the busy M5, the country retreat of Hanbury Hall features an orangery, ice-house, pavilions and even a working mushroom house. There's also a recreated 18th-century crown bowling green available to play on. Find Hanbury Hall off M5 exit 5 – approximately 4 miles/5 minutes.Stop at Hanbury Hall
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Between Nottingham and Sheffield is the extravagant Hardwick Hall, where powerful Elizabethan figure Bess of Hardwick once showed off her wealth. Explore the fragrant herb garden, orchards and parkland or see historic tapestries up close in the house. Find Hardwick Hall off M1 exit 29 – approximately 1 mile/2 minutes.Stop at Hardwick Hall
Knightshayes, Devon
With acres of gardens and parkland surrounding a Gothic Revival house, there's plenty to see at Knightshayes. Stretch your legs with a wander around the woodlands or stop at the Stables Café before you hit the road again. Find Knightshayes off M5 exit 27 – approximately 8 miles/12 minutes.Stop at Knightshayes
Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Quarry Bank was once home to a complete industrial community. See inside the home of the Greg family who once owned the mill, or go on a guided tour of the Apprentice House to learn about the pauper children who worked in the mill. Find Quarry Bank off M56 exit 5 – approximately 5 miles/13 minutes.Stop at Quarry Bank
Colourful rhododendrons in full bloom at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Rhododendrons in full bloom at Quarry Bank, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor
Runnymede and Ankerwycke, Surrey
Within easy reach of the M25 is Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was sealed over 800 years ago. Along with the café, explore the art installations and historical monuments that are dotted around the meadows and woodland. It's close to Windsor and Heathrow, making it a useful place to pause during a long journey. Find Runnymede off M25 exit 13 – approximately 2 miles/4 minutes.Stop at Runnymede
Sizergh, Cumbria
At the gateway to the Lake District, Sizergh is surrounded by lush gardens, wetlands, woodlands and even an orchard. The imposing house has many tales to tell, while the grounds include the largest limestone rock garden in our care. Find Sizergh off M6 exit 36 – approximately 5 miles/8 minutes.Stop at Sizergh
Stourhead, Wiltshire
Described as a 'living work of art', Stourhead's historic garden with classical temples is set around a central lake. An ever-changing series of vistas will greet you as you stroll along the winding paths. Find Stourhead off A303 – approximately 3 miles/4 minutes.Stop at Stourhead
Tredegar House, Newport
Tredegar's 17th-century house and garden sits just off the M4 as you enter Wales. Outdoors, 90 acres of parkland, including the lake and three walled gardens, provide plenty of room to let off steam. Find Tredegar House off M4 exit 28 – approximately 1 mile/2 minutes.Stop at Tredegar House
Wallington, Northumberland
From open moorland and wooded streams to lakes and mires – there’s plenty to discover at Wallington. Follow winding paths through the estate, explore the quirky curiosities inside the house, or have a cup of tea at the Clocktower Café. Find Wallington off A696 – approximately 1.8 miles/4 minutes.Stop at Wallington
Wentworth Castle Gardens, Yorkshire
Wentworth Castle Gardens is an ideal spot to break up your journey in South Yorkshire. Wander through gardens, relax in the café with views over the deer park or let children burn off energy in the playground. Find Wentworth Castle Gardens off M1 exit 37 – approximately 3 miles/7 minutes.Stop at Wentworth Castle Gardens
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