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Our National Holidays Coach Trip with Kids | The Good, the Bad & the Ugly


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I booked a National Holidays coach trip with the kids as a treat to end our Easter Holidays. Steve was working that weekend (and he uses our car for work) and the coach trip looked like a hassle-free way for us all to have some fun. I booked the Cadbury World and West Midland Safari deal which included entry to both venues, transport, accommodation, dinner and breakfast.

Our National Holidays Coach Trip with Kids | The Good, the Bad & the Ugly


I had very high hopes for our National Holidays weekend away. I have actually travelled with the company a fair few times but the last time was around 10 years ago now and it's always been as part of a girls city break rather than visiting a specific attraction. I left with mixed feelings though and I think there were more bad points than good points. I will say that the following post is based on my experience from a single trip away. I have been reassured by lots of others that there are definitely 'good' trips and 'bad' trips to take. So if you fancy trying this, please don't let my one experience put you off and do still book it as you may have a better experience. At least my post will leave you more prepared than I was!

The Good 



Hotel - Our hotel was 'allocate on arrival' so we didn't actually know where we were going to end up. We lucked out when we pulled into a Radisson and were given interconnecting rooms. Everything from the bedrooms to the evening meal and breakfast were spot on and I absolutely cannot fault the hotel at all. I expected a lot worse. The hotel was definitely an area where we felt National Holidays over-delivered.


Value - I only paid £79 per adult and £69 per child. There's no getting away from the fact that this offers fantastic value ( includes travel, accommodation, 3 course dinner, breakfast and entry to Cadbury World and West Midland Safari Park). If you book in advance you can spread the cost so handy if you're on a budget.



Hassle free - The trip was completely hassle-free for me. I didn't need to worry about where to park, directions, finding somewhere for dinner....it was refreshing to have it all taken care of for me.

Lots of leg room 

Good for single parents/those who don't drive - I am often stuck without a car at the weekend and I love how easy and well-organised these trips are for those who don't drive.

Unlimited luggage  - There's no worrying about packing too much. You can take as much or little as you need. The only restriction is that a single case must not weigh more than 20kg.

The Bad


Uncomfortable coach - I'm no stranger to travelling by coach and even travelled all the way to Spain with Siesta Holidays a few years ago. Siesta coaches are in a different league though and the National Holidays coach felt tired and dated and I was left with a very numb bum during our journey home.



Limited facilities - I was very surprised by the lack of facilities. I'd have expected plug sockets, phone chargers, WiFi, tea and coffee facilities, even a TV. There was nothing of the sort though and it really felt more like a bus than a coach. It was very cheaply designed too as if the person in front of you put their chair back, it left your tray at a dodgy angle meaning you couldn't actually use it, where as on other planes and coaches, this hasn't been an issue.



Service stops - we stopped at Ferrybridge services on both the outbound and inbound journey. Not a place I would personally pick and the dining options are pretty much limited to Greggs or Burger King.



Bumpy ride - We were seated at the back of the coach which I would not recommend. It was very bumpy and not a comfortable ride.

Early morning pick up - This might not be an issue for some but having to be in town for 7am on a Saturday morning for our pick-up was a killer for me!

Unfriendly drivers - I'm sure they're not all like this but our driver wasn't the friendliest of the bunch. He just watched on as passengers with disabilities struggled to get off the bus without offering his hand to help them which wasn't the best customer service.

You're stuck in the hotel - Every time I've travelled with National Holidays, I've been stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere which was also the case here. It was fine for us as a family as we just had dinner and watched TV but if you have older kids or are travelling with friends/your partner, getting into the city centre for the night may be costly.

Limited rooms if you're a larger family - The Cadbury World trip is one of the only trips that offers interconnecting rooms for 4 people, most of the other trips offer either triple or twin rooms only so may not be suitable for families with multiple children who can't be left alone.



Seatbelts and broken seats - Some of the seats on our bus were broken so constantly in the recline position. This can't have been comfortable and the boy in the row in front of us claimed he didn't have a seatbelt for his seat. The seatbelts provided are only lap belts and again, I'm surprised they aren't full seatbelts and by the lack of standards (I know it's not the law but I still think a proper seatbelt would be best practice).

Safari could have been better - Below was our view for the safari. The driver stopped when he spotted an animal and everyone stood up to see it at the front of the coach meaning our views from the back were often very restricted and we only caught glimpses of some animals as we drove past. I'd also much rather try the safari in my own vehicle where you can stop and see the animals and feed them at your own time rather than when your driver dictates.




The Ugly 


The toilet - I can't even go there about the toilet. I didn't personally use it but heard some horror stories and it wasn't cleaned during our entire trip.

Sickness - Kids were hyped up on sugar (my own included). This paired with a bumpy bus ride and only one minging toilet on board was not the best. Kids were being sick left, right and centre into carrier bags which were then held at arm's length in the aisle for all to see. Nice!! Heidi wasn't exempt from this and was sick into a bag next to me just before the safari started so I did the whole trip sitting with a sick bag on my knee. Lovely eh!

Other people - Some of the people on our bus really needed to pipe down! There was swearing, vaping, screeching, blocking the aisles with bags, fighting in the aisles, fist fights in seats, rubbish thrown all over the bus, bottles thrown at windows, egg sandwiches being eaten...... The journey home seemed to take FOREVER (we left at 2:30pm and arrived home at 9pm with just one stop) and it was probably the worst journey of my entire life.

My own children - after their phone battery had died, my kids had the pleasure of sitting next to each other for the rest of the journey home where they could annoy each other to their heart's content with nowhere to go. I love nothing more than playing referee in public!

Limited time in attractions - I've written separate posts about our trip to Cadbury World (see here) and West Midland Safari Park (see here). We definitely did not have enough time to explore Cadbury World and although we did see and do a lot at West Midland Safari Park, I did feel that our day was cut short leaving at 2:30pm. I'd have loved to have stayed until closing but I get this will mean a later drop-off time.

So overall, it definitely was a mixed bag. I've left it a couple of weeks before writing this post as I wanted time to reflect. I stepped off the coach a broken woman and took 2 full days to recover from the ordeal (not even exaggerating). I said I'd never doing it again but on reflection, I probably would. I'd just stick to closer places such as Edinburgh Zoo or Scarbough, York or Leeds next time so the journey home wouldn't drag out and we'd have longer to spend enjoying ourselves. I definitely don't feel like I could face a long trip down to London with National Holidays that's for sure.

What do you think? Have you tried a National Holidays trip with kids? Would you be tempted to try one? 

Disclosure : We paid for our own trip 


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Our National Holidays Coach Trip with Kids | The Good, the Bad & the Ugly




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9 comments

  1. Sam I think you deserve Mam of the year after enduring this! The trip home sounds horrendous!!!!

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    1. I really should win an award or something for doing this 不不不

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  2. Thanks for the review. One to avoid I think x

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    1. Definitely I the trip is longer than 2 hours x

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  3. We have been going on a National Holidays trip. We don't drive so it would be perfect. I think I might have to have a good hard think about it after reading this. x

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    1. Sometimes I think you still have to try these things for yourself - at least you'll be prepared if you do go for it x

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  4. I went on a coach trip before but it was for adults only so there was no screaming, shouting or puking kids (your journey home sounds like a nightmare!) think i'll stick to the car lol
    https://www.glitzandglamourmakeup.co.uk

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  5. Oh no! I've just booked to go to London with them in September! I will report back and will take a battery pack.

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  6. Aarghh, I've just booked this exact trip for me and my 7 year old. Stumbled across your blog googling to see if I could find out which hotel we might end up in. Disappointed to find out that we do the safari in the actual coach! Thought we would be in one of the park mini buses with a guide, I didnt even know you could take a coach round the safari park! Also disappointing to find out how early we'll have to leave :(
    Ahh well it's booked now, we'll just have to make the best of it.

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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