The Great Getaway

Ginny Buckley

22 Sep 2022

Well, that was 18 months we’d like to confine to the dustbin of history. Lockdowns, instructions to work from home and advice to stay local has curtailed all but the most functional of journeys for most of the population. But hey, you don’t need us to remind you of that, right? 

So here we are. We can travel again, places are opening for business and there’s a reasonable chance that the sun will come out at some point between now and the seemingly inevitable onset of winter. For tens of thousands of drivers who joined the electric revolution over the past 18 months, this represents the first time that journeys can have something lovely at the end of them, whether that’s an afternoon at the seaside or a longer break in a cottage. No more essential journeys to battle for bog roll at the supermarket. This, Electrifiers, is the big summer 2021 getaway.  

But where should the savvy electric car driver head this summer? If you’re looking for destination inspiration with the added bonus of charging facilities, we’ve compiled the perfect guide to places where your car will be as welcome as you will. We’ve included a mixture of rapid charge locations and places with slower connections where you can plug in and relax for the day. 

As with all charging guides, we recommend using one of the brilliant charge point apps such as ZapMap, PlugShare and WattsApp to check on availability and status before you head off. And make sure you’re carrying the correct cables to allow you to charge. 

Beside the seaside

Weymouth, Dorset

Famous for its sweeping bay and Georgian architecture, the ‘Naples of the North’ has a surprisingly extensive charging infrastructure. Despite being on the Jurassic Coast, there’s nothing pre-historic about the town’s charging facilities which include a pair of bp pulse 150kWh ultra-rapid chargers and three 50kW rapid units in and around the town. These include a unit at Lidl on Portland, which has a spectacular view of Chesil Beach. For those with longer to charge, a new Aldi has just opened with six 22kW AC posts, while the Sainsburys next door boasts a further eight 3kW connectors. Six more 22kW units have also just gone live in two of the town’s public car parks. Go Weymouth!  

Aberystwyth, Wales

The largest town in mid Wales, Aberystwyth is home to the National Gallery of Wales along with some stunning coastline. Train lovers should head for the Vale of Rheidol Railway which runs from the town to Devil’s Bridge. For those looking for a quick fill, the town has three 50kW rapid chargers while a decent quota of 7kW points cater for those staying for longer. And, if you're lucky enough to have a Tesla, a new six bay Tesla Supercharger site has just opened in the area. 

Bridlington, East Yorkshire

The self-proclaimed ‘Lobster Capital of Europe’ is the perfect venue for a day by the seaside. Be sure to check out the incredible Flanborough Head coastline before topping up your belly with a slap-up fish supper in the town. Bridlington has one rapid charger (Morrisons) and more than ten 7kW points around the centre. 

Redcar, North Yorkshire

The British seaside at its best, Redcar offers everything from an award-winning beach to the Redcar Beacon - an unusual ‘vertical pier’ that delivers a sweeping view of the Yorkshire coastline. Electric car drivers can get a rapid charge at Morrisons by seafront or a nearby Instavolt double-header at Southbank. You’ll also find almost 20 slow 7kW chargers around town. 

Baggy Point, Devon

Positioned on the North Devon coast, Baggy Point separates Croyde Bay and Morte Bay which includes the beaches of Woolacombe and Putsborough. Owned by the National Trust, the area was used during World War II by American forces training for the Normandy Landings. The car park in Croyde Bay is home to two 7kW PodPoint chargers and if you need something with a little more power, nearby Braunton has an Instavolt 50kW unit. 

Road trippers

M6 Moto Rugby services - GRIDSERVE Electric Highway

Until last month, the thought of relying on an Ecotricity Electric Highway rapid charger would send a cold chill down the spine of most electric car owners. Now, thanks to the involvement (and investment) of GRIDSERVE, the picture is far rosier. The first fruit of the Electric Highway / GRIDSERVE marriage is an incredible new charging hub at lovely Moto Rugby services on the M6 (J1). It features 12 ultra-rapid 350kW units, along with 12 Tesla Superchargers. Wonderful. 

Scotland North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 is one of the greatest driving routes in the world with some incredible scenery and incredible roads. However, at 500 miles, even the most frugal of electric car drivers will need to recharge on the way round. Fortunately, Scotland has a pretty decent network of rapid chargers with a number on or just off the famous route. The 50kW rapid at Scourie is typical of what you’ll find – remote but beautiful. 

HyperHubs York

A brilliant option if you’re looking for a charge before heading to the North York Moors or Yorkshire Dales this summer, York is set to offer two brand spanking new rapid charging hubs at Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar. Set to go live in late July and located 15 minutes off J47 of the A1(M), both locations feature eight rapid chargers, four of which are 150kW ultra-rapid units at each location. Unlike some more remote hubs, Monks Cross is located next to a huge retail park, so you can refuel your tum while you charge.

GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourt, Essex

The poster-boy/girl of charging hubs, the Braintree site is almost a destination in itself. Featuring 36 chargers, 12 of which are 350kW ultra-rapids, this remarkable site gives us all a taste of things to come. There’s a retail and food hall on site, along with meeting rooms if you find yourself missing work. Charge here and the delights of Suffolk coastline including posh Southwold are a mere stone’s throw away. 

Instavolt Banbury hub 

A handily-placed eight charger hub just off junction 11 of the M40. It features 125kW chargers which use Instavolt's wonderfully simple and reliable contactless payment systems. There's a Costa coffee drive through in the car park, plus a Miller and Carter restaurant if you're planning a lunch stop. There's even the Banbury Cricket club in the next field if you fancy a few overs while you charge. Howzat!

Family attractions

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Hertfordshire

If you love film and the exploits of Harry Potter, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London should be on your 2021 wish list. Located in Hertfordshire, is a must-visit for Potter fans with props and scenery from the movie franchise along with interactive displays. The site is also an electric car driver’s paradise thanks to the availability of 40 (yes, 40) 7kW charging units. Operated by PodPoint, the posts are located in the main car park by the entrance. Even the boy wizard himself would find this set up magical. 

Chester Zoo, Cheshire

One of the UK’s largest zoos, Chester is home to more that 20,000 animals and welcomes more visitors than any other zoo in the UK. Among the many rare and exotic sights on display at Chester are eight 7kW PodPoint chargers that have been installed as part of the venue’s sustainability drive. They cost £3 per charge session but otherwise parking on site is completely free.  

Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Greater London

If you like animals and white knuckle rides that offer you the opportunity to see your breakfast for a second time then Chessington should be on your destinations list this summer. A theme park, zoo and hotel combined, Chessington has been a family favourite since the 1930s. The hotel car park is home to four PodPoint chargers that deliver a modest but still useful 3kW. 

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Founded in 1952, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is home to some of the most significant and famous cars in motoring history. Housing more than 1.7 million items, the museum offers the perfect trip down motoring memory line. If it’s got wheels, an engine and was the first of its kind, there’s a decent chance that there’s one on show here. In addition to preserving the past, Beaulieu is also keen on the future of motoring and is home to four 7kW bp pulse chargers and slower 3kW connection. 

Llyn Peninsula, Wales

For an organisation that loves the past, The National Trust has been a surprisingly active innovator when it comes to offering recharging facilities at its properties. The Llŷn Peninsula extends 30 miles into the Irish Sea from North West Wales, south west of the Isle of Anglesey. Despite its somewhat remote location, the National Trust has installed seven charging locations across the area, with each one offering incredible views. 

Culture and history

Riverside Museum, Glasgow 

If you love modern architecture and fancy a bit of motoring nostalgia, the Glasgow Museum of Transport has to be on your road trip wish list this summer. Housed in a state-of-the-art building on the edge of the River Clyde, the museum also has its own electric car charging hub. Run by ChargePlace Scotland, it has two 50kW rapid chargers and four 7kW posts for visitors who want to charge while they check out the exhibits. Well worth a visit. 

(image copyright © CSG CIC Glasgow Museum)

Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

Located in Styal, Quarry Bank is one of the best preserved textile factories of the Industrial Revolution. Built in 1784, the cotton mill offers a fascinating insight into an industry that drove the development of the north west of England. Now owned by the National Trust, the venue is also a base for walkers, dog lovers, cake lovers (there’s a great cafe on site) and has two 7kW charging posts in the main car park. 

Dundee V&A, Dundee

Dundee is one of the most electric-car friendly cities in the UK, so you’ll never be too far away from a charger - whatever you choose to do with your time. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’d recommend the brilliant V&A museum on the banks of the River Tay. Opened in 2018, the V&A Dundee is the first design museum in Scotland and the first Victoria and Albert museum outside London. Housed in a striking building designed by Kengo Kuma, it is located just metres away from a ChargePlace Scotland charging hub that features 10 7kW connections. 

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

One of the National Trust’s most visited properties with nearly half a million visitors in 2019, Waddesdon Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his collection of arts and to entertain the fashionable world. Opened to the public in 1959, Waddesdon Manor is managed by the Rothschild Foundation on behalf of the National Trust, who took over ownership in 1957. It’s home to the Rothschild Collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, along with four 7kW charging posts in the main car park. 

Imperial War Museum North, Manchester 

The first branch of the Imperial War Museum to be located in the north of England, IWM North explores the impact of modern conflicts on people and society and is housed in a remarkable modern exhibition space on the banks of Salford quay. The award-winning museum plays host to a range of interactive displays, including a 360-degree cinematic Big Picture Show. The area is dotted with a number of 7kW charging bays, with the biggest being a 10 charger hub at the nearby Media City car park. 

Places to stay or eat

Concierge Camping, Chichester

Camp sites often take a dim view of electric car owners who try and charge via an on-site hook up.  Thankfully that’s not the case at Concierge Camping in Chichester, which boasts two bp pulse 50kW rapid chargers on site. The award-winning location has been named Campsite of the Year twice and offers a traditional campsite along with Safari lodges who prefer an actual roof above their head. The site is just a few miles from Goodwood, so makes the perfect place if you’re planning to visit the Festival of Speed (July) or Revival meeting (September). 

Route 303 Diner, Yarcombe, Devon

If classic Americana is your thing and a trip to the West country is on your itinerary, make sure you stop to charge at Route 303 at Yarcombe, Devon. The venue has a classic American diner theme, right down to the red and white chequered tablecloths.The walls are decorated with nostalgic music memorabilia and is a far cry from the usual identikit roadside coffee drive-thrus. In addition to offering some top-notch burgers, ribs and (if you must) salads, you can also treat your electric car to a feast thanks to the installation of two Instavolt rapid chargers in the car park. Yee-ha.

Beech Hill Hotel, Windermere, Lake District

Perched on the edge of Lake Windermere, the Beech Hill hotel houses a spa, indoor pool and an AA Rosette restaurant on site. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try your hand at wakeboarding or stand-up paddleboards. Or, if you’re anything like us, you can while a few hours away in the spa and sauna. Thankfully, you can also pamper your electric car while you’re visiting thanks the presence of two 22kW and two 7kW bp pulse charging points in the main car park. What more could you ask for?

Bryn Elltyd Eco Guesthouse, Wales 

Positioned at the northern end of the Tanygrisau Reservoir, this incredible self-catering destination has been powered by renewable energy since 2013 and proudly claims to be a carbon neutral establishment. All power supplied to the guesthouse is either made on site or from 100% UK renewables with two hydro-electricity stations within 200m. There are three electric car charging posts on site, along with lockable storage for bikes and watersport kit. 

Twr y Felin Hotel, Haverfordwest

If you fancy a bit of luxury within striking distance of the Welsh coast, Twr y Felin (mill tower in Welsh) St Davids is well worth a look. The property includes a windmill dating from 1806 along with a room once used as a GCHQ U-boat lookout in World War Two. For a small town, St Davids has a decent crop of destination charge points, including a couple of GeniePoint units at the nearby Oriel Y Park Gallery and an additional 7kW Tesla destination unit on-site.

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