The Ultimate UK Destinations for Family Holidays

Holidays with the kids aren’t the same as going away with a partner or friends, or even your adult family members. But just because you’re on holiday with your children, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your happiness for theirs. You can all enjoy your time away, whether you’re going on bike rides or visiting museums. If you love culture and learning, you can share that passion with your kids, instead of resigning yourself to a week at Butlins. And you don’t even need to leave the UK to have a fantastic time as a family. There’s so much to see and do right here at home, and children, teenagers and adults will all enjoy themselves as much as each other.

Best Beaches


We might not always have the best weather for sunbathing, but we are an island (or a series of islands) after all, which means we’re never far from the sea. There are hundreds of beaches you can visit for your family holiday, and they don’t all have to be the buckets, ice-cream and donkeys variety. Beaches are fun for lots of different activities, from exploring rock pools to surfing and everything in between. According to TripAdvisor, the best beach in the UK is Woolacombe in Devon. It’s soft white sands, and rolling dunes provide lots of space to sunbathe, walk or play games. But you can also find a traditional seaside resort in Blackpool, Brighton, Skegness, and more.

The beach you choose will depend on what you want to do. You can look for old-fashioned seaside fun in Skegness, or try surfing in Cornwall. There’s much more to beach activities than building sandcastles and paddling in the tide. Your holiday can be as relaxing or as action-packed as you want.

Best for Wildlife

The UK might not have lions and tigers, but we do have our own charming wildlife. There are plenty of animals living in our waters or forests that we don’t get to see every day. If you’re a family of animal lovers, there are lots of places where you can do a spot of wildlife spotting. We’re endlessly fascinated by marine creatures like seals, dolphins and whales, probably because we don’t get to see them often. One of the best places to spot seals is Herne Bay in Kent. For a fantastic family adventure, you can take a five-hour cruise off the coast to find some seals and even swim with them on a good day. Both children and adults will be captivated by the friendly animals.

Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith

If you’re looking for something a little bigger, head to St Davids in Wales, Britain’s smallest city. It’s a brilliant place for all sorts of outdoor activities and adventure sports, but it’s also ideal for spotting dolphins and whales. You can go out on an inflatable boat to the Irish Sea and the Offshore island of Grassholm, and then along the edges of the Celtic Deep. You might be able to spot several types of dolphin, including Common and Bottlenosed, orca (killer whales), Minke Whales, Pilot Whales and Fin Whales.

Families who prefer something small and furry will surely enjoy badger watching in Dorset. During this night-time adventure with Badger Watch Dorset, you’re guaranteed to see badgers, and you might spot rabbits, foxes and owls too.

Best Caravaning and Camping Spots


Wild camping in the Lake District

Heading to a camping ground with your caravan, pitching up a tent or even hiring a static caravan are great family options. It can be much cheaper than staying in a hotel, and put you either close to a town or in the middle of the countryside. If your family likes the creature comforts, you can even look into buying a caravan holiday home at somewhere like one of the Holiday Parks locations in Scotland. You can use the awesome facilities at the site, but you’re free to go and explore the Scottish countryside. Scotland is ideal for camping, with mountains, lakes (or lochs) and forests to explore.

Cornwall is another favourite spot for family camping. Whether you stay in a caravan or tent, you’re not far from the coast, and there’s plenty to see and do. Try some water sports on the beach, eat a traditional Cornish pasty and visit a cute tea room too. You can also visit the National Maritime Museum, go to Flambards theme park and canoe down the River Tamar.

Best for Museums


British Museum, London

All holidays are educational for children in some ways, even if it’s just seeing a new part of the country. But if yours enjoy spending time in museums, there are some fantastic ones up and down the country. The prominent hub for museum fun is London, where the big ones like the Science and Natural History museums are endlessly fascinating for kids and grownups alike. But if London is too expensive, there are plenty of other great museums. Take the Beaulieu National Motor Museum, where you can see some of the most famous vehicles from film and TV. Or how about the Cardiff Story in the Welsh capital, where you can dress up and play pretend. Museums are a great way to have a free day out.

Festivals with Kids

If your family enjoys camping, you can take it one step further and go to a festival. You might think of them as noisy, muddy affairs, possibly with drugs milling around, but there are lots of family-friendly festivals. Glastonbury is popular with families, for example, and has plenty of activities for children. Other popular ones are Camp Bestival in Dorset, the Welsh Green Man Festival and Latitude. You don’t even have to stay in a tent. Take your caravan, hire a “glamping” yurt or book into a hotel or B&B nearby.

There are hundreds of brilliant places to visit in the UK, and staying close to home can save you a lot of money. It might not be sunny all the time, but we get some beautiful weather in the summer most years. And most destinations are fun to visit in all weathers, come rain or shine.

Lead image credit: j.e. mcgowan

Author: Jess

Writer, traveller, Norfolk gal.

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