As much as I love jetting off to a glamorous new destinations I also love a UK staycation. Especially when traveling with kids. The lack of airport stress, language barrier and culture shock make it simple and enjoyable for the whole family. This year in particular I imagine much of us will be looking within our own beautiful island for holiday ideas. So I thought in would be helpful to put together what I believe are the best holidays with kids, UK edition.
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You’ve probably heard the saying “South West is Best” and that’s exactly why Cornwall comes in at number one on this list. We love Cornwall so much in fact we’ve just bought a holiday home here! Home to amazing beaches which will make you feel you’ve stumbled upon a tropical island and amazing coastal walks this is the ideal place for an active family holiday in the UK.
For dramatic scenery and some of the best waves in the UK head to North Cornwall. It’s bound to be busy this year so check out my post on the the best beaches in North Cornwall which includes a few secret ones I’ve discovered over the years.
Where to stay with kids in Cornwall
Cornwall is full of family friendly hotels and campsites. For a luxury holiday that will keep the whole family happy, check out the Bedruthan Hotel on the North Coast. It has a brilliant kids club, surf school, play area, indoor and outdoor pools and amazing restaurants. There’s also a brilliant spa if you can tear yourselves away from the beach.
You’ll also find plenty of rentals in the area. Just pop your dates in Airbnb and see what suits your family.
You might also be interested in my post on the best restaurants in North Cornwall.
Full of delightful British villages and acres of charming countryside, The Cotswolds is a deserving entry onto our list of top destinations for holidays with kids UK only. Being located in the Midlands means it’s easy to get to from all parts of the UK. It’s had a surge of popularity recently with A listers making the short journey up from London meaning amazing hotels, high end restaurants and a plethora of family friendly restaurants. Read my insiders guide to the Cotswolds to learn more.
Top of the list of things to do in the Cotswolds with kids is the Cotswolds Wildlife Park. Home to some amazingly well cared for animals. Or for some fabulous views try a climb up Broadway Tower. There’s even an inland beach to make up for being so far off the coast. Another favourite of ours is the Cotswold Sculpture park for some stunning outdoor artwork.
Where to stay in the Cotswolds with kids
My favourite hotel in the Cotwolds is the De Vere Water Park located right on the Lake with a brilliant indoor pool and fabulous restaurant. The rooms are plenty big enough for families and they even have a games room to keep the kids entertained so you can enjoy a drink.
Another great option for a UK family holiday is North Wales. Combining beautiful beaches and breathtaking mountains there’s heaps to keep even the most active kids occupied. We always head to the Llyn Peninsular and can spend weeks rock pooling and building sandcastles before heading inland to Snowdonia to tackle some mountainous hikes.
North Wales is well set up to welcome families with loads of kid friendly activities. Zip World in Betws y Coed is a firm favourite of my adrenaline junkie daughter and you can’t go wrong with a visit to one of the many historical castles in the area. You’ll also find plenty of family friendly places to eat. Check out these best restaurants in North Wales.
Where to stay in North Wales with kids
We tend to opt for a holiday home when we visit North Wales. Having the extra space means we can visit with family and it’s always great to have the option to cook for ourselves and pack a picnic for the beach. We love this large holiday rental in Pwllheli which sleeps up to ten people.
For somewhere a bit more remote, the Scottish highlands make a great place for a UK staycation with kids. Yes, they take a long time to get to but that means it tends to be a lot quieter than most places in the UK, even in peak times. This is the place to pick to experience the great outdoors.
You’ll see massive lochs, heather strewn mountains and stunning coastline. The beaches this far North are often super quiet but I think are some of the most beautiful in the whole of the UK.
To make the most of a UK break in Scotland, a road trip is your best option. There’s so very much to see but it does all feel pretty spread out.
If you have any JK Rowling fans then make sure you treat them to a journey on the Harry Potter Train. They’ll love traveling across the famous bridge and you’ll love taking in the views.
Where to stay in Scotland with kids
You can easily tour Scotland by staying in B and Bs as you go but if you really want to head off grid I recommend hiring a camper van and traveling at your own pace. Kids will love parking up somewhere deserted to call home for the night.
We also loved our stay at the Macdonald Aviemore Hotel for one of their Santa weekend breaks over Christmas. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to a weekend in Lapland without leaving the UK!
The Peak District
Often overlooked as a UK based holiday destination but I absolutely love the Peak District. Located in the North Midlands it’s super easy to get to from most parts of the country but still feels like worlds away from home. Head to Carsington Water for some brilliant fun learning new skills or to the Tissington Trail to explore the area safely by bike.
I love nothing more than pulling on my walking boots and heading off for a hike through the Peaks. The views are unbelievable. One of our very favourites is Ilam to Dovedale stepping stones which takes you from a beautiful National Trust Estate (free parking for members) to a great river for paddling. Or the Padley Gorge Walk up to Owl Tor for some more breathtaking views.
Chatsworth House is another great place to spend the day with loads to keep all ages happy. Chatsworth House at Christmas is particularly special with extravagant decorations and a wonderful artisan market.
Where to stay in the Peak District with kids
Located between between Matlock and Buxton is the stunning Rutland Arms Hotel. Located in Bakewell on the outskirts of the Chatsworth Estate it makes a great base for exploring the Peak District.
I only recently discovered Northumberland and am feeling so grateful we did. It’s a fantastic place for holidays with kids in the UK and is about as far North as you can go before reaching Scotland. Full of quaint British seaside towns and miles of unspoilt coastline. Northumberland has all the facilities of more well know locations but without the crowds.
We based ourselves in Blyth, an extremely family friendly town with a great beach. And spent a fabulous few days on the beach, walking the coast path and enjoying some amazing seafood. We also headed to Whitley Bay Beach for the day. Another brilliant seaside town in the UK.
Where to stay in Northumberland with kids
We opted for the lovely Commissioners Quay Inn on our recent stay in Blyth. They had a lovely restaurant and some amazing views out to sea. Rooms were plenty big enough for our family of three and the best part is that they’re totally pet friendly so we were able to bring our dog along too.
The Lake District
Another great option for a holidays with kids in the North is the Lake District. A fabulous National Park with a hugely diverse landscape of crystal clear lakes, mountainous peaks and ancient woodland. Hiking the fells and splashing in the Lakes are all you need for an amazing family holiday but the Lakes are also home to some amazing restaurants and hotels should you need to hop indoors.
Younger kids will love a visit to the Beatrix Potter museum in Bowness-on-Windermere whilst older, adventure seekers can try some of the many water sports available on the Lakes. It’s home to the UK’s highest concentration of outdoor activity centres, you will not get bored!
Yes the weather can be extremely temperamental up in the Lakes, even in the peak of Summer. We like to visit out of season when hotels are a bit cheaper and the popular towns are less crowded. We just take plenty of waterproofs and warm close. Discover why we love an Autumn break in the Lake District.
Where to stay in the Lake District with kids
We love the Macdonald Old England Hotel in Windermere. It’s pet friendly meaning we can bring our dog along and has an absolutely gorgeous Spa. It overlooks Lake Windermere so the views from the hotel are amazing.
The North York Moors
Another favourite in the North East is the North York Moors. In particular its stunning coastline. Holidays with kids, UK seaside towns just go hand in hand. Here you’ll find heaps of quaint seaside towns such as gorgeous Staithes just North of Whitby and Runswick Bay, famous for its spectacular beach. This is an area steeped in sea faring history being the birthplace of Captain Cook. It also embraces a darker side of life being the place where Dracula was born in Whitby.
I highly recommend hiking the Cleveland Way or at least part of it if you’re visiting with kids. We tried the route from Staithes to Whitby and it was absolute stunning (but also pretty tough going). The whole route also takes you inland to explore the North York Moors countryside and Forests.
Where to stay on the North York Moors
For this area I highly recommend taking the plunge and trying camping. There’s so much choice up here from basic campsites where you can bring your own tent and have perhaps the cheapest UK family holiday ever or blow the budget with a luxurious glamping adventure. We stayed at Serenity Camping, a brilliant site near Whitby.
Where’s your favourite place for a holidays with kids, UK based only? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to be able to add more brilliant recommendations to this list.
Pin for later for planning your next holidays with kids, UK staycations are going to be busy this year!