For some parents, the idea of going abroad with small children just feels too daunting. Luckily, the UK is home to beautiful beaches, idyllic countryside and cosmopolitan cities; you don’t have to travel far to recreate the foreign holiday mood closer to home. From short breaks to fortnight-long getaways, feel inspired by Blighty with our at-home holiday guide. Wherever you’re off to, be sure to check out our tips on how to holiday with your baby beforehand.
UK holiday parks
Holiday parks are a popular choice amongst families, since they’re an affordable option that caters to children of all ages. With food, drink and entertainment on-site, they’re designed to make life as easy as possible for guests; the fact that everything is on your doorstep makes them especially convenient when you have a baby or young child. Often, accommodation ranges from caravans and camping to self-catering apartments; chalet-style accommodation will create a home-from-home experience that’s ideal for larger families.
As one of the UK’s most successful holiday companies, Centre Parcs is a forested haven for families looking for a short break that’s relaxing yet full of adventure. With 6 holiday villages dotted around the UK, including 1 in Ireland (due to open in 2019), you’re sure to find a resort that’s located relatively close to home.
Centre Parc offers up to 200 activities, many of which are focused on entertaining the little ones. There are a host of workshops for toddlers and young children, though age restrictions do apply in some cases, so you’re advised to check before booking. The tiniest travellers are catered to with sensory and messy play centres, a ‘Subtropical Swimming Paradise’ for all ages (at every resort), and a professionally-staffed crèche – ideal if you fancy heading over to the luxury spa for an hour.
Camping (or glamping)
Whether you’re abroad or at home, holidays are best spent outdoors; parents and kids alike love the freedom that comes with camping. There’s a nostalgia about it that families want to preserve; you probably never quite got over your first roasted marshmallow, and you want your child to have the same experiences as you did playing out whilst camping in the middle of nowhere. Nowadays, there are lots of sizable tents on the market that can easily fit large families, but if camping isn’t your thing (solar showers aren’t for everyone), there are plenty of companies out there who offer luxury glamping experiences too. What’s more, the yurts, tipis and shepherd huts found on glampsites across the UK are usually furnished, meaning all you’ve got to do is turn up.
Set on idyllic Devonshire farmland, Cuckoo Down Farm have three yurts and three safari tents on-site. Each is well equipped with a woodburning stove, beds, sofa, rugs and cushions; guests also have access to their own kitchen and toilet. Every tent even has its own campfire, so you can start recreating those toasted marshmallows of your youth as soon as you land. Families are encouraged to reconnect with nature; with 30 acres of unspoilt woodland to explore, there’s space to play the outdoor games of your choosing. Cuckoo Down is a working farm offering pony rides for children, as well as farming courses for adults wanting to sample the good life. There are also holistic therapies such as massage and reflexology available on-site to help busy parents unwind.
No one can really resist the vaudevillian delights of a British seaside, and coastal family holidays are a great way to staycation. Amusement arcades aside, there’s an old-fashioned charm to many of the UK’s seaside towns which makes them genuinely nice places to be. What’s more, there’s always lots to do; embrace the picture-postcard appeal of a Victorian pier and take the kids to a fairground – the nooks and crannies of these towns are usually packed with gorgeous independent shops and upmarket restaurants too. Unsurprisingly, the biggest attraction of coastal towns is the beach; depending on what time of the year you visit, you’ll be able to spend whole days there as a family.
Located on the southwestern tip of the country, Cornwall has hundreds of sandy beaches on its coastlands. Cornwall Cottages offers over 400 holiday cottages available to rent across the region, including a large selection of homes that are within walking distance of a beautiful beach. Set up a deck chair and treat the family to some Cornish ice-cream before taking a dip in the sea.
Along with the capital, the UK has a host of family-friendly cities that double up as great holiday destinations. From cultural entertainment and sight-seeing tours to laid-back leisure activities, there really is something for everyone in a metropolis. The country’s rich history can be explored with ease, and you don’t necessarily need to visit a museum to discover a city’s past; the city of York boasts an old medieval street called the Shambles. Not only is it steeped in history, it’s also thought to be the most well-preserved medieval street in Europe. When it comes to accommodation, there are a host of hotels catering to families in cities all over the country.
Our pick: London
Whilst it may be an obvious choice, London really is a must-visit staycation destination for families. If you’re looking for a high-energy escape, you’ll find it in the city’s buzzing streets; even better, most child-friendly activities in the capital are free. From daily kids’ workshops at the V&A Museum of Childhood to child-friendly theatre at Polka (one of the few theatre venues that’s exclusively dedicated to children), little ones are spoilt for choice. If you do manage to exhaust the tourist hot-spots, head to one of London’s many urban farms for a family-friendly afternoon.
Posted 4th July 2018 Tags