20 Holidays Under £500

Last updated 9th June 2017

1/ A houseboat in Suffolk

Climb aboard Twee Gebroeders, a restored 1914 Dutch sailing barge moored at Pin Mill on the River Orwell, for walking, skippered sailing trips and fishing. £465 (Easter), £480 (summer).


2/ Under canvas in West Wales

Book a ‘threepi’ (a large tipi with woodburner, sundeck and cooking facilities) at Fforest, a rural 200-acre site next to the river Teifi gorge, near Cardigan. Kayaking, coasteering and archery are available. £418 (Easter), £468 (summer), including breakfast.


3/ Cultural fun in London

Keep costs down by self-catering. Citadines Apart’hotels have fully equipped kitchens and sofa beds for children making them the perfect base for exploring the capital; £456.


4/  Cycling in the New Forest

Rent some bikes and free-wheel along leafy routes through scenic woodland. A day’s hire is £16 for adults and £7 for children. Stay at nearby Forest Yurts. £390–£495.


5/  Explore nature in Snowdonia 

Enjoy bat walks, pond-dipping or bushcraft at the Rhyd-y-Creuau Field Studies Centre near Betws-y-Coed, a Georgian house with family rooms. £240, including meals and activities. For more information, visit Real Family Holidays.


6/  White-water rafting in North Wales

Try a Raft Safari adventure on the Tryweryn River. A two-hour trip costs £44 per person. Stay in the Bunk Room at St Curigs Church at Capel Curig. £240, including breakfast.


7/ A horse-drawn gypsy caravan in Wiltshire

Clip-clop through the Vale of Pewsey pulled by either Jack, Ned or Jimmy. The horses follow a set route, which includes lunch and overnight stops at local hostelries. Tuition and back-up available. £490. For more information, visitWhite Horse Gypsy Caravans.


8/ Farm-based activities in Norfolk

Get a taste of rural life at College Farm near Beccles (voted Farm of the Year in 2013), where luxurious tents are equipped with a woodburning stove, beds, flushing toilets and running water. £399 for four nights.


9/ An adrenaline rush in Llangollen

Try quad biking, archery, kayaking, high ropes or canyoning with Whitewater Active in North Wales (£50 per person for half a day). Stay at Llangollen Hostel; £240.


10/  Step back in time in Shropshire

Ironbridge Gorge is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and has 10 child-friendly museums. A family ticket costs £68. Stay at 1 Sternsmill Cottage; £420.


11/  Pony trekking in Brecon

Saddle up and explore the beautiful Welsh countryside on horseback. A half-day trek costs £144 for a family of four with two children under 16. £240 for two nights’ b&b. For more information, visit Tregoyd Mountain Riders.


12/  A narrowboat in Oxfordshire

Travel through the Cherwell Valley in a traditional canal boat. Boats take a maximum of 10, plus two dogs. £150–£240 per day. Two nights’ b&b in a canal cottage costs £260.


13/  Camp in Sherwood Forest

Base yourselves in a cosy wooden ‘pod’ at Clumber Park, with more than 20 miles of cycle routes to explore; £179.


14/  Coastal walks in Cornwall

Book the family suite at Bre-Pen, a working National Trust farm in Mawgan Porth that overlooks the sea. £297, including breakfast.


15/  Seals and beaches in North Norfolk

Take a seal-watching trip to Blakeney Point (adults £10, children £5). Stay at Deepdale Farm, Burnham Deepdale, £240.


16/  A head for heights in Wales

Challenge yourselves on Titan, a four-person zipline at Llechwedd Slate Caverns (£180 for four). Rooms at Pen-y-Gwynant Hotel cost £43 per person per night.


17/  Meet the Romans in Northumberland

Stay at Causeway House in Bardon Mill, an 18th-century farmhouse with a roof thatched in heather. Ideal for exploring Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman fort of Vindolanda. £418.


18/  Literary break in Dorset

Introduce your children to Thomas Hardy country by exploring Dorchester and the surrounding area. Yalbury Cottagein Lower Bockhampton costs £360 b&b.


19/  Steam trains in Scotland STEAM TRAINS IN SCOTLAND

Board the Jacobite steam train, made famous by the Harry Potter films, for a day trip from Fort William to Mallaig. £34 for adults and £19 for children, return. Stay at Glenfinnan House Hotel. £300 for two nights.


20/  An arty break in Cornwall

Explore Penzance and the west Cornish coast from the endearingly eccentric Artist Residence, complete with original works of art. £360 for a family room.


Read Make the most of your money for valuable travel advice and check out these money saving tips from American Express. For more cheap holiday ideas, choose from this list of 17 days out in the UK.