From world cities to sandy coves, lush countryside to meandering canals, the UK does family holidays beautifully.
A lack of year-round sun doesn’t make the beaches any less appealing in summer or winter. Ancient history is woven into every corner of the islands, from Orkney’s Neolithic villages to the castles, keeps and stately homes of England.
London comes second only to Bangkok as the world’s most-visited city. And, out in the legendary countryside, magnificent national parks protect untold hectares of wild and wonderful land.
Just because you can drive from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 15 hours, why would you want to when there are so many reasons to stop along the way?
It rains more on most Caribbean islands than it does in the UK, but the country’s range of wet-weather attractions and activities is one of the best in Europe.
The UK has over 50 theme parks and some of Europe’s best zoos, including ZSL London and award-winning Chester Zoo.
The UK’s public museums and art galleries are free and often have inventive kids’ programmes, giveaway goodie bags and excellent guides, too.
There are 15 National Parks across the UK, including Loch Lomond & the Trossachs, the Lake District and Snowdonia in Wales.
From Latitude in Suffolk to the New Forest’s Curious Arts, there are dozens of family-friendly summer festivals all over the country.
Over 60 coastal areas, from the remote Outer Hebrides to the tip of Cornwall, have thousands of incredible, unspoiled beaches.
You can visit over 400 National Trust properties throughout the UK, and many parks, gardens and forests cost nothing to explore.
Many of England’s most famous attractions are in London, but the capital is far from the only place to discover. The south coast is trimmed with pretty seaside towns, dramatic ports and enormous stretches of sand to run wild on. In the countryside, mythical forests like Dean and Sherwood are made real for kids. And, from the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District, moors, mountains and sky collide in vast landscapes just waiting to be explored. The country’s chocolate-box villages and Victorian pleasure piers are just as much fun, in their own way, as dozens of theme parks, waterparks and world-class zoos the country offers.
Families can camp, glamp and eco-lodge in National Parks, choose five-star luxury or good-value self-catering in cities, and enjoy everything from cosy cottages to stately homes, guesthouses, gorgeous hotels and cute B&Bs on the coast and in the country.Take me to England
Sightings of the Aurora Borealis can be as spectacular on tiny Fair Isle as in the remote north of Sweden. But that’s Scotland for you. The land of unsung marvels also has some of the world’s oldest, most bloodthirsty and romantic castles. Cities with personality are a national speciality – much as they like to compete, you can’t compare Edinburgh and Glasgow, so you have to do both. And then, of course, there are all the accessible wildernesses, enormous glens and mountains, lochs that cross regions and islands so remote, the next stop is Newfoundland.
Whether you want Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria or an energy-efficient chalet on Skye, Scotland offers as many family accommodation choices as experiences.Take me to Scotland
The Giant’s Causeway alone is enough to put Northern Ireland on the family-holiday wishlist. Add in friendly, exuberant and exciting Belfast, beautiful walled Derry and the enchanting Mountains of Mourne and you could fill several lifetimes with enchantment and still leave plenty unseen. So, if you haven’t discovered Northern Ireland’s all-drama coastline, gorgeous green wilds and entertainment-packed towns and cities yet, you should.
The country does exquisite hotels to family-friendly hostels and everything in between. Each area is different, but a warm Irish welcome is standard.Take me to Northern Ireland
Wales never fails to surprise. The country has some of the UK’s prettiest seaside resorts and astonishing beaches. But it’s also home to the darkest dark skies over the Brecon Beacons – stargazing holidays with kids are unforgettable. Snowdonia National Park is like a small, action-packed nation in its own right. And from Cardiff to Swansea, Welsh cities are just the right size to be fascinating and comfortable for kids at the same time.
Manageable Wales is great for touring, and staying anywhere from hill farms in the wilds to holiday homes on the coast and five-star city-centre hotels is possible here.Take me to Wales
The UK is teeming with enchanting, educational and fun places for families to explore. Discover 12 very special places that prove there is magic in the UK, or enjoy one of these exciting days out:
The perfect size for travelling around, the UK has an excellent road network and car ferries connect the mainland to the most isolated islands.
Trains cover most of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
And buses, underground, trams, boats and taxis get you everywhere you want to go in most British cities.