With busy lives and hectic schedules, a two-week holiday abroad isn’t always possible for families. If that sounds like you, don’t miss the most child-friendly UK weekend breaks that allow you to spend quality time together and enjoy the beauty and activities the UK has to offer.
1/9 Luxury lakeside loghouse, The Cotswolds, Wiltshire
Holiday in your own piece of paradise with this secluded lakeside retreat in the heart of the Cotswolds. The log cabin is the perfect place for a family digital detox and there are plenty of activities to ensure that kids will forget to ask for their iPads! The loghouse comes with its very own boat so you can explore the far banks of the lake, or take a rod and line and spend quality time teaching the kids to fish. There are woodland trails from which to spot the abundant wildlife and a 4 acre playing field, ideal for a game of rounders or football in the sun. As if this wasn’t enough each cabin has its own private sandy beach and parents can watch the children playing from the comfort of a steamy hot tub. As the sun goes down guests can toast marshmallows over the fire before snuggling down in the cosy eco-friendly cabins.
What: 3 nights in the 2-bedroom Elsa cabin with rowboat and hot-tub hire, plus fire pit with marshmallows.
Where: The Cotswolds, England
Price: From £915 in October half term
2/9 Center Parcs break, Woburn, Bedfordshire
Center Parcs strikes the perfect balance between relaxation and activity. Staying in wood-cladded villas nestled among the trees, guests can choose from an extensive family friendly programme of sports, craft and entertainment or simply kick back with a book and enjoy being surrounded by nature. Archery, tree-top climbing courses and falconry are just a few of the activities on offer for children and parents alike, although it may be hard to tear little ones away from the famous Subtropical Swimming Paradise! There is a modern hub of restaurants, bars and cafes to give the grown-ups a break from cooking and the Aqua Sani spa is sure to leave parents returning from their break feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
What: 3 nights in a 2-bedroom Executive Woodland lodge, including unlimited access to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise
Where: Woburn, Bedfordshire
Price: From £659 in summer
3/9 Puddleduck Valley Farmstay, Devon
This child friendly farm with Mongolian yurts is a real treat for animal lovers. Kids can join Farmer Phil each morning on his rounds to feed the goats, ducks and farm cats and meet the funky-haired chickens and baby animals. You can even get really stuck in with some mucking out, or take the more savoury job of collecting fresh hen’s eggs from the coop. There is an on-site pond with a row boat for guests to enjoy, as well as a novel clay-moulding activity in the woods. Parents can relax knowing there is a plethora of free activities for littles ones, as pond-dipping equipment; mini-beast viewers; bird-spotting cards and more are available to borrow from the owners. Take part in the communal ‘sausage and marshmallow evenings’, where campfire favourites are roasted in a communal setting.
What: 3 nights in a 4-person ‘Snuggledown’ yurt
Where: Cookbury, Devon
Price: From £236 in summer
4/9 The Hideaway Eco Pods, North Yorkshire
If you love the idea of camping but don’t want to sacrifice your home comforts, the family eco-pod at The Hideaway is the perfect balance of the two. Stay in a wooden pod with a double bed, set of bunks and extra single bed so the whole family can cosy up in comfort. This is an authentic ‘unplugged’ holiday, with lanterns instead of electric lights and milky constellations as nightlights. Kids will love to cook on the open fire and toast marshmallows each evening. There are plenty of activities nearby such as horse-riding and alpaca interactions as well as an airsports club for those who fancy trying their hand at microlighting.
What: 3 nights’ accommodation in a family eco-pod (sleeps up to 2 adults and 3 children)
Where: Baxby Manor, North Yorkshire
Price: From £195 in summer
5/9 Belfast City break, Premier Inn Belfast
Soak in the buzz of Northern Ireland’s capital with a family city break to Belfast. Staying at the Premier Inn in the heart of the city, guests are ideally located to explore all the family friendly activities on offer. Enjoy an educational visit to the W5 interactive science discovery centre, or indulge your sweet tooth with a trip to Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory to see all kinds of confectionary being hand-made 1950s style. Clamber around Dunluce Castle, or let the kids go wild in the Dunluce Centre that has everything from a laser drome to adventure playground. County Antrim is also home to the famous UNESCO site The Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular formation of over 40,000 basalt columns that are said to be over 60 million years old.
What: 3 nights’ accommodation at Premier Inn Belfast (City Centre) in a family room
Where: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Price: From £267 in summer
6/9 Mountain camping weekend, Glen Nevis, Scotland
Take a walk on the wild side with this back-to-basics camping weekend in the heart of the Scottish highlands. Bring your own tent and get all hands on deck to pitch it; kids thrive with responsibility and camping is an ideal way for them to develop skills and independence. This six times award-winning campsite is set among rolling hills and has a breathtaking view of Ben Nevis and the surrounding mountains. There are five spacious fields for camping and with the site practically in the wilderness you won’t need to worry about feeling overcrowded! The rest of the park stretches over 30 acres and has an on-site restaurant and bar, making the perfect base from which to explore the walking and cycle routes in the countryside.
What: 3 nights’ tent pitch hire at Glen Nevis campsite
Where: Fort William, Scotland
Price: From £78.50 in summer
7/9 15th Century Castle stay, Ackergill Tower, North Scotland
Step back in time with a stay at Ackergill Tower, a 15th-century castle near John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland. Set just three metres from the sea, the ancient castle is the perfect place in which to play Lord or Lady of the manor and stay somewhere really unique. The gourmet restaurant uses the freshest produce from the castle gardens and sources the rest of its food from neighbouring farms and estates. Take a boat trip out to sea and admire the unspoilt coastline or take one of the guided wildlife walks. Don’t forget to capture a family photo by the famous John O’Groats sign!
What: 3 nights’ B&B accommodation in a castle room with extra children’s beds
Where: Northern Scotland
Price: From £900 in summer
8/9 YHA beach break, Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Hostels have come a long way since the dodgy days of bunk-crammed rooms and questionable sheets; nowadays good hostels are a popular option for families looking for unique and budget-friendly accommodation. The YHA Poppit Sands stretches over five acres and overlooks the sea, where porpoises and dolphins are often spotted playing in the waves. Cycle hire, boat trips and horse riding are popular activities in the area and the beach is Blue Flag certified, making it one of the cleanest in the UK.
What: 3 nights’ self-catering accommodation in a family room (sleeps up to 5)
Where: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Price: From £270 in summer
9/9 Chic seaside townhouse, Portstewart, Northern Ireland
Enjoy ocean views and sea air with this luxury break in Portstewart, Northern Ireland. Stay in an immaculate townhouse that is big enough for two families, with open-plan living and private garden for sunny BBQs and space for the kids to play. A few minutes’ walk away is a sandy beach and there are plenty of child friendly attractions within driving distance. Try the water slides at Waterworld in Portrush or check out the Jet Centre in Coleraine for its cinema and indoor play area. For extra fun visit during the Portstewart Red Sails Festival, where the nearby area comes to life with shows and street entertainment.
What: 3 nights’ accommodation in a 3 bedroom luxury townhouse (sleeps 8)
Where: Portstewart, Northern Ireland
Price: From £567 in summer
Book your UK weekend break:
2. Center Parcs
5. Premier Inn in Belfast
6. Glen Nevis
8. YHA beach break
9. Portstewart townhouse with Home Away