A family holiday in England can be almost anything you want it to be – even beautifully warm and sunny, if you’re lucky.
Coast after coast of beaches cover every angle of seaside entertainment, from wild surfing to traditional paddling-and-sandcastles fun.
Some of the most spectacular countryside in Europe is contained in English national parks.
There are cities packed with museums and galleries; towns where history is part of everyday life; cute villages with sinister tales to tell.
And the length and breadth of the country is criss-crossed by road, rail, river and sea networks, so nothing’s more than a few hours’ travel, lots of the best stuff is free and almost everywhere deserves more than a quick visit.
The country has just over 300,000km of roads, running around even the wildest spaces.
Five of England’s top 10 attractions are public museums, and they’re all free.
Of the hundreds of beaches ringing the coastline, dozens have Blue Flags, and many are trimmed with the country’s prettiest towns.
Seventeen of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in England, including Stonehenge, the City of Bath and Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
England has Britain’s three largest cities: London, Birmingham and Manchester.
There are more than 100 islands scattered around England, not counting the Scilly Isles and the mysterious Lake District islets.
From camping to glamping, treehouses to venerable London hotels, heritage guesthouses, stately homes and country cottages, England has one of the widest choices of family-holiday accommodation in Europe.
A rich hub of history and culture, London is perfect for a family day out, a long weekend or even a holiday.
• London’s museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are among best museums in the world and mostly free to enter.
• From hot roasted almonds on street stalls to five-star Michelin tasting menus, London has gastronomic offerings to suit every taste and budget.
• Accommodation ranges from quirky and affordable Airbnbs to luxury penthouse suites.
• When you’d like a break from the buzz of the city, there are plentiful train and bus connections to the green countryside and quaint English villages.
This is the part of the country to visit for huge dramatic landscapes, wild moors, mighty fells, historic villages and grand – but down-to-earth – cities like Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool.
The heart of England is where you’ll find big, bright Birmingham and Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s also the land of ancient Cambridge and magical sailing holidays on the Norfolk Broads and the enchanting Suffolk Coast.
From resort towns and bustling coastal cities to fabulous forests, white-knuckle theme parks and world-class zoos, the south of England has lots going on above and beyond London.
Bustling Bristol is loved for kids’ festivals, spectacular sights like the Clifton Suspension Bridge and masses of green space that’s free to enjoy. Further south, the Dorset Coast is fossil-central, and Cornwall and Devon are strong contenders for England’s list of best family holidays ever.
In the south-east, Kent is known as the Garden of England for good reason, and the captivating coast features marvels such as the White Cliffs of Dover.
England’s extensive road network makes driving almost anywhere possible. Motorways are easy to avoid if you want a more leisurely pace, or you can hand the driving over to someone else altogether and take the train. Public transport in towns and cities is the best way to get around day and night.