Find the best UK family days out packed with activities for kids and so stunning you'll find it hard to believe they're on home territory. It might be autumn but the fun is just getting started as far as we're concerned.
Located on its own private peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia in Wales, Portmeirion was designed in the style of a rustic Italian village in 1925. The small village is in its prime between spring and summer when the flowers are in full bloom, adding an extra splash of colour to the already vibrant setting. As soon as you arrive you will feel as if you have been transported from Wales to a charming seaside village in Greece or Italy. Take a free guided tour of the village and a woodland walk or stroll along the coastal path; go on a free forest train ride; browse the shops; stop off at cafes and don't miss the local ice cream. The atmosphere, history and quirky buildings are easily enough to captivate kids for an entire day.
Visit now for gorgeous autumn colours or go in winter and pick up great Christmas gifts at December craft fairs.
Giant's Causeway is renowned for its quirky polygonal columns of layered basalt which is the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. No matter how well travelled your family is, the views are like nothing you're likely to have seen before, as the spectacular rock formations are surrounded by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs. Before heading out to discover the unique landscape, visit the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre to find out how you and the kids can explore, enjoy and help preserve Northern Ireland's only World Heritage site. Visit the world-famous destination and get shown round with either a tour guide or pick up an audio guide and go at your own pace. There's a choice of four trails that are suited to every ability.
The Causeway is best seen at low tide so either visit first thing in the morning or late afternoon.
The Eden Project is the world's largest inside rainforest, complete with steamy jungles and waterfalls. You'll be transported to South Africa and California as you stroll among the lemon trees, olive groves and gnarled vines of the Mediterranean Biome (one of the three incredible eco domes). The Eden Project is an unmissable opportunity for you and your brood to explore your relationship with nature and become inspired about the world around you. Kids will have a ball finding out where tea, rubber and sugar come from and experiencing different tropical environments will give them a taste of what the world has to offer. These are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages including zooming down a zip wire, rock climbing and even ice-skating in winter.
The Eden Project is all undercover so it's a great option for UK family days out in autumn and winter.
Brighton's Royal Pavilion is an exotic and extraordinary palace slap bang in the centre of town. The enchanting building is a fusion of many different cultures and was built in 1823 by King George IV. Amble around the impressive building at your leisure and soak up its rich interior. The fabulous Pavilion has something for visitors of every age, including a children's trail, Punch & Judy Theatre you can operate yourself and several dresses made by famous designers to marvel at. There is also a family-friendly tour which includes fun and easy-to-use multimedia guides. As well as this odd cultural delight, Brighton is also home to plenty of family-friendly treats, from the popular and lively beach to the eclectic mix of shops in The Lanes. Varied restaurants and cafes provide a welcome rest and refreshment after a busy and fun-packed day.
Visit the Royal Pavilion any time of year and it's a revelation for kids. If you're in Brighton in autumn or winter it's a fantastic alternative to the beach and keep a look out for family events in the lead up to Christmas.
Antarctica? Nope! These impressive structures are three stacks of chalk, rising out of the sea off the west coast of the Isle of Wight. Views of the multi-coloured sand cliffs of Alum Bay and the shimmering turquoise waters below are truly spectacular. Thankfully, the area is much more kid-friendly than the Arctic Circle. Kids will love riding on the world-famous Needles chairlift, which transports guests from the top of the cliff above Alum Bay. Alum Bay Glass is great fun, kids will be mesmerised watching the glassblowers.
The Isle of Wight is year round fun and autumn is particularly good for cycling about the island (it's famously safe and bike friendly). Ferry crossings from Portsmouth Harbour take just 22 minutes.
Located in South Wales, Tenby is a small, pleasant harbour town and iconic seaside resort. It has a rich ancient history and is surrounded by an imposing medieval stone wall. There are many hotels to choose from in the town, many of which which overlook the beautiful beaches that stretch to the north, the west and the south of the town. It is an attractive and charming destination with plenty to offer for more active holidaymakers. Be sure to amble down the narrow cobbled streets or walk along the harbour, where you can board one of the cruises to nearby Caldey Island or book a mackerel fishing trip.
Families can soak up the atmosphere in this charming Welsh town all year round but it's almost tourist-free in autumn although there's still plenty to see and do with kids.
This fascinating and iconic rocky island is home to a medieval church and castle, with the oldest buildings dating from the 12th century. Visitors can access the island from the mainland by striding the causeway or crossing by boat, although it is said ambling across when the tide is low is the best way to do it. Walking around the island you can take in wide open views back to the mainland. Visitors are invited to marvel at the impressive collection of antiques and old weapons in the medieval castle. The island gardens are well worth a visit too, and families will enjoy making their way through the winding pathways and steep stone terraces. You can also choose to take a tour of the village, where you'll learn about the history of the island, harbour and castle.
The castle, shops and cafes are open Sunday to Friday from March until the start of November each year.