As lockdown restrictions are relaxed and the mercury in thermometers rises, families are starting to wonder how they will spend a summer in which opportunities for travelling abroad are limited. And while Spain has just announced the reopening of borders to UK citizens, many will already have made peace with the fact that 2020 is to be the year of the staycation. Luckily, Britain has a million and one reasons to declare itself the best country to spend the summer. Here are Family Traveller's top five
As an island nation, it's no secret that Britain has its fair share of attractive beaches. Since the 18th-century, when the affluent class took to the coast en masse in pursuit of the so-called health benefits derived from the fresh sea air, it has been an immensely popular way of spending a weekend with the family.
From the subtropical Scilly Isles to the limestone lure of the Jurassic Coast, each section of coastline boasts its own distinct characteristics and activities, whether it's hunting for fossils, racing through the sand dunes, riding the waves on a surfboard or simply watching the sun go down from the end of a pier.
One thing the British have reluctantly come to accept is that even in the height of summer, good weather is never a foregone conclusion. Yet when the sun is shining, there's arguably no better way to enjoy being outdoors than on a family camping trip.
Fresh air, bucolic surroundings, alfresco dining and a sense of adventure are just a handful of reasons why it's become one of the most popular types of holiday for British families. And with ever-increasing popularity comes a marked rise in quality, as more and more campsites introduce pristine shower blocks, children's play areas and on-site shops selling locally-sourced produce. Glamping and yurt villages are a great choice for those looking for a camping holiday with all the mod cons.
Few places can claim to have a more fascinating history so widespread and accessible as the UK. Castles, churches, towers and forts litter the country, providing countless days out for families of all ages. From thousand-year-old ruins to World War Two Anderson shelters, Britain is steeped in a rich and intriguing history visible at every turn.
The independent charity, the National Trust, maintains a whole host of properties and gardens of historical interest, including 14th-century Bodiam Castle in East Sussex and the former estate of Winston Churchill in Kent. Family membership costs £126 for the year, but it is a price well worth paying for the number of sites it allows access to.
Walking has long been a favourite pastime of the British. Children's author Beatrix Potter was often be seen strolling atop the hills of the Lake District, while Charles Dickens was known to habitually walk as much as twelve miles a day. And it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise; the UK is blessed with a plethora of scenic walking routes that wind through forests, along coastlines, up mountains and beside rivers. There's even a route that follows the full length of Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, where walkers will encounter ancient settlements, old forts and insightful museums along the way.
For families, it's the perfect excuse to get outdoors with the kids and open their eyes to the boundless natural beauty of the UK. Many of the most well-trodden walking routes are also dotted with cafes and pubs, providing excellent spots for taking a break and refuelling or rounding off the day with a nice hearty meal.
Gone are the days of spam, jellied eels and corned beef hash - over the last couple of decades, the UK has revolutionised menus up and down the country to become one of the culinary capitals of the world.
Helped along by award-winning chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, traditional British mainstays such as fish and chips, toad in the hole and Sunday roast have been joined by mouth-watering imports from abroad, while microwaved pub food has been replaced by exquisite dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients.
And despite its status as a tea-drinking nation, Britain has also put itself on the map for coffee. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a town in the UK that doesn't have its very own artisan coffee shop, serving flaky homemade pastries and perfect foamy cappuccinos. A real treat for families on days out or those simply looking to get out and experience new flavours.