From world-class cities to sandy coves, and lush countryside to meandering canals, the United Kingdom makes for beautiful family vacations. Often, American families looking to travel abroad will start with a visit to England, where history and language unite us, making it easier on families nervous to travel aboard with kids. London, in fact, is one of the most visited cities in the world, and rightfully so with its historical sites, museums, attractions, bustling theater district, sporting events, and shopping.
London’s subway, the Underground, also makes it very easy for families to get outside of the city to visit other wonderful destinations, such as Oxford, where the esteemed university and quaint town make for a relaxing day trip, and just a boat ride up the river Thames awaits Greenwich, home of the International Date Line and the Royal Naval College, with museum and fun photo ops. An easy drive to the south awaits the iconic Stonehenge, and just beyond are the seaside towns of Brighton, with its pebbled beaches, and Portsmouth, where Admiral Nelson and Henry the VIII’s ships are available for tour. Of course, the English and Welsh countrysides are famed from literature; drive through the Lake District and discover its calming allure.
Scotland also provides a scenic backdrop for road trips, although the capital city of Edinburgh is enough to please families who don’t want to drive but want to immerse themselves in Scottish history and charm. Many families from America visit the country on kinsmen trips, aiming to learn more about their own Scottish heritage, as they also do in Northern Ireland, with its vastly green countryside and thriving city of Belfast. (Note: Ireland, where Dublin, Cork, Galway, Ring of Kerry and other popular destinations is not a part of the United Kingdom and its own country.)
The United Kingdom is also easy to get to from the states, with direct flights offered between most major cities, and from New York City short a trans-Atlantic flight. Read on to discover more great reasons to visit the U.K.
The United Kingdom has more than 50 theme parks, countless museums and castles, a thriving theater and arts scene, and a host of activities for all ages.
The United Kingdom’s public museums and art galleries are free and often have inventive kids’ programs, giveaway goodie bags and excellent guides.
There are 15 National Parks across the United Kingdom, 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 to add to your visit. Explore the cities, and then head out to the festivals and meet the locals.
Although not the warm beaches of Florida or the Caribbean, the United Kingdom offers more than 60 coastal areas, from the remote Outer Hebrides to the tip of Cornwall, with thousands of incredible, unspoiled beaches.
You can visit more than 400 National Trust properties throughout the United Kingdom, and many parks, gardens and forests are free to explore.
The United Kingdom is teeming with enchanting, educational and fun places for families to explore.
The perfect size for travelling around, the United Kingdom 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.