The UK is a perennially popular choice for family holidays and breaks, particularly if you’re on a budget, as your travelling costs will probably be minimal. The huge choice of child-friendly self-catering properties available, from cottages to tents, luxurious or otherwise, help to keep costs down too, while allowing you to make the most of Britain’s wonderful farm shops and farmers’ markets.
Beautiful countryside studded with castles and country houses is balanced out by some dynamic cities bursting with fantastic attractions aimed at kids or families, many of them free to visit, while the seaside can’t be beat for its family appeal, whether you want splendid isolation or all the facilities of a classic resort.
The weather aside, England has so much going for it, from dynamic modern cities such as London and Manchester to wonderful coastlines, from world-class cultural institutions in the capital and elsewhere to dramatic forests and other fantastic landscapes, that it's often hard to see why anyone wants to spend money on leaving it.
This is longstanding favourite for family holidays and breaks, with Pembrokeshire especially well known for its glorious beaches, and nearby Cardiff boasting sleek hotels alongside the 18th-century folly of Cardiff Castle, good beaches within a stone's throw, locations kids will recognise from ‘Dr Who’ and ‘Torchwood’, and easy access to the outdoor activities paradise of the Brecon Beacons. Snowdonia and North Wales (comprising Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham) offer more superb landscapes and opportunities for outdoors pursuits, plus some fantastic seaside resorts and castles to visit.
This has always been a good bet for a UK family staycation, with wild landscapes studded by some wonderful cities, especially capital Edinburgh, which is stuffed with so many great attractions for kids it makes for fantastic city-break destination in its own right. To the north of it, Perthshire boasts mind-blowing landscapes of mountains, lakes and rivers offering family holidays and breaks with lots of scope for getting active and feeling at one with nature.
This might not be an immediately obvious choice as a family holiday destination, but Belfast and County Antrim are an interesting bet, combining a city that has undergone remarkable changes over the past decade or so, and is now full of culture, entertainment and excellent shopping, with beautiful countryside including Northern Ireland's most popular attraction, the Giant's Causeway.
Britain has shaken off its image as a culinary wasteland, with local, seasonal, often organic produce now used to full advantage the length and breadth of the country. Whether you're self-catering and making the most of local farm shops and farmers' markets, or dining in family-friendly cafés, pubs and restaurants in cities or the countryside, do your homework and you'll find that eating with the kids can be a huge pleasure.
By Rhonda Carrier
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