Beautiful countryside dotted by castles and country houses, dynamic cities rammed with fantastic attractions, and a seaside that can’t be beat for its family appeal… it’s no wonder many Brits choose to remain England for their family holidays and breaks. Travel costs are generally minimal, while the wide choice of self-catering properties help you keep within a family-sized budget.
The British capital offers hundreds of family-friendly attractions and a busy program of events, from world-class museums to the latest West End shows.
East of England
Within easy reach of the capital, Eastern England (part of which is still sometimes known as East Anglia) includes Norfolk and Suffolk with their wonderful beaches, superb forests and unspoilt landscapes.
South East England
Also easily accessed from London, this region includes the lovely ‘garden of England’, Kent, with more quirky seaside towns and some great castles. Brighton and Eastbourne are further family-friendly seaside towns; Sussex, of which they are a part, has lovely rolling countryside punctuated by castles, battlesites, castles, palaces, Roman villas and gardens. Next up is Hampshire, with the buzzing maritime cities Portsmouth and Southampton but also most of the glorious New Forest.
South West England
Still on the subject of seaside fun, South West England offers up Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Often overlooked, Somerset also offers beautiful beaches, stunning inland countryside, plus historic Bath, Glastonbury and Wells, while Wiltshire is home to world-famous Stonehenge, Avebury and Old Sarum, plus stately homes and glorious gardens.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds (covering parts of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire) is touristy yet low key, offering lots of farms and other outdoor venues, historic gardens, books and arts and crafts shops, and welcoming pubs and inns.
The focal point of the West Midlands is Birmingham with its incredible industrial heritage and awesome modern shopping, but this is also a good region for themepark aficionados.
The highlights of the East Midlands for families are Derbyshire, home to most of the Peak District National Park, Rutland, focussed around Rutland Water with its watersports, and Lincolnshire with its traditional seaside resorts, timeless Wolds, atmospheric Fens and beautiful historic city Lincoln.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Lincolnshire extends into Yorkshire and the Humber, where you’ll also find the historic county of Yorkshire with its three national parks, two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and three Heritage Coast areas, plus superb cities York and Leeds.
North East England
North East England’s highlight is Northumberland – a great alternative for family holidays by the sea for those who find the likes of Cornwall and Norfolk over-subscribed, plus a landscape dotted by Roman ruins and impressive castles.
North West England
North West England similarly offers idyllic landscapes, especially in Cumbria with its gorgeous Lake District. But there are also some great family-friendly cities here, with wonderful museums (many free) and other excellent attractions – especially Manchester and Liverpool.
Seasonal local produce, often organic, is one of the highlights of holidays and breaks in England. If you're self-catering, local farmers' markets and farm shops are worth seeking out, but there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants, cafés and pubs all over the region.
With its world-class cities and indoor as well as outdoor attractions, England is a year-round destination.
As a major tourist destination, England is well endowed with international and regional airports as well as generally efficient domestic transport networks.
Family holidays and breaks in England will vary wildly in price depending on your chosen location and form of accommodation but there are plenty of very affordable options all around the country.By Rhonda Carrier
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