The best UK holiday destinations for families

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Mother and son in rock pool on beach
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Travelling with kids isn’t the same as travelling on your own. You need to find stuff that’s gonna keep them entertained. It’s like being the tour manager for a demanding rock band!

If you don’t remove all the brown M+M’s, there’ll be hell to pay! A day out or a weekend away needs to be carefully planned so that it includes stuff that’s going to keep the kids sweet.

Here are some of the best UK holiday destinations for families. We’re pretty sure that if you choose one of these to visit, your kids will be happy campers instead of little terrors!

Bournemouth, nature and theme parks

Child satnading on cliffs above Durdle Door

Oh! We do love to be beside the seaside! Bournemouth is one of our favourite UK beach resorts. And as a beach town, it has loads for the little ones to do.

First up, of course, is the beach. And what a beach it is. In fact, it’s so good that it’s just been voted UK Beach of the Year. It’s a golden stretch of sand that feels as much like Spain as it does the UK. Backed by miles of cliffs, it also has a wild feel to it that we absolutely love.

When you’ve had your fill of playing on the sand and paddling in the sea, you can start exploring the rest of what Bournemouth has to offer. Something that’s sure to enchant the kids is that Bournemouth is right by the Jurassic Coast.

The Jurassic Coast gets its name because of the extraordinary amount of fossils that have been found there. The kids will love rummaging in the rocks and looking for old dinosaur bones. In 2023, the giant 2-metre-long skull of a huge pliosaur, a terrifying giant sea creature, was found, so who knows what you might turn up!

One of the highlights of the Jurassic Coast is Durdle Door, a spectacular limestone arch that you’ll have seen in a thousand photos. Nothing beats seeing it in real life though. You can visit us with us with our Lulworth and Durdle Door ticket, which also includes our Bournemouth hop-on hop-off bus.

Isle of Wight, in the footsteps of dinosaurs

Oraguntan at Monkey World animal shelter, Isle of Wight

Next in our list of best UK destinations for families, and just a stone’s throne from Bournemouth (if you’re a superhero!), is the Isle of Wight. And it’s another great place to find dinosaur fossils! In fact, it’s so good, it even goes by the name Dinosaur Island.

To learn more about these ancient creatures, head to Dinosaur Isle, a modern dinosaur museum that the kids will love. They’ll be able to learn all about these magnificent animals that once ruled the planet!

Another great place that’s sure to thrill is Monkey World – Primate Recue Centre., which is famous from the Sky series, Monkey Life, which documents the happenings at this brilliant animal rescue centre. The whole family will love seeing the animals that are cared for at Monkey World, and the kids will love the trails where they can collect stamps to show  what they’ve seen. Kids love getting stamps, don’t they? If only we were still so easily pleased!

If you’ve been to Bournemouth and you loved Durdle Door, you can’t miss The Needles, almost certainly one of the most photographed groups of rocks in the world. They’re popular for a reason. They look brilliant! And best of all, they’re free to look at!

If you do want an extra special view of them, take a right on the Needles Chairlift. You’ve got to pay to get on, but it’s pretty cheap and definitely an experience you won’t regret. The views over The Needles, the beach and the sea are properly spectacular.

Llandudno, sandy beaches and the Great Orme

Llandudno is a little piece of paradise on the North Wales Coast. It’s been popular with holidaymakers since people started having holidays, which, sadly, isn’t that long ago.

When it comes to beaches, Llandudno has a few for you to choose from. Our favourite is the West Shore Beach. It’s just across the peninsula from the main town beach. To make life easy, it’s right by one of our hop-on hop-off stops. Just hop off the bus and head for a stroll along this wild and natural stretch of sand. It’s the perfect place for a spot of rick pooling. There’s a good play area for kids too and a café where you can grab something to eat.

Great Orme

The one thing you can’t miss in Llandudno is the Great Orme. You can’t miss it cos it’s so bloody big! This enormous lump of land is a limestone promontory that towers over the surrounding countryside and sea. It’s a place of enormous natural beauty and home to a herd of Kashmiri goats that are descended from two goats that were presented to Queen Victoria by the Shah of Persia!

There are three main ways to get up the Orme. On foot (fun but maybe not the best with small kids), on the Great Orme Tramway or on our Great Orme Explorer bus.  All three have their advantages, but we guarantee you’ll see more of the Orme from our bus. If the Great Orme seems, well, just too great, you could always try exploring the Little Orme instead.

Conwy Castle

It’s always disappointing when you get to a castle and it doesn’t actually look like a castle at all, isn’t it? We’ve been to a few like that! It’s never going to be a problem with Conwy castle though. You couldn’t find a more cattley-looking castle if you tried.

Built in the 13th-century, this amazing castle took only four years to build! We’re not sure how they did it, but we wouldn’t mind getting that builders number! Weirdly, considering it’s perhaps the most popular castle in Wales, Conwy Castle was built by the English, during Edward I’s conquest of Wales.

The little ones will love exploring its medieval marvels and pretending they’re playing the part in a fairytale where princesses kiss frogs or frogs fight dragons. Whatever it is that they imagine!

And don’t worry about getting there. Our Llandudno hop-on hop-off bus stops just a short walk away.

Blackpool, home of the Pleasure Beach amusement park

Rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

What could be more traditional than a holiday in Blackpool? Blackpool has been welcoming holiday makers for at least two centuries. Did you know that people were first drawn here by the supposed benefits of sea bathing? That and the arrival of the railways helped make Blackpool perhaps the UK’s leading holiday resort.

By the end of the 19th century, it could host up to a quarter of a million holiday makers! That’s a lot of people to keep happy at once!

Looking for something for the kids to do in Blackpool? The Pleasure Beach has got it all covered. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of the UK’s oldest amusement parks, which means they’ve learnt a thing or two about having fun!

Want something old school? The Pleasure Beach has four wooden rollercoasters! That’s the most of any amusement park in the country! There’s plenty that’s more modern too. When it opened, the Big One was the tallest rollercoaster in the world. It might have lost that particular crown, but it’s still the tallest in the UK. So, thrills are guaranteed!

The Big One but be a much if you’ve got really little ones in tow, but don’t worry cos they’ll love Nickolodeon Land, which is packed with mini-rides featuring some of their favourite TV characters, from Dora to Spongebob and Paw Patrol.

When you’ve had your fill of being turned upside down and thrown through the air at god-knows-how-many miles per hour, it’s time for something to eat. When in Rome, eat pasta. When in Blackpool, eat fish and chips. Preferably on the promenade, while looking out to sea. It might be an idea to come armed to protect yourselves from seagull attack!

Belfast, and not just for the Titanic Experience

Did you know Belfast is one of Europe’s fastest growing tourist destinations? Come visit and you’ll understand why. It’s such a friendly city with so much to do. The star of the show, of course, is Titanic Belfast.

The Titanic is perhaps the world’s most famous ship, despite the fact it never completed its maiden voyage. Maybe because it never completed its maiden voyage! Titanic Belfast is where you can learn all about what was once the biggest ship in the world and its fateful voyage across the Atlantic.

You’ll also learn about Belfast, the city where the Titanic was built as its story is intricately entwined with that of the Titanic.

The kids will love the interactive nature of the Titanic Experience. You even get to smell the food in the kitchens! Our hop-on hop-off bus has a stop right by Titanic Belfast and we even sell a combination ticket that includes our bus and entrance to Titanic Belfast. It’s a brilliant way to see the city and its main attraction.

Just a further stop on our hop-on hop-off route from Titanic Belfast is W5, Belfast’s amazing science museum. It’s packed with brilliant ideas and things to do, with incredible interactive exhibits and mind-blowing science shows. Forget the kids, you’ll love it here cos it’s absolutely brilliant!

W5 really is an amazingly experience and it’s very reasonably priced. It’s definitely a good idea to book in advance.

The Eden Project, an impressive indoor botanical garden

The Eden Project might sound like some sci-fi film where humankind tried to start again from scratch, but that’s not what it’s actually like! Instead, it’s a couple of enormous biomes in the Cornish countryside that are home to thousands of incredible plant species.

They’re so amazing inside that one was used to represent an alien planet in the film of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! The kids will love exploring these amazing spaces and you will too. You might even get some ides for your garden or window box!

There’s even a special kids to make sure the little ones have the best possible time. It’s a day that will be filled with fun and it’s educational too. It’s a win-win!

Windsor, the most popular destination for Lego fans

Windsor is obviously principally famous for one thing. The Royals have a pad there. But there’s more to this place than that. If you’re hitting town with kids, then the one place you can’t miss had to be the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort.

LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort is the kind of place you take the kids for a treat. It’s a day out that you’d definitely do as a treat. It doesn’t exactly cost an arm and a leg, but you might find yourself down a few fingers and toes! Our tip is to book in advance as you can definitely make savings if you do.

Once there, there’s really so much to do. One of our favourite things is the Adventure Golf, but remember that you have to pay a bit more if you want to play a round of some of the craziest golf there is out there.

There are loads of rides to choose from and ones for all ages, though maybe this isn’t the best place for teens. It’s definitely more suitable for a younger and a less surly crowd.

The other obvious place to head in Windsor is the castle. It’s open year-round and we reckon the kids will enjoy seeing where that bloke they’ve seen on the telly lives. We suppose that one of the downsides of being royal is that you’ve got to let people pay to come and see inside your house!

The Lake District, for nature lovers

Child having fun in the Lake DistrictWe don’t think it’s controversial to say the Lake District is one of the best beautiful areas in the UK. We think it’s somewhere that everyone should go at least once. We still remember our childhood trips there with great affection.

Obviously, in you’re in the Lake District with little kids, you’re not going to be going on any 30-mile hikes. There are plenty of great walks you can go on with kids if that’s what you want to do. There’s more to the Lake District than stunning countryside and lovely walks though.

A real treat for younger kids is a visit to The World of Beatrix Potter. With the success of the Peter Rabbit films, Beatrix Potter is back and this fantastic visitor centre brings to life some of her most popular stories. Your wee ones will love exploring Peter Rabbit’s Garden.

For something a bit different, try the Honister Slate Mine Tour. It’s not every day you get to venture into an old mine. It’s a fantastic expedition into an underground world that will impress the whole family. Best of all, they often have a kids go free offer. That’s always a winner, isn’t it?

Last but not least, London!

Palace guards in LondonWe’ve already written a post about what you can do with the kids in London, so check that out. One of our favourites from that list, and one that’s always popular with our customers, is Madame Tussauds.

This wax wonderland is full of famous faces. It’s been one of London’s top attractions almost since wax was invented! Our combination bus + Madame Tussauds ticket is the perfect way to see London and the (pretend) stars!

London is a paradise for the kids. There’s so much for them to do. One of our favourite places, and a real hidden gem, is the Young V & A, a museum that’s all about childhood and what it’s like to be a kid over the years. You’ll love it as much as the kids will!

That's our list of top UK destinations for families - wherever you go, have fun!

This list of the best UK holiday destinations for families and kids is only a start. There’s so much out there for kids to do these days. The world has changed and kids are now at the centre of lots of what we do.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The UK is home to some fantastic theme parks designed to provide endless fun for the entire family. Here are a few top picks:

  • Alton Towers, located in Staffordshire, is one of the UK’s biggest and most famous theme parks. With a vast range of rides, including thrilling roller coasters and water rides, it offers something for everyone.
  • Legoland Windsor is perfect for younger children, especially those who love Legos. The park features interactive rides and a miniature world made entirely from LEGO bricks.
  • Thorpe Park, situated in Surrey, caters more to teenagers and adults with some of the most exhilarating rides and roller coasters in the country.
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire is another family favorite, offering a mix of modern and traditional rides right on the coast.

Educational farms offer children the opportunity to learn about animals, farming, and nature. Here are a few notable ones across the UK:

  • Mudchute Park and Farm in London is one of the largest urban farms in Europe, giving children a chance to experience farm life in the city.
  • Becketts Farm, located near Birmingham, offers a variety of educational and interactive experiences, including farm tours and cooking classes.
  • Cotswold Farm Park in Gloucestershire, run by farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson, focuses on rare breed conservation and allows children to engage with farm animals up close.

Where can I find family-friendly cycle routes in the UK?

The UK boasts numerous cycle paths suitable for families, winding through some of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Here are a few recommendations:

  • The Camel Trail in Cornwall offers a largely traffic-free route, ideal for families, that stretches from Bodmin through Wadebridge to Padstow.
  • The Strawberry Line in Somerset is another picturesque route suitable for all ages, running from Yatton to Cheddar.
  • The Monsal Trail in the Peak District provides a relatively flat and traffic-free path with breathtaking views of the Derbyshire countryside.
  • Botanic gardens provide a peaceful and educational day out for families. Some of the UK’s best include:

    • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, which not only features the world’s largest collection of living plants but also offers various interactive exhibits and a treetop walkway for kids.
    • Eden Project in Cornwall, an ecological park with massive biomes housing plant species from around the globe, alongside educational workshops and activities.
    • Birmingham Botanical Gardens offer not just a wide variety of plants but also playgrounds and a butterfly house to fascinate younger visitors.

    Each of these destinations provides unique educational and entertaining experiences, ensuring that a family trip across the UK will be filled with enjoyable memories for both parents and children alike.

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