Searching for the best destinations for UK family holidays in 2023? The UK is possibly one of the best places to travel with children. From beach holiday hotspots to forest adventures, there is so much variety to choose from. Since staycations boomed back in 2020 and we are all looking to enjoy a family holiday a little closer to home in the UK. Ultimately, we have realised you don’t need to travel abroad anymore to enjoy breathtaking blue waters and white sand.
Where to go on UK family holidays in 2023
So if you are searching for inspiration for your next half-term, UK family holiday. Or just looking for a weekend city break with your children. Then this blog post will help to guide you through the best destinations the UK has to offer. Once you’ve picked your destination of choice, head over to our Days Out With Kids page to get ideas for things to do!
If you want the feeling of being on a Mediterranean island, without having to leave the country then Cornwall is the answer. Beautiful white sandy beaches, picturesque harbour villages, towering cliffs and seaside resorts. Cornwall has it all, one of the most popular UK family holiday destinations and is easily accessible by car, train and plane from most of the UK.
Things to do in Cornwall
Lands End – Representing both the starting and ending points of the longest journey in Great Britain, Land’s End to John O’Groats. Set up as a small attraction with shops, cafes and a pub, along with some amazing walks and views. Entry is free, you do have to pay to park and you can spend as much or as little as you wish once inside.
Tintagel Castle – For a magical day out in a fantastic setting. Located on Cornwall’s stunning north coast, a Cornish castle with links to the stories of King Arthur. Wander among the castle ruins, soak up the natural beauty and wildlife and then head down to sea level to stroll along the sandy beach and venture into Merlin’s Cave.
Surf Lessons – Cornwall is very well known for surfing, there are so many beaches to choose from with the ideal waves for beginners and professionals alike. If like us you are a novice to surfing why not book a surf lesson? Learn all the basics to get you going. Polzeath and Perranporth are two of our favourite beaches to head to.
The Eden Project – A fun and family-friendly day out. Explore its tropical biomes and find out where tea, rubber and sugar come from. set in a crater the size of 30 football pitches you can travel the world to the simulated environments of tropical destinations.
Family-friendly places to stay in Cornwall
Carbis Bay Hotel, Located within the Carbis Bay Estate, is a luxurious coastal retreat with a privately owned 25-acre Blue Flag beach. Onsite they have a heated outdoor pool, a cafe, a restaurant and a bar. There’s an attached beach club with a watersports centre, and spa treatments. Live entertainment and kids’ clubs are offered in the summer.
Snowdonia offers those who love an adventure, possibly the best UK family holiday available. If you are looking for an activity-packed break, Snowdonia may be your destination. Overall known better for its National Park and Snowdon mountain, families can enjoy traditional activities such as climbing the Snowdon summit, walking routes such as Aber Falls or mountain biking.
Things to do in Snowdonia
Velocity 2 – A truly unique and adrenaline-fueled experience. Velocity 2 is the fastest zip line in the world! Fly over Penrhyn Quarry, reaching speeds of up to over 100 mph while taking in the incredible views of Snowdonia.
Fforest Coaster – The UK’s only alpine coaster. The coaster is suitable for ages 3 and over, however, drivers must be aged 9+. Speeding through the trees down one kilometre of track, enjoy the toboggan-style roller coaster on the edge of Snowdonia. Tickets include three goes and you are in control of how fast or slow you wish to go!
Underground Golf – The world’s first underground adventure golf set in a disused cavern. An 18-hole course set 500ft below ground level and only accessible by Europe’s steepest cable railway. An impressive display of lighting and interactive elements, unique levels to beat, with 4 floors to tackle.
Snowdon Mountain Railway – Described as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. Trains depart from Llanberis Station and begin their ascent up Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa. With stunning scenery, this magical day out is great for the whole family.
Family-friendly places to stay in Snowdonia
Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia is located in the beautiful Conwy Valley. Offering contemporary comfort and warm hospitality, bedrooms come with big views looking over the surf lagoon and Conway mountain range. A destination restaurant and bar, and a guest-exclusive fitness centre are just some of the facilities on offer here.
3. Scottish Highlands
Scotland offers a fantastic variety of potential for a UK family holiday and break. Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in nature, visit bustling cities or book a fun-filled adventure break, the Highlands is a perfect destination for you.
Jacobite steam train – West Coast Railways provided the Hogwarts Express for the Harry Potter movies. You can hop onboard the greatest railway journey in the world, this 84-mile round trip that takes you through some famous Harry Potter filming locations, including the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.
The Cairngorms – A mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland closely associated with the mountain Cairn Gorm. Activities such as cycling are a great family activity to do in Cairn Gorm. Whether you’re looking for a cliff-top challenge or a quiet day out in the countryside, the National Park has a cycle route suitable for all abilities.
Loch Morlich – and its natural beach, a fantastic relaxing day out in the Highlands. Close your eyes and you could be at the seaside, top up your tan on a sunny day and build some sandcastles. Adventurers will enjoy windsurfing on the clean waters or taking a dip if you’re brave!
Inverness – For a city break or just a day out on your holiday, Inverness is a great place offering lots of things to do. For some cultures try the Inverness Botanic Gardens and Inverness Castle. Or hit the shops at Eastgate shopping centre for some retail therapy.
Family-friendly places to stay in the Scottish Highlands
The Torridon, this grand castle-style hotel with turrets lies on 58 acres of parkland at the end of a magnificent sea loch. The resort has so much to offer including a world-famous whisky bar with 365 malt whiskies and an activities schedule including; kayaking, cycling, coasteering and Munro climbing. Join the stargazing excursions with a professional astronomer and hopefully see the northern lights on a clear night.
Looking for a city break with the family? Then we cant miss off arguably the best city in the UK. London has more to offer families than any other destination in the UK. From landmarks such as Big Ben and the Tower of London to nature walks in Hyde Park or Kew Gardens. The capital is simply brimming with things to see and do.
Museums – London is filled with history, and if you are looking for a fun day out then why not head to one of the 170 plus museums for the day (many of which are free). Some of the most popular include:
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Victoria and Albert
- London Transport Museum
- Design Museum
- British Museum
- Imperial War Musem
City Cruises – Take a ride along the River Thames. There are lots of options available such as hop on hop off tickets, dinner cruises and afternoon tea cruises. Soak in all the sites that London has to offer from the Water, a great family attraction that everyone can enjoy.
Theatres – Head to the West End and pick from over 38 different shows. Whether you are looking for something more grown-up or a show that little ones can enjoy too there are so many to choose from. Some of our favourites include:
- The Lion King
- Matilda the Musical
- The Woman in Black (Older audience)
- Book of Mormon
Madame Tussauds – Just one of London’s many attractions, Madame Tussauds is a fantastic choice for a family activity. Get up close with more than 150 of your favourite lifelike celebrities as well as experiences like the Marvel Universe 4D. Tickets can be combined with other London attractions such as London Eye, Sealife, Shrek Adventures and London Dungeons for a discount.
Family-friendly places to stay in London
If you are wanting an Unmistakably British stay, Browns in the luxury area of Mayfair is a great choice for the family. Kids are spoilt with lots of treats like the teddy bear turndown, baby bath products and rubber duck in the bathroom. Parents wanting some grown-up time in the city can enjoy the 24-hour babysitting service.
5. The Isle of Wight
With its gorgeous beaches, fossil hunting opportunities and attractions for all ages. It’s easy to see why the Isle of Wight is one of the best family-friendly holiday destinations in the UK. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, over 50% of the Isle of Wight holds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status offering excellent trails for families.
Things to do on the Isle of Wight
Carisbrooke Castle – The castle is most famous for its association with imprisoning Charles I back in 1647 during the Civil War. In today’s time, it’s a quintessential romantic castle. A day here can be spent exploring Princess Beatrice Gardens, enjoying the panoramic vies from the walls and meeting the famous Carisbrooke donkeys.
Isle of Wight steam railway – sit back and enjoy idyllic views of the Island’s unspoilt countryside in wonderfully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages. Tickets include a round trip at Havenstreet station, you can either hop on and off at the small towns and villages or go straight round. It also includes entry to all the facilities at Havenstreet station like the Train Story Discovery Centre as well as a flying display by Haven Falconry (11:40 and 13:40 daily).
Dinosaur Isle – Britain’s first purpose-built dinosaur museum and visitor attraction, located in Sandown. The museum is full of fossils and information dating back to the early dinosaurs. They also offer guided fossil walks around some of the oldest rocks on the island.
The Garlic Farm – If you are a lover of garlic like us then this is a must! A Farm Shop, Restaurant and Farm Walks are all open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. They run tractor trailer tours during school holidays and weekends from Easter to September. Climb aboard a guided tour or grab a map and take a wander through the fields and learn about garlic growing. Then head back to the restaurant to taste some of the garlic in action!
Family-friendly places to stay in the Isle of Wight
The Brunswick Hotel is a great option for families. Just a 2-minute walk from the beach and is located in the popular seaside resort of Shanklin. They offer comfortable ensuite rooms with family options, an onsite restaurant offering fantastic meals and an indoor pool for guests to use.
6. Cheddar Gorge
The village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge is a must-visit place in Somerset! We made a stop here for lunch back in 2019 on a drive home from Cornwall. Ever since was determined to return. Set within the Mendip hills Cheddar Gorge is simply a winding road that is towered by beautiful limestone cliffs. It is a popular place for rock climbers, walkers and families alike. For a full guide check out our Cheddar Gorge Post here
Things to do in Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge Walks – There are lots of walks to do around the gorge varying from easy strolls to longer more advanced hikes. The nature reserve walk is a simple walk along a gravel path, surrounded by beautiful hilly fields. Then the famous Cheddar Gorge walk is a little more advanced but the views are worth it. You can loop back down using jacobs ladder.
The Caves – There are 2 main caves that are open to the public. Goughs Cave; It has significant historical and geological history, best known as the home to the ‘Cheddar Man’. The second is Cox’s cave which is smaller but has a great crystal quest adventure at the end is the highlight of this cave.
Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company – Any trip to Cheddar wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cheddar Cheese shop. Offering a mouth-watering variety of flavoured cheddars you’ll find it hard to leave without a purchase. They leave the cheese to mature in the natural cheddar caves, this helps to give them the unique flavour they are famous for. You can also learn how they make their cheddar by booking one of the tours.
Jacobs Ladder Cheddar – I mentioned Jacobs Ladder earlier in the cheddar gorge walks. You can come down Jacobs ladder free of charge, If you are looking to see those views, but don’t fancy planning a major hike, then a great option is to pay to walk up. It does however take you a few steps to get to the top – 274 steps to be precise!
Family-friendly places to stay in Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Woods Resort and Spa, you can book into one of their family lodges. Each lodge has a wrap-around veranda with seating and views of the beautiful Mendip hills. Inside offers modern interiors and everything you would need for the weekend – dishwasher tablets, cleaning tools, toiletries and tea/coffee/hot chocolates. The resort itself offered a swimming pool, spa, gym, farm shop and restaurant all on-site