2020-2021 gave the staycation a new lease on life. With international travel more and more complicated and expensive due to covid, parents turned to the famed British countryside for getaways. According to Snaptrip.com, comparing 2021 with 2019, there was a 460% increase in bookings for summer holidays in August.
If you want to skip the hassle and cost of flights and enjoy what the British Isles have to offer, check out Lifemin’s list of the best family staycation destinations:
Jurassic Coast, Dorset
One of the star spots on the Jurassic Coast is the stunning Lyme Regis. Not only do you get a beautiful beach, but there is a section of this beach that has an ammonite pavement that children just love to look at.
The town also contains a fossil museum, the Dinosaur Land Fossil Museum which has more than 12,000 specimens on show including a collection of Ichthyosaurs. The South West Coast has much to offer for families from the cute village of Branscombe to the stunning beach in the village Beer. The Undercliffs National Nature Reserve also deserves exploration, with vegetation so thick and luxuriant kids will be transported to another world.
Snowdonia is the perfect location if you and your family seek thrills! Below the Snowdonia National Park, Llechwedd Slate Caverns hides a strange underworld of fluorescent trampoline nets and zip lines where children can bounce, climb and glide across the dark chambers of a disused mine. Additionally, there are 4X4 quarry drives or, for greener views, families can fly through the forest canopy or grip onto a gravity-driven alpine coaster at Zip World Forest.
Lake Windemere, Cumbria
The phenomenal beauty of the lake appeals to all ages, while Windermere is ideal for families with younger children. The tourist town of Bowness has all the facilities little ones would love while taking lovely strolls along its gravelly shores.
Brockhole also provides a lively day out to keep your littles ones entertained. Brockhole is a country house overlooking the lake that offers boat and kayak hire, treetop swings, archery and an adventure playground. Popular too are the fluffy characters that bring Mr McGregor’s garden to life at the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction; then in the evenings, try Zeffirellis in Ambleside, a cute independent cinema and pizzeria that has been running for nearly 40 years.
If you have children that love the sea, then South Cornwall is the place for you. Otherwise, the region around Fowey and along the Roseland Peninsula offers a string of treats for families. One of these treats is the famous Eden Project. The Eden Project hosts the largest rainforest in captivity in its biomes, plus sculptures, outdoor gardens and a canopy walkway.
West of The Eden Project is The Lost Gardens of Heligan. The Lost Gardens of Heligan has been overgrown since WWI before being rediscovered and restored to its former captivating beauty.
York is a great location for older children to revel in the vivid history underpinning this city. To get a measure of it, walk a section of the 13th-century city walls, of which nearly two miles have survived.
The Jorvik Viking Center takes you back to the days of Jorvik Vikings offering a multi-sensory ride in “time capsules” that take you through 10th-century streets, along with live interpretations and galleries. The Jorvik DIG gives children the chance to get their hands dirty in four excavation pits littered with finds that resemble actual archaeological digs in York.
Windsor has two main attractions that will give your children an amazing holiday: The Castle and Legoland. Windsor Castle, The Queen’s weekend residence, is hard to miss, just step out of the train station and it’s right there! Its grandeur is best appreciated, however, from the three-mile long avenue of trees that cuts a line through the vast Windsor Great Park. The following day can be spent at Legoland, a theme park certain to inspire creativity in kids.
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
Giant’s Causeway is one of the most striking landscapes in Northern Ireland. Giant’s Causeway is a Natural Heritage Site that contains hexagonal basalt columns that form stepping stones here are great fun to hop over and photograph. Children can learn about the legend of giant Finn McCool, ancient geology and coastal erosion. There are fairytale rock formations to spot plus the wider coastline along the Causeway Coastal Route offers other activities such as sea safaris, medieval Dunluce Castle and the hair-raising Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge that wobbles nearly 30m above the raging Atlantic.
The Dales is the perfect location for families that love gentle walking and fresh air. In the south, the numerous footpaths around the romantic riverside ruins of Bolton Abbey and Fountains Abbey are good for an amble. There are waterfalls to discover too: one at Malham Cove, a large limestone crescent, and others found along the four-mile Ingleton Waterfalls Trail past spectacular Thornton Force. White Scar Cave (England’s longest show cave) is nearby, featuring underground cascades and an ice-age cavern filled with stalactites.
Edinburgh impresses with its fascinating castle looming over the city, and daily cannon firings. Children can explore the dungeons, see the crown jewels and hear exciting tales from the fortress’s past. There is a lot to take in so leave plenty of time for a visit.
Down on the Royal Mile, teens might enjoy a humorous ghost tour, or check out The Real Mary King’s Close, a tour that retells frightening stories in passageways below ground. At the Camera Obscura, holograms, illusions and light shows play tricks on the mind while also teaching kids a bit more about the city.
Lowestoft, the UK's most easterly town on Suffolk's 'Sunrise Coast', boasts a beautiful beach at Kessingland where you'll be the first in the country to enjoy the sunrise.
Kids are well catered for with Africa Alive!, an amazing walking safari park set in 100 acres of grounds where you can meet the lions and feed a giraffe. Over at Oulton Broad, a stretch of water that forms the southern gateway to the Broads National Park, teens can try their hand at an array of watersports.