5 Best Destinations for UK Family Adventures

Written by EJ Ray

May 1, 2024
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Discover the ultimate UK family adventures! Explore thrilling destinations that are perfect for creating unforgettable moments together. Get ready for fun-filled experiences.

Given its diverse attractions, the UK is perfect for family adventures. From historic landmarks like castles and museums to breathtaking natural landscapes such as national parks and coastal trails, there’s something for every family member to enjoy here.

With numerous family-friendly accommodations, convenient transportation options, and abundant entertainment facilities, exploring the UK with the kids is very convenient. Moreover, the UK’s safety standards, English-speaking environment, and rich cultural experiences ensure a memorable and hassle-free vacation for families.

Here are the five best destinations for UK family adventures.

The Lake District

The Lake District is a superb destination for families seeking fun adventures. Here, kids of all ages can engage in numerous outdoor activities and explore stunning natural landscapes. With its tranquil lakes, lush forests, and towering mountains, the Lake District provides the perfect backdrop for adventurous families to bond over fun activities.

Take your kids on a hike along scenic trails. The region has several routes suitable for all abilities, from gentle strolls to challenging climbs. Some popular trails include the gentle circular walk around Derwentwater, the picturesque ascent of Catbells, and the family-friendly paths around Tarn Hows.

Head to the region’s lakes and rivers for water-based fun, including canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Rent equipment and take to the water for a day of exploration and adventure.

Idyllic scenery of English Lake District in springtime.Trees and grass growing on lakeshore and green hill reflecting in lake water. Sunlight kissing mountain slope in background.Majestic landscape scene. This is a perfect destination for UK family adventures.

The English Lake District is an ideal summer destination for UK family adventures. Photo by JazzLove via iStock by Getty Images

If you have older kids seeking thrills, the Lake District boasts several outdoor adventure parks and attractions, such as Go Ape! in Grizedale Forest, which features treetop obstacle courses and zip lines, or the Honister Slate Mine, which offers guided mine tours and via Ferrata experiences.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit historic sites such as Beatrix Potter’s former home, Hill Top, or explore medieval castles like Wray Castle and Muncaster Castle.

Cornwall

Cornwall is another fantastic destination for family adventures in the UK. Its beautiful sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and turquoise waters provide the perfect setting for outdoor activities and memorable experiences.

When it comes to the place to stay, Cornwall offers a variety of group-friendly accommodation options, including holiday cottages, campsites, and holiday parks. These group accommodations provide comfortable and convenient bases for you and your kids to relax and recharge between adventures.

Spend your days building sandcastles, surfing the waves, or exploring hidden coves along the coastline. Visit famous beaches like Fistral Beach in Newquay or Porthcurno Beach near Land’s End, which are safe for swimming and have plenty of space for seaside bonding.

Child on beach in cornish harbour playing with sand and. St Agnes beach in Cornwall

The beaches of Cornwall are perfect for summer family fun in the UK. Photo by tlnors via iStock by Getty Images

Cornwall offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor pursuits, including hiking along the South West Coast Path, cycling the Camel Trail, or exploring the Eden Project’s tropical biomes. Families can also try their hand at coasteering, rock climbing, or kayaking along Cornwall’s dramatic coastline.

Visit Cornwall’s family-friendly attractions, including the iconic St. Michael’s Mount, the enchanting Lost Gardens of Heligan, and the fascinating National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Younger kids will love exploring the magical world of the Minack Theatre, the interactive exhibits at the Blue Reef Aquarium, or the thrilling rides at Flambards Theme Park.

Wales

Wales packs a punch, which is why so many families choose to visit for their UK family adventures. The beautiful sandy beaches and incredible countryside views can provide families with an experience they will not forget. Treat yourself to local delicacies at traditional pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Don’t miss out on the chance to savor Welsh cakes and, for the adults, enjoy a taste of traditional beers.

Families undoubtedly visit Wales for its castles, with four designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each castle holds centuries of stories and stunning architecture, just waiting for you to come and uncover its secrets.

Conwy, Wales , United Kingdom- September 10, 2014: The Conwy castle with yacht

Conwy Castle is one of many castles you can explore on your family adventures in Wales. Photo by extravagantni via iStock by Getty Images

Wales is also a great destination if you want to put your hiking boots on, with three different types of landscapes. The rocky mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia) stand out against the lush mountains and waterfalls of the Brecon Beacons and the craggy Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. And if you fancy a bit of bird watching, hundreds of puffins can be seen on Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire from April to September.

Known for its myths and legends, Wales has many tales to tell. Dive into these tales, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of dragons, brave heroes, and enchanting creatures woven into the very fabric of Welsh folklore. Explore locations with connections to JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, whose wistful depiction of The Shire was influenced by rural Wales.

Take a leisurely walk through the nature preserve or along Newborough beach to discover the atmospheric lighthouse at Llanddwyn. Then, why not spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy quality time with your family? Finally, visit Shell Island, renowned for its abundance of seashells, which is the perfect destination for collecting these treasures.

Scotland

Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Scotland is another destination for fun family adventures in the UK. Here, you and your kids can embark on outdoor pursuits such as hiking, cycling, and wildlife watching in Scotland’s national parks and nature reserves. Some fantastic self-guided hiking tours in Scotland allow you to explore at your own pace and witness Scotland’s iconic wilderness.

Edinburgh castle, Scotland at sunset

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Photo by TomasSereda via iStock by Getty Images

The Cairngorms National Park is perfect for hiking. You can hike through ancient forests, spot native wildlife species like red deer and golden eagles, and discover hidden lochs and waterfalls.

If your kids prefer to have fun in the water, enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or leisurely boat trips along Scotland’s scenic coastlines and picturesque lochs. Loch Ness, famous for its legendary monster, offers boat cruises where your kids can search for “Nessie” while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding Highlands.

Northumberland

Situated in northeast England, Northumberland boasts a stunning coastline, rolling countryside, and rich history, making it an ideal destination for fun adventures with the family. Explore the region’s numerous castles, including the iconic Alnwick Castle, where your kids can try broomstick training sessions inspired by Harry Potter.

Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland in North East England. Dates from 1096AD when Yves de Vescy became Baron of Alnwick and erected the earliest parts of the castle. Since 1309 the castle has been in the hands of the Percy Family who are the Dukes and Earls of Northumberland.

Your kids can imagine themselves in the magical world of Harry Potter with a visit to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Photo by SteveAllenPhoto via iStock by Getty Images

Venture into the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for outdoor activities, such as beachcombing, rock pooling, and sandcastle building along its pristine beaches. Explore the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, accessible via a causeway at low tide, and discover its historic castle and picturesque village.

Northumberland’s countryside provides ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits, from hiking to cycling and wildlife spotting. The Northumberland National Park offers a variety of family-friendly trails, including the Hadrian’s Wall Path, where you and your kids can walk alongside the ancient Roman frontier and explore archaeological sites.

Take a steam train ride on the heritage Northumberland Railway, visit the Kielder Water & Forest Park for outdoor activities like kayaking and stargazing, or explore the underground world of the Northumberland National Park’s Dark Sky Park.

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The UK offers an incredible range of family adventure destinations that cater to every taste. Whether you’re exploring the stunning Lake District, enjoying the picturesque coastlines of Cornwall, delving into the rich history and culture of Wales and Scotland, or discovering the hidden gems of Northumberland, there’s an abundance of experiences for everyone in the family to enjoy. So, pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the UK! Don’t forget to check out our related resources for more inspiration and information on UK travel. We also have great ideas for more summer travel fun. Happy travels!

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.

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