Taking the family on holiday can sometimes be one of the most stressful things to plan – it’s hard enough keeping track of your own phone, wallet and passport, without having to worry about whether the kids have everything they need. Sticking to the UK means you’re never too far from home if need be, and you can all enjoy yourselves without worrying about language barriers or food worries! Accommodation in the UK often ends up being cheaper, too – the Youth Hostel Association offer private family rooms across England and Wales, ideal for an inexpensive break. The UK promises plenty for families to see and do – these are just some favourites.
Outdoor activities always go down well with kids – it gives them a chance to really explore and burn off lots of energy, while you can enjoy a pleasant walk or bike ride in the country. It’s also cheap, which is an even bigger bonus! Pick up an ordinance survey map or take a look at this guide to the top footpaths and cycling routes in the UK – the South Downs is particularly scenic, while further north the Yorkshire Dales offer plenty of wildlife to discover.
While keeping an eye on kids can be stressful with crowds around, there are plenty of cities where that doesn’t have to be such a big problem. London is obviously the most bustling in the UK, but if you can all manage, it’s worth it just for an afternoon in Hamleys, the giant toy shop on Oxford Street. If you’d rather head somewhere calmer, Truro in Cornwall is beautifully peaceful, and the whole region is a delight to explore. Alternatively, Edinburgh has some fantastic cultural sights to see.
The UK has a rich and vibrant history spanning decades – some of it wonderful, some of it not so much. The National Trust offers access to hundreds of historic homes and gardens, which serve as a fantastic educational experience and a great opportunity to help kids learn more about how the country has changed. In Sussex, the Martello towers have been turned into mini underground museums, with Newhaven Fort even installing an air-raid experience in an old bunker. Local museums are a great way to connect where you are to some educational history as well, making your trip all the more interactive.
While many of us prefer to travel alone, the benefits of taking the whole family away are manifold. You’ll be able to reconnect with each other, and the kids will get a chance to play and explore in new territory. Check out the Guardian’s top recommendations for a family holiday in the UK for more inspiration, and start planning your 2013 summer break!