Bucket List Family Holiday Destinations In The UK

Ellie Sylvester
Jan 22, 2024 By Ellie Sylvester
Originally Published on May 11, 2020
Family with golden retriever holding orange juice on beach.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 6.8 Min

Grab your pens and backpacks because we’ve rounded up 9 incredible, bucket-list family holiday destinations in the UK for you and your kids to visit once lockdown has ended!

Holidays don’t have to mean jetting off on a plane or hopping on a cruise ship, especially given that there might be restrictions around travelling abroad, we want to keep things nice and simple. Plus, why head off abroad when there’s so much to explore just outside your doorstep in the UK?

Home to an abundance of family-friendly cultural attractions, glorious beaches, National Parks and more, why would you want to seize the day anywhere else?

Plus, providing rules around social distancing permit sea-side fun, check out our top 7 beaches to visit within just 2 hours of London here. Don’t forget your sunnies!

Remember to keep following government advice for England, Scotland and Wales regarding travel.

1) Cornwall

Located at the south-west tip of England and home to the longest stretch of dazzling coastline, Cornwall is an absolute must-visit.

Whether you’re partial to a traditional Cornish pasty or have more of a sweet tooth and clotted cream is the only scone topping for you, you simply have to take a trip to Cornwall for the culinary delights alone.

However, that’s not all there is to Cornwall.

One of Cornwall’s most popular attractions is the Eden Project - the largest, family-friendly indoor rainforest in the world!

With outdoor play areas for little ones, indoor soft play, England’s longest zip wire and of course the outstanding two biomes, the Eden Project provides your very own jungle in the heart of Cornwall. Plus, for any surf lovers or water babies, don’t forget your trunks because Cornwall is home to some fabulous waves.

2) Lake District

If shimmering, peaceful lakes and hushed mountains are your thing then you simply must visit the Lake District.

In ancient Cumbria, the Lake District provides a landscape of adventure for both kids and grown-ups alike.

Whether you’re into the thrills of coasting along through the trees on a zipwire in Grizedale Forest and attempting to stay dry on a paddleboard on Lake Windermere or fancy a spot of mountain climbing or wild water fishing, the Lake District truly has something for everyone in the family.

Plus, who would pass up the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of some of the most famous pioneers of our time?

From William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter to JMW Turner and John Ruski, maybe you too can find inspiration in the beauty of the Lake District just as they did - it truly is a magical place.

3) Bath

As the largest city in Somerset, Bath has been a wellbeing destination since Roman times and is certainly worth ticking off your bucket list.

This magnificent spa town is bursting with history, magnificent architecture and, of course, the ancient Roman baths where audio guides and costumed characters help fully immerse you in Roman life.

However, aside from relaxing in the water, Bath is also home to plenty of history, including No.1 Royal Crescent, a fascinating Georgian townhouse that inspired the novels of Jane Austen!

Step back 250 years and catch a glimpse into what life was like for the wealthy and their servants in eighteenth-century Bath.

4) Devon

Think sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, Medieval towns and more.

Located in the Southwest of England, Devon is one of the most beautiful counties and you bet there’s something here for everyone. Surf and swim breaks in Croyde are bound to excite teenagers whilst animal adventures are perfect for younger ones, not to mention cream teas as well!

Whether you want to hit one of the glorious beaches in the north of Devon, release your inner culture vulture and ramble in miles of untouched countryside or get up close and personal with beautiful exotic animals at one of Devon’s many zoos and wildlife parks - you’re sure to find something (you just might need an extra day or two!)

5) Isle of Wight

Just over two hours away from the hustle and bustle of London, the Isle of Wight is perfect for those looking for a short but sweet getaway.

Pocket-sized yet full of adventures for the whole family, the Isle of Wight is just as magical and picturesque as the setting of Alice in Wonderland.

Yes, did you know the Isle of Wight was the inspiration behind the now world-famous children’s novel Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll!

Aside from the charming beaches, the Isle of Wight boasts endless historical landmarks, including castles in Osborne where history fanatics can brush up on their knowledge of Victorians and Roman Villas that will transport you back in time!

Plus, for any lovers of astronomy, the Isle of Wight is now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and has some of the darkest skies in the UK, making it perfect for a starry night out.

Continue to refer to government advice regarding the Isle of Wight.

6) Edinburgh

Let’s go a little further afield shall we? Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, seamlessly blends old and new, allowing the more modern, cultural and diverse aspects of the city to shine amongst the beauty of the historical elements, making it perfect for a family trip.

Head to the National Museum of Scotland to brush up on the nation’s culture, learn about the primaeval age right up to the modern era and of course take in the awe-inspiring, 360-degree views of Edinburgh from the roof garden!

Or if you’ve got budding historians, stroll along to Edinburgh Castle - it’s hard to miss as it towers over the entire city.

Walk in the footsteps of kings, queens, soldiers and maybe even the odd pirate! Continue to refer to government advice regarding Edinburgh.

7) Yorkshire Dales

Heading up north now to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, located in the Pennies in the historic county of Yorkshire.

Home to breathtaking scenery, great castles and an incredibly tranquil atmosphere, this popular living landscape is just waiting to be explored.

Best known for its natural attractions including the beautiful Malham Cove and Aysgarth Falls as well as the Stump Cross Caverns and White Scar Caves - the Yorkshire Dales are any nature lovers dream. With so many areas to explore the possibilities for family fun are truly endless.

Put your history hats on and visit Bolton Castle - one of the best-preserved medieval castles in the country, get up close and personal with some farmyard friends at Hesketh Farm Park or if you’re feeling super adventurous, head to the Forbidden Corner - a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises!

8) Dorset

Happy family having festive dinner or summer garden party.

Home to one of the best coastlines in the UK and steeped in heritage and history dating back to prehistoric times, Dorset is a lovely rural county, home to some pretty cool things!

For lovers of all things literature, trace Thomas Hardy’s novels on open heaths and vales and for fans of Jurassic Park, scour the beaches for sprinkled fossils and smuggler’s caves.

Or why not have a day monkeying around at Monkey World -  home to over 250 rescued and endangered monkeys and apes!

Plus, with mile upon mile of unspoilt walking trails and cycling routes, designed for families to make the most of the Weymouth and Portland coastline, don’t forget your camera because you’ll definitely want to capture the breathtaking views.

9) Dublin

Okay, Dublin might not be in the UK, but the capital of Ireland is well worth the quick flight or ferry.

Head to the largest park in Ireland - The Phoenix Park and see if you can spot the deers, tour the Magazine Fort and enjoy a lovely picnic in The People’s Gardens.

Dublinia is also a great child-friendly attraction - this interactive museum is dedicated to the history of Dublin from Viking times, through Medieval times and into modern-day Dublin, plus it’s indoors so perfect for a rainy day!

Not to mention Imaginosity - Dublin Children’s Museum which provides a creative, educational, interactive space for children up to the age of 8 years and their families.

Continue to refer to government advice regarding Dublin.

Despite currently being stuck at home, you can still get your arts and culture fix right from your sofa! Check out our top picks here.

Dorset City of Edinburgh South West England Cumbria England Scotland Ireland Cornwall North West England North Yorkshire South East England Somerset United Kingdom Isle of Wight Bath Yorkshire and the Humber Devon Edinburgh

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Ellie Sylvester

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ellie Sylvester picture

Ellie SylvesterBachelor of Arts specializing in English

As a passionate Londoner, Ellie enjoys exploring the city's theaters and food markets with her younger siblings. She has a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Nottingham. She's particularly fond of Primrose Hill and the Natural History Museum, as well as the constantly changing Spitalfields Market. In addition to her love of theater, Ellie also enjoys trying new foods and dabbling in musical theater.

Read full bio >