11 Must Try Unusual Family Holidays (UK Edition)

Emily Munden
Jan 22, 2024 By Emily Munden
Originally Published on Jul 31, 2020
Family picnic near a lake
Age: 0-99
Read time: 9.6 Min

Header Image © Unsplash

These incredible family holiday locations across the UK will completely transform your idea of the British Summer.

From quirky holiday homes to a converted train carriage, these destinations really pack the wow-factor that will have you cancelling your flights and booking yourself in at the earliest possible date!

From an army camp with a hot tub, to a double-decker bus called Daisy and a hobbit home in the Yorkshire Moors, you're sure to find unique accommodation and you'll be amazed that these places to stay (near me and you) are not further afield!

The General's Hideout, Byford

Camping in mountains

Image: © Byford Glamping

Army fanatics will love this luxury themed camp with your own private hot tub. Create magical memories in your private pocket of paradise on the edge of a sprawling private Herefordshire forest, which boasts beautiful views over the Wye Valley.

Fish in the river and explore the untouched wildlife for hours, before cooking up a feast in the army kitchen tent and toasting marshmallows on the campfire.

Spend your evenings in the wood-fired hot tub bubbling under the stars. Using the toilet is a truly unique experience, with the air-raid shelter toilet block complete with a transparent roof so you can see the incredible bright sky.

You can stay for £110 per night, they are taking bookings now.

Hollym Park Glamping, Withernsea, Yorkshire

Image: © Host Unusual

If you're looking for unusual places for your family holiday this year, this family-run campsite is one of our favourite unique places to stay. Take glamping to a whole new level in Daisy Decker - a vibrant converted double-decker bus complete with an original drivers wheel and quirky bus seats.

Or spend your nights in Puddleduck Pod, the perfect glamping upgrade, a wooden tent, with its comfy double bed and roll-out beds for kids.

Make friends with other families in the cosy decking area, where you can sizzle some sausages on the barbecues, and tire your kids off before bed in the huge adventure play area. Check out the local village, which is just five minutes away for a friendly local shop and pub, and a beautiful classic church.

The quaint seaside resort of Withernsea is only a short drive away for a beach day out and visit to the lighthouse museum.

Costs start from £50 per night for a pod.

Eshaness Lighthouse, Shetland Isles

Image: © Northern Lighthouse Board, Edinburgh

If you're looking for peaceful places to stay, you won't be able to beat this beautiful lighthouse-keepers cottage on the northwest coast of Shetland, Scotland. Bring back simplicity with some home-cooked meals in the cosy cottage.

With no visible neighbours, you'll feel every bit at sea as the wind whips and waves crash around you. Writer Sharma Krauskopf wrote the book, The Last Lighthouse, during her stay here - it might just inspire your family too!

Take in the incredible coastal views, and cliffs nestled with seabirds.

If you're lucky you'll spy seals, otters, porpoises and even dolphins and whales out of the window - taking sea views to a whole new level. Explore the Northmavine wilderness when you step out the cottage door, wandering through heather and peat fields, and brushing tails with rabbits, hares and polecats.

Create special family memories fishing in the lochs, and walking the geological wonders that are the Holes o'Scrada and Grind o'da Navir, not to mention the site of the ancient extinct volcano that the cottage is perched on.

A stay here will cost £448 per week, taking bookings at the moment.

Temple of Diana, Shropshire

Image: © Host Unusual

If you're not as much of the camping type, the Temple of Diana is the perfect elegant choice of unusual places to stay in the UK countryside. Live a life of luxury in this 1760's classical architectural beauty, complete with wonderful columns, ornate ceilings and gleaming floor to ceiling windows.

Set in Shropshire's Weston Park, you can explore 1000 acres of incredible parkland on this estate, with sprawling gardens and the magnificent orangery to stroll through, while you dream of the lives once lived here.

You'll be staying in the self-catering ornate garden building, set over three floors connected by a stone spiral staircase.

Play a family game of cards as you relax around the fire, where many moons ago the lady of the house would drink her afternoon tea, and live out your royal fantasies with dinner in the octagonal dining room.

Ride on the miniature railway, take up clay pigeon shooting or even arrange a hot air balloon trip or ride in a horse-drawn carriage, for a holiday your kids will always treasure.

A stay here costs £1679 per week, they are currently taking bookings for later in the year.

UFO at Apple Camping, Pembrokeshire

Image: © Apple Camping

The award for the most imaginative campsite the UK has to offer has to go to this crazy glamping site in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Send astronauts-in-the-making out of this world, staying at this luxury space-themed site, with the main attraction being the bespoke crafted UFO.

Sleeping up to four, and complete with an escape hatch and intergalactic decor. Challenge your kids to a game of Space Invaders on the classic '80s game monitor and dream of outer space.

If your idea of a safe flight is more within the realms of this galaxy, you might prefer to stay in the Jet Star - an authentic seventies plane, complete with original lighting and bar, and an Xbox loaded with games for a first-class night's stay.

Wander in the Welsh wildlife, or venture to the nearby Barafundle Beach - which was voted Wales' number one beach. Harry Potter fans won't want to miss Freshwater West Beach, where The Deathly Hallows movie was filmed, among countless other blockbusters.

This campsite is set to take bookings this summer.

Helicopter Stay, Isle of Wight

Image: © Host Unusual

Flying fanatics will enjoy this incredibly unique converted helicopter on this quirky campsite on the Isle of Wight. Galahad the helicopter is steeped in exciting history that the site-owners will be happy to discuss, and the cockpit comes with spectacular views of the Isle of Wight valley.

Two can sleep in the helicopter body, and a separate double bed attached with a stargazing pod roof will ensure some magical countryside dreams.

If the helicopter isn't the place for you, there's also a huge array of fun accommodation, from quirky shepherds huts to groovy '70s caravans. Take a scenic walk through the fields of Clatterford to Carisbrooke castle and the local village, or stay in the campsite where Piglett's Superstore has everything you need.

You'll be sure to make some new friends at the outdoor BBQ and pizza oven area, and get cosy whilst sharing stories with your fellow campers around the fire pit.

Prices start at £395 for a 4-night stay in the helicopter, taking bookings now.

Pigeon Door, Ryton

Image: © Pigeon Door

Upgrade your yearly camping trip with a glamping holiday in one of the most exciting unusual places to stay in the UK. Get ready for the ride of your life in one of these three quirky double-decker buses.

The authentic buses feature some of their original retro bus seats, perfect to transport you back in time and spark your kids' imagination.

Wake up to your own private garden, complete with a wood-clad hot tub for the luxury family bus holiday you didn't know you needed! Self-catering is easy in the built-in kitchen, and you can step outside with your morning cup of tea and meet some of the horses frolicking in the nearby fields.

While away your afternoons exploring the rolling Shropshire hills, with day trips into the adorable historic town of Shrewsbury will have you feeling every bit the English countryside dweller. Add a bit of excitement to your trip with a visit to Alton Towers.

Pigeon Door is taking bookings now.

Skipwith Station Train Carriage, Skipwith

Image: © Skipwith Station Holidays

If you're looking for unique homestays, look no further than this set of three refurbished train carriages with hot tub access for your next family holiday.

The Lady Deramore, Derwent Mail and Derwent Flyer are all kitted out with underfloor heating, a hot tub style bubble bath and large windows looking out into the beautiful Skipwith countryside.

Take a day trip to the nearby child-friendly city of York and visit the National Railway Museum and York Dungeon, or wander over to Skipworth Common for a picnic and a game of rounders. You'll fall in love with the sprawling garden, complete with badminton or croquet and a host of friendly chickens living on the land.

Cook up a BBQ feast for dinner and finish off your evening with a relaxing dip in your own private steamy hot tub.

Stay as a family from £450 a week, they're taking bookings now.

North Shire, North Yorkshire

Image: © North Shire Ltd

This luxury site in North Yorkshire is the perfect holiday destination to fulfil all your family's fairy tale dreams. Young kids will cherish the memory of the hobbit house, storybook cottage and magical caravans on this beautiful family-run farm in the sprawling North York Moors, just fifteen minutes from the town of Whitby.

Animal lovers will be in their element, surrounded by the family's hens, goats, horses, peacocks and miniature ponies.

Stay in the Hobbit House surrounded by long grassy fields, and you'll be transported into a magical Tolkien reality, made even more special by the magical hand-crafted interiors. Spend your evenings sitting beneath the tall Pine trees swapping fairy tales under the stars.

If you fancy a stroll, the North York Moors are right on your doorstep with hundreds of acres of fantastic countryside to explore.

From £195 per night, they are taking bookings now, which are being snapped up fast!

Geolodge, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd

Image: © Airbnb

Get the ultimate dose of nature in this Area of Outstanding Beauty awarded Welsh campsite. This small family-run retreat is the perfect place to relax in a wood-fired hot tub in the Welsh countryside.

The unusual pods are fully kitted out with bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and log burning stoves.

Outside of your pod, you'll find your bubbling hot tub, an outdoor eating area and cosy fire pit, and most importantly, one of the brightest starry skies that exist in the UK. You won't have time to get bored with all the nearby castles, historic towns, beaches and local restaurants just a short drive away.

Wake up to the incredible panoramic views of the Clwydian Mountains, and try to spot the hoots of the resident owl, who the campsite pods are named after. The perfect place for a country walk through the fields of butterflies and dragonflies where you can spot red kites soaring overhead.

Taking limited bookings now.

The Dodge Fire Engine Boat, Shoreham-by-Sea

Image: © Airbnb

For a truly unique experience, you won't get crazier places to stay than this quirky fire engine and upside-down boat! Climb over Clive, the WW2 Torpedo boat, which is currently being converted into an artist's workshop, and you'll find the rear deck BBQ area where you can meet some of the other campsite guests.

You'll be staying in a boat within a boat within a boat with a galley kitchen created from lots of reused materials salvaged from other boats and the fire engine. Kids will love the challenge sheets that are left for you to spot the interesting items that make up this wonderful bohemian cottage space.

Only £60 per night, The Dodge is taking bookings now for later in the year.

Note: Please check with the individual venue before making plans, as openings and restrictions are at risk of change due to COVID-19.

Main image credit: Mohd Shukri Mohd Yassin / Shutterstock.com

Tyne and Wear The West Midlands West Sussex Scotland North Yorkshire Pembrokeshire Shetland Islands South East England North East England Shropshire East Riding of Yorkshire Wales Isle of Wight United Kingdom Yorkshire and the Humber Herefordshire England Denbighshire

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Written by Emily Munden

Emily Munden picture

Emily Munden

An experienced Londoner, Emily loves to discover new and exciting places in the city, especially with her two younger brothers. She has a passion for fashion and design and is also involved in art charities that facilitate workshops for children with special needs and difficult home lives. Emily is a trained life coach and enjoys writing about general wellness, mindfulness, and healthy relationships.

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