The Best Wild Places To Explore In The UK This Summer

Rich landscapes are just waiting to be explored once again

Day trips and domestic summer holidays are back. With the planned easing of lockdown, Britain’s diverse and rich landscapes are just waiting to be explored once again. Travelling overseas is likely to remain fraught with uncertainty, so there’s never been a better time to plan out some long weekends and day trips around home turf. We’ve put together dozens of guides to exploring England and the wider UK, and this article acts as a springboard to help you discover new destinations.

National Parks

The UK is home to 15 national parks, 10 of which are in England, two in Scotland and three in Wales. These protected areas of countryside offer dramatic landscapes, thousands of miles of trails, epic woodlands and are a haven for nature. The 15 parks are listed below, along with (in some cases) Kidadl guides to attractions and activities in the area.

England: Broads (Norfolk and Suffolk), Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, South Downs and the Yorkshire Dales.

Wales: Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, and Snowdonia.

Scotland: Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs.

Country Parks

Britain contains hundreds of country parks - areas of natural interest that are smaller than National Parks but still beautiful havens for wildlife (and great day trip potential for inquisitive families). You’ve probably already explored the ones closest to you, but if you’d like to try further afield, check out our guides to country parks in Cheshire, Essex, Herts, Beds & Bucks, Kent, Lancashire, Norfolk and Suffolk. In addition, many National Trust and English Heritage sites come with extensive grounds to explore. You may have to pay an entrance or parking fee, but you’ll get acres of space, and plenty of features of interest. 

Woodlands And Forests

Woodlands make the ideal destination for a memorable family day trip. Kids love exploring the woods, finding fairies or goblins behind every bush, looking out for wildlife or simply playing hide and seek. England has many richly forested areas which cater to family visits. We’ve put together a guide to making the most of the New Forest in Hampshire and Wiltshire. Closer to home (for many) are the many excellent woodlands to be found in Greater London (itself declared a ‘National Park City’ thanks to its millions of trees which occupy about 22% of the capital). The links in the National Parks section provide many further examples.


Beach holidays remain one of the most popular option for families.

Beach holidays remain one of the most popular options for families, and there’s no need to fly overseas to enjoy one. The south coast of England and the fractal edges of Cornwall and Devon are particularly replete with magnificent beaches, while nearby Dorset is famous for its fossil troves. All are sure to be in demand over the summer, as more families take domestic holidays and day trips. You might consider heading instead to other parts of Britain, where equally glorious sand stretches can be found with less of a crowd. 

We’ve put together a guide to the very best beaches by region across England, which is an excellent starting point for exploration. We’ve then provided more detailed guides to the beaches of Dorset, Essex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, and within two hours of London.

You may also like to read our guide to staying safe on a beach in the post-lockdown world. Finally, for a bit of fun, explore how Britain’s favourite beach resorts got their names.

Family Walks

All of the above sections cover places where your family can make the most of the great outdoors. In addition, we’ve compiled several articles offering walking trails for families. Check out these trails in Berkshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, Surrey and within one hour from London

Other Ideas For Exploring The Wild

If you’re still a little cautious about exploring the country, in the wake of lockdowns, then try our guide to destinations where you can go wild without getting close to anyone else, or these socially distanced walks in London parks. Those in the London region might also want to explore these amazing open spaces near the M25, or try climbing these hills on the edge of the city. Wild swimming isn’t for everyone, but for those who are interested, we’ve assembled this family guide. Finally, sculpture parks offer the winning combination of green open space with engaging human culture. We’ve put together a guide to the best sculpture parks in England.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

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