Visit The Seaside
Ice cream, donkey rides and paddling by the seashore – breaks by the seaside are a truly classic kind of British holiday. Head to Brighton for the pebble beaches and head spinning rides on the pier, or to Bournemouth, famed for its warm microclimate and many miles of golden sand. Beaches are a great place for lively activities and relaxed ones alike: hunt for fossils or fly a kite, or (if you’re lucky) do some sunbathing and gently play in the sand.
That said, keep an eye on the weather. An entire day at the beach in unfavourable or chilly conditions is fun for no one, so contingency plans are a must. Another issue to contend with is the crowds. Driving in circles in search of a parking space – only to then discover that there’s no room on the beach – isn’t the best way to spend quality time with the family. Try to find secluded coves or go on cliff-side walks if you’re keen to avoid the masses.
Visit The Countryside
A holiday in the country can be a real breath of fresh air, particularly for city-dwellers who can look forward to life at an entirely different pace during their break. As well as giving the whole family a welcome break from TV and console screens, you can use the opportunity to get back to nature and enjoy the refreshing sights and sounds of the great British outdoors.
However, the change from a faster-paced lifestyle can often mean boredom for kids, so while you might be looking forward to relaxing, it’s important to have things to do scheduled, too. Be wary of camping – it’s all very well planning outdoor rambles, but if the weather isn’t on your side you may end up with grumpy and fun-starved little ones. Extra difficulties can be raised if you set up camp miles away from the nearest amenities. Instead, try combining countryside with convenience and staying at a holiday cottage, farm or Center Parcs village. Center Parcs is a particularly good choice for those looking for activities to keep them busy, with a wide selection of outdoor and indoor pursuits on offer and many of these suitable for all ages.
Visit The City
There’s a huge advantage for those holidaying with kids in taking a city break – namely, just how many attractions there are. Shopping centres, museums, cinemas, playgrounds and restaurants abound. UK breaks in smaller cities such as York or Oxford make great choices for those visiting as a family, as they offer enough to see and do to keep everyone entertained, but are just small and quaint enough to not feel intimidating. York is great for educational activities, such as following the beautiful ancient city walls or visiting the Jorvik Viking Centre. Oxford is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, or hire a boat and do some lazy punting down the river. (Harry Potter fans will be enthused to learn that they can also join in with Potter-themed tours, and explore local areas where film scenes were shot.)
Nonetheless, city breaks can cause problems for families. While there may be many family-friendly attractions to amuse yourselves with, these will undoubtedly be very busy, and particularly so during holiday seasons. Always remember to think about your movements in advance (and take into account the extra time you might need to travel here and there, as the cities themselves will be more crowded). Always be careful of ‘overdoing it’; little legs can get tired, and trying to cram too many activities into a single day, including the time it takes to travel between them, will mean none of them are enjoyed at all.
What are your favourite destinations for a family holiday, and how do you overcome the challenges of travelling with kids?
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