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The Best Family-Friendly Holiday Destinations In The U.K.

Are you thinking of heading to the United Kingdom with your youngsters and looking for some inspiration? We’re here to make your decision-making process a little easier.

Most people think of the U.K. as an ideal spot for a city break and dream of visiting the likes of London and Edinburgh. In reality, the cities are just a fraction of the fantastic, family-friendly destinations that are waiting to be explored.

To give you some ideas for your next getaway, we’ve put together a collection of our favorite spots for a fun summer or winter vacation. We’ve also added some lesser-known areas for those looking to get off the beaten path.

Get your gang together, and let’s get packing!

What Are The Best Summer Family-Friendly Travel Destinations In The U.K.?

If you’re hoping to spend your summer holiday in the U.K., we’ve got a line-up of superb locations to help you craft your dream retreat.

Cornwall

Any beach bums reading this should put Cornwall right on the top of their must-see list.

Cornish coastal scenery at Porthmeor Cove near Zennor, UK, Cornwall, flowers
Cornish coastal scenery at Porthmeor Cove near Zennor, UK

This southwestern pocket of England is at its best in the summertime. You’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at surfing in Newquay, partake in a shark diving adventure, and discover charming villages dotted around the county. Of course, you also have to try a famous Cornish pasty, a tasty meat and potato-filled pastry.

Give Carbis Cabs a call when you need a ride.

Devon

If rugged cliffs, dreamy beaches, and idyllic local villages are what you’re after, it doesn’t get much better than Cornwall’s equally gorgeous neighbor, Devon.

This southern county has a diverse range of things to see and do. For super fun activities that all the family can enjoy, look no further than Crealy Theme Park and Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. Keen historians can’t skip out on the Kents Cavern prehistoric cave system, while Dartmoor National Park is paradise for hikers. For a more laid-back vacation, Woolacombe Beach is well worth a visit.

Give Devon Fair Cabs a call when you need a ride.

Norfolk

Lying on England’s east coast is Norfolk, a county with an abundance of exciting activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Cromer and Wells-next-to-sea are two pristine beaches that double as pretty sunset spots, the latter of which is just a short drive from Blakeney Head, where seal-spotting tours run from. Norfolk is also home to Banham Zoo and BeWILDerwood, a fun-filled adventure park for younger children.

Father preparing kite with sons on the beach
Father preparing kite with sons on the beach

Ace Taxis is one of the county’s top cab services.

Isle of Wight

Who knew the U.K. boasted some stunning islands of its own right off the west coast?

The Isle of Wight really comes alive during the summer, and you could easily spend weeks here hopping between the many beaches and enchanting historical sights like Carisbrooke Castle and the regal Osborne House. During your stay, be sure to uncover ancient fossils at the Dinosaur Isle Museum and take the chair lift to admire The Needles, the island’s iconic rock formations.

Take the hassle out of getting around with Leader Cabs.

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is a firm favorite amongst Welsh locals when the sun comes out.

In addition to boasting a bunch of the U.K.’s finest beaches, Pembrokeshire is packed full of peaceful spots like the Llys y Fran Reservoir, breathtaking coastal walks, and scenic kayak tours. Oakwood is a nearby theme park that’ll keep all the adrenaline junkies happy, while animal lovers won’t want to miss Folly Farm Zoo.

Solva harbour, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, boats, beach
Solva harbour, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

For a long-standing, locally loved taxi company, Preseli Taxis is the way to go.

Dorset

Considering it shares miles of England’s awe-inspiring Jurassic Coast with Devon, you can expect some pretty sensational scenery in the southern country of Dorset.

With beaches that wouldn’t look out of place amongst Mediterranean islands, centuries-old ruins, and a lengthy selection of child-friendly attractions, Dorset has everything you need for a summer getaway.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth is perhaps Dorset’s most recognizable town and is where you’ll find lengthy stretches of sand and the vibrant Bournemouth pier.

Beach huts at Bournemouth, Dorset, bikes, roads, beach town
Colorful Beach huts at Bournemouth, Dorset

When you’re not spending your days taking a dip in the sea or building sand castles along the shore, make the hour-long trip to the staggering Durdle Door, a vast limestone arch that juts out into the ocean. Add in some visits to the Splashdown Water Park and the Oceanarium Aquarium, and you’ve got a pretty perfect vacation for a family with young kids.

Richard’s Taxi is a reliable cab company serving the Bournemouth area.

Blackpool

Arguably England’s most widely known seaside town, Blackpool is somewhere that’s always packed with families every summer.

Though most people know this East Coast resort for its retro waterfront amusement park and three Victorian piers, this is just a taste of what you’ll find in Blackpool. You’ll have a mix of indoor spots like Madame Tussauds and the Sandcastle Waterpark for those rainy English afternoons, plus Blackpool Zoo and Stanley Park when the sun is shining.

Premier 401000 Taxis is the area’s go-to cab service.

Brighton

A seafront city with a long and storied history, Brighton has gained a reputation as one of the U.K.’s most alluring, family-friendly destinations.

Women throwing arms and legs in air sitting in deckchairs, beach
Women throwing arms and legs in air sitting in deckchairs on the beach.

At just an hour south of London, thanks to the well-connected train system, you can easily combine Brighton with a trip to the capital, though it’s also worth exploring in its own right. Naturally, there’s a good chance you’ll spend a great deal of your time lounging by the beach and ambling along the Brighton Palace Pier. When you’re looking for something a little different, stop by the mesmerizing Royal Pavilion, a museum set in an Indian-inspired palace, or view the city from above at the soaring i360 tower.

BlackHawk Taxis take the stress out of getting around.

Lake District

A hugely popular and affordable vacation destination that’s family-friendly, the Lake District is a scenic national park in northwest England.

As the home of endless walking trails, tranquil lakes, an aquarium, and a wildlife park, you’ll never be short of things to do here. The wide range of activities makes the Lake District an ideal place for big families with children with age gaps or for those who prefer to escape to the great outdoors. You’ll have your pick of traditional guesthouses and camping sites, both of which are worth looking into.

We recommend renting a vehicle to get around, but Lakeside Taxis is a great cab company should you be arriving car-free.

Cotswolds

Spend your holiday in the most enchanting of towns with a visit to the Cotswolds, an expansive, hilly region that’s just a few hours from London.

From cozy pubs and homely guesthouses to real-life TV sets, simply walking past the pretty brick buildings that the Cotswolds is known for is one of the best things to do here. Unsurprisingly, your children will likely tire of the architecture and scenery long before you do. That being said, you’ll have no problem keeping them busy, as the Cotswold Farm Park, Birdland Park, and the Motoring Museum will do the trick.

Traditional Cotswold village, England, bridge, old houses
Traditional Cotswold village, England

The main Cotswolds District can be explored on foot, but Connect Cars allows you to hop between the different towns and attractions.

What Are The Best Winter Family-Friendly Vacation Destinations In The U.K.?

As long as you’ve packed plenty of layers and all your coziest clothes, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the U.K.’s extraordinary winter hotspots.

London

One of the world’s liveliest and most coveted international cities, London is on just about everybody’s list. If you’ve been wondering where to travel as a family with kids of different ages, the English capital will be exactly what you’re after.

It’s especially captivating during the winter months, mainly due to the incredible Winter Wonderland festival in Hyde Park. Ice skating, funfair rides, and the Bavaria-inspired food village are just some of the things to look forward to here. Visits to the Warner Bros. studios, London Zoo, and bucket list spots like the Tower of London are also musts.

Blackberry Cabs and Waterloo Cabs are two excellent taxi companies.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s picturesque capital could rival any fellow European city for its wintertime charm.

Anyone visiting during the lead-up to the festive season will have to check out the Edinburgh Christmas markets. Other essential spots to add to your itinerary include the Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. If you or your little ones are Harry Potter fans, you’ll love The Elephant House, a cozy cafe where J.K. Rowling penned some of the earliest books from the series.

Capital Cars is among Edinburgh’s oldest and best-loved cab companies.

Cardiff

The Welsh capital has its fair share of attractions to check off your to-do list.

Between practicing your swing at Treetop Adventure Golf, diving into the world of science at Techniquest, and the dazzling Christmas markets, you and your clan certainly won’t have a chance to get bored in this buzzing city. Don’t forget to squeeze in a trip to the 2,000-year-old Cardiff Castle during your stay, too.

Welsh Dragon Flag
Welsh Dragon Flag

Cardiff is very walkable, but Dragon Taxis Cardiff will take you around if your legs start to give in.

Yorkshire

As one of England’s best-loved and most postcard-perfect counties, Yorkshire has rolling hills, quaint villages, and fascinating history in droves.

The region boasts ancient Roman cities and never-ending green landscapes, though it’s often most known as the birthplace of the mouthwatering Yorkshire Pudding. This egg and flour-baked treat is something you absolutely have to try while you’re here.

York

Edinburgh isn’t the only U.K. city with plenty of Harry Potter ties, as York certainly gives the Scottish capital a run for its money.

When you’re not exploring the first film’s filming locations, make time for visits to the National Railway Museum, York Minster, and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. If you have the time, venture into the rural moorlands of North York Moors National Park, or do something a little different and get lost in the winding York Maze.

Streamline is among the best and oldest taxi services around.

Liverpool

England’s only UNESCO City of Music and the hometown of The Beatles, Liverpool has made quite a name for itself over the years.

Albert Dock at Sunset in Liverpool, bridge, river
Albert Dock at Sunset in Liverpool

Beyond the thriving music scene, this northern city has an exceptional collection of museums, including Imagine That! Science and Discovery Center, the Museum of Liverpool, and the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The latter two are both free to enter, which is ideal for families on a budget. If you’re traveling with toddlers, Bubble’s World of Play, a soft play area, and the Blue Planet Aquarium are incredibly toddler-friendly.

Liverpool has a ton of great taxi companies, such as ComCab and One Call Taxis.

What Are The Best Unusual Family-Friendly Tourist Destinations In The U.K.?

Maybe you’ve visited the U.K. a bunch of times and are looking for some fresh ideas, or you simply want to explore somewhere a little different with your family; whatever your reason, we think you’ll enjoy the myriad of alternative options below.

Northumberland

Northumberland is a county nestled along the Scottish border steeped in history and old-world charm, perfectly suited for a more unique travel experience with your kids.

Take your kiddos on a journey back through time with stops at castles like Alnwick and Bamburgh before exploring the untouched English countryside at Northumberland National Park. While you’re in the area, take advantage of some of the country’s darkest skies and make a visit to the Kielder Observatory for some star-gazing. As if all that weren’t reasons enough, Northumberland is also a remarkably cheap place to travel with kids and is quite budget-friendly.

Both Alnwick Wizard Taxis and Sovereign Taxis have been serving the region for years now and making getting around simple.

Northumberland Awaits: Family-Friendly Flights!

Bristol

Often seen as a day trip or weekend break destination from London, Bristol has much more to offer than it gets credit for.

Hot Air Balloons over Clifton Suspension Bridge at Sunrise
Hot Air Balloons over Clifton Suspension Bridge at Sunrise, Bristol

Although Bristol has an easygoing vibe, it’s brimming with a wealth of sights to see and things to do. When you’re visiting with kids, you won’t want to skip museums like Aerospace Bristol, boat trips along the harbor to admire ships like the SS Great Britain, and walks through the serene Leigh Woods.

You can’t go wrong with taxi companies like Bristol Taxi Starline Company and Veezu Bristol.

Peak District

A national park that promises stellar landscapes, calm surroundings, and a sprinkle of history, the Peak District will tick all the boxes for adventurous and outdoorsy families.

At less than an hour from the busy streets of Manchester, the Peak District feels like a world apart from England’s bustling cities. There are numerous straightforward hikes that little explorers can enjoy, such as treks to The Roaches and the Torside Reservoir, as well as adorable villages like Bakewell and Edensor. The district’s four caves, especially the Peak Cavern, are fascinating for all ages.

A bunch of taxi companies are dotted around the park, including Pacman Taxi and Penny’s Cars.

Peak District: Perfect for Family Holidays – Book Now!

Scottish Highlands

Witness the legendary and infamous Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, one of the U.K.’s most magnificent mountainous regions.

Though it’s often thought of as a spot for seasoned hikers, you can easily discover the area’s dramatic vistas and countless freshwater lakes, known as lochs, with your little ones in tow. After you’ve made your way to Loch Ness, we recommend tackling some of the walks around the Carrbridge Woodlands and a stop at the Highland’s Folk Museum. Before you leave, head to the Highland Wildlife Park and encounter the likes of polar bears, red pandas, and snow leopards.

Though it’s often easiest to rent a car of your own, the team at Highland Taxis can help you to get around the area.

Scottish Highlands Adventure for the Family!

Birmingham

Birmingham is packed full of industrial-era history for grown-ups, but that doesn’t take away from its impressive roster of child-friendly experiences.

Birmingham Town Square, clocl tower
Birmingham Town Square

Starting with a popular spot amongst those young and old, Birmingham’s Cadbury’s World features a chocolate-making demonstration, Cadbury-themed funfair rides, and the world’s largest Cadbury store. Though it’s pretty challenging to top that, the Wildlife Conservation Park, SEA LIFE Aquarium, and electric boat rides along the canal are just as exciting.

Enroute Taxis and St. Paul’s Cars are two cab companies you can trust.

Oxford

Its prestigious university and Gothic and Baroque architecture have really put this glamorous city on the map, with Oxford establishing itself as a must-see spot for visitors to England’s south.

Younger kids will have the most magical time at the storybook-themed Oxford Story Museum and the Museum of Natural History, while older children can learn the ropes of punting. An old, local tradition, punting requires you to steer a flat-bottomed wooden boat along the river, which is much more arduous than you might expect!

Explore Oxford with 001 Taxis, one of the city’s favorite cab companies.

Conclusion

Whether it’s surfing in Cornwall, trekking in the Scottish Highlands, or browsing through Cardiff’s Christmas markets, the U.K. has something for every kind of traveler and family.

Although we’ve compiled our top recommendations for winter and summer, it’s worth noting that many places in the U.K. are year-round destinations, so you’ll have plenty of options regardless of when you visit.Another factor to keep in mind is how well-connected and relatively compact the U.K. is. This means you can easily group a handful of the best family-friendly destinations together for one action-packed family trip!

Want more interesting tips on how to travel with your kids? Read more Travel with children articles!