Your Money

The best cheap family holidays in the UK!

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist, Friday, 07 May 2021
Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Sometimes you just can’t beat a summer staycation. Whether you are looking for a week away, a long weekend or a day out with the family or loved ones, here are our best family friendly destinations in the UK.

We’ve made sure that all destinations have lots of activities outside, that will be accessible come rain or shine, as you can just never predict the british weather!

First on our UK staycation list is…

1. Northumberland

Northumberland has something for everyone. With the coast offering all the traditional seaside fun, and the beaches having rave reviews for being some of the countries most beautiful (and clean)!

Seahouses is a seaside town in the north east of Northumberland. Here you can take a boat to the Farne Islands, a national nature reserve known for its puffins, array of bird species and seals. You can also take a drive over the Lindisfarne causeway to Holy Island, another area full of beauty. Here you can enjoy long walks or enjoy the beach.

Nestled on the coast between the Farne Islands and Holy Island you can find Bamburgh. Here you’ll find the spectacular Bamburgh Castle, dramatically positioned next to the sea. It was actually used for filming lots of productions, including the Christmas special of Downton Abbey, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and it featured as Hogwarts for the first and second Harry Potter films. Giving something of interest for all the family!

With plenty of woodland trails, bike rides, and peace and quiet, you should head to picturesque Northumberland  for your deserved break this summer.

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland
2. Isle of Wight

You can find the Isle of Wight just south of Portsmouth and is easily accessed by ferry. In fact, having to reach the island by ferry makes it almost feel as though you are going abroad!

If you love the beach, then the Isle of Wight is a must. There are miles of sandy coastline and rocky beaches perfect for walks or paddling.

You will also find on the Isle of Wight plenty of walking and cycling routes and with a selection of nice restaurants and pubs, there is always something for you to do.

Attractions not to miss include the Needles Rocks and Lighthouse, Blackgang Chine, the Roman Villa, Osborne House and Carisbrook Castle. If you are wanting to visit more than one, perhaps consider an English Heritage membership as it might make it cheaper!

The Needles, Isle of Wight
3. North Norfolk

North Norfolk is a favourite with many, with lots of beautiful beaches and traditional seaside resorts offering you the chance to try fish and chips from every quayside.

Popular spots along the coast include Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton. On the whole beaches are very accessible and can offer endless days of fun.

Top tip: make sure you arrive at the car parks before 10.30am in peak summer as they get very busy, very quickly.

Blakeney Point is another firm favourite with all of the family. Here you can catch a seal tour and spend a morning or afternoon spotting the local residents in their natural habitat!

For other activities away from the sand and sea, try Bewilderwood, a fun adventure park with treehouses and marsh walks. Dinosaur Adventure, is also a great day out, offering a life-size dinosaur trail which kids will love.

Seals in Norfolk
4. Scottish Highlands

It might be far to travel for most, but it’s an area that offers lots of activities for all the family.

When we say the Scottish Highlands we mean the area surrounding Aviemore. Here you will find wildlife parks, a mountain railway, outdoor adventure parks, fishing, grass sledging and miles of beautiful trails to stroll through.

The outdoor adventure parks found in this area offer a range of activities from zip wires, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, gorge walking, kayaking plus much more!

Aviemore is more suited to those looking for an active break, but we think it’s worth it for all the memories you will end up creating.

If you are looking to explore even further 5km south of Aviemore sits Loch an Eilein, a small freshwater loch in Cairngorms National Park – a popular spot for many visitors surrounded by lots of walking trails.

Scottish Highlands
5. Dorset

Dorset is an age-old favourite with everyone when looking for a staycation. There are the seaside resorts of Weymouth, Swanage, Poole and Bournemouth. You can head to the beautiful Isle of Purbeck by driving through the National Nature Reserve or by heading to Sandbanks in Poole to take a short ferry ride across to Studland. Both Studland and Sandbanks beach on a summer’s day can feel as though you are somewhere far away.

If you get a little restless on the beach why not try heading to Chesil beach for fossil hunting, Corfe Castle, Monkey world, aquariums in Bournemouth, Weymouth or Lyme Regis, or you could head to one of the beautiful National Trust properties.

There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Dorset.

Durdle Door, Dorset
6. Cornwall

Cornwall will forever be a favourite UK holiday destination, with rolling hills and beautiful beaches, there is very little not to like. With attractions such as Land’s End, Minack open-air theatre, St Michael’s Mount and of course, the Eden Project, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK!

Hayle is a popular destination, with its miles of sandy beaches. Here there are surfing lessons for older children and adults alike, while the little ones can explore in shallower water and do some rock pooling. And let’s not forget the true reason everyone loves Cornwall, the cream teas, pasties, and ice cream.

St Michael's Mount
7. Devon

Devon will spoil you for choice. In the north of the county you’ll find the stunning beaches of Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, as well as the cobbled streets of Clovelly. You will also find the beauty of Exmoor here as well, giving you endless ways to explore.

If you’re still looking for things to do you could try the Donkey Sanctuary or the Birds of Prey Falconry centre. You can also get up close and personal with puffins and seals on Lundy island, just off the coast of North Devon. You can get there just a short boat ride from either Bideford or Ilfracombe.

In the south of Devon, you’ll find stunning beaches and endless walking and bike tracks, plus all the attractions of Dartmoor, Plymouth, Exeter Salcombe, Dartmouth and Blackpool Sands.

Luckily, no matter where you decide to holiday in Devon a cream tea will always be on your doorstep.

Now for the real question, do you put your jam or cream on first?

Sandy beach in Devon
8. Lake District

If you like to be outside, then the Lake District is probably the perfect staycation for you. As the UK’s largest national park, you can get lost for hours exploring here.

Grab a map from one of the many visitor centres on your way and make sure you stop by attractions such as Grizedale sculpture park. You can also take a steam cruise on the Ullswater and pop into Beatrix Potter’s home in Ambleside.

If you’re wanting something with a little more thrill there’s also plenty of opportunity for mountain biking, climbing, walking, kayaking and canoeing.

Last, but not least, don’t forget about Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England. It boasts fantastic views and a whole lot of fun. While you can definitely walk or cycle around the lake, we’d recommend grabbing yourself a rowing boat and going on a cruise of your own.

Lake Windermere, Lake District

If you’re interested in learning more about saving money, you might enjoy our guide to the UK’s most financially viable locations.

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
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