5 Fantastic UK Family Staycation Destinations

In 2020, with foreign travel potentially off the cards for a while, the staycation is likely to be our vacation of choice. This is our opportunity to get to know pockets of our own country better. In the UK there are amazing cities to explore, beautiful beaches to enjoy and dramatic countryside to marvel at. If you’re looking for UK family staycation ideas we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 5 fantastic UK family staycation destinations.

#COMEBACKLATER This post was written in May 2020 when the populations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were being advised to stay home, and the population of England was being advised to ‘stay alert’ to control the spread of the coronavirus. Please be responsible travellers and check the latest advice in the area you wish to travel to before you go.

Fowey, Cornwall

A picture-perfect harbour town on Cornwall’s south coast, Fowey makes the perfect UK family staycation destination. It’s a small, but perfectly-formed town that tumbles down a steep hill into Fowey estuary. The town itself is full of tempting shops and even more tempting places to eat, but it’s the surrounding countryside, activities on the water and the views which really make you fall in love with the place.

Fowey Estuary

Where to stay

If you’re looking for a top-end family staycation experience you can’t get much better than a stay at Fowey’s hilltop Fowey Hall (especially if you have kids). Alternatively find yourself a cute Airbnb in town like this dog-friendly one which suited our family of four perfectly in May 2019. (It has steep stairs so it’s not suitable for very young children.)

What to do

Take a walk along the South West Coast Path, go on a boat trip up the estuary and visit the town’s own little aquarium. If you have a car you can easily reach the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Lanhydrock from Fowey.

Where to eat

Our favourite place to eat is Sam’s for its great atmosphere and delicious seafood. You can’t book a table so, if the wait doesn’t suit you, book at Havener’s instead or just pop in for a scone with a view over the harbour.

When to go

Visit Fowey at any time of year. The Cornish coast is beautifully dramatic in the winter however you may find some visitor attractions and activities closed. The summer gets busy, especially around regatta time in mid-August. Our top tip is to visit in May and cross fingers for sunny weather.

To find out more about how to spend your time in this glorious coastal town with your family read Things to do in Fowey

Cardigan Bay

If you like stunning beaches, atmospheric castles and the chance to see dolphins, then Cardigan Bay on the Welsh coast should definitely be on your list of places to staycation with kids in the UK.

Mwnt Beach, Cardigan Bay

Where to stay

Immerse yourself in the Welsh countryside and switch off from the outside world during a stay at Sloeberry Farm. The safari tents are equipped with solar lights, kitchen, shower and toilet, comfy, warm beds (bunk beds for kids) and even Chesterfield sofas. Some of the tents come with hot tubs too! Sloeberry Farm is a ten-minute drive from the coast and easily accessible from Cardigan Bay’s many attractions.

What to do

Top of the list of things to do has to be going out on a sea safari from New Quay to spot bottlenose dolphins. Our kids absolutely loved the experience. You can read more about taking a sea safari with kids, and even your dog, here. Hike the coast path, spend the day on the beach, take in a castle or canoe the Teifi River gorge.

Where to eat

Level up your beach fish and chips with a takeaway from The Lime Crab in New Quay. Sit on the harbour wall and watch the sun go down over the bay as you eat.

When to go

Like much of the UK, visiting Cardigan Bay in late spring / early summer or early autumn means you’ll avoid the crowds but you may find that some attractions are closed or weather is inclement. We visited on an uncommonly sunny Easter weekend. We found the crowds on the beaches, but honestly couldn’t think of anywhere we’d rather be at the time.

To find out more about what to do on a staycation with kids in Cardigan Bay read A Glamping Weekend in Cardigan Bay

North Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire Moors, ruined abbeys, historical cities and dramatic coastline are all to be found in North Yorkshire. This beautiful area of England makes an ideal location for a UK family staycation.

Little Seed Field, North Yorkshire

Where to stay

For a truly special experience we recommend spending a couple of nights at Little Seed Field. The views from the glamping pods have to be seen to be believed. The little huts are equipped with sumptuous beds, plus some have bunk beds for the kids. Crockery and cutlery is provided, as well as a fire pit to cook on, but you’ll have to bring a gas stove for any other cooking. There is a communal utility hut next to the showers and toilets (though two pods have ensuites if a trek to the bathrooms isn’t for you) with a mini kitchen – fridge, freezer, kettle, toaster and microwave.

If you’re not a camper, or even a glamper, check out Simonstone Hall hotel in Wensleydale (yes, the same Wensleydale as the cheese). Equally fantastic views and you can fit in a visit to the Wensleydale Creamery and historic Gayle Mill.

What to do

Engage in a spot of abbey-bagging and visit either Fountains, Whitby or Rievaulx abbeys. Get lost in the maze of York’s medieval streets and keep train buffs, both young and old, happy with a visit to the National Railway Museum. Or simply strap on your walking boots and take in the scenery on the coast, the moors or in the dales.

Where to eat

Most visitors to Whitby head straight to the Magpie Cafรฉ for fish and chips, though you’ll have be prepared to queue! We last visited this famous cafรฉ on a chilly April day and were able to get a table inside with a view over the harbour. The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge is a great place to head in any weather. If it’s cold outside huddle indoors and warm yourself with a pie and ale by the fire. In warm weather make the most of its location at the top of the North Yorkshire Moors and sit outside to enjoy the views.

When to go

Avoid bank holiday weekends – the roads get very busy! It can be a great area to explore in winter, but be ready for inclement weather and wrap up against the elements. At any time of year be prepared for sea frets on the coast which drop not only the visibility but also the temperature.

Find out more about great things to do on your North Yorkshire staycation with kids by having a read of Ten dog-friendly activities to do in North Yorkshire with active kids

Peak District

For your next UK family staycation why not try the Peak District? With its beautiful towns, spectacular scenery, endless hiking opportunities plus a plethora of historical houses it’s a great place to spend your holiday.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Where to stay

Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock are all popular locations to base yourself on a staycation in the Peak District. We always stay with family who live near Matlock when we visit but, if you like camping or glamping, I highly recommend checking the Cool Camping website for options. We’ve not had a bad experience with their recommendations yet.

What to do

Chatsworth House is the jewel in the Peak District’s crown. It’s easy to spend a whole day here. The imaginative playground will keep kids busy for hours, but they’ll also enjoy zooming around the formal gardens. Take a cable car ride on the Heights of Abraham in Matlock or stay closer to the ground with a trip on the local steam railway, Peak Rail.

Where to eat

When we visit family in the Peak District we tend to eat at their home or enjoy picnics on outdoor adventures. A great resource for finding family-friendly places to eat is the Peak District Kids website.

When to go

Open all year but, as with anywhere in the UK with steep hills, be prepared for road closures in bad, wintry weather. Do check conditions before you travel.

Croyde, North Devon

Devon’s north coast is a magnet for surfers and there’s plenty in the area for the whole family to enjoy. It’s one of our favourite places to spend a UK family staycation.

Beach huts on Croyde’s beach

Where to stay

The hills around Croyde Bay are alive with campers! If you’re visiting in the summer we can recommend staying at Combas Farm. It’s a 15 minute walk to the centre of Croyde from the main farm buildings. We camped on the top field in a rented VW campervan and were spoilt with views over both Croyde and Woolacombe beaches. If you’re looking for somewhere closer to the beach, or somewhere suitable for a visit out of season you could take a look at Ruda Holiday Park, a Park Dean resort. It’s walking distance from the beach and has an indoor swimming pool. We’ve not stayed here, but we did use the pool one rainy holiday day when we were staying in a self-catered cottage nearby.

What to do

Croyde Bay is a great beach to learn to surf on but, if you prefer not to get battered by waves, there are rockpools to explore and sand dunes to roll down too. Leave the beach behind and take a trip on the Lynton and Barnstaple steam railway, or drive over to the pretty villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, fitting in a ride on the funicular between the two for a special treat. Young kids will enjoy a trip to the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park.

Where to eat

Blue Groove in the village of Croyde is a good choice to go to with kids. Enjoy the views and atmosphere on the sunny outdoor deck.

When to go

For a slightly quieter experience we recommend going in the shoulder seasons (April & May or September & October), though you might not have warm enough weather to get in the sea. If you wish to take your dog on your staycation in Devon be aware that many beaches in the area don’t allow dogs between May and September.

Published by grandadventurestory

Iโ€™m Debbie. Together with 'MrP' and our 7 and 9 year old boys every day trip and holiday we take is an adventure of sorts. Weโ€™re planning a family sabbatical, our Grand Adventure, but in the meantime we love exploring closer to home

25 thoughts on “5 Fantastic UK Family Staycation Destinations

  1. This is great. Thanks for such a thorough guide to some lesser known places in the UK – even though they look awesome. Great post!

  2. I just love the UK and I have lived there before, so I call it my third home. This is an incredible guide and the time is just perfect to have helpful and incredible ideas for a staycation.

  3. Wow! All of these staycation spots look absolutely breathtaking. You make me want to go back to the UK and explore all of these hidden gems. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. There are sooooo many beautiful places in the UK that are perfect for a staycation. I love all these suggestions, Cornwall is one of my favourite places!

  5. Awesome ideas! I seem to have seen more of the rest of the world than I have the UK. So considering I live here, I need to get on these ASAP!

  6. Peake District looks amazing and is definitely being added to my list for the next UK visit!

  7. Great staycation ideas! This is definitely a time when people are more than likely going to stay a bit closer to home! These are helpful ideas for those in the area ๐Ÿ™‚

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