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Child-friendly summer holiday ideas


17 July 2023

School’s almost out for summer, and whilst it’s great news for kids, we understand that this time of year can often be quite daunting for parents.

With the summer holidays often comes the expectation to keep children entertained for the whole six weeks. Not only can finding new and exciting places to go be incredibly challenging, but it can also be a huge strain on your budget.

The reality is, you don’t have to go abroad to give your children the best summer holiday, and you don’t have to book any staycations either. Parents should never feel guilty for not being able to go away, the summer holidays are the perfect time to make new family memories and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

That being said, whether you’re looking for some budget-friendly summer holiday activities or need some inspiration on where to take the kids for a break, we’re sharing all of our favourite ideas.

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The best family holiday locations in the UK

Holidays don’t always have to involve an early morning trip to the airport and a flight to a new country. In fact, we have some of the world’s greatest family holiday destinations right here on our doorstep – especially when the great British weather is on our side.

Here are our favourite child-friendly UK holiday destinations:

The Lake District

Without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the UK, the Lake District is the perfect destination for the whole family to enjoy.

This picturesque region in the North West is known for its stunning lakes, mountains and charming villages. It’s an idyllic place for enjoying family walks and taking in all of the natural beauty, with numerous walking trails suitable for all ages and abilities.

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, there’s also the opportunity to enjoy boat rides on Lake Windermere, visit Beatrix Potter’s former home, or explore the enchanting forests of Grizedale. We love the interactive experiences and adventures that the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction and the Keswick Climbing Wall provide!


If a beach holiday is more your thing, look no further than Cornwall. Home to some of the most stunning beaches in the UK and picturesque coastal villages, it’s the perfect place for kids to spend their days building sandcastles, exploring rock pools, and splashing in the clear waters of places like Porthcawl or Fistal Beach.

It doesn’t have to be all sun, sea and sand though, there are plenty of nearby attractions to keep the kids entertained on cloudy days. We’d recommend heading to The Eden Project for a unique and interactive educational experience, Flambards Theme Park for an exhilarating day out, or Newquay Zoo for an incredible wildlife adventure.

summer holiday on beach in cornwall

Isle of Wight

Located just off the South coast of England, this beautiful island is often overlooked when it comes to UK holidays, yet it offers a bit of everything.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to breathtaking sandy beaches for a seaside day out, and you’re a stone’s throw away from the UK’s oldest amusement park, Blackgang Chine, offering a variety of rides, shows, and play areas to keep the kids entertained.

The Dinosaur Isle Museum is a must-visit for young explorers, and the Isle of Wight Zoo makes for an exciting family day out!

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Wales is often unbeaten when it comes to UK holidays, and Pembrokeshire is the perfect family-friendly destination. Renowned for its breathtaking coastline and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s ideal for the whole family.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park offers miles of sandy beaches, including popular spots like Tenby and Whitesands Bay. Head out on coastal hikes, explore ancient castles, or even take a boat trip to spot seals and dolphins.

Adventure parks, theme parks and water parks can all be found in the area, making for the perfect 3-5 day itinerary with plenty of variety.

pembrokeshire seaside resort in wales

Child-friendly summer holidays abroad

Looking to travel further afield? Whether you’re looking to go abroad with babies, toddlers or older children, there are plenty of child-friendly summer holiday destinations abroad that are perfect for the whole family.

Costa Del Sol, Spain

Due to its close proximity to the UK, Spain has long been one of the most popular family holiday destinations for all ages. Easily reachable within three hours, Costa Del Sol in Southern Spain offers the perfect blend of relaxation and family-friendly activities in a sun-soaked paradise.

Here you’ll find beautiful beaches with Mediterranean waters along with plenty of wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums to keep the little ones entertained.

Algarve, Portugal

Another incredibly popular destination for babies and toddlers, Portugal is easy to get to in around two and a half hours on a flight.

Albufeira is a popular location for both adults and children, where you can find crab-filled rock pools at Olhos d’Agua Beach, watersports at Praia d’Oura beach and Zoomarine, a marine park with sandy beaches, a wave pool and seal & dolphin shows. Fun for all the family!

children playing on the beach in algarve portugal

Antalya, Turkey

Packed with purpose-built family-friendly resorts, Antalya in Turkey is a paradise for parents with children of all ages.

Most hotels are designed with children in mind, often featuring plenty of facilities including giant water slides and kids clubs so you don’t even need to leave the resort! If you do want to venture out, you can check out the impressive historical ruins and spend a day at one of the many amusement parks, aquariums or waterparks.

Crete, Greece

If you’re looking for a mix of culture, relaxation and fun, Crete could be the perfect family holiday for you.

The ideal spot for exploring archaeological sites, taking on stunning hiking trails and relaxing on the many beautiful quiet beaches, there’s something for everyone. It’s the ideal place to plan a fun-packed itinerary which includes the perfect balance of learning more about Ancient Greek history and getting fully involved in some water activities.

Before you embark on your summer holiday, check out our tips for flying with children for the first time to ease any feelings of unease or uncertainty and ensure a fuss-free flight.

Budget-friendly summer holiday activity ideas

As we touched on earlier, the summer holidays don’t always have to involve a holiday. If you’re looking to save some money or simply want to engage in more activities spread out over the course of a few weeks, we’ve got you covered.

Go for a picnic

There’s nothing quite as exciting for children as going for a picnic in the local park or even in the back garden. Find your favourite spot and let the kids help prepare the food as a fun pre-picnic activity. Pack a bat and ball, and you’re good to go!

family picnic in the park

Camp out

Camping offers a great change of scenery for children and all it requires is a tent. This can be done at a dedicated campsite with the whole family, or even in the garden with their friends. Find some fun camping activities like roasting marshmallows and singing by the campfire, and they’ll never want it to end!

Plan outdoor family activities

Getting outside is crucial to children’s development, and the summer holidays are the perfect time to encourage outdoor play and get them away from screens. There are plenty of free outdoor spaces to go to as a family, such as nature reserves and parks with lots of fun to be had. For easy budgeting, pack a picnic or some snacks and you have an inexpensive day out.

Find free family-friendly events

The summer holidays are prime time for free family-friendly activities at local parks, community centres and museums. Check with your local library or any Facebook pages in your area to see what’s going on, and plan them into your summer schedule.

Arrange a movie night

Movie nights don’t always have to involve an expensive trip to the cinema – a cosy night in front of the TV can be just as much fun. Let the kids choose the film, grab their favourite snacks and help them make a movie poster and cinema tickets to make it feel like the real deal.

However you decide to entertain the kids these summer holidays, don’t overthink it. There are plenty of things you can do at home to keep them occupied, and you’re bound to find some fun free activities not too far away if you keep an eye out for them.

If you are looking for childcare solutions from September, don’t forget to take a look at our range of nurseries across the UK on our Find a Nursery page.


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