Family vacation ideas in the UK

The Swannery, photo by Malcolm Etherington

The UK might be a perfect holiday destination for party people, shopping addicts and history buffs alike, but it is also a great place for families who want to combine a relaxing time for the parents with enough fun to keep the kids happy. The UK has more than its fair share of family friendly destinations which work for travelers of all ages. The most difficult thing about choosing a family travel destination is to find something that is interesting for both the adults and the kids, so here are some family vacation ideas in the UK that might do the trick.

The Swannery, Abbotsbury, Dorset

The village of Abbotsbury has some lovely tropical gardens as well as several interesting historical attractions, but if you want something to impress the children, you should head to the Swannery, the only managed colony of mute swans in the world. If you like animals, then you will take a liking to the 600 friendly swans who don’t mind the presence of humans at all. You can see the swans buildings their nests and even be there when the cygnets hatch in May and June!

Jorvik Viking Center, York

Jorvik Viking Center, photo by Alan Sim

In the 1980’s, the York Archaeological fund discovered the remains of a very well preserved Viking city on the future construction site of a shopping center. The city of Jorvik, almost entirely intact under a layer of clay, has since become a tourist attraction that will take you back in time to the dark ages of the Viking invasion of Britain. The city was recreated and brought to life, complete with actors playing the inhabitants, markets, workshops, and even pigsties and latrines.

The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project looks uncannily like a city from hundreds of years into the future: a vast greenhouse covered by bubble-like domes, rising over the green Cornish countryside. Eden is the largest greenhouse in the world, where you can see plants from all over the world, but it is more like a botanic theme park than anything else. There are plenty of activities for children, such as playhouses grown from bamboo and plants.

Cream O’Galloway Ice-cream Factory, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Cream O'Galloway Tea Room, photo by Chris Newman

If you love flavorful, organic ice-cream, then you will love the Cream O’Galloway Ice Cream Factory, and your kids probably won’t need much convincing either. The ice-cream factory has tons of activities for visitors, especially for children: an indoor play area with pirate-themed activities, an adventure playground, kart races, and more adventurous attractions like the Flyin Fox (you’ll ‘fly’ over the race and bike track suspended from a cord) or Down the Hatch (you’ll be lowered into a tunnel, hurtling into the darkness).

The Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, Clwyd

Visiting the Welsh Mountain Zoo is definitely one of the best family vacation ideas in the UK, if you like cute, fuzzy, growling and downright terrifying critters. Recently there have been some new additions to the zoo, like Amazonian parrots (some of which can talk!) and the strange South American agouti rodents.


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