Top 10 UK holiday destinations
Autumnal walks through the woods, a bracing rock-pooling adventure on the beach, or snuggling with a book in front of a cosy fire - there's a lot to like about holidays at home at this time of the year. Here are 10 of the top UK destinations recommended on the Mumsnet Talk boards.
Once Scotland's ancient capital, Perth is the country's newest city as civic status was restored in honour of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The city and surrounding area come highly recommended for a break to enjoy the natural wonder of Scotland with some easily accessible wet weather attractions for all the family. The city itself is home to family-friendly galleries, museums and castles, as well as a leisure complex with indoor pool and play barn.
Outside the city, recommended attractions include the Scottish Deer Centre (with daily talks, feeding sessions, woodland trails and treetop walkways) and Huntingtower Castle, a medieval castle with beautiful grounds that's also home to a rather large bat colony.
- The thing about Perthshire is you've got the amazing scenery and wildlife but you've also got absolutely tons of places to eat, attractions to visit, Perth etc so that whatever the weather you will find stuff to do and have a great time. I've holidayed there as a child and an adult and I would recommend it in a second. Northernlurker
Bamburgh sits between shimmering green countryside and silvery sea, and a walk along its massive beach (shortlisted for Britain's Best Beach award by Coast magazine) will certainly blow away the cobwebs. Since no English holiday spot is complete without an imposing castle, Bamburgh offers a 12th century monolith on an 180ft basalt crag. The village's Grace Darling Museum is fascinating and you can get a boat from Seahouses to the Farne Islands or drive over the causeway to Holy Island. If that's not enough, then a short drive brings you to Alnwick Castle, where many of the external scenes in the Harry Potter films were filmed.
- My DC love the castles, especially Bamburgh. You can easily get to Newcastle (which is a fab city). It is just so vast and empty and beautiful compared to the South East. OublietteBravo
Glenridding, Lake District
The Lake District is a region of incredible beauty, abundant wildlife and cultural heritage and autumn in the Lakes is often drier than summer, which means lovely crisp, clear days. Less touristy than Windermere and Ambleside, Glenridding is popular with walkers. There are trails for all ages and levels, and if you're looking for a challenge the village is the ideal spot for access to England's third highest mountain, Helvellyn (don't forget the Kendal Mint Cake). There's zero chance of exhausting the myriad walks, but if you want to give little legs (or your own) a chance to recover, take a cruise along Ullswater on a steamer or do a day trip to nearby Aira Force for the 60ft waterfall.
- We did an Ullswater walk using the Steamer. We took the boat out to Howtown and walked back to Glenridding. It was long and tiring day, but the boys still talk about it. Create
Located between the four major Yorkshire towns of Scarborough, Whitby, Helmsley and Malton, Pickering is a great base for exploring the region. It's probably best known for its steam railway; it's the southern terminus of the North York Moors Railway - the 'Gateway to the Moors' in guidebook speak. If the weather is nice, take a steam train to Whitby for a coastal adventure, fish and chips and all things Dracula.
For wetter days, York is under an hour away by car or head west to the Sealife centre in Scarborough or east to the James Herriot Museum in Thirsk.
- It's a small market town with a nice swimming pool and a steam railway for when it rains, as well as a few nice cafes and shops. It's about 45 mins drive to York, which has loads to do. 30 mins to Whitby for the coast. Short drive to Dalby Forest and North York Moors national park. I love it there. Barbarapalmer
Birthplace of the industrial revolution and home to no less than 10 museums which tell the town's story, Ironbridge is a fantastic location for a family break. If you think you'll cover all 10 of them, then consider buying an annual museum 'passport' which will give you entrance to all and will save on admission costs. You may however, only have time for the big two: the Victorian Town (Blists Hill) where you can dress up and really immerse yourself, and the Science Museum, which gets the thumbs up for its hands-on exhibits. The gorge and town's namesake bridge (the world's first iron bridge built in 1779) are well worth a visit too.
- I can recommend Ironbridge - both in- and outdoor options are good and it is really beautiful in autumn. Ormally
The birthplace of the humble Bakewell tart, this market town offers plenty of independent shops and cafes – you must try Bakewell in Bakewell – with plenty of country walks across Derbyshire on your doorstep. Chatsworth, Hardwick, Kedleston and Haddon Hall are all easily reached, older children will enjoy the cable car and cavern tours at Heights of Abraham and for the under 10s, Gulivers in Matlock Bath gets rave reviews - but do double check opening times during the winter months.
- There's lots in the town and you're close to Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall as well as Lathkill Dale, Monsall Head and loads of other nice places to go for walks. Spaghettinetti
Broadstairs is one of the 'bustling seaside towns' leading travel guide Frommer was referring to when it ranked Kent among the world's top 12 destinations. It offers everything from Victorian architecture to boutique hotels, exhilarating cliff top walks to gentle browsing around independent shops, and long sandy beaches to outstanding restaurants. You can even visit Bleak House, the summer home where Charles Dickens planned the novel and wrote David Copperfield.
- Broadstairs is lovely and very child-friendly. We spent most of the week in the fantastic old-fashioned Italian coffee shop on the front! Phineyj
Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton's Regency period architecture and coastal location make for a captivating break throughout the year. There's plenty to do, from games and walks on the shingle beach to history and culture in George IV's Royal Pavilion. The Pavilion grounds house the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which offers regular family events and children's workshops. Jump on the world's oldest operating electric railway from Palace Pier down to the Brighton Marina and visit Brighton Sea Life.
- Brighton is lovely. You've got the South Downs, Beachy Head, plus all the history and character of Brighton. I lived there for years and loved it. noyouhavehadaweeintheeggnog
Gower Peninsula, South Wales
An area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), the Gower is a 19-mile long Peninsula famous for its stunning coastline. The cooler weather doesn't stop play here and it is popular with walkers, surfers and families year-round.
On dry land, loose an afternoon exploring Mumbles with its shops, cafes and cosy pubs, or head further inland to explore the Dan-yr-ogof caves, the biggest underground showcaves in Europe and an ideal option in wet weather.
- The beaches are amazing, it's a peninsula so easy to explore. My favourite beaches are Three Cliffs and Pwll Du. Langland and Oxwich are more accessible with little kids and both have cafes and toilets. Swansea is only a 30 minute drive from the furthest point on Gower so you can visit the LC with its 4 storey soft play area, climbing wall and Wales' biggest waterpark with toddler splash areas and a jacuzzi. Arwhine
Lyme Regis, Dorset
This traditional seaside town on Dorset's coast is one of the UK's best spots for fossil hunting, and this is its big draw. Avid dinosaur fans will be keen to hunt whatever the weather so come prepared. To increase your chances of finding fossils, Mumsnetters recommend booking a guided tour (ask at the museum) with price from around £5 per adult.
The town itself has a nice selection of shops, cafes and delis, with accommodation to suit all budgets. Further afield Bovington Tank Museum is great on a wet day and Monkeyworld in Wareham (a fair drive from Lyme) is always popular with kids.
- We love rock pooling and generally mooching. Our children are not old enough to sit still for crabbing but I have fond memories of it. We went in October last year and the weather was so lovely and mild there were people in the sea! TwoFirTreesToday
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Images from Visit England and Visit Scotland/Scottish Viewpoint
Gower images © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales