Top 10 UK family holiday destinations

Planning a family holiday? Don't overlook the glorious getaways right on your doorstep - here are the UK destinations that Mumsnetters really rate 

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1. Northumberland


Northumberland has been a Mumsnetter fave for the past few years and we can't see that changing any time soon. The region has something for everyone, and gets rave reviews for its beautiful clean beaches. Bamburgh's imposing castle, dramatically positioned next to the sea, is perfect for imagining 'the olden days' of knights and queens - alternatively, take a boat from Seahouses to the Farne Islands, or drive over the causeway to Holy Island. And don't forget Alnwick Castle, where many scenes in the Harry Potter films were filmed - bliss!

Mumsnetters say: "The Northumberland coast wins for us every time. If you stay in Seahouses you have all the traditional seaside stuff on the doorstep - but we tend to go for a holiday cottage in one of the pretty villages dotted around."

Where to stay: Mumsnet partner has over 350 properties across Northumberland and offers Mumsnetters a discounted rate - find out more.

2. Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has the considerable bonus of being reached via ferry, and therefore very nearly counting as 'abroad'. Beach lovers get vast stretches of sandy coast, plus rocky beaches ideal for paddling, and the entire island has a lovely old-fashioned feel. There are walking/cycling opportunities galore and a surprisingly good section of nice pubs and restaurants, plus an array of attractions including Blackgang Chine, the Roman Villa, Osborne House and Carisbrook Castle (top tip: consider English Heritage membership if you're planning to visit more than one).

Mumsnetters say: "It's never too busy, has some lovely things to do and see, and great places to eat. Steephill Cove is one of my favourite places in the whole world."

Where to stay: Park Resorts have four parks to choose from: Nodes Point, Thorness Bay (both of which offer glamping options), Lower Hyde and Languard. Or consider self-catering at Mumsnet Best winner Nettlecombe Farm

3. North Norfolk

North Norfolk is a firm Mumsnetter fave, with gasp-worthy beaches and traditional seaside resorts offering a plethora of quayside seafood and fish and chip opportunities. There are plenty of English Heritage and National Trust properties, too, and adventure parks to boot. Popular spots along the coast include Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea and Hunstanton. On the whole beaches are very accessible - just be sure to arrive at the car parks before 10.30am in peak summer.

Mumsnetters say: "For a traditional, family seaside holiday, you can't beat Wells-next-the-Sea. It's a bit posh, a bit tacky - in all the right proportions! The beach itself is great for kids; large, sandy with colourful beach huts and a big island of sand dunes."

Where to stay: For a great price on a self-catering break in North Norfolk, check out Mumsnet partner

4. Yorkshire

Yorkshire's a brilliant bet - it's got Dales and Moors, Peaks, National Parks and a breathtaking coastline. Scarborough is great for young 'uns, with a sea life centre, penny arcades, a family-friendly beach and plenty of parks.  

New for 2016: Pack your swimmers and head to Scarborough’s newest attraction, the Alphamare Water Park – a multi-million pound investment scheduled to open at Easter (although do check progress updates before booking) with plenty of slides, a water playground, heated outdoor pool and a spa area.

Mumsnetters say: "If you want seaside, you can't beat Yorkshire. Beautiful coastline. There's Filey for a more traditional, sedate seaside experience - think bucket and spades, fish and chips etc. Then there's Scarborough - still traditional (fish and chips, donkey rides) but a bit more lively with lots of arcades along the seafront."

Where to stay: Mumsnet partner Hoseasons has plenty of parks across Yorkshire with accommodation in mobile homes or lodges - Mumsnetters get a discounted rate too.

5. Scottish Highlands, Aviemore


"There's nothing to do," said no one on holiday in Aviemore, ever. With wildlife parks, a mountain railway, outdoor adventure parks (think zip wires, quad biking, climbing wall, archery, clay pigeon-shooting, gorge walking, kayaking and more) plus miles and miles of beautiful trails, fishing, grass sledging and an indoor 'fun house'... Aviemore is perfect for an active family break. Frankly we're exhausted just reading about it.

Mumsnetters say: "Don't forget that there is a beach there - it's not unusual to be swimming in the loch in blazing sunshine while overlooked by snow-capped mountains!"

Where to stay: Hoseasons has two parks in the region, offering accommodation and a fantastic range of leisure facilities. We've secured a great discount for Mumsnetters too - find out more.

6. Pembrokeshire


Pembrokeshire is home to the UK's only coastal national park, so it's a great spot for an active family break - especially if you're taking teenagers with bags of energy. MNers rate Tenby as a top place to stay, with its fantastic beach, National Trust properties, boat trips and a dinosaur park - plus plenty of wet weather options.

Mumsnetters say: "Probably my favourite part of the country is Pembrokeshire - there is so much space on all of the beaches, and so many to choose from."

Where to stay: For a self-catering holiday in the region, Clydey Cottages won a coveted Mumsnet Best Award. Find out why Mumsnetters rate it so highly.

7. Dorset

If you're holidaying with smallies, then Dorset is a good spot: old fashioned seaside resorts in Weymouth and Swanage, a wide open beach at Studland, fossil hunting on Chesil Beach, plus aquariums, Monkey World and plenty of National Trust and English Heritage properties. You can relive the Enid Blyton books of your youth in Corfe (Blyton regularly visited the area, and the castle is said to be the inspiration for Kirrin Castle). Stop at the pop shop in town for lashings of ginger beer all round.

Mumsnetters say: "We went to Weymouth last year which has a real old fashioned seaside holiday feel. There are even donkey rides on the beach. Lots to see and do in the area - my son is constantly asking to go back."

Where to stay: Hoseasons has 15 different parks available across Dorset, including coast and country retreats, with a discounted rate available for Mumsnetters - find out more.

8. Cornwall

A UK holiday round-up which doesn't mention Cornwall? Impossible. A perennial favourite on the Mumsnet Talk boards, Cornwall has breathtaking coastline, family-friendly beaches and attractions like the Eden Project, Lands End, The Minack open-air theatre and St Michael's Mount. For older children there's surfing lessons, while younger kids can pootle on the beach and do some rock pooling. And let's not forget the cream teas, pasties, and ice cream - Cornwall is a foodies' paradise.

Mumsnetters say: "Bude in Cornwall gets our vote. Fabulous wild beaches - or more tame ones if you prefer. Much emptier than other parts of the Cornish coast, and only just over the Devon border so not too far to drive."

Where to stay: Three properties in Cornwall have received a Mumsnet Best Award: Bosinver Farm Cottages in St Austell, Coombe Mill in Bodmin and Tredethick Farm in Lostwithiel. Otherwise, opt for a self-catering stay with Mumsnet partner

9. Devon

You'll be spoilt for choice if you holiday in Devon. Up t'north you've got the stunning beaches of Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, plus the cobbled streets of Clovelly and the vast expanse of Exmoor to explore, while down south you've the considerable (and varied) attractions of Dartmoor, Plymouth, Exeter, Salcombe and Blackpool Sands. Thankfully, cream teas are served north, south, and indeed everywhere in between.

Mumsnetters say: "We had a great holiday in Devon when our first two were small - we stayed at a caravan park called Ladram Bay which had a nice pool, was right on the beach, and not far from lots of attractions. We went back last year to Ilfracombe which had a great fish and chip shop, lots to do and see, plus wonderful beaches nearby (Woolacombe was my favourite)."

Where to stay: Two self-catering properties within the region have won Mumsnet Best Awards in the last year: Three Gates Farm in Huntsham,  and North Hayne Farm Cottages in Bishops Nymphton.

10. Lake District

Don your walking boots and dust off the three-wheeler buggy at the UK's largest national park - just grab a map from the many visitor centres dotted around, and head off exploring. Popular attractions include the Grizedale sculpture trail, a steamer cruise along Ullswater, and a visit to Beatrix Potter's home in Ambleside - 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of her birth so look out for special events. If you're after something a little more strenuous, there's mountain biking, climbing, walking, kayaking and canoeing readily available. Don't forget the Kendal Mint Cake!

Mumsnetters say: "I love the Lake District, and so do my children. We're going on our first foreign holiday in more than 10 years this year, but it was very much booked on the condition that we can manage a week in the Lakes too."

Where to stay: Mumsnet partner Hoseasons has plenty of parks across Cumbria with accommodation in mobile homes or lodges - click here for a discounted rate.

Images from Visit England and Visit Scotland/Scottish Viewpoint
Gower images © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales


Last updated: 18 days ago