London is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, yet there’s much more you can do in the UK than visit the capital city. From the gorgeous beaches in Wales and the exceptional museums in York, the United Kingdom has various adventures that will keep your active family occupied.
Family Adventures in the UK
Visit Warwick Castle
Located between Birmingham and London, this medieval castle is one of the best for families visiting the UK. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, the castle sits majestically on the River Avon, and has been the site of many battles over the years.
Visiting Warwick Castle is a must for history buffs, but kids will love it too, with legendary tales of ancient myths, regal royals, and of course plenty of dashing knights and beautiful princesses. There’s even a tale or two involving fairies! Once you’ve explored the chambers, towers and walls, head out into the 64 acres of beautiful gardens and spend time at the mighty trebuchet and the mini-fortress.
Enjoy the Cultural London Landscape
London is the most popular vacation destination in Europe, and this is for a good reason. Although the city is expensive, there are many ways that you can enjoy it cheaply. Some of the favourite tourist attractions include Tower Bridge, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and taking a stroll around the famous Trafalgar Square. If the weather is good, head to Hyde Park for a picnic and boating on the Serpentine. Or if it’s raining, there are plenty of world-class museums to visit, many of them free, including the British Museum and the National Gallery. If you’re maximising time before catching a flight or train, then store your suitcases in left luggage in London so you can fit in a few more sights before leaving.
When evening falls, tuck into tasty dishes in one of the bustling restaurants in Covent Garden (booking ahead is advisable, especially at the weekend), before heading to the theatre to take in a show. There’s everything from musicals and plays to concerts and even magic performances, so if you’re in town for a few nights, why not treat yourself to a couple.
When visiting London, Windsor Castle in Berkshire is a must-see attraction for couples and families alike. It offers an insight into over 900 years of Royal affairs as well as a solid history of England through the centuries. The castle is still a royal residence – one of three that the Queen and her family currently use. It’s the largest inhabited castle in the world, and St George’s Chapel has been witness to many a special occasion, most recently the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Additionally, this is an affordable adventure for you and your kids as you can get an e-Voucher for a specific date, and it’s free of charge for kids below five years.
There are several reasons why you should visit York and its numerous historical attractions. York Minster is the most iconic place to visit, with staggering architecture and the unique Rose Window which is great for photos when the light is right. Across the road the Treasurer’s House is another photogenic stop, and of course you can’t leave without a stroll down the historic Shambles, stopping in quaint cafes and independent boutiques along the way.
After walking along the top of the ancient city wall, and climbing the steps of Clifford’s Tower for superb city views, pop into the York Castle Museum to discover more about the history and see what it was like to live here hundreds of years ago. Then head over to the National Railway Museum to admire iconic British trains, and take afternoon tea in one of the carriages for something a little different.
The ancient city is located not far away from many of England’s national parks, which can be visited on a day trip, and it has a world-class theatre with a variety of performances throughout the year. However, the unique thing about York is that it is a family-friendly city, and it is a great holiday destination for families.
The Making of Harry Potter
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you will love the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London. The Making of Harry Potter is an iconic movie with great sets like the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut, and Dumbledore’s Office. The tour is conducted on foot, and the studio features props, costumes, and some of the secrets used behind the scenes. However, while you won’t find theme park thrills or rides, kids that are old enough to have watched the movie or read the book will be enthralled and enjoy interactive experiences like riding a flying broom.
Enjoy the Barafundle Bay Beach Sun
When you hear about the UK, several things come to mind, but white sandy beaches are not part of it. Yet, this is exactly what you should expect to find at Barafundle Bay Beach, which is located in Pembrokeshire, Wales. While you may opt to visit this part of the country during the warm summer days for your kids to dig in the sand and splash around, west Wales is beautiful throughout the year regardless of the season.
The coastal regions of west and south Wales are some of the most dramatic in the country, and it’s well worth taking some time to explore the region, with rocky scrambles, sandy picnics and even activities such as coasteering which can be done with reputable local activity operators. When visiting this region, you may also want to tour Pembroke Castle, located about ten minutes away from Barafundle Bay. The gorgeous castle is approximately 1000-years old and is a good tourist destination for history lovers.
The ZSL London zoo is a major attraction for visitors from all corners of the world. The main reason is that the zoo is home to over 17,000 animals, with everything from the king of the jungle and bands of gorillas to cheeky lemurs and pygmy hippos. The world’s oldest zoo opened in 1828 and was once home to the collection of animals from the Tower of London menagerie.
There are daily talks and feeding sessions so you can see the animals in action, and there are numerous events on throughout the year. The Animal Adventure petting zoo is a favourite with young visitors, where encounters with sheep, donkeys and pigs are on offer. Take a stroll through the rainforest exhibit and stop by to say hello to the penguins at the beach before heading to the reptile house to see some truly unusual creatures.
Located on the edge of Regent’s Park the zoo is easy to reach if you’re staying in the city, although do allow a full day for your visit as there’s so much to see and do.
When visiting the UK with your family, you will be spoilt for choice. The United Kingdom is packed with several kid-friendly activities and attractions including sandy beaches, exhilarating theme parks, and theatres. However, with such a wide variety of places to go, it may be difficult to choose your next adventure. Whether you’re contemplating on visiting Manchester or any other part of the United Kingdom, the above tips will hopefully help you make a decision.