Wherever you wander…
Despite my deep love of travel and exploring new countries and cultures, there’s simply no place like home. We may not enjoy the best weather nor the world’s greatest riches, but our small island offers a diversity admired by many. Although it’s always difficult to choose amongst the many, here are my 5 favourite locations in the UK, spots not always on the tourist path but fabulous destinations for a family holiday.
Beaches, Bastions and Breath-Taking Locations
Let’s start off by saying I love my little island. No matter where in the world I travel there really is no place like home, and despite the drizzling British rain and he inconsistent seasons that all blur into one , I never cease to find new hidden treasures that remind me what a “sceptred isle” I live on.
While many of my peers, fed up of the wash out summer, head off in their droves to Mediterranean shores for their annual break, I search out new places and old and set off with the sat nav and sense of adventure. Yes, the wellies and waterproofs are packed too, but more often than not the weather’s threats are rarely fulfilled and if they are, we simply convince ourselves they add to the atmosphere. After all Scotland simply wouldn’t be quite the same without the mists and the midges..
So where do we travel? Here are some of our favourite, family holiday locations in the uk.
Pembroke – ‘The Welsh Caribbean’
It’s easy to sea why Pembroke has earned its title of the ‘Welsh Caribbean’. Long, soft sandy beaches stretch for miles along cliff-bordered coastlines, the sea clear and blue. Broadhaven beach and Barafundle Bay regularly feature in guides for Britain’s Best Beaches, the surrounding countryside is also a feast for nature lovers. What’s more, the areas isn’t over run by tourists, many of its treasures remain largely unknown by the hoarding summer masses and you’ll never be jostling for space on the beach.
As well as the unspoilt natural beauty of the South Wales coast, Pembroke is home to many child friendly attractions – Oakwood Theme Park, Folly Farm, Heatherton Activity Centre provide all weather entertainment, while nearby towns like Tenby give a taste of old fashioned British seaside holidays.
We love Pembroke so much, we’re visiting the area twice in 2014. From the lovely renovated buildings in Stackpole in July on our Pembroke Holiday through to the end of August when we return again, staying right beside the spectacular Broadhaven Beach.
The English Peak District
Centrally placed between London and Manchester, the English Peak District is a hidden treasure often missed by the many who speed past on the the M1, but warmly regarded by those of us who stop off and while away our time in the beautiful countryside with rolling hills and dales, the ravaging gorges and underground caves. Enjoy the views, visit the quaint market towns like Ashbourne and Bakewell or pull on those waterproofs you packed and go walking in some of Britain’s best walking country.
Child friendly attractions abound making this another ideal location for kids holidays in the UK. Visit the Heights of Abraham with the cable cars and mountain views, the Blue John mines for those wanting underground adventures or for the adrenalin hungry, Alton Towers is but a short drive.
The Peak District is the home to many of our Single With Kids’ breaks – and you can often find us camping in the hills and dales or enjoying the snow covered delights in November, at our lovely Christmas Party Weekend.
The Timeless Beauty of Northumberland
Castles on the beach, a sandy wilderness stretching for miles, puffin bedecked islands and fabulous countryside – it’s easy to see why Northumberland joins the list.
In the furthest north eastern corner of England and not known for its warm breezes and endless sunshine, Northumberland is another hidden treasure that remains largely uncommercialised and resplendent in it’s natural glory. Bamburgh Castle is a site to behold whilst quaint fishing villages such as Seahouses provide a warm local welcome as well as a great fish and chip supper by the harbour. Northumberland is also a good spot for touring – you’re just a hop, skip and jump away from the Scottish border, or head inland to visit towns like Hexham, or visit Kielder Water.
Breathtaking views, sweeping cliff backdrops, soft sand beaches and quaint towns – Dorset has all this and much, much more. The Jurassic coastline is not only dramatic, but its fossil flecked cliffs stretch back 200 million years to prehistoric times, and the area has been designated a Natural World Heritage site. The beaches are soft sandy and you’ll find secluded coves and golden sands. Towns like Swanage retain a quintessential English seaside town character, with bustling shops and restaurants.
Outside of fossil hunting or the long beach walks, Dorset also has a wealth of child friendly attractions to appeal to visiting families. Visit Corfe castle, go kayaking or visit the nearby Monkey sanctuary – there’s something for all.
We’ve held a number of single parent holidays in Dorset over the years, our 2014 summer destination is in Studland, a little village on the outskirts of Swanage – Dorset Delights.
As a country girl at heart, cities don’t sit easily in my list of favourite places. York however isn’t typical. Small for a city, it’s medieval streets are largely pedestrianised making this an easy location for a sneaky family weekend break. Influenced by the Romans, the Vikings and a variety of other marauders over the centuries, York strikes a great balance between stunning architecture, fascinating history and enough home made chocolate shops dotted in between to keep the energy levels high.
The Jorvik museum recreates life during the Viking invasion, whilst the York Dungeons and Ghost Tours satisfy the childish fascination in the macabre. A great location for kids holidays, with something for adults too.
For anyone wanting a break from the city bustle, the Yorkshire countryside is green, lush and with rolling hills and dales.
The list could be endless (but fortunately this post won’t be!). I haven’t had a chance to mention Norfolk, Edinburgh, North Wales, Herefordshire, the Highlands or many other locations that draw me back time and time and time again. I’m sure they’ll feature somewhere sometime in this blog as they creep up on our holiday calendar. I’m sure there any many hidden UK treasures that I haven’t yet discovered – all suggestions are gratefully received – my case is ever ready.