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Great ideas for an active family holiday in the UK

Written by Fiona

January 21 2020

If you are a family that enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring on foot, by bike or on the water, you will be delighted to know there are lots of active holiday ideas and destinations in the UK to suit you.

In recent years, the “staycation” has become increasingly popular for a number of reasons. It is easier to holiday in your own country because you know the culture, language and currency etc.

The value of money is exactly as you earned it, so there is no need to fret over poor exchange rates. In addition, you do not need to worry about passports, visas or other small details, such as  whether the kids will like the food.

Travel planning is straightforward, too, whether you drive, take a bus or train or make use of internal flights and a hire car. Although, if you are choosing a staycation for environmental reasons, it is a good idea to reduce your air travel. 

Activity breaks can be as energy filled or peaceful as you wish, from holidays that provide full-on outdoors entertainment to breaks that can be enjoyed at your own pace. Keeping the kids busy and active is always a bonus for a family holiday.

5 of the best active family holiday ideas

Hire a campervan or motorhome

Explore in a campervan.

A campervan or motorhome offers accommodation on wheels so you can travel where you want without worrying about the next hotel or B&B. You do not need to be tied to one place either. 

Ask the campervan hire company to give you ideas for places to visit or follow one of the famous driving routes, such as the North Coast 500, the South West Coastal 300, the North East 250 or the new Heart 200 in Scotland.

There are plenty of camp sites that have electric hook up and hard standing for campervans overnight or you can find a quiet place to park up and spend a night, so long as it is legal.

Being able to sleep in different places, cook for yourself and enjoy evenings looking out at the stars or a sunset suits many families very well.

Forest holidays

Relax in a forest.

Spending time surrounded by nature, especially trees, is said to be very good for you. The environment helps to calm and de-stress people and it is even thought that the chemicals released by trees can combat some illnesses.

So imagine spending your family break on a forest holiday? Explore acres of natural woodland and miles of winding trails, while staying in a forest lodge or even a treehouse. You’ll also enjoy the chance to see wildlife and how about building a den?  

Campsite camping

Choose a camping spot with a great view and plenty to do nearby.

Modern tents and lodges mean that today’s camping is very different from my childhood memories of soggy canvas and muddy fields. There are numerous campsites to choose from across the UK and my favourites are next to the sea or a loch or lake.

You can pitch your own tent – family tents are huge and spacious – or choose to book a tent that has been pitched for you. Many campsites also offer alternative accommodation in tipis, wooden huts, eco lodges and static caravans so you can pick what best suits your family’s needs and budget.

Wild camping

If you are a more adventures family, why not plan a walking or bikepacking active holiday? All you need is a rucksack each and camping kit. You will want to invest in lightweight equipment to make it easier to walk or cycle between overnight wild camping spots but it does mean you can fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

A good place to start is to pick a long-distance walking trail, such as the West Highland Way, the Great Glen Way and the Pennine Way etc, as your focus for a walk or bike ride.

Active breaks

Rather than choosing your holiday based only on the accommodation (although good quality accommodation is important), why not pick a destination that promises to keep everyone entertained with activities to suit all ages and abilities. 

Active and adventure holiday breaks are a good choice in the UK with all kinds of options, often in one big on-site outdoors arena, such as quad biking, Segways, kayaking, zip lines, climbing, den building and sailing.

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