With the weather in the UK being somewhat unpredictable to say the least, parents with younger children understandably look for family holidays in UK that will not be completely ruined should the weather start playing up. Indeed, what is normally considered foul weather can actually add to the excitement in an area like Cumbria – provided you take the right clothes with you and there are other activities and attractions close by to keep the kids in the party pleasantly occupied.
The English Lake District has been a firm favourite with native holidaymakers for many decades now, and whether it’s bucketing down, as often happens, or the sun is shining, the kids always love it here.
Even if you have no intention of tackling the summit of Helvellyn and neighbouring peaks to take in the view, just a short boat trip on the likes of Lake Windermere will be more than enough to fully appreciate the vastness and breathtaking beauty of this unique corner of Britain with its glacial lakes, soaring peaks and legendary fells.
Most of the best attractions here are also completely free, with plenty of walks along the lake shores and in the surrounding hills that have been especially designed for different levels of expertise, families included. You can take pleasure boats and launches onto most of the lakes, and there are picturesque towns like Bowness on Lake Windermere for shopping and refreshments.
Cornwall has long been a popular UK holiday destination because of its world-famous beaches, sublime summer climate and wonderful scenery. It’s one of the most attractive parts of the British Isles and has a range of attractions for holidaymakers, with visitors flocking to the hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, camping and caravan sites both in the winter and in the summer months.
The entire coastline is pitted with rocky coves and neat little fishing villages with fine views across the sea, and the beaches here are second to none. On the northern shoreline stretching away from Newquay it’s a veritable surfers’ paradise and as you move further towards Land’s End you encounter St Ives and other remarkably attractive seaside towns that have drawn visitors since Victorian days.
This is where many of the best beaches are to be found too, and further inland there are the wild and wonderful moorlands where scattered castles, abbeys and abandoned tin mines create a mysterious and atmospheric landscape to explore.
Scotland has its own distinctive character, somewhat more rugged than you’ll encounter south of the border perhaps but no less welcoming, and there are plenty of things to do for families worried about the weather prospects.
On fine days you can get out and about on the roads to see the fabulous scenery of gorse- and heather-covered peaks, or stay in the great urban centres like Glasgow or Edinburgh when it gets wet and cloudy. There are wildlife parks, aquariums and zoos to visit as well as some of the best castles in the UK, and many urban attractions are free, such as Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland and the Riverside Museum in gritty Glasgow.
The Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales has a rich cultural heritage and its great range of wildlife and extensive sandy beaches attract families whatever the weather. It’s an ideal region for activities holidays, with cycling and rambling particular favourites, and there are lots of local attractions such as museums and adventure parks that don’t depend on sunshine for their enjoyment. In Dalby Forest kids can swing through the trees like monkeys, or at Bedale visit Aerial Extreme for adventure rope courses that all the family can take part in. With steam railways bisecting the countryside and a landscape with its fair share of ruined castles and abbeys, there’s plenty on offer here for everybody throughout the year.
David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.