Family days out are so much fun. School holidays can sometimes mean bored children but it doesn't have to be that way. One of the easiest ways to keep children entertained during school half-terms and holidays is to plan a special day out or book a family-friendly break. A change of scene to a place with plenty of fun activities and amazing local attractions can be good for the whole family. Here's some inspiration for great family-friendly days out in Cornwall, Somerset and Wales plus where to stay and top tips for keeping children of different age groups entertained. 

Surfing boy in Looe, South CornwallTrust me, as a mother of two teenagers, your sanity will thank you! I have been to all these places and personally recommend them for children and adults alike.

Holidays with Babies to 4-year-old Children

If this is your first holiday with a baby or toddler, then you’re lucky because you can still take advantage of off-peak prices before they start school. In some ways, children under the age of 4 can be easier to entertain than older children. The key is to have something simple up your sleeve for when they get bored and allow all-important nap times for babies and toddlers. Swimming pools, aqua parks, beaches, outdoor playgrounds or green spaces to run around with a ball and indoor soft play are all ideal at these ages.

Toddlers on the beach

Holidays with 4 to 11-year-old Children

Children between the ages of 4-11 can be a lot of fun to go on holiday with and it might be the first time they go to a theme park. Fun on the beach or in swimming pools and aqua parks is also wonderful for children of this age and for younger children, a bucket and spade and suitable sun protection is all you need for a day or two! Water sports and fossil-hunting can also be very popular with this age group, as can historic castles and other family attractions with children's activities. 

Children in Thetford Forest, Norfolk

Holidays with 11 to 16-year-old Children and Teens

Children of 11 and older are often glued to their screens and it can be hard to prise them off. Creating a way for them to involve their phones may help you even if it’s simply encouraging them to take photos of the scenery around them. School children studying history might be inspired by a visit to a castle or historic place of interest. They might say they’re only interested in the rollercoaster rides at the theme parks, but they could enjoy both! Some tweens and teens just want to be in the water, whether it’s surfing, kayaking or climbing over a Total Wipeout style aqua park, like the one in Cornwall!

1. CORNWALL: Best Places to Visit with Children

Crantock Beach, North CornwallCornwall is a great place to go with children. Full of family-friendly beaches and lovely villages with traditional eateries, Cornwall feels like another country thanks to its microclimate that makes it the sunniest part of the UK with the mildest temperatures. So, if it’s an outdoorsy, beach or pool holiday you’re looking for, head to Cornwall this summer.

The Eden Project

One of the top family attractions in Cornwall is the Eden Project near St. Austell, which is famous for having the largest indoor rainforest in the world and offers a full day out brimming with educational fun. There are plenty of child-focused events and activities with a focus on ecology and a café and picnic areas so you can stay all day if you want to (and you will!)

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Another great day out is the Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey, a 19th-century style botanical garden that is ‘the best natural playground ever’ with its network of stunning gardens, curiosities and woodland walks. Set in over 200 acres, it’s a wonderful place with a jungle area, an outdoor adventure play area and a farm full of adorable animals alongside raised boardwalks, giant exotic plants, pools, wildlife and one of the longest rope bridges in Britain! A magical experience for children and adults alike!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Flambards Theme Park

Whatever the weather, Flambards Theme Park is not to be missed. Another full day out with exciting rollercoasters, log flumes and go-karts, Flambards also has a lot of amazing indoor attractions that are suitable for all ages, including an educational recreation of a Victorian Village, interactive Britain in the Blitz experience and Chemist Shop Time Capsule. Fascinating, fun and full of history, Flambards really does have something for everyone with plenty of outdoor adventure playgrounds and indoor soft play for younger children and interesting exhibitions of vintage wedding dresses, aviation and motorbikes. On rainy days you can buy a discounted ticket to enjoy just the indoor attractions.

Tintagel Castle

For a brilliant outdoorsy day, take a walk across the amazing new footbridge at Tintagel to the ruins of Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. It’s a fairly easy and spectacularly beautiful walk up the hill where you can take some amazing photos of the stunning bronze sculpture on top with the cliffs and the sea in the background. You can also walk down the steps to the beach here for more incredible photo opportunities. The village of Tintagel itself is full of traditional British eateries and gift shops and there’s ample parking too. It’s wise to book in advance to see this fascinating site, however, especially in summer.

Family-friendly Holiday Homes in Cornwall

If your family loves TV’s Total Wipeout, stay at Vercana Lodge, which sleeps a family of 4, has a private hot tub and access to the fantastic Total Wipeout style aqua park!

If glamping in a safari tent or geodome is more your style, then stay at this award-winning 5-star holiday park with a heated outdoor swimming pool and so much more.

Find out more in our short Guide to Cornwall

2. SOMERSET: Best Places to Visit with Children

Wookey Hole caves, SomersetMost people booking a UK holiday tend to think first of Devon and Cornwall, but Somerset should definitely be high on your list. There are so many wonderful places to go for families in Somerset, with a choice of gorgeous beaches, lush green countryside and amazing attractions.

Cheddar Gorge and Show Caves

The village of Cheddar is world-famous for its cheese, but it also has other treasures. Spend a day at Cheddar Gorge and Caves to explore the beautiful illuminated underground caves, try rock climbing, adventure caving and the escape rooms or stroll through the Museum of Prehistory. You can see the hidden chambers of a cave where prehistoric man once lived or, if you’re feeling energetic, try climbing the 322 steps of Jacob’s Ladder to the Lookout Tower or enjoying a three-mile clifftop walk with stunning far-reaching views across the Mendip Hills. Suitable for children over 8, the footpath is rocky and steep in some places and practical clothing and walking boots are advised. Junior adventure caving also starts from age 8 but younger children can still walk through the main caves with parents and enjoy the museum.

Jacob's Ladder, CheddarWookey Hole

The unusually named Wookey Hole is a fun-packed full day out for all the family with over 200 attractions! Just 15 minutes from Cheddar, Wookey Hole also has stunning illuminated underground show caves and adventure caving, with so much more, particularly for primary school-aged children, although adults will love this place too. There’s an animatronic dinosaur valley, fairy gardens and pirate island adventure golf plus a circus show and 4-D cinema.

Brean Splash Water Park

Brean Splash is a fantastic water park with amazing water slides and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The seaside pool has waterslides for under 12s and there are three further waterslides for older children and adults - the River Ride, Serpentine Slide & Turbo Drop slides where age and height restrictions apply. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult at all times and non-swimmers are encouraged to wear armbands and buoyancy aids.

Historic City of Bath

Just an hour’s drive from Cheddar is the beautiful historic city of Bath famous for its Roman baths, an ancient religious spa with its original temple, sacred spring and a fascinating museum with an incredible two thousand years of history. The Roman Baths run special activities for children during school half terms and holidays. History and literature fans should head to the Jane Austen Centre with its exhibition on the famous author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and many other novels. There are talks and activities plus an opportunity to dress up in Regency costume, see the life-size waxwork of the author herself, and enjoy the cakes and treats in the Regency Tea Room.

City of BathFamily-friendly Holiday Homes in Somerset

For eco-friendly luxury with a private hot tub and countryside views, stay in the heart of Cheddar in these stunning eco-Lodges with private hot tubs.

If glamping is more your style, book this holiday park in Burnham-on-Sea, next to Brean Sands, that has a packed live entertainment schedule in the peak season including music and comedy acts, plenty of fun events for all the family, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. 

Find out more in our brief Guide to Somerset. 

3. WALES: Best Places to Visit with Children

Snowdonia National Park, North WalesZip World

For adventure-loving families, Zip World in Wales has the highest zip line in Europe for an exhilarating family experience! The amazing Zip World has three different sites offering adventure caving in underground slate caverns, quarry go-karting and thrilling forest adventures including an amazing forest roller coaster which is the UK’s only alpine coaster of its kind! Have fun at the fantastic treetop adventure course and brave the Skyride, Europe’s highest giant swing! The minimum age for some of these adventures is just 3 years old with age and height restrictions on some. Fforest coaster fun

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park is a spectacular place for walking, with rugged mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes, medieval castles and long sandy beaches. It's an amazing open space that's popular with horse riders and boasts some of the best mountain biking facilities in the world. The golf courses here, including the famous Royal St David's Golf Club at Harlech, have breath-taking backdrops and there are also water sport adventures on offer include surfing and kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and white-water rafting! If that all sounds like too much exertion, you could take a nostalgic trip on a steam train to enjoy the beautiful scenery sitting down.

Family-friendly Holiday Homes in Wales

For a range of activities on your doorstep, stay at this Coast and Countryside Retreat, an amazing place for all the family, with an on-site swimming pool, a health and leisure club with a luxury spa and during the summer months there's an extensive adventure activity programme with archery, climbing, raft-building and more. There’s also a range of live entertainment on offer, including comedians, magicians and other great acts. 

Find out more in our short Guide to North Wales.

Looe Beach, South Cornwall Top Family-friendly Activities to Try This Year:

1. Water sports including surf school, kayaking, paddle boarding/Flow Rider for anyone looking for an alternative to surfing

2. Geocaching for older children and teens who won’t go out without their phones

3. Cycling through the countryside or woodland trails specifically for families

4. Mountain and hill-climbing, coastal path and woodland walking trails

5. Boat rides to see dolphins or seals or simply just to enjoy the water

6. Zoos, farms and aquariums

7. Castles, museums, cathedrals and art galleries

8. Botanical Gardens and stately homes with grounds

9. Theme parks with rollercoaster rides and other attractions

10. Ziplining, Go Ape and other outdoor adventure activities

11. Steam engine rides

12. Live entertainment/ circus plus circus skills activities

13. Underground show caves

14. Beach fun/ rock pooling

15. Horse/pony/donkey rides

16. Adventure golf

17. Dinosaur fossil hunting

Children at Snowdonia Holiday Park

Don’t forget to pack…

1. The sunscreen and sun hats, and to keep reapplying the factor 50 sunblock to young skin. The sun can burn even in the UK so it’s a good idea to dress children in UV suits for swimming as the sunblock can easily wash off.

2. Snacks and drinks. Refreshments make even the grumpiest of toddlers and teens happier so make your life easier by packing healthy cereal bars, savoury snacks and drinks you know your children like. Bringing refillable water bottles and containers is even better for the environment and your purse. Older children and teens may prefer sweets and fizzy drinks so check with them before you go, and plan meal stops ahead as you can’t always find a food stall or shop when you need it or take a picnic for days out as it can save you hundreds over the course of the week. 

3. Car games, travel snacks, in-car movies/ singalongs to make the travelling just as much fun as the holiday itself!

Family on the beach at Burnham-on-Sea Book a family holiday in the UK for February half term, the long two-week Easter break, six-week summer holidays, October break or Christmas holidays. There’s a hand-picked holiday with our price promise to suit every style and budget. For an extra special break, book to go with extended family or friends with children of similar ages. Many of our lovely holiday homes have adjacent or interconnecting homes so you don’t have to share the same space, although it can be cheaper to do so. A short break with your children and their grandparents or your own siblings and their children can be a wonderful way to enjoy happy times that will be remembered forever.

By Kate Thompson