Favourite Family Holidays in Britain

In honour of autumn half-term, here are five of our favourite family holidays in Britain to help you start planning your next trip, taken straight from Britain with Kids!

Feather Down Farm Days

Safari chic with wellies on, Feather Down Farm tents lead the herd when it comes to luxury camping. Lift the flap on these canvas creations and you step into a snug den complete with wood stove, oil lanterns, three bedrooms (including a secret cubbyhole for kids) and everything you need for a relaxing holiday at one of 20-plus working farms across Britain.

Each Feather Down Farm has a clay oven for baking potatoes or pizza, and an honesty shop stocked with local produce. A few even have field spas or the option of renting a private chicken coop. But no matter how you embellish individual sites, the winning formula remains the same: cool camping plus effortless immersion in farm life.

Center Parcs

People who say Center Parcs is like Marmite (you either love it or hate it) obviously don’t have kids themselves. From a child’s point of view there is nothing not to like at one of these action-packed woodland villages where boredom – like your car – is left at the entrance and promptly forgotten.

The transition from the real world to a Center Parcs one requires three things: bicycle, swim gear and stale bread. There are at least nine million bicycles in every Center Parcs (it’s how everyone gets around on the traffic-free woodland lanes), while the fabulous Subtropical Swimming Paradise – imagine The Eden Project with water chutes, wild rapid rides and a wave machine – will become a daily fixture in your itinerary. The bread, meanwhile, is for the ducks and geese that will be waiting outside your patio doors every morning to be fed.

Forest Holidays

A partnership between the Forestry Commission and The Camping & Caravanning Club, you might expect Forest Holidays to know a thing or two about running campsites in some of Britain’s most beautiful woodland locations. But its select group of cabin sites in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland might come as a surprise.

Branching out into cabin holidays has come as easily to Forest Holidays as falling off a log. Not only has it infused wild forests with home comforts, but it has done so in such a way as to preserve, or even enhance, the elemental thrill of sleeping deep in the woods. You’ll hear tawny owls hooting – but from the comfort of your private verandah, a wood stove glowing in the lounge behind you. And chances are, your best sighting of squirrels and woodpeckers will be in the treetops directly above your open-air hot tub.

Luxury Family Hotels

It could be absolutely ghastly – little Mia running amok in the hotel lobby, shattering l’ambience and drawing disdainful glance from the concierge…

Going posh with kids only works when you find a luxurious hotel devoid of pretentiousness, where staff are able to engage with life forms lower than navel height and where the term ‘child friendly’ doesn’t in fact mean ‘child friendly but we’d really rather not, thank you awfully.’

Does such a place exist? Yes. In fact, there’s a whole chain of them (if you’ll excuse the crude expression) called Luxury Family Hotels. Each one is a stylish, character property set in a stunning location – from the Jacobean Woolley Grange in 14 acres of Wiltshire countryside to Suffolk’s Ickworth Manor in 1800 acres of National Trust parkland. Cornwall’s Fowey Hall, Dorset’s Moonfleet Manor and The Elms in Worcestershire complete the absolutely fabulous five.

Boating Holidays

‘Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.’

Of course, Ratty was absolutely right when he shared this nugget of wisdom with Mole in The Wind in the Willows. Moments later their boat struck the bank, but that didn’t dent their enthusiasm for a jolly day out on the river.

You’re bound to have the odd scrape or gunwale-grabbing moment if you take your kids on a boating holiday – safety obviously has to be paramount – but there’s no denying the simple pleasures or sense of adventure that accompanies a journey by narrowboat or cruiser.

Think it’s all a bit too fuddy-duddy? Try telling that to children who love the idea of nesting in cosy cabins, taking turns at the helm, working lock gates, feeding swans, spotting kingfishers and tying up for riverside picnics. The leisurely pace of a boating holiday also makes it one of the best opportunities busy families will ever get to simply wind down, share a good book or simply chat.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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