2 Great Family Holiday Destinations in the UK

I’m not a huge fan of travelling abroad. I’m not scared of flying, but I don’t like all the sitting down and the cramped conditions, with the air-conditioning being the real icing on the cake.

I went on a yoga retreat as part of my honeymoon in 2014. I got there feeling pretty lethargic and had my usual issues with back, neck and shoulder aches and stiffness. After a week of yoga and good food, I felt pretty energised and, well, flexible by the time that we left. A 2 hour taxi drive and a 4 hour flight later, I felt fairly rotten and lethargic again by the time we got back.

Now that we have a little-one, budget is also a big consideration when booking holidays, as well as the length and comfort of the commute. With this in mind, here is a shortlist of places for us to visit in the next few years…

Cheddar

Cheddar in Somerset is famous for its gorge, the Cheddar Man and of course, Cheddar Cheese.

cheddar gorgeImage Source

cheddarwaterfallImage Source

What to do in Cheddar?

Things to do in Cheddar include visiting the Cheddar Caves & Gorge, the Original Cheddar Cheese Company and walking or cycling the Strawberry Line and visiting the Cheddar Man at the Museum of Prehistory.

cheddar man
Cheddar Man – His remains date back to 7,000 BC

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As you’d expect really, there are also a variety of walks that you can do around the gorge:


If you stay in Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa, there’s also a wide range of activities that you can do…

Where to Stay in Cheddar?

Cheddar Woods is almost definitely the best place to stay in Cheddar for families, and many of the lodges are also pet-friendly, so you can take your dog (or cat, rabbit, not sure about chickens or lizards).

With outdoor, private hot tubs in some of the premier lodges, a luxury spa, gym, pool and restaurant; there’s quite a lot to keep the family entertained whilst on site.

cheddar lodge
A Cabin at Cheddar Woods

The lodges provide a lot more space than you would normally get in a hotel or a B & B:

cheddar cabin
Look at the size of that living room!

If you are looking for a hotel, then as you’d expect, TripAdvisor is probably the best place to do some research.

If you’re on a tight budget, The Oakhouse Hotel has good reviews and is very competitively priced.

The Lake District

The Lake District was declared a National Park in 1951 and according to Lonely Planet – it is by far the UK’s most popular national park. If you like the great outdoors, then the Lake District is a great destination for you, and your family (assuming their outdoorsy types too).

the lake districtImage Source

The Lake District has inspired many great writers & poets, including William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. A great testimony to the inspiring landscape that possesses many therapeutic benefits. If you’re feeling stressed out, like a lot of us are, spending time in nature has been proven to treat everything from mild depression to ADHD.

What to do in the Lake District?

With more parks, forests and lakes that you can shake a proverbial stick at, the Lakes has lots on offer. A walk around Derwentwater is always a winner – with some amazingly beautiful and relaxing scenery. Keswick’s local lake is 10 minutes walk from the town-centre.

keswick-reach-lodge-retreat-1600x700

Other Lake District walks include:

Day trips on offer in the Lake District include:

Where to Stay in the Lake District?

It’s difficult to say exactly, with so many difference options available. The Lake District is fairly well known for wild camping, although that’s not exactly ideal for families and larger groups of people. The best place to get some ideas is on the Lake District website.

Places of note to stay in the Lake District include:

  • Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat
  • Brimstone at Langdale
  • Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant
  • Holbeck Ghyll

 

That’s just 2 places to visit in the UK. North Wales is also listed in the Lonely Planet’s best regions to visit.

North Wales is brilliant, if you like walking, hiking, cycling, camping and general ‘in nature’ stuff – which I do. I’ll cover that area in a future post!

 

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Active Breaks in North Wales

The wild and wonderful countryside of North Wales has always been a popular destination for avid walkers, with Snowdonia National Park standing out as a haven for anyone seeking to spend some time in the great outdoors.

There’s far more than just walking to be done in North Wales, however.
There’s a wide range of activities to experience, providing fun for the entire family.
What’s more, there’s no need to leave the dog at home when you visit – thanks to
the abundance of dog-friendly holiday cottages in Wales, they too can experience
the stunning Snowdonia countryside.
If you fancy combining long country hikes with something a little more challenging,
then here are just a few of the best places to visit for a more active break in North Wales…

Bear Grylls Adventure Day

Head over to the Dragon Raiders Activity Park on the Lleyn Peninsula to test yourself against the wild and rugged terrain on one of Bear Grylls’ Survival Academy’s Half Day courses. Once there, you will combine essential survival skills with adventure tasks, all under the guidance of a team of highly experienced instructors. You’ll learn how to build a fire, to find edible food and even build yourself a usable shelter. It’s a fun, exciting, educational adventure that is perfect for families, school trips, and even team building exercises.

Segway Adventures

Also situated at Dragon Raiders Activity Park is the chance to experience one of their thrilling Segway adventures. Set in over 30 acres of woodland, the latest Segway X2 will allow you to zip about in style on one of their tough and durable machines. It’s your choice between a relaxing forest trek or a far more vigorous off-road rally.

The National White Water Centre

If you fancy a real adrenalin rush then why not tackle some genuine white water rapids on the River Tryweryn at the National White Water Centre. Here, you can experience a range of water sports, including rafting and kayaking, down the wild mountain river that presents an imposing challenge all year round. There are multiple routes to tackle, so don’t panic too much as all abilities are amply catered for.

Zip World

Zip World has three locations in North Wales, each offering a special high-velocity adrenalin rush. At the Blaenau Ffestiniog site, you can experience the first 4 person zip line in Europe and a unique subterranean adventure in their fantastic unground site. At their Bethesda site lies their “Velocity” zip line, the longest in Europe and the fastest in the world, which is a huge rush and certainly not one for the fainthearted. Finally at their Betws-Y-Coed site, you can go on a spectacular zip safari through the forest treetops and enjoy the enormous five-seater swing, known as the Skyride.

Go Below

Go Below’s Underground adventures take you deep into the former mines of Snowdonia. It’s a fascinating chance to explore a spectacular underground world as you undertake a series of challenges while abseiling and zip lining through gaping caverns and lakes. Your nerves will be tested as you are challenged to climb a vertical shaft and abseil down a waterfall. It’s all hosted by some of the country’s premier mine exploration experts and the adventure can be tailored to your group – be it a school trip, a family outing or a stag or hen do.

 

Cycle Paths and ParaCycling

If cycling is more your thing, then North Wales has plenty of options.  In fact, it’s arguably the best place in the UK for cycling fans.

Off Road Routes include:
Coed Y Brenin – http://www.beicsbrenin.co.uk/trails/
Llandegla – https://oneplanetadventure.com/
The two lake tour – http://www.ridenorthwales.co.uk/english/routes-detail.asp?rtype=18

There are also a number of great, circular on-road cycle routes that can be found here.

North Wales also has a number of para-cycling and para-triathlon events. If you are interested in All Ability Cycling, I’d recommend checking out Quest 88’s site here.

 

 

Where’s your favourite place in North Wales for an active break? Let us know in the comments!

Britain’s Botanical Gardens

Over thirty million people a year visit the UK as tourists, making the UK one of the most popular global tourist destinations. Every year, more and more tourists holiday in the UK – not surprising, given the abundance of natural destinations, heritage sites and cultural attractions. One of those quintessentially British attractions: our wonderful botanical gardens, dotted across the country. We’ve put together a list of absolute must-sees, including a few hidden gems that you should try and visit in 2016.

Fenton House & Garden
Fenton House & Garden is an Edwardian garden in London’s charming Hampstead area. Expect roses galore, curated hedges, and an apple orchard in a garden that has remained almost unchanged for 300 years.

 Fenton House Hampstead front February 2006.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenton_House

 

Ness Gardens

On the Wirral, just down the road from the old Roman city of Chester, Ness Gardens is a must-see in the North West. The gardens themselves have a focus on preservation, creating a ‘living library’ of conservation in this treasured local feature.

 

 

Benmore Botanic Garden
Once part of the estate of a Scottish trade baron, the Benmore Botanic Garden serves to host a rich collection of living plants, focused on conifers and rhododendrons. The Edinburgh Botanic Gardens are also worth a visit, if you’re willing to travel between the Scottish coasts.

 

 Benmore's majestic avenue of giant redwoods

 

Snowshill Manor & Garden

Not far from Gloucester, the Snowshill Manor & Garden offers you not only a lovingly cultivated garden, but also the chance to explore the museum/house designed by architect and poet Charles Wade. Wade has assembled a manor full of curiosities, including weaponry and scale models of boats.

 A view of Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire from the gardenhttp://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/snowshill-manor-and-garden


Throckmorton Family Gardens
The gardens, south of Birmingham, are a part of the wider Coughton Court. Designed to be experienced as a series of rooms, Throckmorton Family Gardens offer you a walled, labyrinthine garden.

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http://www.coughtoncourt.co.uk/

Mottistone Gardens
The Isle of Wight is already a beautiful destination for a trip, but the Mottistone Gardens are a distinctly peaceful and gorgeous valley filled with exotic and local plants. With ocean views from much of the garden, part of the garden’s mission is to bring plant life to the UK and see how they fare in our changing climate.

 Summer flowers and plants in the gardens at Mottistone, Isle of Wighthttp://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottistone-gardens

The National Botanic Garden of Wales
Just a short drive north of Swansea, Wales’ national botanical gardens are fantastic. Playing host to the world’s largest single-span glass greenhouse, there’s a huge host of Mediterranean plants under one roof. Outside of the greenhouse is a geological time-walk through Wale’s natural heritage, as well as a series of themed gardens.

Melbourne Hall Gardens
South of Derby, in the village of Melbourne, the Melbourne Hall Gardens is very much a Georgian manor. The house itself is open to the public, and features seven rooms that you can visit in a house that is still occupied by Lord and Lady Ralph Kerr. The gardens themselves are vivid and tranquil, and host some rare shrubs in the planted borders and intersecting paths.

Have we missed one? Let us know in the comments if you just can’t believe we missed your favourite garden. We’d love to hear from you!