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Family Friendly Cities in England: 13 Of The Best Destinations

England may take your mind to the Tower of London, Big Ben, and the Buckingham Palace. But, just like France that we explored a couple weeks ago, there are plenty of family friendly cities in England scattered across the county that are perfect for your next family getaway.

Relax on the beach in the seaside town of Hastings, explore the museums in Birmingham, visit Liverpool’s parks and zoo, walk through Chester’s city center, and of course we can’t leave the Tower of London off the list. No matter what interests your family holds or what age you will be visiting with, there is something for everyone in England!

To help you narrow down your choices, check out these 13 family friendly cities in England as recommended by experienced travel bloggers around the world!

family friendly cities in england

13 Family Friendly Cities in England

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Recommended by Bev & Shams from Bev & Shams Adventures

The beautiful seaside town of Hastings, is packed with so much to see and do, that’s ideal for a family day out or a holiday to the coast. Hastings is famous for the Battle of Hastings that took place in 1066, but the location of the actual battle is said to have happened a couple of miles out of Hastings in a small town called Battle. To visit the battle grounds, take a short 20-minute train journey or drive to Battle. 

If you just want to get down to the coast for the day, then having a picnic on the seafront, during a hot summer’s day is a must. But beware, during the summer, Hastings can get very busy, with the beaches packed with tourists from far and wide making the most of the hot sunshine. The best time to visit Hastings would be during the spring or autumn months. The weather is still glorious but without the crowds. 

There are many other  things to do in Hastings , besides relaxing on the beach. The town is steeped in so much history, starting with the ruins of the Norman Castle that sits above Castle Hill overlooking the coast and the landscape around.  

What will really excite the children, are the smugglers Adventures. The caves would have once been used by smugglers over 200 years ago to hide, store and transport the smuggled goods around the country. Families will love the interactive displays, videos and the cold, dark caves, learning more about the smuggling adventures in Hastings. But fear not, there’s no longer pirates hiding their pieces of gold.  

Travel up the East Hill on the funicular railway, for one of the best views of the coast and the town below. 

Any trip to the seaside must include eating the famous fish and chips. Head to Hastings pier for the best fish and chips, but you must have mushy peas and curry sauce with it. 

beach in Hastings, family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Hannah from Get Lost Travel Blog

York is a fascinating city just waiting to be discovered by visitors of all ages. First founded by the Romans in 71AD, York’s long history has resulted in a wide variety of attractions. You won’t be short of  things to do on your visit !

One of the top family-friendly things to do in York is visiting the Jorvik Viking Centre. You will be greeted by a Viking who will tell you about the York excavation where the Viking artifacts were discovered. Then, you will take a ride through the streets of Jorvik and learn about the day-to-day life of Vikings in York.

If you and your family have a sweet tooth, be sure to visit York Chocolate Story. York is the home of Rowntree’s and Terry’s of York (famously known for their chocolate orange!) At York Chocolate Story, you will be transported to the rainforests of Central America and follow the journey of cacao to York. You’ll even have an opportunity to try your hand at chocolate making!

The National Railway Museum is an attraction you will fall in love with, whether you are a train enthusiast or not. This museum is free to enter and has approximately 100 vehicles on display. You have a unique opportunity to get up close to the trains and climb aboard some of the most iconic vehicles in history.

York is a popular city which attracts tourists from all over the world, so it does get busy during weekends and school holidays. However, many of the attractions cope well with a high volume of visitors; simply book in advance to skip the line. If you are staying in York, get up early one day as this is the best time to see sights like York Minster and The Shambles without throngs of people.

trains at the national railway museum, family friendly cities england

Recommended by Rachel from Average Lives

Manchester is easily one of the best family friendly cities in England. There are educational, exciting and free museums, numerous great Manchester parks and large spaces to enjoy, and sensational sports to experience, and Roman ruins in its centre by the canals. 

The city is compact, and there is a free bus that can take you to all the main attractions. These include outstanding museums. Some of the most popular ones are the Science and Industry Museum for interactive exhibitions about Manchester’s contribution to the industry and its industrial past. The Imperial War Museum North to learn about the wars and conflict that have shaped our world. Finally, the National Football Museum, which is the largest football museum in the world.

If you’re a football fan, you can discover the two world-class stadiums of Manchester City and Manchester United. On the other hand, if you’re a Harry Potter fan or a lover of libraries, you should check out the mystical John Rylands library that looks like it is straight out of Hogwarts. 

Alternatively, you can hunt for street art in the trendy Northern Quarter, which is where you will find some of the best places to eat, including Mackie Mayor for an array of independent restaurants or Noi Quattro for some of the best pizza in the city.

There is never a bad time to visit Manchester, but carry an umbrella because it can rain a lot. Although, if you want to watch live football matches visit between August to May, when the season is on. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, there are plenty of options for any budget. There is something for everyone from the fancy and historic Midland Hotel to budget hotels and a YHA hostel.

The Manchester Canals, family friendly cities in France

Recommended by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels

Cornwall is a beautiful seaside town in the southwestern tip of England. It is the perfect family destination due to the many activities you can undertake including sailing, gorgeous walks or hikes with cliff views, relaxing at the beach, and more! It’s recommended to drive as there are many towns you’d want to explore and this is the easiest way to do it if you’re planning the  ultimate road trip through Cornwall.  

The most noteworthy spots to visit include Mousehole, a fishing village that has an amazing seafood restaurant called the Rock Pool Cafe. You can eat a crab sandwich and see the view of the sea right in front of you. St. Ives might be the most popular destination in Cornwall and the most lively. Go here for the amazing shopping, the stunning beaches, and the great pasties which you can grab at St. Ives Bakery.

If you want to go the less tourist route, stop by St. Agnes which is one of the smallest towns and the quaintest. It offers quieter beaches, pretty English homes, and beautiful walks. Penzance is a great area to base yourself for a visit to Cornwall and you can stay at Hotel Penzance. 

Moousehole sea port with boats and houses. Family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Karen from Marvellous Middle England

Located right in the middle of the UK, England’s second city is a great place to visit with kids. Having gone through a huge period of renovation over the past few years, the city is clean and modern with heaps of family friendly activities. 

Kids will absolutely love a visit to the Think Tank. Birmingham’s very own Science Museum with heaps of learning opportunities, a mini city and outdoor science garden. A trip to the Sea Life centre will make every little animal lover happy. For an insight into the city’s history, head to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, home to part of the famous Staffordshire Hoard and be sure to add a visit to the Ikon art gallery for their hands-on family friendly workshops.

If you need to cool off in the city there is a delightful splash play area in Centenary Square just outside the library and a walk along the many canals offer an opportunity to escape the city.

You’ll find plenty of family friendly big brand restaurants in the Bullring, Birmingham’s covered shopping area. Or for independent shops and restaurants, head to the Custard Factory in Digbeth and take in the brilliant street art while you’re there. 

For a fantastic family friendly place to stay, book the Hilton Garden Inn. It’s brilliantly located in Brindley Place, home to bars and restaurants and right on the canal. Making it easy walking distance to all the major sights of the city.

Birmingham is a wonderful place to visit in summer as there are plenty of places to explore outdoors. But I highly recommend a visit in November or December when one of the biggest German Christmas Markets sets up home in the city.

Find even more reasons to visit Birmingham !

Centenary Square splash pad in Birmingham

Recommended by Ruma from The Holiday Story

Liverpool is a metropolitan city that falls under the Lancashire county of northwestern  UK . It lies on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, which is connected to the Irish Sea. Thus, it is an important port city in England. Several parts of the city were declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The town is also famous for being the origin of the most popular band, The Beatles. The Premier League football team Liverpool FC also helped in popularizing Liverpool worldwide.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the city government built buildings resembling ancient Greek and Roman architecture. These buildings are still standing tall and give off an elegant view. The city’s parks are a sight to see. There are coastal parks like Crosby Coastal Park, Victorian parks like Sefton Park, etc. The Birkenhead Park, designed by Joseph Paxton, was the first publicly funded park in Britain. For a peaceful yet informative afternoon trip, you can visit one of the many museums of this city. Even though it is a lively city, you can also have some wildlife experience in Liverpool. The Chester Zoo, built on 128 acres, is one of the World’s notable zoological gardens. Knowsley Safari also exhibits the wildlife of Yorkshire.

Summer is the best time to have a trip to Liverpool with your family. During this time, the beaches are where the tourist crowd resides. Southport is every children’s favorite. They have a funfair at Southport Pleasurable with rides and ice-creams melting every kid’s heart.

Bold Street and Hope Street should be your go-to food destinations when in Liverpool. The restaurants and street stalls here offer various cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Lebanese, etc. For the night, you can opt for your regular hotels or go for the luxurious ones. Some of the historical buildings have also been turned into hotels for tourists.

statue of the Beatles, Liverpool

Recommended by Kerry Hanson from  VeggTravel | Adventure Awaits

One of the friendliest cities in the UK is Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The whole of the Yorkshire region, no, in fact the entire North of England is friendly. Whether you’re going to the local shops or just out for a walk, expect to be greeted with ‘alreet luv’ as a subsite for hi or hello.

Sheffield is an old industrial city that is known as the steel city for its specialism in stainless steel.  Once a mining community, Sheffield has been redeveloped into a thriving cosmopolitan city centre. Due to it’s two specialist universities, Sheffield is a popular student choice and the night life is excellent. West Street is the main strip of late night bars where people start but there are bars and clubs scattered on roads nearby all throughout town.

If you’re looking for sophisticated bars and trendy restaurants then head to Ecclesall Road for a more laid back evening. The Lost and Found Bar is a top choice, although get’s busy quickly so pre-booking a table would be advised. This area also has boutique shops and a few large public parks and woodland areas, so is also good to visit in the day.

Sheffield has a tram service which makes it easy to get around. There are two large shopping centres, Meadowhall and Crystal Peaks that are worth a stop if you need some retail therapy. Sheffield is good to visit all year round, but Christmas is popular due to the markets in the town centre. July is also a good choice if you’d like to visit the Tramlines music festival which takes over the city.

Sheffield, family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Joanna from The World in My Pocket

Whitstable is one of the most popular day trip destinations from London and one of the best family friendly cities in England. And no wonder, as it’s both beautiful and offers plenty of things to do. Due to its popularity, it often gets quite busy, so it’s important to remember to make your  trip to Whitstable responsible .

Whitstable has a long beach covered with pebbles, perfect for families to sunbathe and children to play in the water. The further away you walk from the harbour, the emptier the beach will be. The promenade follows the lovely fishermen huts, which you can actually rent if you want to stay overnight.

The harbour at Whitstable is full of life and can be a perfect learning ground for kids. Because it is a working harbour, you can often see the fish being brought to shore in the morning or people tending to different activities on their boats. Here there is a small arts and crafts market but also a few restaurants from where you can taste the oysters for which Whitstable is so famous for.

If you want to try the native Whitstable oysters, you should know that they are only in season between September and April. The local Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, who farms the oysters, has their own restaurants in town, Wheeler’s Oyster Bar, and also supplies a few others, like the Forge or The Crab and Winkle. 

Whitstable Beach, family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Suzanne from Suzanne Meandering Wild

Plymouth is located in Devon and is a coastal city with close ties to the Royal Navy.  Although it is in Devon, the River Tamar that passes on the western edge of the city is the border between Devon and Cornwall.  It is perfect for a family visit year round although in the winter the winds off the sea can be bitter.

The city is like many others but the heart of the city is centered around the Barbican area which is the historic dock and where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to America on the Mayflower in 1620.  This small area of the city has a number of old buildings and cobbled streets leading down to the harbour.  Behind the Barbican is the Hoe, a large grassy area with Smeaton’s Tower, an old lighthouse at the centre. Just below  Smeaton’s Tower  is the beautiful Tinside Lido which is an open air swimming pool and open during the summer months.  

Across the swing bridge from the Barbican and the Mayflower Steps is the National Marine Aquarium.  This large building is home to thousands of fish and marine creatures and is the perfect place to explore when the weather isn’t so good.  If you feel like getting on the water then nothing beats a ride on the small ferries that cross from the Barbican to Queen Ann’s Battery where there are walks along the cliff tops.  It’s compact size makes it perfect for family adventures especially as all of the main attractions are centered in one small area.  There are plenty of places to stay and eat.  Our favourite spot for a naughty snack is Cap’n Jaspers on the harbourside at the Barbican.

best city to visit with family uk

Recommended by Jacquie from Flashpacking Family

On the face of it, London, England’s capital city, may not seem like the most obvious place to visit with kids but look beyond the fast paced, concrete jungle and there are so many things to do for children of all ages.

Obviously, it is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, but there are also lots of hidden gems in London that are worth exploring with kids.

During the summer months, the park playgrounds come alive. If you want to escape the heat of the city, look at the Diana Memorial Fountains in Kensington Gardens and Coram’s Field close to the British Museum where you’ll find fun splash parks.

For the month of August, kids can catch a top West End performance for free with the Kids Go Free initiative or you can catch the street performers in Covent Garden.

If you are a fan of Christmas, London is a fabulous place to visit in December. The London Christmas lights and the Christmas markets (the largest is at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park) bring a lovely sparkle to the city. If you are looking to try something very British at Christmas, then watching a pantomime at the London Palladium should be top of your list.

But one of the main reasons that it is such a great city to visit is that there are so many  family-friendly restaurants in London , including some of the most exquisite afternoon teas. You will be totally spoiled for choice!

london bridge, family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Steph & Lewis from Book It Let’s Go!

Nottingham is the largest city in the East Midlands and there are many family friendly  things to do in Nottingham  that visitors of all ages will have fun no matter how long the trip. Nottingham can be enjoyed all year round with summer festivals along the embankment and the Nottingham winter wonderland in the Old Market Square taking place in December.

History lovers will enjoy visiting Nottingham Castle and National Justice Museum with the re-enactments of historic trials. Children will love the caves that stretch out under the city and learning the uses they have had over the years from wine cellars to Victorian slums. Wollaton Hall is also a must-see attraction, this open green space is just minutes outside of the city and has free roaming deer in the grounds. It is also the home of the Nottingham Natural History Museum inside the hall which is free for all ages to enjoy.

In the middle of the city centre families can enjoy learning the legend of Robin Hood around the city and tracing the footsteps of the famous outlaw. There is also plenty of shopping to do and unique experiences including a cat café and the lost city adventure golf.

For a special treat visit Dough Notts on King Street for handmade Instagram worthy doughnuts for the whole family to enjoy.

Wollaton Hall, family friendly cities in England

Recommended by Nele from The Navigatio

Because of its beautiful buildings, unique atmosphere, and interesting history, Chester is one of the best UK city breaks for families. The city centre isn’t very large, so you can easily explore it on foot in a day or two. While you’re never certain for a sunny day in the UK, your best chances are visiting between May and August.

Chester is very unique due to its beautiful Tudor-styled buildings. It’s a real treat to simply walk through the city centre and snap some photos of the Chester Rows, which date back to the 13th century. The cathedral is another must-visit. And best of all, you can enter for free!

With such a rich Roman history, Chester still has many sights where you can learn about its previous inhabitants. Chester’s city walls are the oldest, longest and best preserved in the whole of Britain – and you can walk them for free! They are over 2000 years old, and give you tons of great views over the city. Just outside the walls, you can also stop by the Roman Gardens and Amphitheatre. Especially on a sunny day, it’s lovely to walk through them.

Chester makes for the perfect weekend trip because you can see the city centre in one day, and visit Chester Zoo on the second. Especially when visiting with younger children, the zoo makes for a very fun day out. Chester Zoo is the most ethical zoo in the UK, as they fund many wildlife and preservation projects. That’s definitely worth supporting! 

chester buildings


Recommended by Mal from Raw Mal Roams 

Situated in southeast England, county Hampshire, Southampton is a wonderful city to enjoy with the whole family. From historical monuments, great outdoor activities and excellent shopping, there is a myriad of fun  things to do in Southampton ! 

Take a stroll along the historic wall of Southampton starting from the majestic Bargate, one of England’s best-preserved medieval fortification. Pop into the 15th century Tudor House which is jam-packed with exciting family-friendly activities that will keep all the family members engaged. 

If you’re in need of some shopping therapy, visit West Quay, which is Southampton’s biggest retail centre. And just next door there is a newly built Watermark leisure centre with a wide selection of different restaurants, a cinema and a bowling alley. The city also organises various activities in front of the Watermark centre in the summer, so it’s worth checking out this area for the best free activities! 

For outdoor enthusiasts, Southampton has many great places to let off steam. There is Go Ape park situated in the Itchen Valley Country Park with exciting zip lines, suspension bridges and Tarzan swings. Woodmill Outdoor Activity Centre features a peaceful stream perfect for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. Finally, the city also boasts many beautiful parks, excellent for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic. Try The Common or Victoria Country Park.  

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Southampton, Jurys Inn is a great option right in the city centre. 

Victoria Country Park, best family friendly cities in England

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Published by Melissa

Hello! My name is Melissa (or Missy). I'm a nurse by day, but my true passion is travel. I'm a part time traveler, travel blogger, and photographer. Travel blogging allows me to share my experiences and knowledge with you as well as allows me to share in your experiences and learn from you. View all posts by Melissa

best city to visit with family uk

I’m Melissa, but you can call me Missy. I continuously crave a new adventure and love sharing those adventures with you! My sidekick is my 5 year old daughter. Together we are conquering the world, one city at a time! Find family travel tips and guides that will help you plan your next adventure!

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1 Comment »

These are all great cities with so much to offer. Manchester is my favourite. I live just outside of Blackpool and it’s a great place to visit.

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Passports and Adventures

15 Best Cities in the UK to Visit With Kids

The United Kingdom is a country that is very family-friendly and with a wealth of different cities and towns, it can be hard deciding on a destination for your next UK family holiday. In this post you can discover the best cities in the UK to visit with kids from recommendations from myself and my fellow bloggers, many of whom are parents themselves.

When it comes to deciding where to spend your next family city break within the UK, how do you choose? Of all the great places to go with kids in the UK, how do you decide on the right one for your kids? Does it need to have great public transport? Do you want lots of things to do with kids in the city? The list of requirements can be endless when it comes to a family break. But with this list of the best cities to visit in the UK with kids, as recommended by those who have been, your decision just got a whole lot easier.

Best cities in the UK to visit with kids

London, england.

Regularly topping the list of 10 best cities to visit in UK, whether as a family, solo traveller or couple, London is by far one of the top places to visit for kids in UK. The capital city is a veritable playground for kids and their families with many of the top UK attractions for families located within the city or close by.

London has a great public transport system so getting around the city is easy. Many Tube stations have lifts and in many central parts of London, footpaths are wide enough for strollers/buggies. Restaurants and cafes are ten-a-penny and there is something to suit everyone’s taste. There is also a huge range of accommodations to suit families of all shapes, sizes and budgets. We tend to stay in AirBnB apartments in North Greenwich which is just 20 minutes from Waterloo station.

As for things to do, you simply cannot be short of ideas for things to do in London with kids. From the London Zoo in Regent’s Park, to the London Eye , Sealife Aquarium, London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventures, all located at Southbank, to Kidzania at the Westfield Shopping Centre, you can never say you cannot find something to do with kids in London.

Got a history fan on your hands? Then why not take the sightseeing bus to visit Buckingham Palace, and head to the Tower of London which deserves a day to itself. Walk across the famous Tower Bridge and visit HMS Belfast too for s bit of different history.

Think London is only for older kids, think again! In a post I wrote you can discover why London is one of the best places to visit in the UK with toddlers and how you can still visit some of the big London attractions even with the younger members of the family.

If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in the UK for kids, then London has to be top of the list.

Cardiff, Wales

Having lived in Wales for over 11 years, and it being the country our son was born in, I can hands-down say that one of the places to go in the UK with kids is the capital, Cardiff.

While it isn’t the biggest city in the UK, Cardiff isn’t small either. What makes Cardiff so family-friendly is its city centre. Much of the city centre is pedestrianised, including Queen Street and the area around St Davids 2 Shopping Centre, meaning it’s safe to walk strollers and young kids around. It does get busy at weekends, so keep a tight hold on younger kids to ensure they don’t get swallowed up in the crowds.

There are hotels in the city centre to suit all budgets from Premier Inn to the Hilton. And there is also no shortage of restaurants for even the pickiest of eaters.

When it comes to things to do with kids in Cardiff , there is plenty on offer. In the city centre you will find Cardiff Castle, with a Norman Keep and Castle Apartments to visit, as well as secrets in the battlements to discover. There are also museums and Bute Park to enjoy within walking distance from the shopping areas.

Slightly further afield a visit to Cardiff Bay is recommended with Techniquest being a great place to visit with kids. If you are there in summer time, there is a treat in the beach brought into the Bay. Not far from Cardiff Bay is St Fagans, a living museum that is one of the best days out in the Uk in my opinion.

If you are looking for one of the places to go with kids in the UK for a great family getaway, Cardiff has it all.

Bristol, England

Home of Wallace and Grommit and pirates, Bristol is something of a kids’ dream destination. My boys have grown up here and, as mini-experts, I have consulted them on the absolute best bits. Fun, interactive museums and animal experiences come top of the list.

Bristol is a city built on shipping, and a stroll along the famous docks will bring to you Brunel’s SS Great Britain, where you can explore life beneath deck and dress up in Victorian costume. The brave can even climb the rigging like a real sailor.

From in front of the Great Britain you can take a boat tour of the harbour or a ferry into the centre (some even have sharks faces painted on the front). On a holiday weekend a steam engine will transport you along the docks to the M Shed museum, where you can board a traditional double decker bus and explore Bristol’s history as home of Frys’ chocolate, blue glass and sea farers. In front of the museum, why not join a pirate tour and learn about Bristol’s own Blackbeard, who would put lit fuses in his beard to strike terror into the hearts of his foes?

Other great Bristol museums include the We The Curious science museum where kids can get hands on with huge bubbles, stand in a mini tornado or create their own lightning. At the top of the iconic Park Street, is the grand (and free!) Natural History Museum, with its stuffed dodo, gypsy caravan, Egyptian mummies, fluorescent rocks and dinosaur bones.

Not to be missed is Brunel’s other Bristol landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge (or the slippy rock next to it that generations of children have used as a natural side). Visit the camera obscura next door for 360 degree views of the magnificent Avon Gorge.

A great place to stop for lunch and a coffee is the terrace at the White Lion, with amazing views over the bridge. If you are looking to treat yourself, the Avon Gorge Hotel upstairs is a lovely place to stay. Nearer the centre, the Mercure Grand is right next to Corn Street, with its weekend markets, or the Brigstow overlooks the docks.

Finally, one of the absolute best things to see in Bristol is the zoo. One of the oldest in the world, you can walk under a penguin tunnel, come eye to eye with a pack of piranhas, watch gibbons swing and hear lions roar in beautiful landscaped botanical gardens.

With so much to see and do, maritime Bristol really is a must-see kids’ destination.

Helen – Holidays From Hels

If you fancy combining a visit to Bristol with the Cheddar Gorge, then check out some of these Somerset lodges with hot tubs for your accommodation.

Manchester, England

There’s more to uber edgy Manchester than football and music. It has so much to offer visiting families with a range of free museums, loads of outdoor play space, super fun indoor activity centres, and family friendly restaurants and cafes on every corner.

Our favourite museum in Manchester is the excellent Science and Industry Museum (free entry) which has a strong focus on the history of the UK’s first industrial city. It also houses the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station and the world’s first railway warehouse from 1830. Dinosaur fans should head to Manchester Museum, which is part of Manchester University, to see the huge T-rex skeleton along with other natural and worldly artefacts.

Kids will love the huge aquarium at Sea Life Manchester and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, which feels like you’ve been shrunk and entered a huge LEGO box. But if you want to get active, head to the the massive indoor activity centre of Play Factore (this place redefines everything you have thought about soft play centres) or visit the snow (it’s real snow, not fake!) at Chill Factore for skiing, snowboarding and sledging. For outdoor bouncy fun, we absolutely love Treetop Manchester; a series of ropes and huge nets in the trees for your little monkeys to run wild.

But what would a trip to Manchester be without visiting Old Trafford? The Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour offers a behind the scenes look at the world’s most iconic stadium. Get a feel for life in the Premier League and walk through the players’ tunnel towards the hallowed turf and find the seat of your favourite player in the dressing room. A must do for all footy fans and families are very welcome.

While Dad takes the boys there, mums and their girls could enjoy one of the many spas in Manchester too. Enjoy a few hours of relaxation before continuing to enjoy this great city.

Manchester has an excellent public transport system and kids will especially enjoy riding the trams. As for accommodation, you can never go wrong with a Premier Inn; family rooms are clean, have everything you need, and the generous breakfast energises everyone for a morning of sight seeing. There are are handful located in and around the city, but the best located one is Premier Inn Manchester Central. 

Jenny- Peak District Kids

And if you are visiting the city with older kids, why not try your hand at one of the Manchester escape rooms . See if your family has what it takes to break free!

Southampton, England

Southampton is a city located in South East England just 70 miles from London. It is a great city to head with kids with many things to do including one BIG thing.

You can walk along the Southampton Town Walls which are some of the best preserved medieval town walls in England. The SeaCity Museum is an interesting place. Among other things, it has the stories of people who have either arrived in Southampton or departed over the last 200,000 years. It’s an interesting way for your kids to learn some history. It also has an exhibit on the Titanic. Another fun place is the New Forest Wildlife Park where you can walk a trail while spotting wildlife in their natural habitat. Kids will also love the big play areas which are awesome.

However, the best reason to visit Southampton, particularly if you have younger kids, is to visit Peppa Pig World. We actually visited England primarily to visit here with our two young Peppa Pig fans and we were not disappointed. Part of Paultons Family Theme Park, there are many rides and attractions here that older kids will enjoy too, but Peppa Pig World is definitely the highlight. It’s so well presented that it really feels like you have walked into their world. You can take rides on Grandpa Pig’s train or Daddy Pig’s car or go on a helicopter ride among other things. We particularly enjoyed going early for breakfast where you can meet Peppa Pig and George.

While it is possible to get buses around much of Southampton’s attractions, a car will make things easier. For somewhere to stay, Ranvilles Farm House is a great choice if you have your own car just a couple of miles from Paultons.

Sharon – Baby Journey

Oxford, England

Most UK cities have great options of family-friendly activities, but Oxford is an especially good choice for a city break with the kids. Not only does the city have a really walkable layout, with plenty of green spaces, but they also have some interesting attractions that will be sure to keep the children entertained.

Whether you want to visit The Story Museum full of colourful character exhibits and storytelling sessions, take part in the Oxford Spy Mission Treasure Trail, step back in time at the  Oxford Castle  and Prison or explore the History of Science Museum, there really is something for everyone.

The joy of Oxford is that there’s always something to do come rain or shine, so whatever time of year you visit, there’s something great to do. Summer months are perfect for walking tours, open-top bus journeys and punting down the river, while rainy days can be spent at the Oxford ice rink, at the child-friendly escape room Escape Hunt Oxford or at one of the city’s many museums.

When the family starts to wilt and you need a pick-me-up, head over to Cowley Road which has a whole host of family-friendly restaurants such as Atomic Burger and Pizzeria Trattoria Mario.

For those who want to combine city attractions with some more outdoorsy activities, head over to  Cutteslowe Park, Port Meadow or the CS Lewis Nature Reserve, the place that was the inspiration for the Chronicles of Narnia!

Chrysoula – Historic European Castles

If you are visiting Oxford with kids and fancy treating the family, then you should read this post about the best places in Oxford for afternoon tea .

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is an incredible city to visit for families because most of its attractions leave both kids and adults in awe alike! Not only is there a plethora of  free things to do in Glasgow , the city is also full of cool museums, street art behind every corner and a great place for outdoor activities.

Start with a tour on the city sightseeing bus to get an overview and use it as an easy-to-navigate means of transport around the city. Hop off at the Riverside Museum on the banks of the River Clyde. This is the city’s transport museum – architecture fans will love the stunning design by Zaha Hadid, while the kids can climb onto historic steam trains, out-of-use trams and even a replica of the Glasgow subway. During summer, take the small ferry across the river to visit the Govan Stones and learn about Viking history in this part of Glasgow.

Continue your tour to the West End: pretend you’re at Hogwarts at the University of Glasgow (look for the cloisters), stop for lunch on Ashton Lane and visit the beautiful Botanic Gardens to enjoy the greenery. The Gaelic word for Glasgow (Glaschu) means, after all, “Dear Green Place”. 

Back in the city centre, follow the Glasgow Mural Trail and use the free online guide to learn about the different artists who have put their mark on the city. If you’ve still got energy left, climb the tower at the Lighthouse for fantastic views of the city.

There are many hotels to choose from, with with the whole family a serviced apartment-hotel like Fraser Suites might be a great choice. That way you have a kitchen to prepare snacks for the day, and the parents can relax in the living room after the kids have gone to bed.

With these tips in mind, your family will fall in love with Glasgow! 

Kathi – Watch Me See

If you’re planning to visit the city and want to know best to spend your time, read this 2-days in Glasgow itinerary to get some ideas!

Edinburgh, Scotland

One of our favourite cities to visit in the UK is Edinburgh, Scotland. The city is easily accessible from all parts of the UK, and offers plenty of opportunities for family fun. We prefer exploring Edinburgh on foot, but there are plenty of city buses or trams that run through the major tourist areas and beyond. 

We recommend starting off exploring Edinburgh Castle, a prime place for taking in city views, learning about history, and a great area for kids to safely explore since it is car free. Afterwards, take a stroll along the Royal Mile, stopping to explore Camera Obscura, the Museum of Childhood, and watching street performers. Be sure to grab some shortbread treats from one of the many souvenir shops. When everyone is hungry, head to The Outsider with its family friendly atmosphere and stunning castle views, or pop in to a Pizza Express where you are sure to find something kids will eat. 

Other  fun things to do with kids in Edinburgh  include the Edinburgh Zoo, the National Museum of Scotland (think mummies and dinosaurs), the Royal Botanic Gardens, or even an underground tour through Mary King’s Close. 

Find a place to stay in the Old Town or New Town, both have easy access to parks, attractions, and restaurants. For families we recommend Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile or Kimpton Charlotte Square in New Town. Wherever you stay, you will never be far from the fun in Edinburgh.

Kirsten – Kids Are A Trip

Cambridge, England

As a beautiful city located nearly 2 hours north of London, Cambridge has a majestic feel to it, and is incredibly welcoming to families with children. Walking, biking, and lots of open space is one of the most enticing things Cambridge has to offer. As a university town, there is plenty of space to walk around, take in the beauty of the city and just tumble on the grass with children. 

The Magazine Beach Park and the very large Danehy Park has so much to offer families, with lots of open space and even family friendly activities at times in the summer.

The spectacular botanical garden in Cambridge is the perfect place to spend the day getting lost among wildflowers, running around fountains and learning about the thousands of species of plants collected from all over the world.  The botanic garden has over 16 hectares of walkways, gardens and greenhouses for visitors to explore.

Kids love to eat, and Cambridge has a great offering of restaurants, bakeries and kid friendly dessert shops.  The Tatte Bakery is a great place to take the kids for any meal and with its family friendly atmosphere, kids will love it.  After, treat them to a delicious ice cream cone from Toscanini’s.  

If you have slightly older children, or if you are curious to see other sides of Cambridge, a punting trip down the River Cam may be a great idea.  Punting is a great way to see another side of Cambridge and take part in a well known local tradition.

Taking a climb to the Great St. Mary’s Church Tower is another great family friendly activity, though there are some tight spaces in the staircase headed up.  Kids tend to love views and being high, so most will find the climb and the views quite delightful.

Diana – Travels in Poland

If you’d like to know what you can get up to in 48 hours in Cambridge, check out this post from Me, Him, The Dog and A Baby.

St. Davids, Wales

St David’s isn’t the most obvious city to visit with kids in the UK. It’s the smallest city in the UK, and the second smallest in Europe after the Vatican City.

Essentially, St David’s is a large village which happens to have the largest cathedral in Wales. It’s out in the far west of Wales, in a remote, wild peninsula in the county of Pembrokeshire, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK.

The city centre – which in most places would be called a village square. – has a few hotels, restaurants and a grand total of two pubs where you can eat. One has a beer garden where you can sit outside in the summer.

St David’s Cathedral is magnificent, easily the most impressive church in Wales, and the ruin of the Bishop’s Palace is next door. These may be of interest to kids – it depends on the individual. Our explorer son prefers exploring outdoors, and the staircases of the Bishop’s Palace hold far more allure for him.

St David’s comes into its own as a destination with kids because of its superb coastline. Whitesands Bay is an awesome beach two miles from the centre and this has the most facilities, including cafes and equipment hire. It also has glorious coastal walks in either direction, and budding climbers will love the volcanic outcrop of Carn Llidi above the beach.

Just to the south of the city, Caerfai Bay is another fantastic beach, with golden sands, red rocks and rockpools galore.

Regular boat trips run from St David’s to some of the nearby Welsh islands.  The closest is Ramsey Island, a mile west of the mainland, and trips there take you to see the puffins during the nesting season (May to July) and Atlantic grey seals.

David – Delve into Europe

York, England

The northern city of York is a great place to visit with kids. The city is small and the main attractions are easily reached on foot with the added bonus of a pedestrianised city centre. Any family visit to York should start with a trip to the Gothic cathedral of York Minster in the heart of the city centre. Children under 16 are free with a paying adult and the Minster provides special family friendly tours every week. On other days, children can borrow Explorer Backpacks complete with age appropriate activities and magnifying glasses to help them get the most out of their visit.

Kids of every age will enjoy the free-to-enter National Railway Museum. Families could easily spend a whole day at this world class attraction. There are engines and carriages from throughout rail history including a Shinkansen carriage you can sit in and a cross section from the Channel Tunnel. Watch the restorers at work in the workshop, have fun at the free, daily science shows or take a ride on the miniature railway next to the museum’s picnic area and small playground.

Walk through the charming cobbled and paved streets of York to reach the Castle Museum, opposite Clifford’s Tower. The huge Castle Museum charts the history of the city. Children will love exploring the toy gallery which will also bring back memories for parents. The highlight of the museum is Kirkgate, a reconstruction of a Victorian Street where children can enter the shops, police station and schoolroom to meet the ‘people’ who work there.

There are several family friendly accommodations just outside the city walls such as the Premier Inn near Micklegate Bar, one of the city’s medieval gateways.

Sinead – Best in York Guide

Plymouth, England

Plymouth is located in the South West of England and was once and still is a major naval base.  There is lots to do with kids and a lot of it is within a short distance of the main Barbican Harbour area.  This makes it perfect for family adventures as you can walk from each attraction to the next and not worry about parking. 

Whatever the weather the National Marine Aquarium is an essential place to visit.  It is a beautiful aquarium with some very large tanks and talks through the day.  It takes a couple of hours to explore so a perfect place to visit on a rainy day. 

From the Barbican it is a short walk to the Hoe where Sir Francis Drake was said to have played bowls before defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588.  It is now a large open space with Smeaton’s Tower Lighthouse that can be climbed for better views out across Plymouth Sound.  This is a great place for those who like to see big Navy vessels as there is always something buzzing about. 

Below Smeaton’s Tower is the gorgeous Tinside Lido which is an open air swimming pool with views out to sea.  Perfect for a swim in the summer months when it is open.

On the Hoe are a number of Cafe’s.  One of our favourites is Pier One that is cosy all year round or if you want something a bit different then Cap’n Jaspers at the Barbican is a unique burger experience.

Suzanne – Lighthouse Locations

Norwich, England

Norwich, located on the River Wensum in beautiful Norfolk, about 100 miles (160 km) north-east of London, is a friendly city positively teeming with family friendly fun. The most complete medieval city in the UK, Norwich was also England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. As the only English city located inside a National Park, it’s also one of the most naturally pretty, with a river at its heart and the waterways and beautiful countryside of the Norfolk Broads surrounding it. Hire a boat or take a river cruise under the city’s ancient bridges and out to explore the lock-free waterways of the Broads is a great idea for families.

An easy city to walk, its cobbled pathways, character-filled buildings and enormous outdoor market are a huge part of Norwich’s appeal. As is its impressive selection of family friendly eateries, pretty gardens and sprawling parklands, including the stunning Eaton Park, with its boating pond, children’s play area, pitch and putt golf and BMX park.

The city’s most famous landmarks though are Norwich Cathedral, the cloud bursting spire of which dominates the skyline, and the imposing Norwich Castle. The former is an architectural confection and my kids enjoyed exploring it cloisters and labyrinth and spotting the peregrine falcons who call the cathedral spire home. The castle too is a sure fire hit for kids, offering a variety of tours aimed at specific age groups, including one hosted by a costumed knight, plus kids dress ups, spooky dungeon tours and a fantastic 360-degree view from the top.  

For history buffs, the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell is another must, sharing the city’s story from medieval to modern day through exhibitions, interactive displays and stories that are hands on and engaging for kids. Culture vultures will want to visit the Sainsbury Centre with its permanent collection of works from artists including Picasso and Degas and Lalique, though kids will probably be more impressed at the centres star turn in ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.

As a city, there are lots of  things to do with kids in Norwich  making it a very family-friendly city in the UK.

Aleney – Boy Eats World

Bath, England

Bath is a great city to go to with kids. No matter what their age, they will find something amazing to do. Parking is easy with many park and rides on the outskirts of the city and the bus ride in often sparks excitement even from the older children especially if it is a double decker bus that arrives to take you in!

We can highly recommend staying in a lodge at Bath Mill Lodge Retreat. It is on the outskirts of the city but great if you have children as it has a small restaurant and playground on site. 

Our favourite thing to do in Bath with our young family was the famous Roman Baths but everyone from our 4 year old twins, to the grandparents loved this. There is an audio trail to follow with a children’s option available – I followed this with the girls and it was excellent. There is also a quiz for older children to follow as you move around the Baths.

Bath Abbey which is right next to the Roman Baths is absolutely stunning and somewhere I would highly recommend looking round. If your children are over 5, you can take the tower tour where you can make your way up to the top and have the most beautiful view over the city as well as seeing how the bells work.

Other places your family will enjoy visiting in Bath will include Bath City Farm, the American Museum, take an open bus tour of the city, and the famous Bath Royal Crescent. There are lots of  things to do with kids in Bath , making it one of the best UK cities to visit as a family.

Anna – Twins and Travels

Liverpool, England

One of the best UK cities to visit with kids is Liverpool. Having visited Liverpool many times for football matches with my hubby pre-kids, we got the chance in early February 2020 to bring our son to the city for the first time, also for his first football match.

Liverpool is one of the most family-friendly cities in the UK to visit with kids because the Scousers are generally a very friendly bunch of people. Whether you are there for a football match or not, it’s one of the best places to visit in the UK with kids.

Like many cities, the city centre is pedestrianised around the high street shops, making it stroller/toddler friendly. As with many UK cities, you will find a host of accommodation options to suit all budgets, along with both chain and independent eateries for every taste.

Some of the best things to do in Liverpool with kids include stadium tours at both Anfield (home to Liverpool FC) and Goodison Park (home to Everton). If you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on some tickets, match day in Liverpool always has a good atmosphere. Plus, the kids will love shouting their heads off and cheering when their team scores a goal.

If you haven’t got a football fan in the family, then visits to the Royal Albert Docks might be better. There you’ll find Mattel Play for younger kids, the Maritime Museum, the Tate Liverpool and the Beatles Museum, as well as the Liverpool Wheel and a lovely little carousel near the Maritime Museum. You could also take a river cruise from here.

If the northern weather is against you, there are plenty of indoor soft play and trampoline parks dotted around the city. And if you want to venture slightly further afield, 25 minutes from the city centre you’ll find the Knowlsey Safari Park which will delight animal lovers of all ages.

Whether you are a football fan or not, Liverpool is one of the best cities in the UK to visit with kids.

Cath – Travel Around Ireland

With so many cities and towns to visit in UK, it can be difficult to decide on a destination for your next getaway but I hope my fellow bloggers and I have made it a little bit easier by sharing our recommendations for the best places to visit in the UK with family.

While London is home to some of the best UK attractions for kids, each city has lots on offer to choose from, no matter what your kids are into. There are accommodation options for families of all shapes, sizes and budgets and an abundance of places to reduce the risk of hangry kids.

Where will your next break in the UK be?

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Family Travel

9 fantastic places to visit in the uk with kids for a perfect family holiday.

chester England

Fun, beautiful and interesting places to visit in the UK with kids: holiday destinations in the UK perfect for families with children.

The UK has been my favorite destination for years.

I first visited when I was a kid myself, during long summer road trips in England, Wales and Scotland in my parents’ Italian plated car, driven all the way from Rome!

I then explored several parts of it when I studied English on summer programmes and eventually realised my dream of living in London, an experienced I adored and that made London my first real city love.

It is important for me to show the UK to my kids.

There is a plethora of kid-friendly attractions in the UK, lots of exciting cities to explore, cultural sites and nature to be discovered, and I love that we never have to compromise of grown-up fun as there is, literally, a lot to do in the UK for all ages.

We live in Dublin, Ireland, and the UK is a short hop from here. In this roundup, I have put together our favorite places to visit in the UK with kids for a family vacation and suggestions for a child-friendly weekend away.

These are my, recommendations about the best UK destinations for a family holiday.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

The best places to visit in the UK with kids

London – the most exciting city destination in the uk for families with kids.

We open this list with London, one of the best cities in the world to visit with kids !

London needs no introduction; however, if you have visited the city before you have children, you may not realize how much there is actually to do for them here.

Find here >>> our guide to visiting London with kids

Big Ben in London with two double decker buses in front

The list of things to do in London with kids is huge!

To discover the family friendly side of this city, I turned to my friend and local mum Katja from the family travel site

You can’t plan a family holiday to the UK and not visit London.

The capital is a big city with an even bigger personality, jam-packed full of fun things to do with kids.  

If it’s history that you’re after then London delivers by the bucketload.

The city is nearly 2,000 years old and is full of fun historical facts and stories – try the Tower of London for starters and a tour around the Houses of Parliament.  

For culture you have over 200 museums to choose from – many of them free.

Start with the Natural History Museum and its neighbours, the Science Museum and the V&A. But don’t forget some of the smaller, quirkier gallery spaces such as the Old Operating Theatre near London Bridge 

Make sure to catch a musical or play while you’re in town; there are a number of theatres dedicated to performances specifically for kids.

If the weather is on your side – or even if it’s not – take advantage of how green the city is.

London is home to hundreds of parks of varying sizes and almost as many playgrounds.

The Princess Diana Memorial playground is always a hit with children.  

Before you go, make sure to book a  kids’ afternoon tea .

London offers plenty of family-friendly themed teas – the perfect activity to round off your time in the capital.  

Edinburgh with kids – a perfect family city break in Scotland

If you are looking for a great family city break in the UK, then you will love Edinburgh.

View of Edinburgh at sunset

Edinburgh is a very child friendly city with lots of things to do for kids and adults alike.

Iconic Edinburgh castle towers above the city and it is only the best knowns of the many places your kids are sure to love.

Other exceptional things to do with kids in Edinburgh include walking the Royal Mile, beautiful and full of fun shops and cafes, climbing up the Scotts monument for views, a visit to the national Museum of Scotland and of course the Harry Potter Trail, perfect for children age 5 and up!

Other fun kids’ activities include hiking Arthur’s Seat (in summer) and then rest and relax in the many cozy cafes and restaurants in the city.

You can get an hop on – hop off bus tour such as this one to help you navigate between all these attractions.

Edinburgh is also a fantastic base for a Scottish adventure in the beautiful nature of this stunning part of the world!

The Cotswolds – picture perfect location for a UK family holiday with kids

If, like me, you first fell in love with the UK through photos of quaint stone cottages and picture perfect  villages, then the best place for a family vacation in England is the Cotswolds.

The quaint fairy tale village of Castle Combe at the border between the Cotswolds and Wiltshire with its characteristic bridge

Cotswolds is the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and a delightful place to visit with kids as well as grown ups.

Depending on the age of your kids and your taste, you can choose between a variety of things to see and do.

If you are visiting from abroad, you will love the sightseeing opportunities of this area.

Pretty towns such as Bourton-on-the-Water, with its canals, or Castle Combe and its chocolate box beauty are lovely to visit with kids and the area also have several National Trust properties that are fantastic to learn about the area and also well equipped for entertaining children.

Snowhill Manor for instance is stunning and has a hazel maze, a hidden den in the woods and a children garden trail.

There are many petting farms in the area, always a fantastic day out with little kids, and if you are visiting in summer, you will also be able to visit the stunning Cotswolds lavender fields, among the best fields of lavender to visit with kids in Europe!

If you and your kids love films, the Cotswolds will be a treat too.

Due to its quintessential English charm, many movies were filmed in this area.

Grown ups may recognize spots from Bridget Jones’ Diary, the Remains of the Day and Emma, just to name some of the most famous motion pictures filmed in the area, and children and teens won’t miss the fact that Harry Potter was filmed here.

Some of the most famous film locations in the Cotswolds are Gloucester cathedral, Castle Combe, Snowshill and Bampton, all easy to weave into a family friendly itinerary in this area.

The Cotswalds is one of the prettiest areas to visit in the UK with kids and great for an extended stay.

However, you can also visit with a day tour from London like this one , perfect if you don’t want the stress of driving your own vehicle..

The Peak District – fabulous UK holiday idea for outdoorsy families

If your family loves the outdoors, then you should explore the Peak District one of the most scenic areas of the UK.

We got insider tips to visit this area from travel loving mum and writer Jenny from  Peak District Kids , a fantastic resource for families visiting the area.

best city to visit with family uk

Nestled between the big cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Derby, The Peak District National Park is the oldest National Park in the UK.

With its green rolling hills, dramatic escarpments, quaint country villages and farms, it’s the perfect getaway for outdoor loving families.

The Peak District is our home, and of a weekend we love nothing better than a family walk in the hills.

Our favourites are the Nine Ladies Circle through Stanton Moor Peak or the walk starting next to The Robin Hood pub in Baslow, with spectacular views from Birchen Edge.

Alternatively, hire some bikes and ride the Monsal Trail or Tissington Trail.

Visit Blaze Farm in Wildboarclough for a free walk around the farm and a taste of the scrummy homemade ice-cream, or head over to Chatsworth House to marvel the grand gardens, play in the adventure playground or even go wild swimming!

A good family day out in the Peak District is taking the cable car up to the Heights of Abraham and venturing into the underground caverns, or riding the vintage trams at Crich Tramway Museum.

But if you’re seeking thrills head to Gullivers Kingdom, or nearby Alton Towers! 

There really is so much to do! But this isn’t a place to tick off attractions. The Peak District is a place to connect with nature and enjoy the slower pace of life together. 

If you are short on time, you can also explore the peak district with a tour such as this one , leading you to discover this beautiful area without the stress of driving.

Dartmoor, Devon – perfect holiday destination in the UK for families who love nature

Another fantastic part of the UK to visit with kids is Dartmoor, which we discovered thanks to local mum and travel writer Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes.

best city to visit with family uk

I may be a little biased, having grown up on the edge of this National Park, but Dartmoor is truly one of the UK’s crown jewels.

Stunningly beautiful and with so much on offer, it’s hard to argue with! Since having children, we have loved heading back to visit as there is so much to do for families. Firstly, one of our favourite activities is to go for a hike.

We like nothing better than tramping along old railway lines and exploring ruins from forgotten times.

Depending on the ages and abilities of your kids, you can head up to the top of the tors and splash through streams.

There are also a good number of gorges to discover.

If you need a purpose to your walk, try something like geocaching or letter boxing to keep the little ones entertained.

If that’s not enough, head to a National Trust / English Heritage property near Dartmoor.

They’re historical and beautiful plus they offer a range of kid friendly activities. There are plenty of picture postcard villages and towns in or on the edge of Dartmoor too. 

All that should have worked up an appetite so grab a traditional Cornish pasty (easily found in Devon!) or a Devon Cream Tea.

If you need something more substantial, get some traditional pub fare like scampi and chips or enjoy a cold drink after a long walk (or a hot drink if it’s raining).

South Wales – wonderful UK family destination for castle lovers

We are based in Ireland and often make our way to the UK by boat which means the first part of the country we see is stunning Wales.

Wales is all outstanding in terms of natural beauty and it also has lovely towns and castles that are fantastic for kids.

street with Welsh flags and entrance to Cardiff castle

One of the most family friendly areas of Wales is the South, which piqued our attention thanks to travel loving mum Catherine, author of Passports and Adventures , who shared why she loves South Wales as one of the best places to explore with kids in the UK

One of the best places in the UK to visit with kids is South Wales.

Host to the capital Cardiff , a wealth of amazing castles in Wales for kids, sandy beaches galore and both beautiful and rugged mountains, South Wales has it all.

There are lots of things to do in South Wales with kids and if you are visiting Cardiff, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

As well as Cardiff Castle in the city centre and Cardiff Bay, there are lots of family-friendly museums, St Fagans is a must and many parks to wander through and explore.

Venture further afield along the coast and you can enjoy the many beaches or enjoy a walk along the Wales Coast Path.

You should also take time to visit the Gower Peninsula, an area of natural beauty. Head to Rhossili Bay or Three Cliffs in this area. 

Along the coastline you can also discover some castle but to find the best you need to head a little inland.

Some of the best castles to visit in South Wales with kids are located north and east of Cardiff, with some on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Our favourites are Caerphilly Castle with its dragons (yes, dragons!), Chepstow, Raglan and Carreg Cennen in the west.

best city to visit with family uk

If animals appeal to your kids head to Cefn Mably Farm Park between Cardiff and Newport or to Folly Farm in West Wales.

Do your kids like the outdoors?

Then the Caerphilly Mountain Range might be just the place for them to enjoy. And if your kids are older, why not tackle the hike up Pen-y-Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales.

No matter where you go in South Wales with kids, you will find something to entertain the kids and to enjoy with them. It is a stunning part of the UK and a must-visit.

Definitely a strong case for declaring South Wales one of the best places to visit in the UK with kids, wouldn’t you agree?

Cornwall – great UK holiday destination for beach lovers (and a great family road trip!)

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful parts of England and one of the spots in the country that gets the best weather.

coastal town in Cornwall with wooden boats in Harbour

If you are looking for a place where you can mix sightseeing, time at the beach and possibly even catch a bit of sun, Cornwall is the place!

There is plenty to see and do for kids in Cornwall: this area has many pretty towns, lovely sandy beaches, castles (Tintagel is here, famous for the King Arthur saga) and you also have many National Trust properties that are great for adults but also always very well equipped to entertain kids of all ages.

You can also learn to surf here !

My favorite way to discover Cornwall is with a road trip, so you can experience many different places and stay in the type of properties I love most: B&Bs! You can find the best Bed and Breakfasts in Cornwall here.

Devon – fantastic family friendly UK holiday destination for kids of all ages

Devon is one of the best holiday destinations for families in England, full of things to do for kids and wonderful towns and scenery for grown ups too.

No matter what you are looking for, in a Devon vacation, the area will deliver! In Devon with kids, you can have a fun beach holiday, go glamping, have an active holiday to keep the kids and yourself in shape or you can relax in one of the lovely family hotels in the area.

The resource to plan your family holiday in Devon is the site Devon with Kids by local mum Claire: It has absolutely everything you need to know about Devon and tons of info about things to do with kids, family hotels and activities for all ages and holiday styles.

Find all Claire has to recommend in her guide to the best family holidays in Devon for kids

Northern Ireland – fabulous UK road trip idea of families!

A family trip to Northern Ireland is my very own recommendation for a UK holiday with kids and a recommendation I give from the bottom of my heart as I find Northern Ireland simply stunning!

This is one of our favourite road trips for families !

The giants causeway with its basalt columns and the green mountain in the background (as seen from the top on the causeway itself)

The whole area is beautiful and has plenty of things to do with kids.

If you want to see stunning nature, then you have lots to choose from: the Giants Causeway, right on the very North shore of northern Irland is stunning and a real pleasure to visit with kids.

The paths to the causeway and teh causeway itself area easy even for little kids to tackle and there is a beautiful and informative visitors center that has lots of educational displays for kids, to teach them through play about this peculiar rock formation.

Not far from the causeway there is the scenic and stunning Carrick-a-rede bridge, which is great for adventurous kids (older ones, but little ones can easily walk to its access point) and you also have close to hear Dunluce Castle, which is one of the most scenic castles you can see in the whole of Ireland , North and South.

Last but not least, norther Ireland is home to wonderful towns such as Belfast, which has very cool museums and attractions for kids, and the wonderful Derry/Londonderry, which has an interesting and important history, beautiful city walls and incredible murals, both beautiful and significant.

I believe this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK with kids for all families interested in nature and history.

You can spend many days in Northern Ireland and not get tired of it but you can also cover a good bit of ground with a weekend there. You can find our Northern Ireland weekend itinerary .

More places perfect for short break in the UK with kids

All the areas mentioned above are fantastic for family vacations and have plenty to keep you and your kids entertained all summer long.

however, there are many more fantastic place to visit in the UK with kids, which you can also cover in a weekend.

Some we love are:

Cambridge with kids – famous for its renowned universities, Cambridge is a treat for families.

The city has a delightful center easy to visit on foot and by bike and it has plenty to do for kids.

On a first visit, you should visit some of the towns’ most famous university, go punting on the river Cam , visit the fantastic Cambridge university Botanical gardens and the fun science center. Don’t forget to also just sit and relax in one of Cambridge’s many green spaces: if you fo in summer, you can relax while the kids play in one of the many splashpads around town!

Bath with kids – an ancient Roman town, Bath is fantastic for kids.

Located in a stunning part of England, close to the Cotswolds and Bath is a great destination for a weekend away with the kids because of the family attractions in town and the many easy day trips you can take from here.

The jewel in the crown in Bath are the Roman baths, which are easy and interesting to visit with children. thanks to the children’s audio guides and costumed characters that help make the site come to life.

For more kid-centered fun, you can go to the play area in Victoria Park or have a game of crazy gold at the Victoria Falls Crazy Golf course.

if you want to explore further afield, must-see UK attractions such as Stonehenge and Salisbury are a short drive out of Bath and you can also visit Stratford-upon-Avon, which is great if you have school age kids especially.

UK Theme parks – an easy win for families with kids is planning a weekend in one of the great theme parks that dot the UK.

There are several you can chose from, in several parts of the country.

For small kids, we highly recommend Thomas Land .

The park is simply fantastic for little ones as they truly feel like they they stepped into the world of their favorite, really useful engine and it is easy to manage for parents since it is big but not so vast to overwhelming.

The park is also close to the Leicester National Space Center , which is excellent for small and older kids and even teens.

I hope you enjoyed this quick list of the best places to visit in the UK with kids. Safe travel planning!

Looking for more places to visit in the UK with kids? Then you may also enjoy our review of our weekend at ThomasLand , a real fun family weekend away for little ones, and our visit to the UK National Space Center , a wonderful place for space loving kids (and adults)

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Marta Correale

Marta Correale is the creator, writer and creative mind behind Learning Escapes. A travel loving mama of two from Italy, Marta currently lives in Ireland with her husband and two kids, they take frequent trips to European destination, the US and beyond. A professional travel blogger for over a decade, Marta is passionate about traveling with kids and helping others to travel more and better as a family.

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The best cities in the UK: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

By Condé Nast Traveller

The best cities in the UK 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

What's your favourite city in the UK? In 2023, we asked our readers just that – and your responses rank the top 10 of the UK's 51 cities in some surprising ways. There are cities from all four devolved nations represented in this list, with a new city in the top spot and two new additions of Brighton and Dundee.

Our annual Reader's Choice Awards are the biggest and most influential in the business, shining a light on the best places around the world. In collaboration with our sister title in the USA, we can now reveal the urban destinations that scored the highest marks when it comes to nightlife, restaurants and friendliness. For more inspiration, see our pick of the best places to visit in the UK .

These are the best cities in the UK, according to the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards . The scores below are percentages representing overall average levels of satisfaction.

Two empty but colorful deckchairs sit on Brighton beach looking out to sea and Brighton's pleasure pier in the the...

10. Brighton. Score 80.22

This bohemian beach city has it all: a wealth of enticing restaurants , one of the UK's best LGBTQ+ scenes and – most importantly for any seaside destination – truly excellent fish and chips .

Where to stay: Bed down in elegant Regency Square in rooms filled with beautiful artworks at Artist Residence . Or opt for this sweet Airbnb in the historic Lanes . See more hotels in Brighton .

View of Dundee and the Tay railway bridge across the Tay River.

9. Dundee. Score 81.11

With its large-scale waterfront regeneration, including the architecturally impressive V&A Museum, Dundee is a thriving cultural hotspot.

Where to stay: Set in a former textile mill, Hotel Indigo has industrial interiors, a buzzy bar and is well located for exploring.

The Northern Irish capital is famous for being birthplace to the RMS Titanic  but also for its vibrant culture and art...

8. Belfast. Score 83.07

The Northern Irish capital is famous for being birthplace to the RMS Titanic – but also for its vibrant culture and art scene and welcoming locals, set against a backdrop of handsome cobbled streets and dapper Edwardian buildings. Check out our local's guide to Belfast to find out more.

Where to stay: At The Harrison , set in Victorian merchants' residences, given a colourful, light-hearted makeover. The hotel is close to some of the city's best cultural highlights, too. For more ideas, read our guide to the best hotels in Belfast .

This buzzy Scottish city has made the list for the sixth year in a row. Read our feature on the best things to do in...

7. Glasgow. Score 83.27

This buzzy Scottish city has made the list for the sixth year in a row. Read our feature on the best things to do in Glasgow to find out why, or tap into the Glaswegian food scene .

Where to stay: See our round-up of the best Airbnbs in Glasgow from which to base yourself – including this handsome studio in a classic townhouse that sleeps two.

Liverpool comes in sixth place on our list this year up a spot from last year. The oncegritty city is now a capital of...

6. Liverpool. Score 83.29

Liverpool comes in sixth place on our list this year, up a spot from last year. The once-gritty city is now a capital of cool, where vintage shops, art galleries and art venues inject a creative atmosphere into the streets – see our guide to things to do in Liverpool for ideas on how to spend a visit here.

Where to stay:

Book a room at Titanic Hotel Liverpool , converted from a soaring, cavernous former warehouse.

History is woven into the medieval lanes and cloistered colleges of this freewheeling university town. But now a perky...

5. Cambridge. Score 84.16

History is woven into the medieval lanes and cloistered colleges of this free-wheeling university town. But now a perky batch of new arrivals are adding cocktail and coffee culture to the equation. Before your visit, see our pick of the best things to do in Cambridge .

Where to stay: The smartest choice in town is The University Arms , a coaching inn that’s been artfully reimagined.

Vibrant Manchester is packed with excellent chefs music and culture. Grand libraries street art record shops and...

4. Manchester. Score 85.36

Vibrant Manchester is packed with excellent chefs, music and culture. Grand libraries, street art, record shops and galleries are among the best things to do in the city , while excellent restaurants in Manchester range from Korean cooking to donut shops via Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine. There's a thriving LGBTQ+ scene in Manchester , too.

Where to stay: Whitworth Locke comprises apartments painted in dreamy pastels in an old cotton mill. See more of the best hotels in Manchester .

Edinburgh famed for its festival and varied architecture has come third in our list of the best cities in the UK. For...

3. Edinburgh. Score 86.38

Edinburgh, famed for its festival and varied architecture, has come third in our list of the best cities in the UK. For first-time visitors, see our Edinburgh travel guide and the best things to do in the Scottish capital . In the last few years the city has developed into a foodie hotspot – these are the best restaurants in Edinburgh .

Where to stay: Gleneagles Townhouse is the most exciting newcomer on the scene. For a private stay, this loft Airbnb overlooks the city's most famous street. For more options, see our pick of the best Edinburgh hotels and the best Airbnbs in Edinburgh .

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2. London. Score 86.44

London is not just a major city but a thriving hub of 32 boroughs, each with their own, distinct character, from hip Dalston to colourful Notting Hill and buzzing Soho . Stay up to date with the latest happenings via our weekly roundup of the best  things to do in London this weekend , as well as our list of the best restaurants in London  (even better, sign up to our weekly newsletter on London's hottest restaurants right now too).

Where to stay: For something smart and classic, you can't get much better than Claridge's , in splashy Mayfair . For a cooler, more casual stay, look further East to One Hundred Shoreditch , which boasts a gorgeous rooftop bar. For more, see our edit of the best London hotels .

The playful Welsh capital takes the top spot for 2023 with its exciting independent restaurants buzzy bars and...

1. Cardiff. Score 86.84

The playful Welsh capital takes the top spot for 2023 with its exciting independent restaurants, buzzy bars and up-and-coming neighbourhoods. Take a bite into the cool food scene and discover the unmissable places to visit with our guide to the best things to do in Cardiff .

Where to stay: Take over an Airbnb in the city to live like a local and explore the Welsh capital at your own pace.

Family friendly cities

Family friendly cities

Seeing is believing, or so they say. But take the kids on a break to one of England’s family friendly cities and they might not be able to believe their eyes. In a land of endless possibilities, they can go on a journey through centuries of history from ancient architecture to futuristic flair. Little ones run loose in interactive museums where they can press buttons and twiddle dials to their hearts’ content. Entertained, educated and fascinated, they’ll sleep soundly after days out in England’s cities.

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best city to visit with family uk

See London in miniature at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

See the London Eye, Big Ben and Tower Bridge made entirely of LEGO in the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort's Miniland attraction.

Location: Windsor, Berkshire

best city to visit with family uk

Rainy Day Activities: Visit Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum

Find out how Manchester’s famous inventions helped shape the modern world, from the world’s first steam-powered mill to the splitting of the atom, at this fantastic indoor attraction.

Location: Manchester

best city to visit with family uk

Rainy Day Activities: Catch a show at award-winning kids’ theatre, the egg

Looking for something to do when it rains that'll keep the kids entertained and adults smiling? Try a show or creative workshop at the egg.

Location: Bath, Somerset

best city to visit with family uk

Animal antics at Down at the Farm

Down at the Farm is one of Sunderland's most popular farms, home to a wide range of rare breed animals including giant tortoises, alpacas, raccoons, donkeys and red deer.

Location: Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

best city to visit with family uk

Find yourself on a farm in the heart of Nottingham

Stonebridge City Farm is a slice of the countryside in the heart of a city centre.

Location: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

best city to visit with family uk

Experience the life of a Royal Marine

Train yourself to the peak of physical fitness at an outdoor assault course and see if you've got what it takes, at the Royal Marines Museum.

Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

best city to visit with family uk

Rainy Day Activities: Treat the kids at Portsmouth's Action Stations

Let your kids loose on this indoor playground, packed with exciting activities including a ninja course and the UK's tallest indoor climbing tower.

best city to visit with family uk

Rainy Day Activities: Explore Earth and space at Liverpool’s World Museum

Need ideas on things to do when it rains? Visit one of North West England’s oldest museums and get a hands-on look at our planet from the oceans to the stars.

Location: Liverpool, Merseyside

best city to visit with family uk

Run wild at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester

The centre is made up of a series of interactive features to immerse kids into a world where their imagination can run wild at every turn.

Location: Manchester, Greater Manchester

best city to visit with family uk

Where the spirit of Brooklands lives on

Fun for all the family at Brooklands Museum - the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation.

Location: Weybridge, Surrey

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England With Kids: 10 Ideas for the Best England Itinerary for Families

best city to visit with family uk

Visiting the country of England with kids is a must for any family’s bucket list. With its rich history, culture, and outstanding natural beauty, an England itinerary for families is sure to be packed with all sorts of unique and interesting activities.

Our family absolutely fell in love with the country of England. We spent over a month and a half in England and thoroughly enjoyed the food, the culture, and the people we met during our stay in England.

Canal boats waiting in the water in Camden Market during an England itinerary for families visiting England with kids

If you’re planning a trip to England for your family, then you’ll definitely want to read up on our ideas for things to do in England with kids. Take some time to see our wonderful suggestions for an itinerary in England for families. And then get ready for your own wonderful adventure in England!

This post was originally published on November 9, 2021.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something. But don't worry, this will not result in any extra costs to you.

Table of Contents

England with kids highlights

Don't have time to read the whole post? Browse through these highlights for England itinerary ideas for what to do in each featured city during your trip to England with kids:

  • London: Markets tour
  • Greater London: Harry Potter Studio tour
  • Brighton: Walking tour
  • Salisbury: Stonehenge tour
  • Bath: Bridgerton walking tour
  • Cotswolds: Village tour
  • Birmingham: Walking tour
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: City sightseeing bus
  • Oxford: University walking tour
  • Lake District: Ten lakes tour

10 ideas for the best England itinerary for families

We normally like to do slow tourism , but from time to time, we do like to do shorter trips as well. Our time in England was a mix of slow travel and quick trips. We essentially did a big road trip around the country!

As we traveled throughout England with kids, I couldn’t help but take note of our favorite parts of this country so that I could share it with you all. Eventually, I ended up with this list of ideas and travel tips for an itinerary in England for families.

The front entrance of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, England

This is by no means an extensive list. There are undoubtedly many places that we missed. But it’s certainly a good introduction to England. My hope is that you use this England itinerary to give your family ideas of where to explore on your own family vacation to England. 

Take a look at our ten suggestions for places to visit in England with kids. I’ve highlighted things to do in each location. And I’ve also added a suggested number of days, to give you an idea of how long to stay. 

You don’t need to do everything on the list. For example, if you’re trying to plan for a 10 day England itinerary, you can pick three spots to really deep dive into. Or if you’re planning to spend two or three months in England, you can expand your time in each location, and explore other destinations too.

London has many family friendly points of interest, so you’ll want to use your time wisely while you’re visiting this city in England with kids. I suggest at least a week in the city if your England itinerary allows it. But if you have 10 days in England, or fewer, then plan for at least two full days to visit London with kids .

The front entrance of the British Museum on a visit to England with kids as part of an England itinerary

Many museums are free, such as the British Museum , the Victoria and Albert Museum , the Natural History Museum , and the Science Museum . This is great news if you're trying to visit England with kids on a budget. Famous landmarks, such as the Tower of London , Globe Theatre , and Westminster Abbey , however, will have an admission fee.

There are plenty of unique markets to visit such as Borough Market and Camden Market . You can also visit parks like Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens . We enjoyed walking along the River Thames, via the Jubilee Walk , or taking a boat ride along the Regent’s Canal .

best city to visit with family uk

For a good overview of London book one of these tours:

London In a Day: Tower of London, Westminster Abbey & Changing of the Guard

London in a Day - Private Custom Walking Tour

Camden Market, Borough Market and Covent Garden Market Private Tour

Suggested number of days in London for your England itinerary: 2-5

2. Greater London, England itinerary options

There are so many wonderful places to see outside of London as well. You should be sure to include spending time in this area while you're in England with kids. If you’re not limited to a 10 day England itinerary, you’ll want to plan for at least a day doing one or two of these things. Many of the places are accessible by train, or you can book one of the tours highlighted below, which includes transport.

best city to visit with family uk

The town of Windsor, to the west of London, is home to Windsor Castle . Visitors can stroll through the grounds and tour the home where the Queen of England spends most of her private weekends.

Book your Windsor Castle tour here:

Private Half-Day Windsor Castle, Park and Old Town Tour from London

If you’re more into a low key excursion during your time in England with kids, and you happen to be a Ted Lasso fan, take a visit to Richmond. Also situated west of London, Richmond is home to two beautiful parks: the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Richmond Park .

Book this tour of London, which includes a visit to Kew Gardens:

Amazing Kew Gardens & London Landmarks Tour

Harry Potter fans will want to book a walking tour of Harry Potter filming locations in London. And don’t miss visiting the Warner Brothers Studios in Leavesden, where you can learn how the movies were made. 

best city to visit with family uk

Book this tour to visit the Warner Brothers Studio, which includes transport:

Warner Bros. Studio: The Making of Harry Potter with Luxury Round-Trip Transport from London

If you have more time in the United Kingdom (and you absolutely love Harry Potter), then be sure to visit Edinburgh where you'll find even more Harry Potter tours .

Suggested number of days in Greater London for your England itinerary: 1-2

best city to visit with family uk

Get a 5-day itinerary to the city of London from our friends at Wanderlust Crew !

3. Brighton

Just south of London is the beach city of Brighton. This city is a must-visit for your England itinerary. However, if your time in England with kids is limited, you can also just spend a morning or afternoon here.

A popular beach holiday spot for Londoners, Brighton has the boardwalk atmosphere of Atlantic City, and the eccentricity of Venice Beach, with a touch of British charm thrown in the mix.

best city to visit with family uk

If you have time in your England travel itinerary, plan to spend at least one full day in Brighton. You’ll want to walk along Brighton Pier and also enjoy the beachfront path. Shelter Hall is a great food hall to enjoy a meal, with a diverse selection of cuisines that you can purchase through an app. Even though the weather wasn't too great when we were there, Brighton was definitely a highlight during our time in England with kids.

You also don’t want to miss walking through The Lanes, a collection of pedestrian lanes and small streets full of eclectic shops, cafes, and restaurants. There is bus service in Brighton, but we didn’t need to use it as the city is very walkable.

best city to visit with family uk

For a great overview of Brighton, book this walking tour:

The Brighton story - walking tour

Suggested number of days in Brighton for your England itinerary: 1-2

4. Salisbury

I like to think of Salisbury as the gateway to Stonehenge . The UNESCO World Heritage Site is only 9 miles away from Salisbury. But the city of Salisbury is interesting in its own right. And families who come to England with kids will enjoy visiting this ancient town. 

Stonehenge and Salisbury are great places to spend an afternoon if you have a limited 10 day England itinerary. But if you have more time, it’s worth adding a day or two to your England travel itinerary to explore Salisbury on its own.

best city to visit with family uk

The city of Salisbury is located west of Brighton and southwest of London. The Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of the best surviving original copies of Magna Carta. A historic legal document drafted in 1215, Magna Carta led to the establishment of Parliament and laid the groundwork for documents like the US Constitution.

Central Salisbury is fun to explore when you're in England with kids, with shops and restaurants along the River Avon. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, be sure to visit the Salisbury Market . The city is walkable. And if you have a car, you can park in one of the public car parks located in the center of the city.

Salisbury Cathedral against a blue sky

Book this private tour to experience Salisbury and Stonehenge with your kids: 

Bespoke private tours of Stonehenge and Avebury by car with local guide

Suggested number of days in Salisbury for your England itinerary: 2-3

best city to visit with family uk

Ready for a change? Take the first step to living a life of full time travel.

If you’re a fan of Roman history (or a fan of the show, Bridgerton), then you’ll definitely want to include Bath in your England itinerary. The city of Bath dates back thousands of years. But it’s most well-known for the Roman baths that were created in 60 AD. 

Today, Bath remains a popular tourist destination for families who come to England with kids. The city is not just known for the Roman baths, which you can still visit and tour, but also for its beautiful architecture and parks. If you’re limited to a 10 day England itinerary or shorter, plan to spend a morning visiting the Roman baths.  

The Pulteney Bridge and a weir at the River Avon in Bath, a popular England itinerary destination for families visiting England with kids

But if you have more time to spend in Bath, be sure to visit the Royal Crescent, a set of homes built in the 1700s laid out in a crescent overlooking a well-manicured park. The homes feature prominently in many scenes in Bridgerton . You can take a tour of one of the homes at No. 1 Royal Crescent .

Also while in Bath, spend an afternoon having tea at one of Bath’s many tea rooms and cafes. This is a must and gives you a glimpse into Britain’s tea culture while you're in England with kids. And don’t forget to visit Bath Abbey , located near the Roman baths and built over a thousand years ago.

best city to visit with family uk

Book one of these tours of Bath to fully experience all the city has to offer:

Walking Tour with Blue Badge Tourist Guide (90 Minutes)

Private Walking Tour with Blue Badge Tour Guide

2-Hour Bath Walking Tour of Bridgerton Filming Locations

Suggested number of days in Bath for your England itinerary: 1-2

6. The Cotswolds

One of the most picturesque parts of England is the Cotswolds. This part of the country was once famous for its wool, from sheep that were introduced to this part of the world by the Romans. 

Today, though, the Cotswolds are known for its well-preserved small villages that look like they’re straight out of a storybook. Wool is still an industry in the Cotswolds, but so is tourism. And no trip to England with kids is complete without a visit to the Cotswolds.

A footbridge over a river at Bourton-on-the-Water, England with ducks in the foreground, trees to the left, and a sidewalk lined with stores in the background

If you are on a limited 10 day England itinerary, plan to spend an afternoon at the Cotswolds. But if you have more time, it’s worth spending a day or two exploring the many small villages that make up the Cotswolds. 

We enjoyed Bourton-on-the-Water, with its shop-lined river running through the village. There’s also the Model Village , a 1:9 scale replica of Bourton-on-the-Water that’s well-worth visiting.

best city to visit with family uk

To explore the Cotswolds, book one of these tours:

Private Cotswold Village Tour

Tour of the Cotswolds from Moreton-in-Marsh

Suggested number of days in the Cotswolds for your England itinerary: 1-2

7. Birmingham

While Birmingham might not be an obvious choice to include in an itinerary for England with kids (unless you’re a fan of the show, Peaky Blinders ), it’s definitely a city not to be missed. Even if you’re limited to a 10 day England itinerary, I highly suggest including one full day in this city.

The second largest city in England, and located in the West Midlands region of the country, Birmingham played a large role in the Industrial Revolution. This is primarily due to its close proximity to the Black Country, named because of its many coal mines. Because of the coal mines of the Black Country, Birmingham became the epicenter of industry and metal crafts. 

best city to visit with family uk

For worldschooling families visiting England with kids, Birmingham is a great destination for learning about science, technology, and history. You can learn about the area’s industrial history by visiting the Black Country Living Museum , just outside of the city. And within the city, you can visit museums like the Pen Museum or the more popular Think Tank Birmingham Science Museum .

Birmingham is also near to two places of interest: Warwick Castle and Cadbury World . Warwick Castle is a Medieval castle constructed by William the Conqueror in 1068. And Cadbury World is a family-friendly exhibition tour run by the Cadbury Company showcasing the chocolate-making process.

Three canal boats on a canal near a dock at the Black Country Living Museum, an England itinerary destination for families visiting England with kids

Book one of these Birmingham tours to really get a feel for this unique city:

Discovering Birmingham Afternoon Walking Tour

From Canals and Victorians to Today's City: Birmingham Walking Tour

Suggested number of days in Birmingham for your England itinerary: 2-4

8. Stratford-Upon-Avon

For literary buffs, a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon is a must in your itinerary for England with kids. The town of Stratford-Upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one of England’s most famous writers. Plan to spend a morning in Stratford-Upon-Avon if you’re on a 10 day England itinerary, and at least a day if you have more time and flexibility. 

best city to visit with family uk

The town is small enough to walk around. There are shops around the town center, and you can tour Shakespeare’s actual house . Additionally, you can also visit the home of Anne Hathaway , Shakespeare’s wife. 

For a different activity, take a visit to the Stratford Butterfly Farm . Kids will especially enjoy seeing the wide variety of butterflies included at the butterfly farm.

best city to visit with family uk

To experience Stratford-Upon-Avon during your visit to England with kids, book this tour:

City Sightseeing Stratford-upon-Avon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Suggested number of days in Stratford-Upon-Avon for your England itinerary: 1-2

For worldschooling families who love to incorporate learning into our travels , a visit to the town of Oxford during their time in England with kids is not to be missed. Oxford is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford. And it’s also host to the Bodleian Library , the second largest library in the United Kingdom. 

The town of Oxford is referenced in countless pieces of literature and film. Most recently, Oxford has been the setting for several Harry Potter film scenes. If you’re on a limited 10 day England itinerary, spend an afternoon here. But if you have more days to spare on your England itinerary, then plan at least one full day.

best city to visit with family uk

We were unfortunately not able to explore Oxford during our England itinerary, although we did drive through the city. But we intend to come back and visit the next time we come to England with kids.

Book one of these tours of Oxford to experience the town and all its beautiful attractions:

Oxford University Walking Tour With University Alumni Guide

Private Oxford Walking Tour for the Discerning Traveler

Harry Potter 2 hour PUBLIC Tour + Self Guided Entry to Christ church

Suggested number of days in Oxford for your England itinerary: 1-2

10. Lake District

If your England itinerary allows, take a visit to the northern part of England to the Lake District . This area of England is filled with beautiful lakes, mountains, national parks, and small villages. It’s a wonderful option for experiencing the natural beauty of the country while visiting England with kids.

If you’re limited to a 10 day England itinerary, I wouldn’t suggest visiting the Lake District due to its distance from London. This was what happened during our first England itinerary. We simply didn't have time!

But the second time we were in England with kids, we did have a chance to visit the Lake District, and it didn't disappoint. This part of England is beautiful. The best time to go is in the summer, where you can fully experience the outdoors, and maybe even do some camping while you’re there.

best city to visit with family uk

Book this tour of the Lake District to fully experience the beauty of the area:

The High Adventure: Full Day Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District

Suggested number of days in the Lake District for your England itinerary: 1-2

Want to explore other parts of Europe ? Click here for more posts.

Basic information for your England itinerary 

As you're preparing for your trip to England with kids, take some time to get acquainted with some basic travel information. England is part of the larger country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are four countries within the United Kingdom: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Out of these four countries, England is the largest.

Giant stones of Stonehenge on green grass with a blue sky in the background

The language spoken in England is English, but each region of England has their own distinct accent. During our time in England with kids, we loved chatting with locals and hearing their accents! 

In terms of lodging, you'll be able to find plenty of Airbnbs and vacation rentals throughout England. You can also use Booking to find hotels across all budget ranges for your trip to England with kids. Alternatively, consider doing house sitting with kids to SAVE BIG on accommodations.

Before your trip, you and your kids can learn about England and the United Kingdom with this book: 

The Big Book of the UK: Facts, folklore and fascinations from around the United Kingdom

I also suggest buying a guidebook for your England with kids trip. We like this one from Rick Steves:

Rick Steves England

Best time to visit England with kids

If you’re planning to visit England with kids, the best time for your England itinerary is between the months of April to October. This is when the weather is the warmest.

best city to visit with family uk

However, be aware of when British children go on school holidays as that will impact the crowds during your trip. August is the summer vacation month for British school kids. But during the year, there are also one to two week-long breaks between school terms in April and December. Additionally, there are also week-long breaks in the middle of the term (called half term) during the months of February, June, and October.

As you’re planning your best England itinerary, be mindful of these school holidays so that you know what crowds to expect.

What to pack for your England itinerary

Depending on the time of year, you’ll want to make sure you’re packed for the weather for your England with kids trip. Having a lightweight sweater or cardigan may come in handy. 

Because England’s climate can be rainy, even in the summer, you’ll want to pack a waterproof jacket to prepare for the weather. We like bringing these jackets along for our trip to England with kids:

Columbia Kids & Baby Rainy Trails Fleece Lined Jacket

best city to visit with family uk

Additionally, you also want to make sure you have things like cloth tote bags for when you visit farmer’s markets or go souvenir shopping. Many stores in England, especially grocery stores, now charge for the use of plastic bags, so having your own tote bag is helpful. You can also consider bringing other eco-friendly travel products to make your trip more sustainable.

If there's a holiday or a birthday coming up, take it as an opportunity to give travel gifts for your kids that can prepare them for your England trip.

Take a look at our favorite backpacks for travel with kids to bring along for your trip.

Getting around England with kids

It’s surprisingly easy to get around England with kids. The country has an extensive rail system. And you can get to most cities and towns by train. Additionally, there are over 30 airports in England.

However, in our opinion, the best way to get around England with kids in tow is by car. International rental companies that service England include Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and Thrifty. Use Expedia to find great England car rentals .

A statue of Queen Victoria in front of Kensington Palace, a stop during an England itinerary for families while visiting England with kids

When driving around England, remember that drivers drive on the left-hand side of the road. This is different from other European countries that we’ve been driven through, such as Spain , Italy , or France . 

British roads and speed limit signs use miles, just like in the United States. Additionally, British roads will often use roundabouts instead of stop lights, so you’ll need to be familiar with how to get in and out of a roundabout. 

best city to visit with family uk

Get prepared for any emergency with the insurance made for digital nomads!

Making memories with your England itinerary

We had such an amazing time visiting England with kids. We feel like even a month and a half is not enough time to really experience this country and do all the England kids activities we wanted to do. Next time, we want to plan for a longer England itinerary, to really get a feel for what England has to offer.

If you’re planning a trip to England with kids, feel free to use this England itinerary as a starting off point for making your own memories of England. Whether it’s for a short 10 day England itinerary, or a longer three month stay, England is well worth a visit. This country is full of so much history, culture, and beauty, we know that you’ll love it as much as we did. 

Have you visited England with kids? What was your experience like? Share your family and kids England itinerary with me in the comments below.

Planning to use England as a starting off point for a family gap year? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let's Go Travel! for family travel advice on planning and prepping for a family gap year.

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9 Most Beautiful Cities in the UK for Your Next Family Adventure

Looking for the most beautiful cities in the UK ?

The UK has some of the most beautiful cities globally that are well worth a visit. Here is the ultimate list of the most beautiful cities in Scotland, the most beautiful cities in England and the prettiest cities in Northern Ireland and Wales to add to your bucket list.

For each city, top travel bloggers have handpicked 5 amazing things to do with kids so you can plan the perfect city break to some of the most beautiful cities in the UK.

london, street, telephone-1567903.jpg

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my  full disclosure  for further information.

Table of Contents

Beautiful Cities in the UK Map

Beautiful Cities in England

best city to visit with family uk

The historic city of York is known for its fantastic architecture as well as its Viking and Roman heritage.

But its lesser-known attractions include spacious city centre parks, ornate bridges and leafy pedestrianised paths that run alongside the River Ouse, which flows through the city centre. York is a photographer’s dream, with York Minster at its heart.  

Best Things to do in York with Kids

  • Walk along the city’s medieval era stone walls, which at 2 miles long are the longest city walls in England and see the four medieval gateways that lead into the city.
  • Wander the cobbled shopping street, The Shambles , which was voted Best Street in Britain and is said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies.
  • Learn how Yorkies lived in the past at the Tudor, Victorian and Georgian era historic houses in the city centre. 
  • Take a family-oriented tour of York Minster , the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe which boasts the largest expanse of stained glass anywhere in the world. 
  • Visit the free National Railway Museum , the largest museum of its kind in the world and home to the largest collection of railway carriages. 

Stay at one of the  family-friendly York hotels  on Tadcaster Road, a short walk from the city centre and next to parkland. 

Recommended by Sinead, York with Kids

best city to visit with family uk

Not only is London one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, but it’s also one of the most interesting. This is the capital of the United Kingdom, home to the Royal Family and the seat of the UK government.

It’s also jam-packed with fun things to do. London also has some of Europe’s MOST FAMOUS landmarks !

Built along the River Thames, London started life in Roman times, and during the third century, the city – known as Londinium – had a population of 50,000.

Since then, London has only continued to grow, surviving wars, rebellions, plague and pestilence, fire and countless other events big and small. These historical events helped shape and mould London, and much of the city’s history can still be seen from Roman ruins to Royal palaces. 

The best way to enjoy London is on foot, walking between neighbourhoods, each with its own flavour and character. Get a feel for London’s size – and a birds-eye view of the picture-perfect layout – with a trip around the London Eye or from the Sky Garden. 

Best Things to do in London with Kids

  • Visit the Natural History Museum . London is full of brilliant museums, many of which are free, the Natural History Museum is easily one of the best. 
  • Take a trip along the Thames . See the city by boat with a trip from central London to Greenwich, where you can stand on the Prime Meridian line.  View London boat trips here.
  • Wander around Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. It’s also home to the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world – and it’s just 30 minutes from Central London.  Buy your Kew Gardens entrance ticket here.
  • Enjoy afternoon tea . There’s nothing quite so quintessentially British as the tradition of taking afternoon tea and cake. London is home to lots of places offering themed afternoon tea for kids. 
  • See a West End show. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to family-friendly theatre in London. 
  • Visit London Zoo – One of the Best Zoos in the UK

Where to Stay in London with Kids

There are many  great places to stay in London with kids , we particularly like St Ermin’s Hot e l. 

Recommended by Katja,

best city to visit with family uk

Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, if not the world. Packed full of Georgian architecture with some significant Roman remains at its heart, it’s got plenty here for visitors to enjoy.

Best Things to do in Bath with Kids

If you’re looking for things to do in Bath with kids , then the top choices are –

  • Visit Victoria Park (opened by Queen Victoria when she was 11 it is one of the best playgrounds in the country).
  • Enjoy the Roman Baths in the city centre.
  • Visit Bath City Farm, with great views down on the streets.
  • Enjoy the history at No 1 The Crescent to discover life in 18th century Bath.
  • Eat buns at Sally Lunn’s – they’ve been serving them since the 17th century.

Where to Stay in Bath with Kids

The city is made for wandering and is beautiful to just lose yourself in the atmospheric architecture. Stay in the centre at the Royal Crescent hotel if money is no object.

Otherwise, the Queensberry is a fantastic option set in one of the Georgian buildings the city is so famous for. This is a city to really enjoy, it’s small enough to explore on foot and to see over a long weekend.

Recommended by Nichola, Global Mouse Travels

#4 Liverpool

things to do in liverpool with kids, most beautiful cities in the UK

Liverpool is a city that has awakened from its industrial slumber over the last decade with fresh money from the EU development fund to become a great destination for families.

Today you will find a modern city that really comes alive along its waterfront with the Mersey River. Today Liverpool has museums, attractions, shopping and food all located in this area.

Madame Tussauds, The Tate Museum, The Beatles Experience and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, just to name a few. You will find some great things to see and do on a family trip to Liverpool.

Best Things to do in Liverpool with Kids

  • A visit to Anfield , the home of Liverpool Football club is a must for any families with children who love football. A tour of the stadium includes access to the stands, the locker room and the football museum. Take a look at this guided LFC tour.
  • The Liverpool Dungeons is part history part theatre, this activity will both educate and entertain the kids.
  • The Liverpool big wheel or Ferris Wheel on the river will whisk families to a height where all the city is visible.
  • Visit the theme parks in Liverpool and nearby: Liverpool has so many theme parks within the city and just a short trip away. Read more about the theme parks in Liverpool here.
  • Arcains Liverpool has 3 floors of video games waiting to entertain teenagers and adults, everything from pinball, air hockey to the latest blockbuster games.
  • The Liverpool Maritime Museum celebrates Merseyside’s association with shipping, you will see full-sized replicas of cabin interiors from different boats and even a Titanic exhibition.

Where to Stay in Liverpool with Kids

The best area to stay is near the waterfront as that is where most of the activities, shopping and restaurants are.

Opposite the Albert Dock, you will find the Liverpool One shopping centre and entertainment area. There are over 170 shops featuring Sketchers, Apple, Victoria’s Secret, Lego and Disney for  families visiting Liverpool  and 3000 car parking places. 

With Liverpool’s location close to Manchester, North Wales and Blackpool, it’s an ideal destination and base for a holiday.

Recommended by Mark from Wyld Family Travel

Read More: Facts About Manchester

norwich with kids, norwich uk, beautiful cities in the UK

Norwich was once England’s second-largest city behind London. It’s the UK’s most complete medieval city and still has many cobbled streets from the period.

When you visit Norwich with kids , you can learn more about its interesting history and/or just appreciate the area’s natural beauty along the North Norfolk Coast or on the Norfolk Broads.

Best things to do in Norwich with kids

  • Norwich Castle – This Castle built during the time of William the Conqueror is now a museum.  There are interactive exhibits for kids and tours of the dungeon and battlements.  Note: The Castle is currently undergoing a major transformation project, so there may be some planned closures.
  • Whitlingham Country Park – Even kids can do the easy 2 mile trail around Great Whitlingham Broad.  Alternatively, they might enjoy the water sports as you can hire gear there.  It’s also a good spot for bird watching.
  • Norwich Puppet Theatre – You can see family-friendly original shows inside a converted medieval church.  The Puppet Theatre also offers workshops and masterclasses for a wide age range.
  • Norfolk Snowsports Club – The whole family can try (or practice) skiing, snowboarding, or tubing in a fun and safe environment all year long.  It’s an ideal place to learn as all sessions are conducted under the supervision of experienced instructors and helpers.
  • Eaton Park – At this park, you can enjoy a crazy golf course, a miniature train, a skate park, a boat pond, and more.

Where to Stay in Norwich with Kids

To make the most of your time in Norwich, choose a hotel in the city centre like the historic Maids Head Hotel .

Recommended by Anisa, Two Traveling Texans

Beautiful Cities in Scotland

#6 aberdeen.

aberdeen with kids, things to do in aberdeen

Aberdeen is a very underrated city in Scotland. Known as the granite city, Aberdeen is located by the ocean with incredible landscapes and beautiful scenery. Since Aberdeen lies so far north, it’s the gateway to the highlands and the most northern major city on the island.

Aberdeen has a lot of wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and even puffins. Take a boat tour out onto the open ocean for the best chance of spotting these animals.

Even though Scotland is known to be cold with lots of rain, Aberdeen’s location by the ocean means there is a lot more sun than further inland. Even on rainy days, the sun comes out at least once, and you’ll be able to enjoy nicer weather.

The city of Aberdeen isn’t incredibly large, so you can easily get around on foot or bus.

Make sure to visit Ellon, located around 45 minutes north of the city and home to one of the UK’s most famous breweries, Brewdog.

Enjoy a tour of the brewery before moving on to spend the afternoon at Newburgh seal beach. Hundreds of seals gather here right on the beach and the area is fantastic for hiking.

Of course, Aberdeen is known for its castles, so add Dunnottar to your to-do list.

Recommended by Victoria, Guide Your Travel

#7 Edinburgh

edinburgh with kids, things to do in edinburgh

Edinburgh  is the most famous city in Scotland and is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the World – for good reasons!

It has a long history and so much charm with old buildings, monuments and several hills offering wonderful viewpoints.

Highlights include the impressive castle with the royal jewel display, the Royal Mile, its historical closes, and Calton Hill with its stunning views, especially at sunset. Just be ready to walk up and down!

Best Things to do in Edinburgh with Kids

When travelling with kids, the top 5 attractions are:

  • Exploring the Potter trail around the city, to follow the inspiration of J.K. Rowling.
  •  For active families, climbing Arthur’s Seat for great views of town and the area.
  • Visiting Camera Obscura and having fun with the optical illusions.
  •  Journeying to the Center of the Earth at the Dynamic Earth museum to learn about geology.
  • Visiting the Edinburgh Castle and traveling back in time.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh with Kids

Edinburgh has a large choice of accommodations with a mix of rentals, serviced apartments, and hotels. It is a lot easier to stay close to the old town, to avoid parking difficulties.

For a historic stay, check out the Balmoral Hotel in the heart of town.

Recommended by Claire, ZigZag on Earth

Beautiful Cities in Wales

#8 st davids.

st davids, uks smallest city, most beautiful cities in the UK

St David’s in Wales is the smallest city in the UK  and also one of the most beautiful. It is situated on the Pembrokeshire coast and offers families a glimpse of Welsh history alongside fun outdoor pursuits. The magnificent St David’s cathedral dating back to the 12 th -century takes centre stage and is the final resting place of the patron saint of Wales.

Stop for ice cream in the high street or indulge in St David’s chocolate shop before heading to Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm so the kids can get up close to insects and even get to hold some of the larger critters.

For older kids, St David’s Escape Room offers them a chance to work with mum and dad to escape from a room. It’s a team activity and great for all the family to participate in.

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best city to visit with family uk

Sylvie Simpson

Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

15 Absolute Best Cities to Visit in the UK (+Map & Travel Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: September 12, 2023

15 Absolute Best Cities to Visit in the UK (+Map & Travel Tips)

The United Kingdom’s rich and vibrant culture make its cities among the most fascinating to visit in the world. Whether you’re looking for stunning architecture, world-class museums, or the cool vibe of contemporary art and music, you’ll find it all in the best UK cities.

However, with so many great cities throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the four countries of the UK) it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit in a limited amount of time.

So in this guide, we list the very best cities to visit in the UK that are worth your time the most . For each city, we include the main attractions that you simply must see. We also listed a few extras that are well worth visiting if you have enough time. For each town, we also indicate how much time you need for a visit.

Good to know: The great thing about visiting the UK is its small size and good transport links. This makes it quite easy to travel from one part of the country to another. Furthermore, quite a few of these cities can also be visited with organized tours from London (or other nearby towns). So if you plan well, you can visit several of these UK towns in one trip.

To help you plan your trip and see several of the nicest cities and towns in Great Britain, we asked our writer Christine, a UK local, to share the best places and tips for your visit. We also created a map indicating each town. That way, you have a better idea of where everything is and can plan your trip accordingly. Take a look!

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

These are the most beautiful cities in the UK that are worth a visit the most:

London really has to be number one on any list of the best places in the UK! And there are so many reasons to visit the nation’s capital. Located on the banks of the River Thames, London is the country’s financial center, the seat of the Government of the United Kingdom, and home to the Royal Family.

All of this is reflected in its magnificent and historic architecture and a huge variety of things to see and do.

The diversity of London’s population is evident in its wonderful food scene. From traditional British food in local pubs, the finest cuisine in world-famous restaurants, to the ethnic street food in its many markets, London has it all. London also offers some of the very best shopping in the world. You’ll find designer stores, vintage boutiques, eclectic craft fairs, and quirky markets all over the city.

If you want to escape the bustling streets, museums, and galleries, London has some very beautiful and tranquil green spaces too. Don’t miss the scenic Hyde Park! If you have more time, visit the lesser-known Kew Gardens, with its stunning collection of tropical flora and fauna. London is truly a city that offers something for everyone.

Tower Bridge in London UK

Must see: The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace (don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ), Westminster (including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament), Tower Bridge, the London Eye , the British Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square (home to Nelson’s Column), and Piccadilly Circus. Thames Cruise is also a must.

Nice to see: Greenwich , Hyde Park, Covent Garden, Kew Gardens, Borough Market, Camden Town & Camden Lock Market , National Gallery, Harrods, and Oxford Street. If you are visiting London with kids , don’t miss Madame Tussauds , the Natural History Museum, Leicester Square stores, and the Royal Mews. Also, don’t miss at least some of the best views in London !

How much time do you need. You can quickly see the major sites with just one day in London . However, if you want to be able to visit a few places inside and get a good feeling of the city you really need two days in London . To fully appreciate all of London’s major sights, visit a few of them inside, and check out a few different neighborhoods, you will need at least 3 to 4 days.

If you want to experience the diversity of attractions across the city, discover some of London’s hidden gems , or take a day tour to Windsor Castle or a day trip to other popular places near London , you can easily spend a week or even more.

Where to stay: Best areas to stay in London for first time .

Travel tips: Please see London travel tips for more information for planning your trip.

LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in London (Must-See!)

Best UK Cities - London

2. Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is truly a tale of two cities! It has a New Town – packed with modern shops and trendy eateries – on one side, and a historic Old Town on the other.

The imposing Edinburgh Castle – one of Europe’s oldest fortified places – overlooks the entire city. Surrounding it are rolling green hills which often draw a comparison with Rome. Indeed Italy’s capital, like Edinburgh, was said to have been built on seven hills. Its neoclassical architecture, along with its reputation for philosophy and learning, have earned Edinburgh the nickname of the ‘Athens of the North’.

Edinburgh has a rich history, awesome views, incredible green spaces, and several world-class museums and galleries. In contrast, it also has an intriguingly dark past that you can learn more about by exploring its creepy kirkyards (churchyards) and a fascinating underground street that shows you just what life used to be like in the city.

Scotland’s capital is also known for its many festivals, including the world-famous Hogmanay at New Year.

Edinburgh - one of the most beautiful cities in the UK

Must see: Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat (for the views), the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, National Museum of Scotland, and Royal Yacht Britannia.

Nice to see: Royal Botanic Gardens, St Giles’ Cathedral, Princes Street Gardens, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions (nice views of the city), Scottish National Gallery, The Real Mary King’s Close.

How much time do you need. Given the city’s relatively small size, it’s possible to see the main sights of Edinburgh in 1 day , but it would be quite a rush. We recommend 2-3 days to take in and fully appreciate everything the city has to offer.

LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

3. Cambridge

Cambridge is probably best known for its University (the world’s 4th oldest surviving university). Which is home to more winners of the Nobel prize than any other university in the UK.

Cambridge is also a beautiful town, with lots of well-preserved historic buildings that are mostly centered around its 31 (!) colleges. Cambridge has some world-famous Alumni too. 14 British Prime Ministers studied here, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, and many others who have made a real impact on the world.

A must-do in Cambridge is taking a punt tour along the beautiful River Cam. Punt is a traditional flat bottomed boat and a very typical thing to do here. The river runs through the heart of the city offering great views of the ancient architecture of the city.

Being a student town, this medieval city still has a very modern vibe too. So there’s plenty of music, festivals, and a strong performing arts scene. There are several art galleries exhibiting everything from the classics to contemporary works. And you’ll find some lovely, quirky shops to buy souvenirs.

Trinity College in Cambridge UK

Must see: King’s College Chapel, Queen’s College and the Mathematical Bridge (built without nails), Trinity College (and other collages if you have more time), Fitzwilliam Museum, Great St Mary’s Church (climb to the top of the tower for incredible city views), the River Cam and punting tours .

Nice to see: The Botanic Garden, Angelsey Abbey, Wren Library (the Trinity College Library where you can see Newton’s “Principia Mathematica”; it’s only open between noon and 2 pm on weekdays, and Saturday morning), the Round Church, the Bridge of Sighs, The Backs (behind the colleges).

How much time do you need. You can see much of Cambridge within one full day, and it’s also possible to visit with a tour from the capital . But to give yourself time to browse the main museum and to go punting along the River Cam, it’s worth planning two days for your visit.

Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge UK

Of all the cities in the UK, the wonderful, walled city of York boasts the most attractions per square mile. Although it has all the modern shops and amenities you’d expect from a major UK city, the main appeal of York is in fascinating history.

As you wander the cobbled, medieval streets – some with beautifully preserved buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries – you can also see hints of its Roman roots and signs of Viking influence.

Among its many attractions, York has 30 museums, the UK’s best racecourse, and festivals on an almost monthly basis.

The city’s Cathedral – York Minster – is one of the largest in Europe. You can enjoy some incredible views of the city from the top. You can also view the city from the water by taking a boat trip along River Ouse or on Foss River. Another fun thing to do is learn about the history of chocolate-making at the place where the famous UK confectioners Terry’s and Rowntree were founded.

River Ouse in York city UK

Must see: York Minster (formally known as the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York), the 14th century City Walls (you can walk along the top), National Railway Museum, the Shambles (one of the world’s best-preserved medieval streets), views along the River Ouse and river cruises .

Nice to see: York Maze, York Castle Museum, Castle Howard, York’s Chocolate Story, Clifford’s Tower (great views), York Racecourse.

How much time do you need. You can see the highlights of York in a day, but we recommend 2 full days to see things at a more leisurely pace. If you want to also explore the Yorkshire region, plan a few days extra. See the best suggestions for places to see via the link below.

READ ALSO: Best Day Trips from York

Shambles street in York city UK

Whilst it may have an interesting history and plenty of period architecture to admire, Glasgow is hip and happening. So much so that it is sometimes referred to as ‘Scotland’s city of cool!’.

A mecca for creativity, Glasgow has a strong art scene. You’ll find unique and original products sold everywhere from the city center to its cobbled lanes. You’ll also see impressive murals on walls throughout the city, depicting various figures who have played a large part in Glasgow’s culture.

There are several excellent museums, an architecturally stunning Cathedral, and a full-size sailing ship to explore. Many of Glasgow’s attractions are free to visit, making a visit here much more affordable than in many other UK cities.

There are also some beautiful green spaces throughout Glasgow to sit and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. You’ll find that locals are more than happy to share stories with you of their beloved home. In fact, Time Out magazine once named Glasgow as ‘first for friendliness’. The warmth it extends to its visitors is the reason that Glasgow remains one of the UK’s most popular destinations.

The Tall Ship at Riverside in Glasgow

Must see: Glasgow Cathedral and the adjacent Necropolis, Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Riverside Museum, and The Tall Ship.

Nice to see: George Square, Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland Street School Museum, Botanic Gardens, Celtic Park Stadium , the Science Museum, University of Glasgow, Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum.

How much time do you need. Glasgow is relatively compact and most attractions are within walking distance of each other. So you can see the very best of Glasgow in a day (see below for more information). But because there is so much to see and do in the city, we recommend planning 2-3 days here. If you have a day to spare, you can also make some really nice day trips to Loch Ness and see some of the Scottish Highlands.

READ ALSO: How to See the Best of Glasgow in One Day

Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis

Located in the county of Somerset in south-west England, Bath is famous for its Roman ruins. The city is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bath grew around its ancient Roman baths. Nowadays, you can still experience bathing in Britain’s only natural thermal hot springs at the modern Thermae Bath Spa.

In addition to museums and galleries, there is a great deal of beautiful architecture to enjoy in the city. From the individual honey-colored Georgian buildings to the neo-Classical style of many of its public buildings, Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK!

Bath’s iconic sights, such as the Circus and the Royal Cresent, have become world-famous thanks to TV and film. Some of Jane Austen’s works discussing city life were based on the five years she spent here. Much of the architecture is still just as she described it. A visit to Bath truly feels like taking a step back into history.

Pulteney Bridge over River Avon in Bath city UK

Must see: The Roman Baths, Bath Abbey (take the Tower Tour and climb to the top for breathtaking views of the city), Royal Crescent park, The Circus, Pulteney Bridge.

Nice to see: River cruises , Thermae Bath Spa, the Jane Austen Centre , No. 1 Royal Crescent (museum), Fashion Museum, Royal Victoria Park, The Museum of Bath Architecture.

How much time do you need . It is possible to see all the main sights of Bath in half a day to a day. This makes Bath one of the most popular day trips from London , often in combination with Stonehenge and Windsor Castle . However, a lot of the city’s charm is to be found in the evening. So if you have the time, stay a little longer and include an overnight stay in your visit.

Roman Baths in Bath city in the UK

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and largest city, but it is still relatively small compared to the other capitals. Nevertheless, there is a lot to see and do here. The close proximity of all its attractions makes it easy to see Belfast’s main sights in a short amount of time.

The city where the Titanic was built, Belfast has several excellent museums that look back over its shipbuilding past. You’ll also find museums celebrating its connection to the linen industry. And – more recently – Belfast’s time of political upheaval (known as The Troubles).

Alternatively, you can head to the lively Cathedral quarter with its lovely Victorian architecture and cobbled streets. It’s a popular place with an ever-developing pub and restaurant scene.

Belfast’s historic market gives you the opportunity to buy some authentic arts, crafts, and souvenirs whilst enjoying some stirring live music. Throughout the city, you can see some incredible street art, with hundreds of murals depicting all sorts of key moments in Belfast’s past.

Belfast City Hall

Must see: Titanic Belfast , St George’s Market (every Friday/Saturday/Sunday), Belfast City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol, Ulster Museum.

Nice to see: Stormont (the home of Northern Ireland’s Parliament), Queens University, Botanic Gardens, C.S Lewis Square, St. Anne’s Cathedral, Cave Hill Country Park (for the excellent views).

How much time do you need. We recommend planning 2 days in order to see all of Belfast’s main attractions. In addition, you can take a day tour to Giant’s Causeway , which is not to be missed when visiting here!

Titanic Belfast

8. Liverpool

Liverpool’s main claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Beatles. If you’re a fan, it’s a great place to visit the city where the band started and drew their inspiration. But there’s so much more to this city that makes it a fantastic place for anyone!

Liverpool is located on the River Mersey. One of the nicest things to do is walk around the docks, which are teeming with cool boutiques, fantastic eateries, and lively bars. The streets of the modern city center are filled with shoppers and street entertainers. But there is lots of history and culture to explore too, with more museums and galleries than you’ll find anywhere else outside London.

Liverpool really comes alive at night! So make sure to stay the night. Dine at one of the many fine restaurants, ending the evening with live music at the iconic Cavern Club. This is the venue at which the Beatles performed nearly 300 times.

READ ALSO: The Beatles in Liverpool (Best Places to See)

The Beatles statue in Liverpool

Must see: The Cavern Club, the Beatles Story , the Royal Albert Dock, World Museum, Liverpool Cathedral, Mersey River Cruises .

Nice to see: Tate Liverpool, Anfield Stadium , Sefton Park, Western Approaches WWII Museum , Liverpool Library, British Music Experience , Museum of Liverpool, Strawberry Field , and the views from Royal Liver Building 360 .

How much time do you need. You will need 1-2 days to see Liverpool’s main sights. If you are a Beatles fan and want to be sure to see all the Beatles-related exhibitions and tours, then you may even need 3 days in the city.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Liverpool & How to visit Liverpool from London (travel info & 1-day itinerary)

Best UK Cities - Liverpool

Oxford is best known for its university which was established in the 12th century. It’s one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world, and so many of the city’s attractions are related to it.

There are 38 separate college buildings and their architecture is incredible! You should definitely see the Christ Church with its impressive Hall (Harry Potter fans will instantly recognize it!) and Cathedral. The gardens of this cathedral are said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

This beautiful English city was also used as a filming location for some scenes in the Harry Potter movies. While you can probably spot a few of them on your own, fans should really consider a walking tour of the filming locations .

Oxford also has a few interesting museums, a nice riverside ( sightseeing cruises are available), and even its own ‘Bridge of Sighs’, Hertford Bridge. It connects two parts of Hertford College allowing students and professors to quicker travel between different parts of the university.

Oxford - one of the nicest towns in the UK

Must see: Oxford University with the Bodleian Library and some of the oldest colleges (Christ Church College, All Souls College, Magdalen College, Keble College), Radcliffe Camera, Ashmolean Museum, and Hertford Bridge.

Nice to see: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, University Church, Sheldonian Theater, Oxford Castle and Prison, The Pett Rivers Museum. Boat trips are also nice to do, especially in the warmest months.

How much time do you need. You can see many of the main landmarks in Oxford in half a day to a day. With two days, you should be able to cover most of the best attractions in Oxford.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Tips for Traveling to Europe

The Hall at Oxford Christ Church College.

10. Cardiff

The Welsh capital, Cardiff is quite small in size. It only takes about 15 minutes to cycle from one side to the other. But it has a lot to offer its visitors! With a 2000-year-old castle and more green space per capita than any other UK city, it offers lots of opportunities for scenic strolls. Make sure to explore the banks of the River Taff which runs through its beautiful Bute Park.

Just outside the city center is Cardiff Bay. Here, you can visit the seat of the Welsh Government or enjoy everything from cultural attractions to boat trips. Cardiff is a quirky, vibrant, and creative city with numerous music and arts venues and an up and coming culinary scene.

Cardiff is also known to sports fans for its world-famous stadium, the home of Welsh rugby, and the venue for Britain’s Speedway Grand Prix. You can enjoy a meal and a drink at a sports bar and restaurant Elevens Bar And Grill, which is owned by professional footballer Gareth Bale.

Cardiff Wales - one of the best cities in the UK

Must see: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Bay, Principality Stadium, St Fagans National Museum of History, National Museum, Wales Millenium Centre.

Nice to see: Bute Park, Roath Park, Castell Coch, Cardiff International White Water Centre, the Senedd (the main building for the National Assembly of Wales), Spillers Records (the oldest record shop in the world). Doctor Who tours (popular TV series filming locations) are also very popular.

How much time do you need. Because of Cardiff’s compact size, you can see the best of its attractions in 1-2 days. But there is much worth exploring on its outskirts. So you might want to give yourself an extra day to venture outside the city center.

Pierhead and Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff pier

11. Nottingham

Nottingham is another really nice city that’s worth your time when touring the UK! This city’s imposing, wide streets and scenic parks have earned it the nickname of the ‘Queen of the Midlands’. However, to most of us, Nottingham will always be the home of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood!

Boasting its own castle, a magnificent cathedral, a network of underground caves, and the vibrant Lace Market – teeming with independent cafes, restaurants, and bars – Nottingham is a city with something for everyone.

Yet just minutes away from its center you can enjoy the serenity and beauty of its green spaces. You can also venture a little further into the enormous Sherwood Forest, home to Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham UK

Must see: Nottingham Castle , Wollaton Hall and Park, City of Caves, Old Market Square (Slab Square), Robin Hood Way & the Sherwood Forest.

Nice to see: National Justice Museum, the Arboretum, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (believed to be England’s oldest pub), Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery, Highfields Park, D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum.

How much time do you need. You can see most of Nottingham’s main sights in one full day. For a more relaxed experience (especially if you plan to include a trip out to Sherwood Forest), plan two days for your visit.

Nottingham Old Market Square and City Council

12. Manchester

Probably best known for its Premier League football teams, Manchester has a lot more going on than football! Located in the northwest of England, the city has a rich industrial past, but nowadays, you’ll find a vibrant place where history and modern-day life go hand in hand.

Manchester is a lively city with a warm atmosphere and plenty to see and do to suit all interests. You’ll find some world-class museums, beautiful architecture, great dining and shopping, and lots of fun activities for young and old. 

Be sure to explore the city center and visit some of its historic landmarks! Manchester Cathedral is an absolute must-see, just as John Rylands Library. For contemporary architecture, head to the Quays, where you’ll find the impressive Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry cultural center. River cruises are a great way to explore this part of town as well!

It would be unthinkable to visit Manchester and not check out at least one of its major football stadiums – Old Trafford, home to Manchester United F.C. or Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City F.C. In addition, the city is also home to the National Football Museum, the largest football museum in the world.

Imperial War Museum North in Manchester

Must see:  City center, Manchester Cathedral, one of the football stadiums , John Rylands Library, and Science and Industry Museum.

Nice to see:  National Football Museum , Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays, river cruises , People’s History Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and Castlefield conservation area.

How much time do you need.  It’s possible to see the main sights of Manchester in a day , but you won’t be able to explore much deeper. If you want to visit a few museums and do some shopping as well, you could easily spend 2-3 days here.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Manchester

Manchester Castlefield conservation area

13. Norwich

Norwich is a historic city in the heart of rural East Anglia. It was medieval England’s largest walled town. Because of its isolated location, Norwich was virtually bypassed by the Industrial Revolution. So the town has retained many of its medieval Churches and Tudor architecture. All this makes it a truly fascinating place to visit!

A UNESCO City of Literature, Norwich is also the only city in England to be located in a national park (the Norfolk Broads). It boasts a beautiful nature reserve with a river running through the city and an impressive Romanesque cathedral with scenic, peaceful grounds.

Thatched buildings and brightly colored merchant’s houses are just some of the historic sights that give the city its unique and ancient character. You’ll also find cozy pubs dotted everywhere, serving the finest craft beers and ales.

Norwich Cathedral

Must see: Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle, Norwich Market. Norwich Quayside. Outside the city – Blickling Estate.

Nice to see: The Forum, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Plantation Garden, Strangers Hall, City of Norwich Aviation Museum, Norwich Guildhall.

How much time do you need. You can see the main sights of Norwich in one day.

Quayside Norwich

14. Bristol

Bristol in the southwest of England is one of the country’s coolest cities. The home town of famed UK street artist Banksy has a strong reputation for creativity. Ultra-modern museums and trendy restaurants make it a fun and lively place to visit, particularly around the port and harbor area which is full of bars and cafes.

But the city has an interesting history, too, with stunning ancient churches, a cathedral, and galleries. Perhaps most fascinating of all is Bristol’s seafaring links. It was the birthplace of the notorious pirate Blackbeard and inspired parts of the famous maritime novels Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.

There are some lovely green spaces to explore in the city. Or you can choose to get away from the crowds by taking a boat trip along the River Avon. from the water, you can admire the unusually brightly colored buildings and houses that overlook it.

Statue of Ram Mohan Roy and Bristol Cathedral in the UK

Must see: Bristol Cathedral, Waterfront, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Clifton Suspension Bridge (looks great at night too), SS Great Britain, Brandon Hill Park & Cabot Tower (great views from the top).

Nice to see: St Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol Zoo Gardens (the 5th oldest zoo in the world), At-Bristol Science Centre, Queen Square. Also, Avon Valley Railway and Blaise Castle Estate (outside the city).

How much time do you need. Bristol is a relatively small city but has lots to see and do. You can cover the highlights in a day, but you need at least 2 days to enjoy it properly.

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol UK

15. Brighton

The coastal city of Brighton is one of the UK’s most diverse places to visit. It offers everything from vintage seaside attractions to Bohemian markets and Victorian architecture. The city has Britain’s biggest gay scene and some of the best independent shops and boutiques, largely concentrated around the iconic Lanes.

Its pier – packed with rides and entertainment – is one of the biggest attractions in the southeast of England. Brighton even has an exotic palace, Royal Pavilion, that would look more at home in India or China than on the UK’s south coast!

Brighton is also a great UK city for foodies. You’ll find everything from traditional British fish & chips to the finest cuisine at gourmet restaurants. There are lots of bars and eateries lining the pebbled beach, which immediately gives you a vacation feel.

You are never far away from the raw beauty of nature either. Brighton is perfectly positioned to enjoy stunning walks along the England Coast Path. Be sure to visit the white cliffs of Seven Sisters and South Downs nearby!

Royal Pavilion in Brighton UK

Must see: Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Royal Pavilion and Gardens, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, British Airways i360 Viewing Tower, The Lanes, North Laine.

Nice to see: Regency Square, Brighton Marina, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, Brighton Beach and Promenade, Old Steine Gardens, Brighton Festival (3 weeks every May).

How much time do you need. You will definitely need at least 3 days in Brighton. There is so much to do in Brighton that you could easily spend 5 days in the city, especially in summer.

Brighton Beach UK

So, this is our guide to the best, most beautiful cities in the UK.

As you can see, there’s so much more to the UK than just its cities! But even if you visit just a few of these, you’ll get to know a very different country than just by visiting London!

TIP: If you are looking for a more ‘local’ city/ beach holiday in the UK, check out Blackpool . It’s one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK! Here you can learn all about what there is to see and do in Blackpool . Check it out!

More travel tips and inspiration for all over the UK:

  • Must-see in London:  Top London Attractions
  • Different London :  Hidden Gems of London  &  Best Views in London
  • Good to know:  London Travel Tips & Best Areas to Stay in London
  • With kids:  London with Kids  &  Family Afternoon Tea in London
  • Greenwich:  Best Things to Do in Greenwich
  • Cornwall: Best Places to Visit in Cornwall & Where to Stay in Cornwall
  • Yorkshire:  Yorkshire Day Trips
  • Blackpool: Best Things to Do in Blackpool & Tips for Visiting Blackpool & Best Day Trips from Blackpool
  • Scotland:   Isle of Skye  &  Scotland Whisky Tour
  • Edinburgh:  Top Edinburgh Attractions  &  One Day in Edinburgh
  • Glasgow:  One Day in Glasgow

READ ALSO: Traditional British Food & Where to Try It in the UK

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Best UK cities to visit for tourists

Photos: Personal collection and Additional credits: Featured image: TTstudio/ Cardiff Bay – photo by phil_bird/ Belfast Titanic – photo by zhuzhu/ Beatles – gianliguori/ Cambridge Bridge of Sighs – chrisdorney/ Cambridge University – Umdash9/ Manchester Castlefield – cowardlion /

Best cities to visit in the United Kingdom

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Thursday 21st of September 2023

Go to Southampton if you want to see nice cruiseships and the New Forest is very close too.

Tuesday 1st of August 2023

Thank you for sharing useful information ...

Saturday 5th of August 2023

Glad to help. Have a great trip!

Saturday 11th of February 2023

I can't believe Birmingham is not on the list, it's the most underrated city in the UK, perhaps it's because once the heart of the Indudtrial Revolution the slums of back to back houses were there until the 1970's, and its maze of run down underground canals. Most canals have now been restored with many nice bars and restaurants on the side of the canals, in and outside the City. It's a compact City Centre that is easy to walk around. The Art Gallery is one of the best I have ever been in, and each time I'm in the City I can't resist going in there, and it is free to go around, unlike in Venice where you have to pay and is nowhere near as interesting as Brums Art Gallery. For those who like to shop it is a City Centre renown for its Bull Ring Shopping Centre. Eating and enjoying Asian food, there is no-where better in Europe. But go and see the City for yourself. The only thing is traveling into the City by train looks awful, but don't judge the book by its cover. Brum has everything, and is a multi cultural City. I live in Spain these days but my heart is in Birmingham, and it's surroundings Remember Stratford upon Avon is only 20 miles away. 👍👍

Sunday 12th of February 2023

Thanks for your suggestions and tips. I'm sure it can be helpful for some of our readers who are looking for even more cities to explore in the UK. Happy travels!

Jessica Fletcher

Sunday 22nd of January 2023

London does not belong on any list of good cities, end of story. Miserable people, ugly buildings, expensive, nothing worthwhile to see except contrived tourist fodder and obscene wealth. One of the worst cities I've ever been to and I've been to most of the major towns and cities in the UK. Otherwise a great list! Glasgow is one that surprised me a lot, considering its bad reputation but it was surprisingly beautiful and the people were very friendly and down to Earth.

@Jessica Fletcher, Jessica you need to use the underground and look around different parts of the City. London is steeped in history and has something for all tastes..Dont be put off by being expensive. There are a lot of reasonably priced places just be adventurous and seek them out. Including places to stay.

Friday 10th of February 2023

@Jurga, now you know second person 😅 as I just hate London, anytime I have to go there it is a nightmare for me.

Monday 23rd of January 2023

Wow, that's a strong opinion about London, Jessica. You are literally the first person I ever 'met' who doesn't like London. I guess that just proves that everyone is different and likes different things. And that's ok. We all have our experiences and our opinions. For us, London is one of the most interesting cities in the world. No matter how many times we go back, there's always something new and exciting to discover, and so many amazing places everywhere you look. Perhaps you should give London a second chance and look beyond the main tourist attractions... We have a 'hidden gems' guide with some suggestions ;). Happy travels!

Friday 13th of January 2023

cardiff and Oxford do not deserve to be in that list, no where near as good as the others!

Sunday 15th of January 2023

Ha ha, we literally just added Oxford to this list because quite a few people thought it deserved a mention. :) And many of our American readers absolutely love it as a day trip from London too. I guess everybody has their own opinion and I'm sure our readers can make their own decisions on which places look the most interesting to them. Happy travels!

Tin Box Traveller

Best city breaks with kids in the UK 2023

Best city breaks with kids in the UK 2023

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For me, city breaks with kids are an explosion of the senses. All the sights, sounds and in-your-face experiences crammed into a closer than close space can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re trying to keep track of little people and discourage them from touching whatever ‘that brown goo’ is.

Yep, cities bring out the helicopter mum in me!

But they also offer an incredible cultural and learning experience. Plus, there’s always somewhere a bit more open and leafy not far away, should you need to escape the bustle.

There may never have been to a better time to book a UK city break with kids!

*This post contains affiliate links*

Tried and tested UK city breaks with kids, including inspiration on things to do and places to stay so you can have a family-friendly city break to remember #citybreak #UKtravel #travel #familytravel #shortbreak #city #holiday #thingstodo #London #Salisbury #Portsmouth #Exeter #Cardiff #Bristol #Truro #Winchester

Contents - jump to what you'd like to know

Our favourite city breaks with kids

But where to go in 2023? We’ve got experience of several UK city breaks with kids now, so I wanted to share some of our favourite destinations, things to do, and places to stay.

You can also read our top tips for surviving city breaks with toddlers , as well as our top family travel tips .

Looking for recommendations for European cities? Here are our tried and tested European city breaks with kids .

I’d love to hear your recommendations on child-friendly city breaks in the UK. Where have you been that was ultra family-friendly or made for the perfect city escape with children? Leave me a comment below.

Some more of our recommended UK cities to visit with your family include Exeter , Portsmouth , Norwich and Cardiff . Read about our top five UK city breaks for families .

Plus here’s some more tried and tested city breaks with kids:

Salisbury – a city break with kids in historic Wiltshire

Tin Box family at Salisbury Cathedral - tips for family holidays with kids from the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show

If you are history fans then we can also recommend a stay in Salisbury in Wiltshire . In the city, there’s a lot to see around Salisbury Cathedral or if you’d like a cinema experience with a difference check out the Odeon, which is housed in a Tudor merchant’s house.

Stonehenge , its neighbour circle at Avebury and Cholderton Charlies rare breeds farm are not far outside the city.

Tin Box girls at Stonehenge - tips for family holidays with kids from the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show

As well as characterful hotels in Salisbury city centre *, you can find reasonability priced family camping and glamping close to Salisbury .

Salisbury also makes an easy day trip from London or you could use it as a stop off on a road trip across the Great West Way .

Where to stay in Salisbury with kids: we stayed in a glamping hut at Stonehenge campsite .

Winchester in Hampshire

People enjoying the sun on Winchester Cathedral Green

The capital of Hampshire and once the seat of King Alfred the Great, Winchester is a favourite city of ours. It’s small but beautiful with a stunning Cathedral, a high street dotted with half timbered buildings and its very own castle – or what remains of it.

Explore the Great Hall, get hands-on with history at Winchester City Museum and buy some incredible local produce at the regular farmers’ markets. Visit in the winter and Winchester Christmas market is a must.

Mr TB and Baby with Storm Troopers - Winchester Science Centre

Outside the city centre, a great family attraction is Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium . There’s a full day out of interactive science experiments and fun for kids and adults alike.

Or if your kids like animals, take them to Marwell Zoo. Another lovely place to visit is Hinton Ampner – a National Trust house and gardens not far from the city.

Here’s more things to do in Winchester with kids .

Winchester is also just over an hour from London by train from Waterloo, making it super easy to combine with a trip to the capital.

It’s also close to the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth .

Westgate in Winchester. A Medieval gate and former prison

Here’s some more ideas for places within easy reach of London .

Where to stay in Winchester with kids: Marwell Hotel * is outside the city centre but in the perfect position for walking over to the zoo.

Find more places to stay in Winchester with kids on *

Bristol – a city full of family attractions

Tin Box family Being Brunel - things kids will love about SS Great Britain's new exhibition

Bristol is a gem of the South West with plenty of maritime and industrial heritage to keep young people busy during a family city break.

We love visiting SS Great Britain and really rate the free M Shed Museum , which tells the story of the city, its industry and people.

Bristol Aquarium is located in the city centre as are We The Curious and Bristol Museum. A bit further away there’s the Clifton Observatory – just hop on a bus and you’re there in less than 20 minutes.

Lemurs and babies being fed at the Wild Place Project, Bristol

Outside of the city there’s also The Wild Place Project which is a cross between a safari park and zoo farm.

Where to stay in Bristol with kids: we can recommend a stay at the  SACO Broad Quay serviced apartments in Bristol City Centre .

Bath – a city break with kids in Somerset

Tin Box Traveller and Baby by Grand Bath - Visiting the Roman Baths with toddlers

Bath is a playground for history lovers. You must visit  The Roman Baths and a bus tour of the city is a great way to understand its geography and heritage.

Other things you must do are visit the beautiful 18th Century Royal Crescent, the American Museum , Sally Lunn’s Museum and Bath Postal Museum. A roof top tour of  Bath Abbey  will also give families with older children spectacular views of the city.

Tin Box Tot feeding goat at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

A few minutes down the road there’s Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park , and further afield there’s the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Avon Valley Railway, Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge , which are all popular with families.

Where to stay in Bath with kids: we can recommend a stay at Bath Mill Lodge Retreat , which is a luxury lodge resort just outside the city.

Find more places to stay in Bath with kids on *

Swansea – a city break by the sea

Tin Box family at Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles - Swansea Bay family adventure

Swansea is a city by the sea with plenty of history, family activities and attractions within easy reach of the Gower Peninsular should you want to escape to the country.

Read about some of the things we got up to during a  weekend in and around Mumbles , just outside the city. Visits to Oystermouth Castle and the local beaches were highlights for us.

Tin Box Tot at Caswell Bay - 5 awesome Gower beaches for families

We also holidayed just down the road in Llanelli where we had a caravan holiday in Wales with plenty of days out in the surrounding Carmarthenshire countryside.

You’re also not far from the Welsh capital, Cardiff , which has so many great places to visit with kids including a tour of the Royal Mint .

Where to stay in Swansea with kids: we can recommend checking out this luxurious dog-friendly cottage in Mumbles .

Truro – a city break with kids in Cornwall

Visit the UK’s most southerly city for independent shops and boutiques, and plenty of local history.

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Claire – Tin Box Traveller (@tinboxtraveller) on Feb 18, 2019 at 10:48am PST

The gothic style Cathedral has three spires that make their mark on the city’s skyline. As well as being an impressive piece of architecture, it is also a venue for arts events.

Also in Truro, The Royal Cornwall Museum is the only museum in the county to host a British Museum supported permanent exhibition of Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian history.

If you’re looking for more things to do around Truro we found plenty to entertain the kids during our recent holiday there, plus Cornwall is an excellent place for a UK family holiday .

Where to stay in Truro with kids: we stayed 10 minutes from the city centre in a luxury cottage at the The Valley .

London – the ultimate UK city break with teenagers and tiny tots

Tin Box girls stood on the balcony in the Mammels zone of the Natural History Museum in London

Of course, no guide to UK city breaks with kids would be complete without mentioning London. We first visited London with the girls when they were 11-months-old and three-years-old.

I won’t lie, it had its more traumatic moments, but we were pretty new to the whole experience of family city breaks at that time. We learnt a lot of lessons !

More recently we visited London for a weekend with tweens and aced it. The key was planning our route and not trying to squeeze in too much. We still saw Westminster and Buckingham Palace, visited the Lego Store, China Town and the Natural History Museum – lots of free fun!

Take a look at our easy itinerary for visiting London with kids .

Tin Box family sat in Lego tube train in the Lego Store in London

What about London with teenagers?

If you’re visiting London with teens, you’re going to want to hit some of the famous sights for those all important Tik Tok and Insta moments. I can recommend a some easy ways to see the best views of London and exploring the sights of the South Bank for free.

Ampersand outside OXO Tower - hidden views of London's South Bank

There’s also an opportunity to get a deal on West End show tickets each summer, which would be a brilliant experience upon which to build your UK city break with teens.

Teenagers will also love a visit to the London Dungeons and Madame Tussaud’s or a spin on the London Eye.

Big savings on London attractions

Family enjoying Puss in Boots experience at Sherks Adventure London

If you’ve got a few days to spend in London, or are visiting on different occasions, why not take advantage of Merlin’s Big City Saver * deal?

It gives you access to some of London’s most iconic attractions for a discounted rate. Pick from a combination of attractions that suit you from the London Eye and Madame Tussauds to SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Shreks Adventure or a Big Bus Tour.

You can book any combination, any time within 90 days and move your bookings if your plans change.

Depending on the ticket combo you can save up to 46% on individual ticket prices.

UK towns to visit with kids

Reflections on the water of Dartmouth boat float in Devon

If you’d prefer to start with a UK town we can recommend:

  • Halifax and Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire as places to find plenty of culture
  • Torquay in Devon as a traditional seaside destination
  • Poole in Dorset as a town to indulge in water sports
  • and Dartmouth in Devon as somewhere to visit for maritime events and heritage.

Here are some more recommended UK destinations and attractions to check out.

You can also find more family holiday inspiration in my full guide to family travel .

What city breaks in the UK can you recommend? I’d love to hear.

We also love European cities. Here are our tried and tested European city breaks with kids .

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a booking or purchase I may earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

Planning an urban getaway with your family? Use Pinterest to save this post about UK city breaks with kids.

Tried and tested UK city breaks with kids, including inspiration on things to do and places to stay so you can have a family-friendly city break to remember #citybreak #UKtravel #travel #familytravel #shortbreak #city #holiday #thingstodo #London #Salisbury #Portsmouth #Exeter #Cardiff #Bristol #Truro #Winchester

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Saturday 29th of January 2022

I've heard of Salisbury and Stonehenge more times than I can count, and I've always wanted to go. I still thought that it was pretty expensive to go from London, and I couldn't afford it at that time. I live between Rome and London now, and I cannot honestly wait to go back to London to visit all the places I've missed when I was working there. Edinburgh, Dublin, Bath, Birmingham... I want to see it all!

Sunday 24th of March 2019

Oh we love so many of these. Bath is our favourite - and we have a weekend in London as often as we can x

Claire Hall - Tin Box Traveller

Monday 25th of March 2019

We're off to Bath again in May - can't wait to explore more!

Outdoor Adventure Destinations

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Must-Try Food in the U.K.

Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Top Cities to Visit

Best U.K. Destinations

Traveling by Train

Driving in the U.K.

Power Adapters

Tipping Etiquette

Top Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Family-Friendly Attractions

The Top 18 Family Attractions in the United Kingdom

best city to visit with family uk

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The United Kingdom's top attractions for families run the gamut—from screaming thrill rides and totally immersive child-sized worlds to wonderful animal exhibits and family-friendly cultural attractions.

There's no need to put off a trip to the UK just because you have young children, either. Family travel can be fun for everyone as long as you remember to include child-friendly attractions in your itinerary. Fortunately, most of these attractions are also fun for teenagers and adults—everyone can find their inner child on a trip to the United Kingdom.

Tour the Making of Harry Potter

Harry Potter fans and anyone interested in a detailed look at what's involved in the making of movie magic will love the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter .

The movies' most iconic sets, including The Great Hall , Dumbledore's Office, Hagrid's Hut, The Gryffindor Common Room are open to the public at the studio, 20 miles northwest of London, where the movies were filmed.

The studio tour is conducted on foot and features costumes, props, and behind-the-scenes secrets of the franchise. While there are no rides or theme park thrills, kids old enough to have read the books and enjoyed the films will be enthralled, and there are interactive experiences including the chance to ride a flying broom.

Roleplay at KidZania

Picture a town where kids run everything: They work as doctors and dentists; train as actors and put on shows for their parents; and do the jobs of airline pilots, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.

Such a place exists at KidZania, a children's role-playing attraction that offers 100 different role-playing activities in 60 different establishments like shops, offices, hospitals, factories, and race car pit stops. Parents can watch from discreet windows, but kids run all the activities inside the play space. The tiny workers even earn KidZania's own currency (Kidzos) that they can spend in the shops. 

KidZania is monitored and safe. The play space only has one entrance and one exit, and once in Kidzania, children are fitted with RFID bracelets that keep tabs on them. Children can only be removed at the exit while in the confirmed presence of their parents. 

Watch Live Theater

 Gautier Houba / TripSavvy

What better place to introduce children to the experience of live theater than the West End? Kids Week , sponsored by the Society of London Theatres, has been held since 1998 and has grown from a one-week festival to an entire month of performances in August each year.

During Kids Week, a child under 16 can attend a performance for free with a paying adult ticket holder, and two more children can come along for half price. During the week, there's also an array of free events, workshops, storytelling, and activities.

Tickets go on sale in June, and the participating shows are announced near the start of the month. The best way to find out what's happening is to subscribe to the Society of London Theatre Family Bulletin . That way, even if you can't come for Kids Week in August, you can find out about other family-friendly shows, promotions, and competitions in London throughout the year.

Stay at Legoland Windsor Resort

Legoland has 150 rides, all kinds of shows, water slides, and boat trips, and everywhere you look, you'll find amazing creations made of Lego pieces. In Miniland, at the center of the park, 35 million pieces of Lego have been used to create scenes from London, Paris, Amsterdam, and elsewhere in Europe.

There are surprises everywhere, including a fire-breathing dragon at the entrance to the resort and an incredibly realistic Chewbacca guarding the entrance to the Star Wars exhibits.

The park is aimed at children between 2 and 12 years old, but some of the rides have height restrictions for the younger ones. You can also stay overnight at The Legoland Resort Hotel . The hotel, which opened in the middle of the park in 2012, includes two days of free entry to the park for each guest.

Get Lost in Longleat Safari Park

Mohamed Sadikeen/EyeEm/Getty Images

Longleat is one of the best safari parks in the world—and the oldest outside of Africa. The park has a huge maze, a boat ride on a lake full of seals, a train ride, and an adventure playground designed like a child-sized castle.

For the adults, there is a  stately home, garden, and park (landscaped by Capability Brown) to explore. Regularly voted the U.K. Family Attraction of the Year by all kinds of guides and domestic magazines, Longleat won't disappoint visitors of any age.

Wave at the Swans in Abbotsbury

Josie Elias/Getty Images

For more than 600 years, nearly a thousand mute swans have nested at the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset each year, and as a result, they've become completely tolerant of, if not indifferent to, close up encounters with humans.

Spending a day with the world's only man-managed nesting colony of mute swans is a great activity for adults and kids alike. Watch the swans build their nests and tend to their eggs. Visitors might even get to see the cygnets hatching, especially in May and June, when hundreds of cygnets break free of their shells and wander around the paths of the nesting site. 

Observe Sharks

Europe's deepest aquarium is a magical exploration of the world's oceans with fascinating displays and utterly beautiful aquaria.

At The Deep , the main tank is more than 30-feet in depth and has manta rays, sharks, strange looking Australian sawfish, and schools of smaller fish (about 3,500) that, remarkably, don't get eaten.

Don't miss the "jewel" tanks that demonstrate the jellyfish cycle of life and the Twilight Zone with its strange, almost prehistoric critters. 

Explore Museums Near Ironbridge Gorge

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Ten museums over 80 acres illustrate the industrial revolution beside Thomas  Telford's cast iron bridge , the world's first. The Ironbridge Gorge , known as the Birthplace of Industry, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the location, visitors can learn about the first factory-made products and the tools and machines that made them.

Nearby, there's a Coalport China Museum , a tile museum, a pipe makers workshop, a reconstructed Victorian town, and more—if that seems a bit dry and grown-up, be assured the interactivity makes it a blast for children. Leave plenty of time because there is simply too much to see in one day.

Another option is visiting Enginuity , an interactive design and technology center where kids can learn how things work and design their own bright ideas. Also, don't miss Blists Hill Victorian Town , where your family can experience a day in the life of ordinary people during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Visit The Eden Project

Contained in a series of transparent geodesic domes that squat on the Cornwall landscape like sci-fi mushrooms, the Eden Project describes itself as a place that "is all about man's relationship with and dependence upon plants."

The Enden Project is a "green" theme park where issues and questions around nature and sustainability are explored. Although not specifically aimed at kids, there are plenty of child-centered activities including trails, restaurants with healthy children's menus, and play structures naturally "grown" from willow and bamboo.

Head Underground in a Mine Shaft

Mark Tighe/Creative Commons

The Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog, within the Snowdonia National Park, are at the heart of a feast of family-friendly activities. What began as a modest, illuminated attraction in a disused slate mine has grown into a multi-activity center.

On the Deep Mine Tour , the steepest cable railway in Britain plunges into the heart of Llechwedd mountain and back. Tour guides come from families with generations of links to the slate industry. Younger children love the hard hat experience.

Once underground, let the kids loose on the Bounce Below , a vast underground playground with bouncy, trampoline-like nets filling the caverns. For the adventurous, ZipWorld Caverns takes participants on a journey through otherwise inaccessible caverns on zip lines, rope bridges, via ferrata, and tunnels. The tour is limited to children older than 10, involves some onsite training, and can take about three hours.

Be Mesmerized by Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Great for visitors of all ages, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, which first opened in 1853. Filled with tricks, puzzles, illusions, special effects, and all sorts of new and old technology alike, this unique attraction includes five floors of illusions as well as a spectacular rooftop view of the city.

Climb Into BeWILDerwood

Karen Roe/Flickr/CC BY-2.0

Nestled into the forests of Hoveton, Norfolk, the BeWILDerwood attraction is a 50-acre park filled with whimsical fun, head-scratching puzzles, zip-line adventures, interactive story-telling events, and puppet shows.

Appropriate for kids up to 12 years old, BeWILDerwood is the brainchild of kids’ author Tom Blofeld and features characters from his book including Hazel the Wood Witch, Moss & Leaflette, Swampy, Mildred the Crocklebog, and Snagglefang.

Marvel at the Giant's Causeway

A UNESCO-listed natural phenomenon, the Giant's Causeway in Bushmills, Antrim, in Northern Ireland gets its name from the large system of basalt columns that look like stepping stones for giants disappearing into the sea.

Features include walking trails, an interactive visitor's center, and the Wishing Chair—a natural throne formed from perfectly-arranged columns. Kids of all ages will enjoy climbing up and down the stone "steps" and learning about the history of the region on the Giant's Causeway Experience at the Visitor's Centre.

Step Back in Time in Beamish

 Paul Trafford/Flickr/CC BY-2.0

The world-famous open-air museum Beamish—also known as The Living Museum of the North—tells the story of life in northern England in the 1820s, 1900s, and 1940s.

Located in Stanley in County Durham, this unique attraction invites guests to dress in period garb and meet a cast of characters from England's past. From plowing the fields to descending into a coal pit, school-age children of all ages can enjoy this truly immersive experience.

Get Thrilled at Alton Towers Resort

 Wikimedia Commons

Located in Alton in Staffordshire, the Alton Towers Resort is an all-inclusive amusement park and hotel complete with a waterpark and kids' play place, making it the perfect destination for families of all ages.

Kids aged 10 and up can embark on thrilling rollercoasters, including the first vertical drop rollercoaster in the world, Thirteen, as well as fairground rides, playhouses, and haunted houses. Meanwhile, younger kids can spend the day in the Term Time CBeebies Land Hotel, a colorful world of rainbows and interactive exhibits.

Get Wild at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo

If your kids are fans of animals and nature, head to Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo in Begelly, Pembrokeshire.

From learning how to milk cows and goats to petting goats, rabbits, miniature ponies and pigs, and donkeys, there's plenty of interactive amusement to be found on Folly Farm. Additionally, kids will get a chance to see wilder animals like lions, giraffes, meerkats, and Humboldt penguins up close.

Discover the World Museum

 Jonathan Oldenbuck/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Housing everything from Egyptian mummies to an entire wing dedicated to insects, The World Museum in Liverpool, Merseyside, is a must-see attraction for natural history fans visiting the United Kingdom. Explore the cosmos in the planetarium, discover different traditions from around the planet in the World Cultures Gallery, and marvel at real casts of dinosaur skeletons in the prehistoric wing.

Be Mesmerized by Stonehenge

James O. Davies

One of the most famous and oldest attractions in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is a must-see on any trip to the region.

Located near Amesbury in Wiltshire, Stonehenge is easily accessible from London, and many companies offer private tours of the prehistoric monument with transportation included in the cost. Other things to see and do near Stonehenge include exploring Neolithic houses, touring the Stonehenge exhibition at the visitor's center, dining at the nearby cafe, or buying a souvenir at the gift shop.

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Specials » 40 Places in the UK to See with Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up

40 Places in the UK to See with Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up

We’ve put together a list of the most fun, the most innovative and the most covertly educational days out in all of the UK.

Many are geared towards testing brains and coordination, and helping kids develop while having fun.

Others, like the UK’s biggest theme parks, are the sort of organised silliness and mayhem that all children need now and again.

There are places so magnificent and awe-inspiring that they might even bring you closer together, and buildings and museums so fascinating that parents won’t help but be engrossed as well.

Here’s our list of the best places to visit with your kids before they are all grown up!:

1. Science Museum

Science Museum London

South Kensington, London

Why you’ve got to go: To enlighten inquisitive young minds about the physical world and the people who advanced our understanding. Well deserved one of the best things to do with your kids!

What to do: It could be civil engineering, robotics or vacuum technology: If there’s a certain sphere that your budding young scientist is just getting into, well, the cavernous Science Museum will have whole galleries devoted to it. The movies at the IMAX theatre will only enhance that sense of wonder.

Get there when kids are: All ages

More info:

2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Leavesden, Hertfordshire

Why you’ve got to go: To be enchanted by a trove of items and places from the Harry Potter series.

What to do: For a young Harry Potter fan , what could be more exciting than stepping into the Great Hall or boarding the Hogwarts Express? You can go behind the scenes for secrets about the special effects and animatronics, and browse a decade’s worth of costumes, sets and iconic props.

More info:

3. National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

York, North Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: There’s a vast hall of engines that will cater to your young ones’ steam train fixation, and then some.

What to do: If steam engines are all the rage with your kids, this attraction will have them riveted. The Great Hall will be a kind of cave of treasures for them, packed to the steel rafters with golden age steam locomotives and a Shinkansen from Japan to hop aboard. You can even see a cross-section of an engine to understand how it works. And it’s all absolutely free to boot.

Get there when kids are: Up to 12

More info:

4. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Lothian

Why you’ve got to go: Six floors of puzzles, special effects, games and other interactive craziness at one of Britain’s oldest attractions.

What to do: The whole thing started in 1835 with the Camera Obscura, a live projection of a bird’s eye of Edinburgh from atop a tower. Like mini gods, kids can pretend to pick people up or smoosh them into the ground, if that’s their thing. The five floors below are a fabulous miscellany of optical illusions, light and magic and smoke and mirrors.

Get there when kids are: Primary school age

More info:

5. Eden Project

Eden Project

St Austell, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: To journey into landscaped worlds within futuristic domes and get immersed in botany on the way.

What to do: One of the best bits here is the Canopy Walkway, a raised platform high among the treetops in the rainforest biome. You can identify the various plants and trees, like cashew, rubber, banana and cocoa. For young thrills there’s England’s longest zip line, the SkyWire, and lots of interactive gadgets at the Core Building.

More info:

6. Stonehenge


Amesbury, Wiltshire

Why you’ve got to go: One of the UK’s most special locations will seem even more magical through a child’s eyes.

What to do: Kids are trivia sponges, and the facts and figures of this site will blow young minds. It’s amazing to think what was achieved 5,000 years ago with just man and ox-power, ropes and stones. The very sight of this monument will also make a big impression on children and get them pondering an era that is mysterious even for grown-ups.

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7. Bewilderwood


Hoveton, Norfolk

Why you’ve got to go: For all the energy-burning fun of a soft play park, in 50 acres of whimsical woodland.

What to do: There’s interactive story-telling and puppet shows for toddlers, as well as mazes, zip-lines and rope bridges for bigger kids. Like an Ewok village for children, BeWILDerwood adapts to mature woodland and poses a natural and healthy alternative to indoor play parks. It’s all the brainchild of kids’ author Tom Blofeld and the characters from his books show up to make things even more fun.

More info:

8. Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway, Bushmills, UK

Bushmills, Antrim

Why you’ve got to go: It’s a UNESCO-listed natural phenomenon, an epic system of basalt columns that look like stepping stones for giants.

What to do: The name alone will spark kids’ active imaginations, but when they see the causeway their sense of awe will be off the charts. You can clamber over the rocks, picking out the weird and wonderful formations, and seeing if they match their old nicknames. Park up at the visitor centre and get to the site via the special shuttle, which has reduced rates for kids.

More info:

9. Legoland

Legoland, Windsor

Windsor, Berkshire

Why you’ve got to go: Because it’s a theme park made with 80 million Lego blocks. You can’t get cooler than that in a kid’s eyes.

What to do: Go on interactive adventures like Coast Guard rescue or the Lego City Driving School where little ones can get their Lego driving licence. Or ride Lego-themed rollercoasters like the Dragon, which swoops over the park’s plastic block rooftops. And shopping of course: The largest Lego store in the UK awaits you at the exit.

Get there when kids are: 10 or under

More info:

10. Natural History Museum

Central Hall of the Natural History Museum

Why you’ve got to go: To see the dinosaur fossils and eggs to teach kids about the real monsters that once walked the earth.

What to do: All children have a dinosaur phase, right? The moment you step into Hintze Hall and catch sight of the diplodocus you’ll know you’re in a place that can bring them to life, at least in a child’s imagination. Grown-ups can marvel at the museum’s architecture, while brave kids can confront an animatronic T-Rex and feel what it’s like to be in an earthquake.

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11. National Space Centre

National Space Centre, Leicester

Leicester, Leicestershire

Why you’ve got to go: There isn’t a child that hasn’t dreamed about space exploration, and this attraction will make the dream a little more real.

What to do: There are six hands-on galleries for kids to get stuck into, as well as immersive shows at the largest planetarium in the UK. The Rocket Tower is 42 metres high and you’ll speed to the top in a glass lift. It’s one of those days out that is informative for adults, but also keeps kids’ attentions with kinetic exhibits and multimedia.

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12. Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle, Chapel & Village

Tintagel, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: For King Arthur, who was born right here according to the famous legend.

What to do: Explore to your heart’s content, at a place where real Dark Age history and folklore collide. Children will have no trouble imagining knights and wizards at this awesome setting, in which the ghostly ruins of castle walls mingle with cliffs and sprawl onto a little rocky island.

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13. Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower Hamlets, London

Why you’ve got to go: The Beefeaters at the Tower can tell you more about the history of London and England than a week’s worth of school!

What to do: See Traitors’ Gate, where famous Tudor prisoners like Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn entered, never to leave with their heads attached to their bodies. Kids will be dazzled by the Crown Jewels, and gripped by the story of the Princes in the Tower, two young heirs to the throne who disappeared right here in the 15th century.

More info:

14. Imperial War Museum Duxford

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Why you’ve got to go: It’s all about the aircraft, with more than 200 machines to wow the bigger kids in the family.

What to do: Duxford will indulge that young fascination for high-octane hardware and feats of wartime daring. In the American Air Museum there’s an enormous B-52 Stratofortress filling the entire hall, and suspended above your head are jet and propeller planes from all periods. This is dreamland for kids who love big machines.

Get there when kids are: Around 12

More info:

15. Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Hexham, Northumberland

Why you’ve got to go: This was the northern boundary of the whole Roman Empire, a titanic wall between the civilised world and northern tribes.

What to do: Hadrian’s wall is the largest single Roman artefact in the world, and its length was marked with mile-castles and forts every five miles. One, Housesteads Fort, encourages children to dip into the ancient past by clambering over these evocative ruins. In a few minutes you can walk down to Sycamore Gap, a spectacular valley made famous by movies.

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16. Forbidden Corner

Forbidden Corner, Middleham

Middleham, North Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: For a spooky, offbeat and brain-teasing afternoon of discovery.

What to do: Little adventurers are encouraged to explore tunnels, mazes, a creepy mausoleum and hidden passages at a large garden where getting completely lost is all part of the fun. In this large folly you have a checklist of things to track down but there’s not a map to be found. Children will have a whale of a time solving problems, and grown-ups will fall in love with the garden’s wit and imagination.

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17. Zipworld

Zipworld, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

Why you’ve got to go: For safe and challenging fun in an extraordinary underground environment.

What to do: A former slate quarry is now a fantasy-like subterranean space where bottomless sheer walls are fitted with zip lines, rope bridges, climbing grips and even a massive bouncy net. This activity centre is fun, awe-inspiring and exhausting all at the same time and includes the first four-person zip line in Europe.

Get there when kids are: Ten and up

More info:

18. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle


Why you’ve got to go: To see living history at its best, at the most complete medieval castle in the UK.

What to do: Survey the scene from the walls, climb the towers, see the huge siege engines in action, watch birds of prey shows and solve the ‘Horrible Histories’ maze. And for the bravest souls there’s the Dungeon Experience, in which you go back to the plague-ridden 1300s to meet characters such as the judge, torturer and a cook with questionable culinary standards.

More info:

19. Beamish


Stanley, County Durham

Why you’ve got to go: To drive trams and steam engines, dress up in old-time clothes and meet a cast of characters from the past.

What to do: There’s a breathless variety of activities to take part in, from ploughing fields, to attending Victorian school, baking bread and descending into a coal pit. Beamish puts kids in touch with the rigours of historic rural and city life in the most direct way possible. Just in case they think they have it tough now!

More info:

20. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth, Hampshire

Why you’ve got to go: For the warships and the tales of maritime life from real sailors on a genuine naval base.

What to do: Whippersnappers can board heritage ships like HMS Victory and hear accounts of the swashbuckling battles that were fought on these decks. Aboard HMS Alliance you can peep through the periscope of a real World War II submarine, while the Mary Rose is a real life shipwreck lifted from the depths of the Solent and displayed before your eyes.

More info:

21. Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Railway

Llangollen, Denbighshire

Why you’ve got to go: For the UK’s ultimate steam train ride, in the romantic landscape of the Dee Valley.

What to do: Steam engines hold a real fascination for many kids, and this 10-mile heritage line is powered by the hulking locomotives built for the Great Western Railway. Little passengers can meet a working Thomas the Tank Engine, while older parents can watch the beautiful North Wales scenery scroll by from the window.

Get there when kids are: Up to ten

More info:

22. Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle


Why you’ve got to go: So that kids can tell their friends they’ve been to the real Hogwarts.

What to do: Investigate one of the few medieval British castles that has remained habitable to this day. After the outside and inside of the building starred in the Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle has reached out to younger audiences. Courageous kids can join the Knight’s Quest, dressing up in chivalric gear, visiting a medieval market and venturing into a dragon’s lair.

More info:

23. Llandudno

Llandudno Beach

Why you’ve got to go: To treat children to an old-fashioned s day at the seaside.

What to do: Llandudno has way more than the average beach escape. You do have time-honoured favourites like the puppet shows on the promenade, amusements at Llandudno Pier and the vast open sands at West Shore Beach. But the resort is also set off by Great Orme, a monumental limestone headland, primed for visits via the sweet heritage tram and the cable cars that carry you to the top.

Get there when kids are: Up to 14

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24. Alton Towers

Alton Towers


Why you’ve got to go: For exhilarating white knuckle rides that will meet the approval of even the most jaded teenagers.

What to do: Alton Towers has a menu of gravity-defying rollercoasters pitched at adolescents and young adults. Smiler sends you upside down more than any other ride in the world at present and Thirteen is the first vertical drop rollercoaster on the planet. There are old-school fairground rides, playhouses and activity centres for the youngest family members.

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25. Dorset Heavy Horse Centre

Dorset Heavy Horse Centre

Verwood, Dorset

Why you’ve got to go: To meet, groom and bond with rescued working horses.

What to do: There’s never a dull moment for young animal lovers. You’ll meet, care for and get to know the pasts of the giant working horses, which are incredibly gentle despite their size. The centre has won accolades for its hands-on tractor rides, trips on horse-drawn wagons, petting zoo and a range of workshops blurring the line between fun and learning.

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26. Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

Devon and Dorset

Why you’ve got to go: For collecting fossils and impressing youngsters with wild coastal scenery .

What to do: If everything seems bigger through a child’s eyes the cliffs and gnarled rocks of the Jurassic Coast will be a craggy wonderland. Scenes like Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove will stay with them for the rest of their lives. But there’s an educational element on the Jurassic Coast, as you can pore over beaches like Chamouth for fossils freezing 185 million years of history in stone.

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27. National Media Museum

National Media Museum

Bradford, West Yorkshire

Why you’ve got to go: To broaden horizons about the possibilities of the moving image and the Internet.

What to do: There are eight floors of free, hands-on galleries explaining how video games, television and movies work and inspiring you about their potential. You can make your own animations, delve into the history of video gaming and track the latest Internet trends. There are always cool workshops and exhibitions in the school holidays and movies at the IMAX screen.

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28. Fingal’s Cave

Fingal's Cave

Staffa, Argyll and Bute

Why you’ve got to go: For a marvellous natural wonder that your kids will remember their whole lives.

What to do: Stare astounded at the towering basalt columns that look like they might have been made by an ancient race of giants. If your kids are reading Lovecraft they’ll be wild about this sight, which is the goal of a quest into the Inner Hebrides. On calmer days you can go right inside the cave in your boat, and go ashore to scrabble over the polygonal rocks.

Get there when kids are: 12 and up

More info:

29. Paultons Park

Paultons Park

Romsey, Hampshire

Why you’ve got to go: One reason: Peppa Pig World .

What to do: Peppa Pig has taken over toddler society in the last few years, and Paultons Park is where you can feed that obsession . All the rides, play areas and shows have characters from the cartoon. Little nippers can jump in Muddy Puddles, walk the Rainbow Road in Mr Potato’s playground and go on seven gentle rides made for little Peppa Pig fanatics.

Get there when kids are: Five or younger

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30. Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Gweek, Cornwall

Why you’ve got to go: Because you’re never too young to learn about animal conservation and help injured seal pups.

What to do: It’s nice to be in an animal attraction where nearly all the residents are only there temporarily. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescues some 50 injured pups a year and nurses them back to health. Come to watch common seals, grey seals, otters and penguins feeding, and go behind the scenes in the seal hospital to see the great work being done.

More info:

31. Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo

Begelly, Pembrokeshire

Why you’ve got to go: Little ones can make friends with farmyard animals, feed giraffes, groom ponies, and a lot more .

What to do: There’s a lot of interactivity at this multi-award-winning farm and zoo attraction. So that means befriending miniature pigs and finding out how to milk cows and goats. There’s a barn for petting goats, rabbits, donkeys and miniature ponies, as well as a zoo with wilder animals like lions, Humboldt penguins and meerkats.

More info:

32. Matlock Bath

Matlock Bath

Why you’ve got to go: To bring kids to a place of magic, innocence and fun high in the Peak District.

What to do: Potter around this lovely gorge-side town and catch the cable-car to the Heights of Abraham atop Masson Hill. This attraction has been running since the 19th century and conducts you around two enormous show caverns that were mined since Roman times. Gulliver’s Kingdom is a theme park aimed at under 12s and the Victorian amusement halls in Matlock bath can provide hours of traditional fun.

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33. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Why you’ve got to go: To scale the labyrinth of spiral stairways and conquer the powerful Eagle Tower.

What to do: Be awed by a castle that was intended to make an impact. Caernarfon has UNESCO status and is a must for any child studying the bloody reign of Edward I, nicknamed Long Shanks by his foes. Even today every monarch’s first son has the Prince of Wales title because of this menacing hulk of stone built in the 13th century.

More info:

34. Windermere


Why you’ve got to go: For the majesty and outdoor fun of the largest lake in England.

What to do: A huge list of family-friendly activities is on offer, from rowing, sailing, swimming and canoeing on the water, to horse riding, climbing, abseiling and walking on the shore. And trips on the old steamers that criss-cross the water are sure to wow the youngest family members. The high fells that slope down to the lakeshore never cease to make your heart soar.

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35. Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield

Inverness, Highland

Why you’ve got to go: This is where the last hand-to-hand battle on British soil was fought, in 1796, a turning point in Scottish history.

What to do: The high-tech new visitor centre is a dream resource for bigger kids keen to know more about the Battle of Culloden. There’s an immersive 360° movie of the battle, an animated battle table and a roof-top viewpoint of the site. The galleries have artefacts and firsthand accounts, and you’ll find out why life in the Highlands and Scottish islands would never be the same again.

More info:

36. New Forest National Park

New Forest National Park

Why you’ve got to go: For the ponies! There are 3,000 wild ponies in the New Forest, going where they please and grazing in woodland glades.

What to do: The New Forest is a safe place for kids to get to know the natural world in person, with gentle country that young legs can handle and piles of kid-friendly attractions: There are bird and reptile centres, deer sanctuaries, tree-climbing adventure parks and activity farms. Be here in summer when the pony foals promise a cuteness overload.

More info:

37. Ironbridge

Ironbridge, Shropshire

Why you’ve got to go: At this one location you can trace the very genesis of the industrial Revolution at 10 incredible museums.

What to do: Don a hard-hat and journey underground in the Tar Tunnel, see where nearly all of the country’s tobacco pipes were once made, design your own tiles at the Jackfield Museum, dress up as a old-time potter at the Coalport China Museum. No single place can inform children about the upheaval of the UK in Georgian times like Ironbridge.

More info:

38. White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover

Why you’ve got to go: To conquer the immense chalk walls that have been England’s front porch for 2,000 years.

What to do: Amble along the gentle grassy trail and look across to France, see the South Foreland Lighthouse where Marconi conducted his radio experiments and put on a hard hat and head torch for a guided tour of the Fan Bay Deep Shelter. Precocious antiquarians can go on a history frenzy as three castles, Dover, Walmer and Deal, flank the cliffs.

Get there when kids are: Aged five and up

More info:

39. Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Caerphilly, South Wales

Why you’ve got to go: So kids can tell their friends that they’ve braved a real haunted house.

What to do: Young ones can engage with living history, meeting an array of historical characters from the top to the bottom of the social order. These residents are in fact knowledgeable guides who will dish the dirt on this fortified Tudor manor, its role in the English Civil War and all the eerie goings-on that have spooked visitors for centuries.

Get there when kids are: Five and up

More info:

40. World Museum

World Museum, Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside

Why you’ve got to go: There’s a crazy miscellany of things to see, perfect for the shortest attention.

What to do: It’s not called the World Museum for nothing: Kids can be grossed out by Egyptian mummies, marvel at real casts of dinosaur skeletons, see authentic samurai armour and inspect the creepy crawlies at the Bug House. And if that’s not enough they can blast off on their own space odyssey at the planetarium.

More info:

40 Places in the UK to See with Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up:

  • Science Museum
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour
  • National Railway Museum
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • Eden Project
  • Bewilderwood
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Space Centre
  • Tintagel Castle
  • Tower of London
  • Imperial War Museum Duxford
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • Forbidden Corner
  • Warwick Castle
  • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
  • Llangollen Railway
  • Alnwick Castle
  • Alton Towers
  • Dorset Heavy Horse Centre
  • Jurassic Coast
  • National Media Museum
  • Fingal's Cave
  • Paultons Park
  • Cornish Seal Sanctuary
  • Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
  • Matlock Bath
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Culloden Battlefield
  • New Forest National Park
  • White Cliffs of Dover
  • Llancaiach Fawr Manor
  • World Museum

17 Best Cities in the UK to Visit Right Now

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

United Kingdom

Updated On: May 8, 2023

The UK is not short on incredible cities to visit. England , Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have fascinating cultures that you can experience through their cities’ architecture, attractions, and hospitality.

We’ll cover the finest in the United Kingdom – from major cities like London and Edinburgh to lesser-visited cities like Inverness, Bristol, and York. When planning a trip to the United Kingdom, these are the places that you should be adding to your itinerary.

Table of Contents

Top Cities in the UK

The UK includes some of the best countries to visit in the world, and each city reflects a unique culture and identity.

Whether you want to visit a lesser-known city or join the masses of tourists visiting major cities that have been darlings for decades, this list will give you plenty of choices.

1. London (Largest City)

As the capital of England and the country’s largest, London was always going to be on this list. It is one of the greatest arts and cultural hubs in both Europe and the rest of the world.

London is easily the most popular and famous to visit in England, and for many good reasons. London is full of attractions, including historical sites, landmarks , art galleries, theatres, and museums. Your days visiting London will be varied and action-packed. For example, you may spend a morning at the Natural History Museum, an afternoon grabbing lunch and shopping at the market in Camden Borough, and an evening watching a West End show.

If you are a first-time visitor to the UK, prioritize a visit to London. Not only does the city give you a broad impression of England, but London is also very accessible.

You’ll be bowled over by the number of things to do and see; just do some research and choose where to stay carefully beforehand to maximize your time when you arrive. If you need some extra guidance, you can read our 3-day itinerary for more information. Read More: 38 Best Things to do in London, England In 2023

2. Manchester

Manchester is one of the best cities in Northern England. Its flamboyant urban area and nightlife make it popular with university students, and visitors can expect a fun, friendly atmosphere.

Manchester was massively shaped by the Industrial Revolution and is widely claimed to be the world’s first industrial city. Manchester was once famous for textile production, the wealth from which was reinvested in the city’s development and into wealthy families. However, Manchester has outgrown its Revolution associations nowadays and is now known as an entertaining weekend getaway and sought-after place to live.

You can learn about the Industrial Revolution at Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum. We’d recommend also allowing time to visit the Manchester Art Gallery and the National Football Museum. The Manchester Art Gallery showcases artworks from over six centuries, and the football museum is a must for Premier League fans.

In the evening, head to The Gay Village or Spinningfields for a few drinks at the best pubs and clubs. The Manchester dress code is retro and indie regardless of the venue, so come prepared with your trendiest outfits.

If Manchester is one of the greatest cities in Northern England, Leeds is not far behind.

Like Manchester, Leeds was also massively influenced by the Industrial Revolution, and you’ll notice converted mill and factory buildings in many of the nearby areas. Leeds is the third biggest in England and is known for its hospitality, small city center, and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales.

Leeds is favored amongst university students – meaning you’ll enjoy a friendly atmosphere and lots of cheap eateries. The center is small, easily walkable, and perfect for a weekend of shopping, wining, and dining. We’d recommend allowing time to take a day trip to Yorkshire Dales National Park, visit the Industrial Museum, and Kirkstall Abbey.

If you want a drink, don an embarrassing fancy dress costume for the Otley Run (a famous local pub crawl) or head to The Calls for photogenic venues along the river.

4. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an amazing city to visit. As the Scottish capital, it attracts millions of tourists and, honestly, you should join the crowd.

Edinburgh is famed for its Old Town, which has those dreamy cobbled streets lined with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. Some of the buildings in the Old Town are 500 years old, and the architecture gives the neighborhood a time capsule effect – especially with Edinburgh Castle and the sound of bagpipes in the background.

Edinburgh Castle is easily one of the best things to do , although you should also visit the National Museum, climb the Scott Monument, and walk the Royal Mile. Edinburgh excellently encapsulates Scottish culture, history, and identity.

As a first-time visitor to Scotland, we’d highly recommend visiting Edinburgh.

Of course, just because Edinburgh is fantastic doesn’t mean you should skip visiting Glasgow.

Glasgow is a great city to visit, and you’ll find lots of things to do and see. It has a slightly more modern feel than Edinburgh and lots of public green space to enjoy in the summer. Of course, Glasgow has two very passionate rival football teams, and fans should try to attend a Celtic or Rangers game to experience the sporting passion firsthand.

You should prioritize visiting the Glasgow Necropolis, People’s Palace, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and Pollok Country Park. Pollok Country Park is particularly popular amongst tourists wanting to see Highland Cattle. The park has a herd that lives on-site, so note it down if you want to meet one.

Glasgow is widely known as the country’s second city, but we think it ranks just as highly as Edinburgh.

The Northern Irish capital is well-deserving of a place on our list; Belfast has a lot going for it.

Belfast is easily added to a trip to England. You can catch a ferry from Liverpool or a domestic flight from any UK airport – sometimes costing less than $15 when booked in advance.

Belfast has a vibrant feel, with plenty of new developments like Castle Court Shopping Center. However, there is also a lot of history. You can learn about The Troubles by touring Belfast’s political murals, visiting the Titanic Belfast Museum, touring Crumlin Road Gaol, or walking up to Stormont – the home of the NI government.

From the city, there are hundreds of things to do , including visiting The Giant’s Causeway and the Mourne Mountains. Belfast is a fantastic base if you want to experience Northern Ireland for the first or millionth time.

While not one of the most famous cities in Great Britain, Bristol is easily one of the best cities for tourists.

Over the years, Bristol has transformed from a port town to a thriving city – highly sought after to visit, study, and live. Bristol is located along the Bristol Channel, an inlet from the Atlantic Ocean, so it is close to beaches should you want a sunbathe or swim. However, most impressively, Bristol is divided by a deep river gorge. Visitors entering Bristol cross over suspension bridges – making a scenic and memorable start to a holiday.

Bristol’s attractions include the SS Great Britain. SS Great Britain is an 1843 restored passenger liner. The ship is revered as the world’s first great ocean liner and has two museums, refurbished ship areas, and dockyards. The ship also houses many artifacts from its sister ship, The Royal Charter, which sailed around the world before her shipwreck.

For more naval history, you can stop by the nearby Underfall Yard Visitor Center to visit its popular maritime museum. Bristol is a fascinating place in England for those interested in maritime stories.

8. Liverpool

Liverpool is cool. Birthplace of the Beatles, dockside bar hopping, and the home of the huge Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool is easily one of the most entertaining cities in England.

If you are traveling north of London, we recommend visiting Liverpool. The Liverpool atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly, and it is the sort of place where you could go for a drink alone and leave to the next bar with twenty new friends.

Visiting the Beatles Story is a number one recommendation of things to do in Liverpool and is a world-famous attraction. But the British Music Experience, World Museum, and Port Sunlight Museum are all also worth visiting.

Music is at the heart of Liverpool’s identity, so we highly suggest watching some live music at Cavern Club during your stay. Cavern Club is a popular venue in Liverpool and specializes in tribute performances that run day and night.

If you want to experience music culture in England, look no further than Liverpool.

Unlike Liverpool, York is a quiet city surrounded mostly by country towns and villages. It may not be a popular destination for first-time travelers to the UK, but York does provide an idyllic introduction to England.

York is in the county of North Yorkshire and, despite its city status, has more of a town feel than a metropolitan one. York has incredible architecture, with its walls dating back to the 13th century and its narrowing shopping street, The Shambles, widely hailed as one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.

York Minster Cathedral is beautiful to visit, while the York Dungeons and Jorvik Viking Center are immersive historical attractions to enjoy. Since York is located near both the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, we’d suggest allowing time for a day trip in your itinerary.

For a laidback trip to Britain, York provides a relaxing experience with world-renowned, stunning medieval architecture.

10. Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle is a famously fun city with outrageous nightlife and plenty of culture. Newcastle is split in two by the River Tyne, with several footbridges and suspension bridges connecting either side of the city. Metropolitan but pretty (especially at night by the river), Newcastle has a lot to offer.

The city’s nightlife reputation was rocketed to fame by the reality TV program Geordie Shore, and it is also a popular choice amongst university students. The city’s popularity is well deserved, as you’ll find many pubs, clubs, and bars. However, the city isn’t just where you go for a party in the north of England.

Newcastle is fantastic for tourism, with lots of museums and art galleries. You should prioritize visiting Great North Museum: Hancock, Laing Art Gallery, and Discovery Museum. Newcastle Castle is also a great attraction to visit and doesn’t hold back on telling some of the most gruesome stories from history in England.

11. Birmingham (Second Largest City)

Birmingham is the second-largest city in England and has a massive population of over a million people. Visitors will find restaurants, attractions, and hotels at every step – a benefit of choosing such a major city to visit in England.

You can choose to visit popular attractions like Cadbury World, Legoland, and Sea Life. Or, visit some of Birmingham’s unique attractions like The Coffin Works, which runs tours explaining the process of coffin making and telling stories about the funerals of famous people. If you want diversity, Birmingham is one of the best cities in England.

Is Birmingham a little rough around the edges? Yes, in parts. Birmingham is best suited to people who want to experience a supercity in England and have already experienced other cities in the country. Birmingham is a destination for travelers who know exactly what they want and have a solid grasp on traveling in the UK.

12. Brighton

Brighton is a seaside city with a big personality. While only just south of London, Brighton has a strong identity and boldly stands as a destination in its own right. You’ll see plenty of young families and couples commuting to Brighton from London and teenagers traveling with friends from neighboring towns.

Located on the south coast of England, Brighton is lined by beaches and overlooks the English Channel. There’s a mix of cheesy seaside attractions, a twisting maze of shopping alleys called The Lanes that were built from the 1500s, and an eccentrically placed Royal Pavilion – a palace constructed with Asian architecture.

A medieval town? Seaside resort? City of luxurious architectural follies? Who knows. Brighton denies a category, which definitely adds to the city’s tourism appeal. If you want a memorable seaside city in England, Brighton is a good choice. Brighton constantly remixes any expectations you might have of English cities, meaning you’ll never get bored.

13. Cardiff

Cardiff is the largest city and capital of Wales. As far as Welsh cities go, Cardiff is the main celebrity and one of the best places to visit .

Located just south of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Cardiff is a riverside city famous for television production, sports, museums, and nightlife. Unfortunately, as many people rush to the coast or National Parks in Wales, Cardiff is often overlooked as a city break.

What’s Cardiff got? In short, everything that you need. You’ll find green space to sunbathe in summer, nearby beaches if you want to brave a swim, and indoor activities if you get unlucky with the weather.

We suggest planning a stay in Cardiff, even if you continue to the Welsh countryside. There is the Museum of Cardiff, Cardiff Castle, and even a White Water Rafting Center to challenge yourself with rapids. The castle is around 2,000 years old, so there is no denying that the Cardiff has substance and plenty of stories to tell.

Book a hotel, slow down, and enjoy the capital before rushing off around Wales.

14. Cambridge

Cambridge is a prestigious university city – perfect for getting a taste of the elite student experience in England. The city is classy to the core, and you can fill your days with punting on the River Cam and visiting its many museums.

Aside from museums, Cambridge is home to many churches and the Ely Cathedral. The Ely Cathedral is a classic gothic cathedral and a popular religious site to experience on a booked tour. The Round Church is also worth visiting and dates back to the 12th century. The medieval church has a distinctive rounded shape and is a fun bit of architecture to visit.

Cambridge is easily one of the best cities in England to experience southern Englishness firsthand.

Speaking of elite universities, Oxford is Cambridge’s rival city. Oxford is home to Oxford University, which was established in the 12th century and is renowned across the world.

Like Cambridge, Oxford is a city where you go to experience southern Englishness. The city center is full of gothic architecture, and the buildings are typically made from pale cream clipsham stone. Oxford has a definite aesthetic, and it is easy to imagine yourself stepping back a hundred years.

Oxford also has a beautiful cathedral and is famous for its arts. Literature lovers should prioritize visiting the Bodleian Library, the UK’s second-largest library and containing over 11 million texts.

Bath is a Georgian-styled city, with lots of terrace buildings cut from pale yellow Bath Stone. Like Oxford, Bath has an aesthetic feel, and the uniformed buildings cut from the same stone make you feel like you are stepping out from the 18th century.

If you are a history lover, we especially suggest considering Bath, as it is one of the best cities to visit in England for literary and Roman history.

Bath has a Mary Shelley and a Jane Austen museum. The city also has The Roman Baths, where you can tour the preserved ruins, learn from the interactive exhibits, and observe original Roman artifacts. Next door to the Roman Baths, you can actually bathe in the UK’s only natural thermal baths. The Thermae Bath Spa uses natural spring water to heat a rooftop pool and multi-level spa.

17. Inverness

Inverness is heaven. The Scottish Highlands are understandably popular and a stunning region of the UK to visit, and Inverness provides a city base in their center.

While Edinburgh and Glasgow get the brunt of tourist attention, those that venture further north are greatly rewarded. Known as the gateway to the Highlands, Inverness is a pocket of city life in a dramatic natural setting.

Just outside of the city, you can pay your respects at Culloden Battlefield – the final battle site of the Jacobite Rising. While in the city, you can visit St Andrew’s Cathedral, visit the Inverness Museum, or walk around Ness Islands. Inverness is a lesser-visited but fantastic Scottish city You can expect lots of exciting and inspiring things to do.

Cities in the United Kingdom FAQ

When is the best time to visit the uk.

The best time to visit the UK is in spring or summer. The UK will be warmer and have longer daylight hours during these months, and outdoor activities will be more enjoyable.

Keep in mind that there are school holidays in April and between July and August. School holidays may impact hotel availability and the busyness of tours and attractions.

What are the Largest Cities in the UK by population?

London has the largest population in the UK and has over seven million people. Birmingham, Leeds, then Glasgow follow closely behind.

What city in the UK should I visit first?

It might seem obvious, but you should visit London first. London is an amazing city with lots to see and do, but it is also the most accessible city for those flying into the UK. You should find the cheapest flights and a higher likelihood of direct flight routes.

Those wanting to combine visiting Britain and Europe should also consider taking the train to or from France. The Eurostar takes less than two and a half hours to reach Paris from London – which doesn’t get much easier.

What is the most beautiful city in the UK?

The most beautiful city in the UK is Bath. The bath stone color, Georgian street style, and general architecture make Bath a beautiful place.

What are the most popular cities in the UK?

The most popular cities in the UK are London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Liverpool, and Manchester.

These are thriving cities with plenty of arts, transport links, and things to do. Most people visiting the UK for the first time choose one of these cities.

The United Kingdom has a lot of beautiful cities that you should add to your bucket list. From incredible history and architecture to famous landmarks and tasty food, all of these cities in the UK offer something different depending on what you are looking for. If you are planning a trip to the UK anytime soon then make sure to add a few of these cities to your itinerary.

Plan Your Next Trip to The UK With These Resources

  • Amazing Places to Visit in the UK
  • 10 Fun Facts About England That You Don’t Already Know
  • British Food: 23 Best UK Dishes to Try at Home or Abroad
  • What to Expect when Coasteering in Wales
  • North Coast 500 – The Ultimate Trip Guide to Scotland’s Epic Drive

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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The 27 Best Cities In The UK And Ireland To Visit With Kids

By: Author Lotte

Posted on Last updated: February 24, 2023

Categories Europe , Family Travel

Are you planning a vacation to the United Kingdom or Ireland with your family? Or wondering which Ireland or UK cities to visit with kids? You have come to the right place!

From busy London to quaint and quiet Kilkenny and from lively Galway to historic Bath and Oxford, there is a perfect child-friendly city break for every family.

27 best UK and Irish cities to visit with kids

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). We're very grateful when you use our links to make a purchase:-).

London Tower Bridge sunrise

Best cities in the UK and Ireland for families

Since becoming parents, we've taken our kids on several (city) trips. Traveling as a family , sharing travel adventures and learning about new cultures with your kids is a wonderful and enriching experience.

To provide you with lots of travel inspiration, I’ve asked family bloggers about their favorite kid-friendly cities in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The result is this list which includes 27 of the best places to visit in the UK and Ireland with kids, but it’s by no means exhaustive.

Nevertheless, I hope it will give you lots of ideas when planning your (next) family UK/Ireland trip!

Plan your trip like a pro with these tools: ✈️ Find the best flight deals on . ? Get the best car rental deal for your road trip on . ?️ Find your dream accommodation on or Agoda . ? Book the best tours via Get Your Guide , Viator or Klook . ? Plan your journey with the  Lonely Planet . ?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing .

Cities in the UK and Ireland with kids: map

You can find all the UK and Irish cities for families included in this post in the map and list below.

Click here for the interactive map

20 best UK cities with kids

  • Bangor, Northern Ireland
  • Bath, England
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Brighton and Hove, England
  • Bristol, England
  • Cardiff, Wales
  • Chester, England
  • Derry, North Ireland
  • Durham, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Fort William, Scotland
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Inverness, Scotland
  • Leeds, England
  • Liverpool, England
  • London, England
  • Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • Oxford, England
  • Salisbury, England
  • York, England


7 best cities in Ireland with kids

  • Cork, Ireland
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Galway, Ireland
  • Killarney, Ireland
  • Kilkenny, Ireland
  • Limerick, Ireland
  • Waterford, Ireland

Family-friendly cities in the UK and Ireland

1. bangor, northern ireland.

Allan from It's Sometimes Sunny in Bangor : Bangor is one of the UK's newest cities being awarded city status (2022) at the Queen’s Jubilee. It is also an up-and-coming tourist destination with a lot of investment and development in the years ahead.

Bangor has always been a popular seaside destination in Northern Ireland with many coastal attractions and plenty to offer families and kids.

One of the main tourist attractions in Bangor is Pickie Funpark, found next to the main marina and seafront.

Here you'll find lots of fun activities for kids of all ages, such as Pedalo Swans, Disco Ducks, Mini Golf, and playgrounds. Pickie also marks the start of a scenic walk along the North Down Coastal Path which is perfect active families who love the outdoors. 

Bangor is relatively small and can be easily navigated on foot, with more highlights to explore in the more central areas, including two large parks which are always popular with kids.

Castle Park is where Bangor Castle and the Museum are located. Ward Park is a typical British park with duck ponds, aviaries, playgrounds, and lots of activities and events during the summer months. 

Click here for the best family hotels in Bangor

2. Bath, England

Ann from The Road Is Life: visiting the historic city of Bath (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) makes an excellent day trip from London for the whole family.

While the adults can soak up the city's fascinating history, there are plenty of activities on offer to keep the kids busy as well. 

The historic center of Bath is fairly compact which means that you can easily see the most popular attractions on foot.

Instead of walking, you could also take the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus which is a fun way for kids to see the sights. 

? Make the most of your time in Bath with a combined boat and walking tour . See the highlights of the city both on foot and on the water on a fully guided tour. Check availability .

The biggest draw to Bath is the Roman Baths museum where you'll get the chance to see some amazingly well-preserved Roman sites.

With costumed characters and audio guides for children, this is a fantastic way to begin your explorations around the city.

Take a stroll across the famous Pulteney Bridge, one of the only bridges in the world with shops lining both sides. There are some lovely little shops to browse and let the kids pick out a souvenir or two.

A visit to Bath isn't complete without stopping for lunch at the oldest building in town, Sally Lunn's tea house. This historic building dates back to the 15th century and is the home of the famous “Bath Bun”.

There is also a little museum below the teahouse showing what the original kitchen looked like.

Click here for the best family hotels in Bath

3. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast with kids

Faith from XYU and BEYOND : Belfast was named one of the coolest cities on earth by National Geographic.

Leaving its troubles far behind, Belfast is one of the best cities to visit in the UK with children.

Due to the popularity of the HBO series Game of Thrones and the Titanic Experience, more and more people are visiting Belfast.

An incredibly vibrant city, Belfast is easily one of the greatest places in the U.K. for families and children. It's a very walkable city with plenty to see and do.

St. George's Market is one of the oldest covered markets in Europe. This is where the city's residents hang out on weekends. Grab some amazing paella or French crepes, or simply enjoy a full Irish breakfast while the kids explore.

You can take in the city's history on a Black Taxi Tour and learn about the story of the conflict between two communities and see stunning artwork with a local guide.

Or hang out and enjoy the craic in the Cathedral District with its outstanding pubs and restaurants and brilliant street art.

Children are allowed in all pubs until 9 o'clock at night and can enjoy traditional music sessions.

Narnia - Belfast with kids

Wander around the University District and check out the Ulster Museum . There are loads of funky little shops, a gorgeous park, and plenty of time to just wander around.

Go for a pint at one of Belfast's oldest pubs the Crown across the road from The Europa , Europe's most bombed hotel.

Or head up the Black Mountain in the Divi's for spectacular views of the city, a brisk mountain walk, and a lovely cuppa at the Stone Tea House.

Click here for the best family hotels in Belfast

4. Brighton and Hove, England

Brighton with kids

Danni from Live in 10 Countries : a proper seaside holiday is one of those memories we all treasure with family – and that's exactly what the twin city of Brighton and Hove delivers!

Of all the UK's seaside resorts, this one in Sussex has a unique colorful culture and a host of attractions that will suit kids and adults.

Long stretches of the beach are the perfect place for dog walking, but even better, in summer you can BBQ on the beach or picnic on Hove Lawns, just behind the seafront.

All that and brightly colored beach huts, set between cafes serving delicious ice cream and sticks of rock will make your visit a day to remember.

Central Brighton will tempt kids with its Toy Museum , featuring an enormous electric model train and all the glitz and funfair rides of Brighton Pier.

Kids will love to ride up the Brighton i360 , a 138-meter-tall futuristic glass viewing pod. It's the perfect spot to admire panoramic views of Brighton and the South Coast. Book a skip-the-line-ticket .

Round off the perfect day with a stroll to the Royal Pavilion . As an iconic building, it's a must-see, but it's also home to a fun museum that's full of exhibits from the past and will suit families who like to uncover the past. Check ticket availability .

Click here for the best family hotels in Brighton and Hove

5. Bristol, England

Claire from Europe in Winter : the capital city of the West Country and arguably the UK’s coolest city, there’s plenty on offer for kids in Bristol. 

The main highlights of the city center are walkable, making it easy for active families to get around.

That being said, if your feet get tired, there are Hop-on Hop-off buses connecting different points of interest in the city. 

For a quintessentially Bristolian experience, climb on board the SS Great Britain, a historic ocean steam liner that always has activities for children.

Explore the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which has children’s trails to help kids understand the history in a fun or interactive way.

Afterward, take a stroll through the gorgeous Ashton Court, which is a huge country park and the ideal place for an outdoor picnic!

More contemporary attractions include We The Curious, which is Bristol’s science museum and is specifically catered for kids, Aerospace Bristol, or the Bristol Aquarium.

Or, head into Cabot Circus, the main shopping center, and enjoy a range of kid-friendly restaurants and an indoor crazy golf course. 

Many of Bristol’s main attractions are all-weather, which makes it one of the best places to visit in England in winter too! 

Click here for the best family hotels in Bristol

6. Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff Castle - visit Cardiff with kids

Cath from Passports and Adventures : another great city in the U.K. to visit with kids is Cardiff.

The Welsh capital has a lot to offer families, from museums to parks to a beautiful castle. The city center is very family-friendly with the main shopping streets fully pedestrianized.

The center also boasts a magnificent medieval castle with many different areas for kids to explore.

Kids will love to venture into the Norman Keep, the castle apartments, and the walls of the castle, which hold a secret. I won’t spoil it for you…

The city center also plays host to Bute Park, a beautiful park with an arboretum and playgrounds sitting behind Cardiff Castle itself.

Just across the road from the castle, you will also find the National Museum which often plays host to special exhibitions to accompany its permanent ones.

Slightly outside the center (located near Cardiff Bay), you can find Techniquest , one of the best things to do in Cardiff with kids. This interactive science center hosts special toddlers’ days on certain Fridays throughout the year.

Combined with the playgrounds and other family-friendly sights and activities, Cardiff is one of the best towns to visit with toddlers.

If you've got more time to spend in the area, also pay St. Fagan’s a visit. The Welsh National History Museum is a great family day out and chronicles Welsh life for over 1000 years.

Click here for the best family hotels in Cardiff

7. Chester, England

Paulina from UK Every Day: Chester is a beautiful city with many historic buildings. It's a fantastic place to visit for families and is located not far from the Welsh border.

Exploring Chester with kids is easy because the city is very walkable. That being said, you can also get tickets for the Hop-On-Hop-Off double-decker bus for effortless transportation as well as panoramic views of the city.

Grosvenor Park is a lovely spot to see squirrels or have fun in the park play area.

This park is close to many attractions, such as Chester Roman Amphitheatre or Queens Park Bridge. Enjoy an ice cream while sitting at the bank of the river Dee.

Or set sail on the River Dee to see a different side of the city of Chester. Cruises leave The Groves every hour, offering marvelous views of the city and countryside from the water. Get your tickets here .

One of the best attractions in Chester for kids is Chester Zoo, with species from all over the world. Kids will love the elephants and tigers as well as the playgrounds inspired by Madagascar or the Indonesian city of Manado.

With so many things to do in Chester, your kids will surely have a great day. Plus, outdoorsy families will enjoy going on a day trip from Chester to admire some of the  best waterfalls in Wales .

8. Cork, Ireland

Maria from Maptrekking: Cork is a wonderful Irish city with kids. It's not a big city, however, there is a lot of history in Cork that they can learn about.

And while there are much fun paid activities, there are also lots of free things to do in Cork in case you’re on a budget.

Visiting the Cork Public Museum is free and this museum has a lot of nice displays. Plus it’s located right next to Fitzgerald’s Park on the River Lee.

Fitzgerald’s Park is the nicest green space in the city and a great option if your kids want to play instead of visiting the museum.

Another short stop should be at Elizabeth Fort since it has a lot of historical significance, but also great views of the city.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop at the largest covered market in Ireland, the English Market.

And if you have any science lovers in your family, make sure to visit Blackrock Castle Observatory. This 16th-century castle is now an education center for all things science tech, and engineering.

The city center is on an island in the middle of the River Lee with many bridge connections, making traffic congest a lot. Walking or taking the bus or a taxi is the best way to get around Cork City.

Click here for the best family hotels in Cork

9. Derry, North Ireland


Faith from XYU and Beyond: Londonderry or  Derry  as many prefer is a walled city in Northern Ireland that is surrounded by the only ancient walls in Ireland to survive.

It's a great place to visit with kids as there is so much history here and it's a very easy walkable city. The Walls around the city were built in 1619 and you can walk around the city along them for 1.5 kilometers.

From the walls, you can see many of Derry’s famous areas such as Bogside where you will be able to check out the famous murals, the Bloody Sunday Memorial, and the Free Derry sign.

best city to visit with family uk

From the Tourist Centre by the River and the Peace Bridge, you can easily walk to the Guildhall, where you can see the incredible stained glass windows, and learn about the Plantation of Ulster.

The Guildhall is the place in 1995 where Bill Clinton the President of the USA spoke about the Peace Accord in Northern Ireland.

Enjoy superb views over the city while walking the city walls, posing by the ancient cannons, and in front of the Derry Girls mural.

Along the way, you can stop at some of Derry’s great museums such as The Tower Museum with permanent exhibitions that include The Story of Derry and An Armada Shipwreck.

Another great Museum to check out is the Museum of Free Derry which is about the people’s story of the struggle for civil rights, the descent into conflict, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday.

If you plan to visit multiple sights in Derry it's worth looking into the Derry Attractions Pass . You'll get access to 10 attractions in Derry for one great price. Click here to learn more .

Click here for the best family hotels in Derry

10. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin with kids

Eoin from Dolly's Quest : Dublin is one of the most visited cities in Europe and rightly so! This stunning little city has something for everyone.

From famous breweries and nightlife to one of Europe’s largest parks, Dublin can accommodate all interests.

Summer is peak season as visitors tend to avoid the rain as much as possible, but there is still plenty to see in winter.

? Discover the city of Dublin at your own pace with a ticket for the hop-on hop-off tour bus . With stops at Dublin’s major attractions, it is the ideal way to explore the city.

Some of the best attractions in Dublin include the Guinness storehouse, Collins barracks, and Phoenix Park.

Phoenix Park is especially popular with families and kids. Visitors can try to catch a glimpse of the president in Aras An Uachtarain, feed the wild deer who call the park home, or take a trip to Dublin Zoo.

For those interested in history, Dublin has more than enough to offer. You can visit the home of the authors James Joyce and Bram Stoker, and learn about Ireland's fight for Independence, or the largest Viking settlement outside Scandinavia.

And the places mentioned here are just a glimpse of what this astounding city has to offer all year round!

Click here for the best family hotels in Dublin

11. Durham, England

Sinead from York With Kids: Durham is often overlooked as a U.K. destination to visit with kids.

However, there are several attractions that kids will enjoy and, as Durham city center is compact and mostly pedestrianized, it is easy to visit the major attractions on foot on a day trip to Durham.  

Start your visit at an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Durham Cathedral. Kids will instantly recognize the cathedral’s cloisters as Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies.

Don’t miss the Chapter House which is featured in the movies as Professor McGonagall’s office. Durham Cathedral is also known for its unusual architecture and colorful stained-glass windows.

Older children can climb the 365 steps of the central tower for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Nearby the cathedral is the Durham Museum which charts the history of the city and the Palace Green library, a small archaeological museum.

A one-minute walk from the museum is Durham Castle. Visitors can pre-arrange tours of the 11th Century privately owned castle.

Kids will also enjoy wandering Durham’s cobbled streets or visiting the Victorian indoor market and ornately decorated Town Hall.

Alternatively, enjoy a quiet walk along the banks of the River Wear which runs through Durham city center. 

Click here for the best family hotels in Durham

12. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh with kids - photo by Happiness Travels Here

Kaylie from Happiness Travels Here : Edinburgh in Scotland is a fantastic city to visit with kids! Edinburgh has family-friendly attractions, a compact and walkable city center, child-friendly restaurants, and excellent public transport.

The city's top attraction is Edinburgh Castle.  Join an engaging English-language guided tour to discover its incredible 3,000-year history and the significant role it has played in shaping Scotland.

Book fast-track entry tickets for Edinburgh Castle here.

Don't forget to pick up the kid's quiz from the audio guide desk in the Castle and head off on a treasure hunt. This will take you past crown jewels, canons, dungeons, and grand halls.

Visit the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s most famous street. Here you’ll pass historic landmarks like St Giles Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament. You’ll also find plenty of street performers and bagpipers. 

The Royal Mile sits along the crest of a hill with narrow passageways called Close’s running off to the sides. These steep, historic alleys give interesting views and are fun to explore.

The National Museum of Scotland is also found in Edinburgh. This museum is free to visit and has multiple interactive exhibitions that are perfect for kids.

Download the free app or pick up a map in the lobby. Kids will love the Natural History, Explore, and Imagine exhibitions best. Plan to spend at least half a day visiting the museum!

Alternatively, visit Camera Obscura & World of Illusions where you can experience and take part in over 100 interactive exhibits.

The museum actually encourages a ‘touch everything' attitude, perfect when visiting with kids.

Take your kids to discover the regal splendor of Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse complex . Explore the State Apartments, see Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, the Throne Room, and more.

Got more time to spend? Rent a campervan and hit the road for an amazing Scotland family road trip! 

Click here for the best family hotels in Edinburgh

13. Fort William, Scotland

Fort William with kids

Priyanko from the Constant Traveller : Fort William, a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands, means different things to different people.

Mountain climbers revere Fort William as the base camp from where they try to summit Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the U.K.

Families that lead stressful lives come to live an idyllic life away from the big cities and enjoy the many things to do in Fort William .

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express

And then there are my brethren – fans of Harry Potter who book the Jacobite Express train as soon as it opens for reservations. Why? Because the Jacobite is the real Hogwarts Express!

In fact, the first thing I did after booking my tickets to the U.K. was reserve my seat on the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig, a port town in the Scottish Highlands.

For families looking for some history, there's the excellent West Highland Museum and the Jacobite Uprising to learn about, which most likely gave the now-iconic train its name.

The natural surroundings also encourage camping as well as walking at least part of the famed West Highland Way , an excellent way for families to bond together.

Enjoy a Jacobite train ride

Jacobite steam train aka the Hogwarts Express - visit Fort William with kids

But nothing beats the steam-billowing Jacobite train ride. When I finally took my seat, I was surprised to find the level of enthusiasm amongst fellow Potter fans, a large number of whom were traveling families who had made the journey here as part of a pilgrimage of sorts.

An entire group of Japanese tourists of all ages was dressed in Gryffindor costumes while an elderly couple who loved the Potter books held hands throughout the train ride.

The Japanese grandfather passed rare Japanese whiskey to show his appreciation for the train ride while his extended family ran around the train taking selfies. 

As for me, passing the Glenfinnan viaduct meant the culmination of a long-cherished dream to visit an actual Harry Potter filming location.

And what better place than the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands to do it in!

Click here for the best family hotels in Fort William

14. Galway, Ireland

Pamela from the Directionally Challenged Traveler: the wonderful city of Galway is like Dublin's younger sister situated on Ireland's western coast. This underrated city is a great city to visit with kids.

There is a variety of  things to do in Galway  for travelers of any age. Its personality can be found just by walking the streets.

Visit the Latin Quarter and Quayside for multicolored, local shops and restaurants and enjoy live music and street performers on each street corner.

The history of the city intertwines with the modern city. The Galway Cathedral, Lynch's castle, and the Spanish Arch are in the center of the city and offer insight into the history of the area.

Head down the Long Walk for a great view of the water and city. Colorful homes line the waterfront and in summer, ducks and swans swim around the shoreline.

Connemara National Park is a breathtaking nature break right near Galway, possibly one of the greatest National Parks Ireland has to offer.

Families can learn about native woodland and wildflower meadows on the children's discovery trail at Brigit's Garden right outside the city.

Galway's cobblestone streets, warm personality, and charming accommodations make it a great family destination!

If you've got an extra day to spend in Galway, I highly recommend joining this day tour to the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.

Experience the beauty and wonder of the Wild Atlantic Way as your driver and guide take you from Galway to the majestic Cliffs of Moher with plenty of stops along the way. Check availability here .

Click here for the best family hotels in Galway

15. Glasgow, Scotland

Street art in Glasgow - Photo by Kathi Kamleitner

Kathi from Watch Me See : Glasgow is an exciting destination for any kind of city traveler, but particularly for families with kids, there is a lot to do and see!

The city is small and very walkable – but whenever one of your (younger) children get tired, the hop on hop off bus is nearby and easier to navigate than public transport.

The city is incredibly budget-friendly, not only when it comes to accommodation, but also because there are so many free things to do.

Most of the museums in Glasgow are free to enter and museums like the Riverside Museum for Transport and the Kelvingrove Museum are particularly family-friendly.

Riverside Museum and Tall Ship - Photo by Kathi Kamleitner

Active families will love the number of parks in Glasgow, which is actually Gaelic for “Dear Green Place”.

Some of the best parks in Glasgow are Kelvingrove Park, the Botanic Garden, and Glasgow Green and they boast playgrounds, playing fields, skate parks, and plenty of open green spaces for playtime or picnics.

In addition, there is always a wide range of family-friendly events, whether it is kids' cinema at the GFT, the theater at the Scottish Youth Theater or Tramway, or special workshops and classes at institutions around the city.

There is never a shortage of things to do in Glasgow with kids!

Click here for the best family hotels in Glasgow

16. Inverness, Scotland

Alex from Just Go Exploring: the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness has many family-friendly activities both in the city and its tranquil surroundings.  

Start by taking a walk along the banks of the River Ness. Along the way, you'll have excellent views of the beautiful Inverness Castle.

About 20 minutes walk south from the center of town are the Ness Islands, a series of little wooded islands connected by bridges. 

This is a great place for wildlife spotting, and there are many ( stroller-accessible ) trails that your kids will love exploring.

The Eden Court Theatre puts on child-friendly shows throughout the year, and the grounds of Inverness Castle make a great place for a family picnic.

The best way to get around the city is on foot. Inverness is a fairly small place and most destinations are easily walkable.

? Consider joining this walking tour with a knowledgeable, local guide to learn more about the beautiful city of Inverness.

For those wanting to see some of the stunning scenery of the Highlands, Inverness’ location in northern Scotland also makes it a perfect base for outdoor activities.  

Some excellent places to visit nearby include the picturesque Black Isle and Rogie Falls – one of the best places in the UK to see leaping salmon (especially during the autumn months).

To give your kids a taste of real adventure, consider taking them for a night of wild camping , which is permitted in most parts of Scotland. 

Some of the best camping spots near Inverness include the shores of Loch Ness (keep an eye out for the legendary Nessie!) and the northern edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

Click here for the best family hotels in Inverness

17. Killarney, Ireland

Janelle from Make The Trip Matter: Killarney is the perfect town to stay in with kids to explore the stunning nature of southern Ireland.

The town itself has adorable shops and restaurants (such as Garret’s or Porterhouse) that are nice to walk through, or you can visit St. Mary’s Cathedral. 

The most popular thing to do  in Killarney is the Ring of Kerry , a coastal driving route that starts in town and runs through some of the most popular natural attractions in the area.

If you don't have your own wheels , you can book this Ring of Kerry day trip from Killarney . Your kids will love exploring the forest, admiring the Torc Waterfall, and gazing over Dingle Bay looking for seals.

Other must-see sights within the Killarney portion of the Ring of Kerry are the Muckross House (which has a garden, abbey, and traditional farm onsite), Killarney National Park, and the 15th-century Ross Castle.

If you want to go a bit further to the other side of the lake, kids especially love taking a pony and carriage ride through the gorgeous Gap of Dunloe . 

Or book a cruise on Killarney’s largest lake , Lough Léin, and drift through the islands with a backdrop of the beauty and splendor of the Killarney region.

It’s possible to get around the town of Killarney, the closer parts of the National Park, and Ross Castle (about 35 minutes) on foot.

However, to get to the rest of the attractions you will likely want to take a short taxi ride or rent a car . 

Click here for the best family hotels in Killarney

18. Kilkenny, Ireland

Isabelle from Cultured Voyages : not only is the city of Kilkenny a great city in Ireland to visit with kids, but it should also form part of any Ireland travel itinerary .

This medieval city is linked to Dublin by train, making getting there straightforward and its center is compact and highly walkable, making it easy to get around with children in tow.

Kilkenny is particularly unique to Ireland because the majority of its older buildings date back to medieval times.

It holds a distinctly medieval character and appearance that isn’t so common around the rest of the island. 

Enchanting for both children and adults alike is its warren of central streets and lanes that are fun to explore.

Look out for the street art from Cartoon Saloon, which is a Kilkenny-based cartoon creator that has been nominated no fewer than five times at the Academy Awards.

Kilkenny’s most famed attraction is its castle, which sits imposingly alongside the River Nore. A visit inside the castle will take less than an hour, so older children will enjoy a visit to take in the impressive interiors of the castle.

Castle Park is a real boon, however, with massive green space, walking trails, and a great playground for children. 

Just outside of Kilkenny, is Castlecomer Discovery Park. Set in 80 acres of woodland this activity center will keep even the most active of children entertained, offering activities like tree-top walks, Ireland’s longest zipline, paddle boats, and an Elf Village.

Click here for the best family hotels in Kilkenny

19. Leeds, England


Coralie from Grey Globetrotters: Leeds  in West Yorkshire is a brilliant city to explore with kids.

It’s well connected to the rest of the UK by road and rail and small enough to explore on foot. Leeds also has a great bus service when little legs get tired.

Exploring some of the city’s museums is one of the best things to do in Leeds with kids.

The national collection of arms and armor at the   Royal Armouries is always a popular destination for families, as is the gory Thackray Medical Museum with its depictions of Victorian medicine and surgery.

Families also enjoy following the Leeds Owl Trail around the city, spotting places where the owl – the symbol of the city – has been used.

Roundhay Park is the largest urban park in Europe, perfect for letting off steam, while the ruins of medieval Kirkstall Abbey never fail to inspire kids to explore.

Don’t miss visiting Abbey House Museum, where the kids can explore a real Victorian street, and peep into Victorian homes, an inn, shops, and the undertakers!

At Thwaite Mills, kids can see one of the last water-powered mills in Britain and learn what life was like for mill workers.

Alternatively, take a trip on the Middleton Railway which is the oldest working railway in the world.

Click here for the best family hotels in Leeds

20. Limerick, Ireland

Cristine from Ireland Travel Guides : Limerick City is one of the largest and most populous cities in Ireland.

Limerick is also considered one of the most beautiful Irish cities with plenty of things to do for both grown-ups and kids!

The 13th-century King John’s Castle tells centuries of history through state-of-the-art technology that connects visitors to the tales of medieval Ireland.

There are also several museums in Limerick that hold various artifacts such as Limerick City Museum, Frank McCourt Museum, and the Maritime Museum (a place kids can both enjoy and learn from at the same time)!

Limerick has several parks and gardens, such as People’s Park and Terra Nova Fairy Garden (just a bit outside of the city), where a traveling family can relax, play or just enjoy nature.

Charming villages and districts punctuated with stone buildings, medieval designs, and Georgian architecture dominate the city as well. 

From medieval castles, museums, and parks to activity centers, there are enough things to see and do for everyone!

This makes Limerick City one of the best places to visit with kids in Ireland.

Click here for the best family hotels in Limerick

21. Liverpool, England


Rachel from Average Lives: Liverpool is a great place to visit with kids. It's home to a vibrant music scene, inspiring architecture, and world-class museums and is synonymous with music, football, and the arts.

Scousers are friendly and fun, and the city is bustling with attractions. Luckily, the center of Liverpool is compact, and you can reach most places on foot, which means it is easy to get around. 

Alternatively, avoid tired feet and book hop-on hop-off bus tickets . Learn about all the major sights and historic landmarks from a knowledgeable tour guide.

There are wonderful  free things to do in Liverpool , which are great if you travel with kids as entrance fees add up quickly.

Many of these free sights are centralized at the Albert Docks, which means you can walk around the water, see the Beatles statues and venture into the fabulous museums.

Undeniably, Liverpool's interactive museums are world-class and provide exhibitions, which you and your kids will love.

Visit the Maritime Museum, where through a fascinating exhibition, you can learn more about the city's connections to the slave trade and the history of slavery.

Liverpool's rich history is fascinating and is displayed beautifully at the Museum of Liverpool.

It houses over 6000 objects and offers excellent displays that allow you to learn more about Liverpool's past and current issues by getting all the family involved from football to a karaoke machine. It's a lot of fun!

Click here for the best family hotels in Liverpool

22. London, England

London with kids

Emily from Kids and Compass : when listing the top places to visit in the UK with kids, there is one city that can't be omitted… London is perhaps the greatest city in the world.

Ride the London Eye ( book fast-track tickets here and avoid waiting in the long queue) and admire Big Ben.

Or go for a stroll in the Kensington Gardens and visit Kensington Palace to learn the surprising stories of many of its inhabitants over the centuries, from Queen Victoria to Diana, Princess of Wales.

London is full of history, culture, and arts. You could spend months here and still feel as though there’s plenty left to do. 

London has also got a huge amount of things to do with kids, especially fun but educational attractions. 

There are world-class museums that are entirely free (except for special exhibitions) like the Natural History Museum and the British Museum. 

Older kids will enjoy learning about over 1000 years of history at the Tower of London as well as admiring the famous Crown Jewels. Get Tower of London tickets here .

Also be sure to attend the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, definitely something that will impress them. Check the schedule here .

Not everything has to be about history or culture though, as London’s parks are second to none.

Besides the aforementioned Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and St James’ Park are central London standouts, while Kew Gardens is one of the best gardens in the world (though a little further afield).

London is great for shopping too. Little ones will go crazy for Hamley's toy shop, while older teens will love the buzz on busy Oxford Street.

In the evening, if you’ve got the energy that is, London’s theatre scene also has several shows suitable for kids of all ages, including The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin, and many more. 

Also, consider spending Christmas in London, your kids will love the festive lights, lavishly decorated Christmas trees, and beautifully designed Christmas displays in Harrods and Hamleys.

There are also plenty of great places to eat and young foodies will love one of these London food tours (except for the Twilight one, that's more of a grownups activity;).

Whatever you decide to get up to in London, one visit definitely won’t be enough!

Click here for the best family hotels in London

23. Newcastle upon Tyne, England


Moumita & Sankha from Chasing the Long Road : Newcastle is situated on the bank of River Tyne in North East England.

The city is famous for its gorgeous bridges, colorful past, football, stunning architecture, and museums.

There are plenty of wonderful family-friendly  things to do in Newcastle upon Tyne  for an enjoyable holiday with kids.

Take a tour of the historic Newcastle Castle , after which the city is named. You can explore the castle’s narrow passageways, chambers, dungeons, and prison cells.

There are quite a few free museums around Newcastle. You can see an impressive display of historical objects from Hadrian’s Wall at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

The nearby Discovery Museum is filled with fun and interactive displays about local history and science. 

Also, kids will enjoy a visit to the Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, a beautifully preserved open-air museum to make the visitors take a glimpse at how life was in Northeast England in the era of the industrial revolution.

Once here, hop on the vintage tram and explore the different sections. It’s fun, interactive, and educational, making it suitable for young kids and adults alike.

Newcastle has an extensive network of public transport. Most of the attractions are close enough to explore on foot.

Click here for the best family hotels in Newcastle upon Tyne

24. Oxford, England


Alice from Adventures of Alice: Oxford is a great city  and there are lots of things to do there that’ll be fun for both you and the kids.

It’s full of history and architecture for you to enjoy and also some lovely parks where you can sit down with the kids and have a picnic.

One thing that you can do is visit Oxford Castle , which was built by William the Conqueror and has been used as a fortress, prison, courthouse, royal residence, and college. 

If you or your children love Harry Potter, consider booking this Christ Church Harry Potter film locations tour . You'll get to see the famous Great Hall, and also one of the staircases in Harry Potter.

Being a major UK city and one connected to the famous university, it is quite easy to get around.

The bus times are quite good and they also offer a good all-day park and ride service which is great if you’re driving into oxford as otherwise, parking can get quite expensive.

Click here for the best family hotels in Oxford

25. Salisbury, England


Sarah from Slow Travel : Salisbury is a popular city for families visiting the UK.

Ideally placed just a short distance from London, the south coast, the New Forest, and the Cotswolds, it is the ideal place to base yourself if you want to fit as much into your family holiday as you can.

This ancient medieval city with its traditional buildings and the soaring spire of Salisbury Cathedral.

With several museums, Salisbury it's a beautiful place to explore. there are also lots of green parks which offer activities from paddling in the river to ziplines.

In case of inclement weather, Salisbury has indoor play centers, a trampoline park, LaserA, bowling, and a medieval cinema, which is always a unique experience.

Stonehenge and the surrounding UNESCO landscape are close by, as are the ruins of Old Sarum which kids love to play in, rolling down the ramparts and clambering over the stone walls.

Wilton House has a large outdoor adventure play park set in immaculate grounds, and ten miles away is Paultons Park, a huge theme park that has the famous Peppa Pig World for toddlers as well as plenty of thrilling rides for teenagers.

Marwell Zoo is a few miles away, as is the New Forest Water Park with lakes covered in inflatables to play upon.

For those looking for quieter pursuits, the county is filled with luscious green countryside for walks, cycling, horse riding, and exploration.

The whole area is well served by buses and trains making it the ideal place for a family holiday without a car.

Click here for the best family hotels in Salisbury

26. Waterford, Ireland

Cath from Travel Around Ireland: one of the best cities to visit with kids in Ireland is Waterford.

Located in the southeast of Ireland, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, established over 50 years by the Vikings before Dublin. And its Viking heritage is visible in the aptly named Viking Triangle.

Take the kids into Reginald’s Tower and see Viking artifacts. Don’t forget to see if you can spot the canon hole in the outside wall. For older kids, there is a walking tour of the Viking Triangle near Reginald’s Tower.

There are several museums to visit in Waterford and a great little tourist train that will give you a tour of the city, great for train fans.

Just a short drive from the city center is Waterford Castle Resort . This 4-star hotel and golf resort is located on a private island and can be visited using the car ferry.

Once there you can enjoy walks on the grounds, watching out for the herds of deer. You can even pop into the castle or golf clubhouse for lunch.

Waterford City is one of the  best places to visit in County Waterford  and there is plenty on offer for families with kids, young or old.

Click here for the best family hotels in Waterford

27. York, England

York with kids

Leona from Wandermust Family : one of the best places to visit in the UK with family is York!

Easy to get to either by car or train from most major UK cities and close to Leeds international airport, York is very accessible wherever you are coming from!

There are tons of family-friendly things to do in York whatever the weather, such as the fabulous National Railway Museum , river cruises, and the yummy Chocolate Story Museum.

For older children, you can learn about some of York’s more gruesome history on a ghost-walking tour or a trip to York Dungeons! 

It is also a great place to visit for the budget-conscious family! A trip to York doesn’t have to be expensive for families.

There are plenty of free activities, such as walking the historic city walls, visiting the national railway museum, or taking a trip to the Shambles!

On top of that York is full of historical gems that no visit to the city is complete without.

First, be sure to visit the York Minster and marvel at the stained glass. With older children, climb the tower for unrivaled views across the city!

Clifford Tower is another gem that explores some of York’s more unpleasant history! And, at any time of year, children will love the Museum Gardens!

My little one especially loves a visit to York during Christmas to see the beautiful illuminations!

Click here for the best family hotels in York

Cities to visit in Ireland and the UK with kids: in conclusion

I hope this list has given you lots of ideas about which city in the UK or Ireland to visit next with your family.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have by leaving a comment below. Happy travels!

This post was updated in December 2022.

Looking for more family travel inspiration? Read which kid-friendly cities to visit in Scandinavia and Europe .

Sunday 21st of April 2019

The pictures are very beautiful. I am getting inspired to plan a trip just from looking at the pictures.

Monday 22nd of April 2019

Thank you Anna! I hope to visit every single city on this list:-) So far only London, Dublin and Edinburgh...

The 16 best places to visit in England: from untouched landscapes to culture-packed cities

James March

Jul 13, 2023 • 11 min read

A young couple enjoying each others company outdoors in London

You could spend a lifetime exploring London's culture, architecture and history © AzmanJaka / Getty Images

With a story that stretches back more than 5000 years (and likely long before), the past is a constant presence in England . If you want to explore urban historic centers, admire mysterious monoliths, walk through scenic landscapes and enjoy rugged  coastlines  and national parks , then be inspired by these 16 highlights of a trip to England.

When it comes to  getting around , train and long-distance bus services connect most major destinations. You may need local buses, taxi services, organized tours or your own wheels to get to the smaller places.

The Circus townhouses in the city of Bath.

Best for Georgian architecture

In a nation packed with pretty cities, Bath still stands out as the belle of the ball. Founded by the Romans, who established the spa resort of Aquae Sulis to take advantage of the area's hot springs , Bath hit its stride in the 18th century when the rich industrialist Ralph Allen and architects John Wood the Elder and John Wood the Younger oversaw the city's reinvention as a model of Georgian architecture . Awash with golden stone townhouses, sweeping crescents and Palladian mansions, along with appealing pubs and restaurants, Bath demands your undivided attention. 

2. Hadrian's Wall

Best for a long-distance walk in England

Hadrian's Wall is one of the country's most dramatic Roman ruins, its 2000-year-old procession of abandoned forts, garrisons, towers and milecastles marching across the wild and lonely landscape of northern England. This wall was about defense and control, but this edge-of-empire barrier also symbolized the boundary of civilized order – to the north lay the unruly land of the marauding Celts, while to the south was the Roman world of orderly tax-paying, underfloor heating and bathrooms. Near Newcastle  you can visit Segedunum , the wall's last stronghold, for an insight into life during Roman times.

Planning tip:  Hiking the full 84-mile distance coast to coast along the national trail takes around a week, but if you have less time and your own car, you may want to select from a few of the wall's  highlights .

People having fun at Brighton Gay Pride Parade, England. The annual Pride Community Parade is the biggest celebration of the LGBT community at  Brighton, UK.

3. Brighton

Best LGBTQIA+ scene in England

It's barely an hour's train ride from the capital, but the seaside city of Brighton has a quirky character that's completely its own. Overlooking the English Channel on England's pebbly south coast, it's a city that's long been known for its oddball, alternative character. The warren of streets known as the Lanes is a good place to soak up the vibe; sprinkled with vegan cafes, espresso bars, chaotic pubs, record stores and bric-a-brac shops, it's a browser's dream come true – especially at local institution Snooper’s Paradise . You'll also find the UK's biggest queer scene here, and the region's best small clubs. The highlight for the sightseeing visitor is the Royal Pavilion , a 19th-century party palace built by the Prince Regent, who kicked off Brighton’s love of the outlandish.

School children get out of their seats to dance during the finale of a performance of the traditional pantomime "Sleeping Beauty" at the Hackney Empire on December 13, 2016 in Hackney, England.

Best for art, museums and culture

Waist-deep in history, London 's rich seams of eye-opening antiquity appear at every turn. The city's architecture pens a beguiling biography, and a multitude of buildings – the Tower of London , Westminster Abbey , Big Ben – are instantly recognizable landmarks. It's also a tireless innovator of art and culture, a city of ideas and imagination. Visit world-class museums such as the British Museum , Natural History Museum  and the Science Museum , and be dazzled at art galleries, including Tate Modern , Tate Britain , the National Gallery  and the recently reopened National Portrait Gallery , all of which are free to visit. However you budget your time and money in London, make sure you take in a show.

Local tip:  Big names perform in  the West End (London’s equivalent of Broadway), and on the South Bank at the National Theatre  and  the Old Vic  while smaller theatres from the Almeida to the Lyric Hammersmith are places to discover up-an-coming talent.

5. Stonehenge

Best for ancient history

Mysterious and compelling, Stonehenge is England's most iconic ancient site . People have been drawn to this myth-laden ring of boulders for more than 5000 years, and we still don't know quite why it was built. An ultramodern makeover at ancient Stonehenge has brought an impressive visitor center and the closure of an intrusive road (now restored to grassland). The result is a strong sense of historical context, with dignity and mystery returned to an archaeological gem. Most visitors gaze at the approximately 25-ton stones from behind the perimeter fence, but with enough planning, you can arrange an early-morning or evening tour and gain access to the inner ring itself. In the slanting sunlight, away from the crowds, it's an ethereal place. This is an experience that stays with you.

Female with red jacket exploring trekking in mountain National Park

6. The Peak District

Best for outdoors enthusiasts

Curiously, you won't find many peaks in the Peak District . But you will find blissful miles of tumbling moorland, plunging valleys, eroded gritstone crags, lush farmland and ancient pocket-sized villages. This beautiful landscape attracts a veritable army of outdoor enthusiasts – cyclists, hikers, cavers and rock climbers – on summer weekends, while those seeking more relaxing enjoyment can admire the rural market and famous puddings of Bakewell, the Victorian pavilions of spa-town Buxton, and the architectural drama of Chatsworth House – the “Palace of the Peak.”

7. The Cotswolds

Best place for quaint villages

The Cotswolds , a tangle of impossibly-quaint villages of rose-clad cottages and honey-colored stone, is a region spreading over six English counties. It's a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the most wonderful thing about it is that no matter where you go or how lost you get, you'll still end up in a spot with a charming village green, a pub with sloping floors and fine ales, and a view of the lush green hills. Crisscrossed by long-distance trails including the 102-mile Cotswold Way, these gentle yet dramatic hills are perfect for walking, cycling and horse-riding.

Local tip: It's easy to leave the crowds behind and find your very own slice of medieval England here – and some of the best boutique hotels in the country.

Best for riverside pubs and student life

And while in the Cotswolds, try to visit nearby  Oxford . This is as close as most of us will get to the brilliant minds and august institutions that have made this city famous across the globe. You'll catch a glimpse of this rarefied world in the cobbled lanes and ancient quads where cycling students and dusty academics roam. The beautiful college buildings, archaic traditions and stunning architecture have changed little over the centuries, coexisting with a lively, modern, working city. As befits a city of students and professors, Oxford is one of the last bastions of the great British pub, with irresistible old pubs dotted down its central lanes and alleyways. 

A quaint stone bridge over a waterway linking two buildings. A narrow boat with a pilot standing at the back of it passes nearby

9. Cambridge

Best place for a college touring

Highlights of England’s other great historic university city, Cambridge , include a tour of at least one of the ancient colleges , and time spent marveling at the intricate vaulting of King's College Chapel . But no trip to Cambridge is complete without an attempt to take a punt (flat-bottomed boat) along the River Cam by the picturesque Backs – the leafy, green lawns behind the city's finest colleges, offering the best views of the exquisite architecture. Polish off the day with a pint in one of Cambridge's many rustic pubs. 

10. Liverpool

Best place for industrial history

It's hard not to be infected by a Liverpudlian's love for their own city. For decades this was a hardscrabble town beset by all manner of social ills, but still the love endured, finding its expression in a renowned gallows humor and an obsession with football. With some of the most passionate crowds in the country, taking in a game at either Liverpool FC or Everton FC is a rite of passage here. The waterfront is once again the heart of Liverpool . The focal point is Albert Dock, an iconic docklands flanked by protected buildings, including a batch of top museums. The Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum ensure the good and bad sides of Liverpool's history are not forgotten, while the Tate Liverpool and the Beatles Story museum celebrate popular culture and the city's most famous musical sons (still).

People walking the city walls in York, with a view towards the Gothic Minster

Best for the highlights of English history

With its Roman and Viking heritage, ancient city walls and maze of cobbled streets, York is a living showcase for the highlights of English history. A magnificent circuit of 13th-century walls encloses a medieval spider's web of snickelways (narrow alleys), each one the focus of a ghost story or historical character. At the city's heart lies the immense, awe-inspiring York Minster , the biggest medieval cathedral in all of northern Europe, and one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. Admire the exhibits from more recent times at the National Railway Museum , the world's largest collection of historic locomotives. York's long history and rich heritage is woven into virtually every brick and beam, and the modern, tourist-oriented city – with its myriad museums, restaurants, cafes and traditional pubs – is a carefully-maintained heir to that heritage.

Local tip: Enjoy some of the finest views of York from the old city walls, particularly the bucolic section behind the Minster. 

12. The Lake District

Best place for literature lovers

William Wordsworth and his romantic friends were the first to champion the charms of the Lake District and it's not hard to see what stirred them. Already the UK's most popular national park, the Lake District also became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2017, recognizing its long history of hill-farming – but for most people it's the chance to hike the humpbacked fells and drink in the gorgeous scenery that keeps them returning year after year. It's awash with outdoor opportunities, from lake cruises to mountain walks, but many people visit for the region's literary connections. Among the many writers who found inspiration here in addition to William Wordsworth were Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Arthur Ransome and, of course, Beatrix Potter, a lifelong-lover of the Lakes.

 A replica of Captain Cook's ship The Endeavour used as a tourist attraction in Whitby

Best place for haunting

Wonderful, a little weird and occasionally weather-beaten, the classic northern seaside town of Whitby has haunted lanes, fossil-hunting and arguably England's finest fish and chips. The huddle of 18th-century fisher's cottages along the East Cliff are testament to its longtime role as a busy commercial and fishing port – it was here that 18th-century explorer Captain James Cook earned his sea legs. The genteel Victorian suburb atop the West Cliff are a clue to Whitby's place as a traditional seaside resort complete with sandy beach, amusement arcades and promenading holidaymakers. Keeping a watchful eye over the town and the River Esk that divides it is an atmospheric ruined abbey , the inspiration and setting for part of Bram Stoker's Gothic horror story Dracula . But tales of witchery and ghostly legends have haunted Whitby ever since Anglo-Saxon St Hilda landed here to found a monastic community in 657 CE.

Planning tip: The town embraces its pseudo-sinister reputation, which culminates in two hugely successful Goth Weekends each year.

14. The Eden Project

Best for learning about the environmentalism 

Looking like a cross between a lunar landing station and a James Bond villain's lair, the gigantic hemispherical greenhouses of the Eden Project  have become a symbol of Cornwall 's renaissance. Built in an abandoned clay pit near St Austell to mark the start of the new millennium, and now considered one of Britain's modern architectural wonders, the Eden Project aims to explore issues of environment and conservation, and point the way to a cleaner, greener future for us all. Exhibits cover everything from global warming to rubber production and chocolate-making. The glass-domed "biomes" recreate major world climate systems in microcosm, from the lush jungles of the Amazon rainforest (complete with treetop walkway winding through the canopy) to the olive trees, citrus groves and colorful flowers of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. It's incredibly impressive as well as educational and inspiring

15. The Seven Sisters 

Best for easily accessible views

Dover 's iconic white cliffs grab the most attention, but the colossal chalky walls of the Seven Sisters are a much more spectacular affair. This four-mile roller-coaster of sheer white rock rollicks along the Sussex shore overlooking the waters of the English Channel, an impressive southern border to the South Downs National Park and most dramatic at the towering headland of Beachy Head . Hikes through the grassy clifftop fields provide wide sea views, breathtaking in every sense.

Local tip:  Stop for a breather at the tiny seaside hamlet of Birling Gap where the secluded beach is a sun-trap popular with locals and walkers.

Narrow boat in on the Avon River at Stratford-upon-Avon during sunset

16. Stratford-upon-Avon

Best to see a Shakespeare show

The pretty town of Stratford-upon-Avon is where William Shakespeare was born and later shuffled off this mortal coil. Today it's tight knot of Tudor streets form a living map of Shakespeare’s life. Huge crowds of thespians and theater-lovers come to take in a play at the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre . Visit the five historic houses owned by Shakespeare and his relatives, and the schoolroom where he was educated, then take a respectful detour to the old stone church where the Bard was laid to rest.

Destination expert James March reviewed and updated this text for accuracy and relevance. Some content has been adapted from Lonely Planet's print edition.

This article was first published April 2021 and updated July 2023

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Wander Mum

5 UK Cities To Visit With Kids

As I have written about before, city breaks are very doable with kids and are a great experience for the whole family; whether it be learning a bit of history, shopping, visiting attractions or eating out. But, if you thought you had to fly abroad to discover the perfect city break, you would be wrong. There are plenty of options of cities to visit with kids right here in the UK. Here are five of the best UK cities to visit with children.

Salford Quays, Manchester

If you’re looking for the perfect city to cater for the whole family, Manchester is an great choice. With the Arndale and Trafford Centre shopping centres offering a large range of stores to suit all ages, you can shop until your hearted content. There are plenty of things to keep kids entertained in the city centre with arcades galore and museums such as the interactive Museum of Science and Industry and The Lowry located at the rejuvenated Salford Quays. Football fans can get their fix at not one but two great stadiums, Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester United and Manchester City. If it’s a sunny day, make sure you visit to one of the area’s great parks, which often host fun fairs during the summer.

The city of Birmingham has a range of activities for families. Top of the list is surely Bournville and a trip to Cadbury World. I know this would be a hit with my daughter and there are plenty of extra family activities planned for the summer so lots going on to amuse the whole family. Birmingham also has fantastic shopping options at the Bull Ring and you can sample some of the area’s eclectic mix of cuisines or even visit its cathedral. For those wanting a culture fix, there is Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery while the Barclaycard arena hosts many concerts and sports events throughout the year. There’s no need to cut it short after just one day either, with IHG offering great Birmingham hotels, you can stay overnight and explore the city a little longer.

Buckingham Palace, London

As our nearest city, we visit London fairly frequently. For some, visiting the UK capital with children might seem like a stressful experience but all it takes is a well planned itinerary. There is so much to do for all the family, it is wise to pick just a few sights and activities to do over a day or weekend. Riding on an open-top bus tour, which we have done before , is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city. Kids will love seeing Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London and you can take a ride on the London Eye to see some fabulous views. Don’t forget to visit Madame Tussaud’s and Sea World, both full of family-friendly fun.

The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is full of history and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding family-friendly activities. A visit to the famous Edinburgh castle is a must-see. Parts of the castle date back to the 12th Century and it has seen much activity through its long years.

Edinburgh Castle

Then there is the interactive museum, Our Dynamic Earth, which celebrates the beauty of the earth through innovative technology and there is the option to take a trip to Edinburgh zoo where you can see its famous penguins and giant pandas.

Last but not least, how about the coastal city of Brighton? Its famous pier provides a wealth of activities including a fairground and arcade games for a truly British seaside experience while its sandy beaches provide a fun-filled day out (fingers crossed for good weather). The Royal Pavillion also needs to be seen. The striking, exotic palace channels Indian and Chinese influences and was built as a seaside home for King George IV.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Those are some of my best UK cities to visit with kids. Which other UK cities make your list of places to go?

If you decide to head to London, take a look at my London Life section for ideas on London days out as well as reviews of museums and attractions and children’s theatre shows.

*Collaborative post * Pictures courtesy of Pixabay

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I've always loved to travel so when my two daughters came along, I didn't stop. Travelling as a family can have its ups and downs but I love showing my children the world and helping others navigate travelling with children in tow.

City Tripping #34

City tripping #35.

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I know! Cadbury World sounds amazing…I need to go.

You’re welcome! I’d really like to do more UK city travel with the little ones. Each city has so many different qualities.

You missed out Newcastle!! Brilliant city and not far from the coast either xx

Oooh, you are right Laura, it’s a great city!

Thanks Lisa, you know, I have never been to Gloucester. Can you believe it? Clearly a trip there is in order!

You are right, we are. I need to do a UK road trip!

York is a family favourite in our house! #citytripping

Oooh yes, York is fab.

Yes, it’s a great city

Haha – you should look forward to it. Travel with children can be so rewarding (but tough at times).

They are packed full of activities! Brighton is definitely worth a visit.

I need to go back to Brighton too!

Great choices! We love London (and are spoilt living so close) but recently discovered the wonder of Edinburgh too

Thanks. Edinburgh is very cool (and a lot smaller than London).

Nice to see Edinburgh on the list. It is a great city for families, so walkable and so many fun things to see & do. You should check out the penguin parade at the zoo, it is really cute!

Oh yes, I heard about that! Need to revisit sometime.

Haha – yes, great way to spin it for the little ones…where Aladdin/Princess Jasmine lives. I need to go back to Brighton.

There are so many great places to visit in the UK…like the sound of your road trip.

Thanks Catherine

Hope you get to go soon! Would be great for you to see where your ancestors came from. Some of mine are from there too.

Hey Gin, yes Leeds is a great place to go with kids!

Yes, definitely come to London first!

Oh wow! Great tip – I didn’t know you could do that at the BBC there!

Thanks Brooke, sounds like you have done loads of UK exploring. I haven’t been to Edinburgh in a while so need to go back.

Yay, you should come over to the UK! Haha – I always go crazy shopping in Singapore! Love the clothes and shoes!

It’s a wonderful city!

It’s such a great city. Glad you had a great time!

I think a trip to Scotland is in order for us too!

Hard to narrow down to five – I’d have to add in Liverpool too. Lots of good museums and Beatles history. That said, London is definitely my favourite; we’re lucky to live relatively close by too. . #citytripping

Yes, really lucky to live so near to London. I need to explore more of Liverpool!

Yay! That’s exciting! Let me know if you’re coming to London x

London is such a special city but definitely get to Brighton someday!

Must be awesome to live in Brighton, quite jealous you are next to the beach and so close to London too! I definitely need to explore some more of the Uk’s cities especially as I have done so many abroad!

Yes Vlad, you do. I think you’d really like it!

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Four UK cities are officially the best in the world right now, according to Time Out

We asked thousands of locals about their city’s food, culture and levels of happiness

Amy Houghton

The time has come. We at Time Out have just revealed our list of the best cities on the planet for 2024  – and, excitingly, four British cities make the cut. 

This year’s ranking is the result of surveys quizzing  thousands of city-dwellers across the world about stuff like the quality of their city’s food, culture and nightlife, as well as  how their home makes them feel. Are they happy there? Is it a beautiful place? Is it easy to make social connections? 

We also polled over 100 of our own writers and editors on which places excite them the most right now. After all that, we got a list of 50 cities, and four of them happen to be right here in the UK . 

No surprises, London ranked highly at number four . A whopping 94 percent of Londoners said they’re happy there and 95 percent said they find the city beautiful. The capital also ranked third in terms of ‘pull factor’, with nine percent of respondents worldwide saying they’d like to move there.

London editor Joe Mackertich said that it’s the people that really make the city thrive: ‘Londoners make London great. Nowhere else in the world can you rub shoulders with such a diverse yet weirdly homogeneous group of people.’ 

A bit further down at number seven came Liverpool . The northern hub scored 89 percent for the affordability of its cultural scene, with local contributor Alice Porter recommending spots like 24 Kitchen Street and FACT Picturehouse.

Northern neighbour  Manchester landed in 15th place, with 96 percent of Mancunians saying that their city makes them happy. Our contributor pointed out Manny’s thriving food scene, ‘unrivalled’ underground club culture, live comedy circuit and alternative music offerings. 

Glasgow was the last of the UK cities to make the cut for 2024. Ranked 30th, Glaswegian and Time Out contributor Annie McNamee celebrated its ‘identity and sense of community’ that is ‘infused into its soul’. It scored 92 percent for both food quality and happiness levels, with McNamee recommending tasty cheap eats like Sugo and Topolabamba.

Curious about which city claimed the top spot? You can see the full ranking here . And once you're done with that take a look at our pick of the best UK destinations for 2024 , the coolest neighbourhoods in the world , and the best new things to do in the UK this year . 

Did you see that these are Britain’s best Sunday roasts, according to the Times ? 

Plus:  The Great British Rail Sale returns this week – here’s how to get half-price train tickets

Stay in the loop: sign up to our   free Time Out UK newsletter   for the latest UK news and the best stuff happening across the country.   

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The Telegraph

The 50 best family holidays to brighten up your 2024

W ith last summer holiday’s balmy, Picpoul-infused evenings officially a distant memory and half term on the horizon, now is the perfect moment to look ahead to your holiday plans for 2024 – and happily, there are more options than ever before.

Britain’s three biggest tour operators, Tui, easyJet Holidays and Jet2Holidays, recently announced they would be laying on a record number of seats for 2024. After a strong year of bookings – proving that numbers have finally returned to pre-pandemic levels – airlines and smaller operators are equally optimistic for the year ahead, with new routes and destinations added to the map.

So where to go? From Easter warmth in Mauritius to Sicily in May and Cyprus in summer to Barbados in October, we’ve rounded up 50 great deals for the year ahead. So put a log on the fire, get the family to gather around the laptop, and book that sunshine holiday for 2024.

Skip ahead:

February half-term

  • Easter break
  • May half term
  • Summer holidays
  • October half term
  • Christmas 2024

Start with a big dose of sunshine. You’ll need to travel further to compensate for the northern hemisphere’s winter chill, but the beach will feel all the sweeter.  

Go wild in Costa Rica

Hang out with sloths, spot colourful wild macaws and get up-close with howler monkeys in Costa Rica, where every day brings a new wildlife encounter. Sunvil’s 12-night itinerary (020 8758 4774; ) includes a trip to Poás Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens alongside waterfall walks, jungle hikes, treetop walkways and croc-spotting boat trips. You’ll venture from the forest to the Caribbean coast, staying at eco lodges in spectacular locations along the way. From £4,299pp (based on four people), including a mix of B&B and full board accommodation, return flights from London and transfers.

A city beach-break in Abu Dhabi

For guaranteed February warmth, head to Abu Dhabi where temperatures average 25C – ideal for lazing at the pool and beach, and sightseeing in the city. The InterContinental Abu Dhabi features a vast swimming pool and a private beachfront, plus easy access to shops, theme parks and nightlife, and cultural hits at the Heritage Village, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – all just a few minutes’ taxi ride away. British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; ) offers three nights from £1,084pp, including return flights and B&B accommodation. 

Spot elephants in Sri Lanka

A trip to Sri Lanka caters to all interests, whether history, religion, culture, food, wildlife, hiking or simply flopping on the beach. On Audley Travel’s 10-day Sri Lanka itinerary (01993 838 335; ), you’ll see this extraordinary nation from all angles: exploring the rural villages of the Tea Country, tracking leopards in Yala National Park, spotting elephants in Udawalawe National Park, watching whales and dolphins on a wildlife cruise, and much more. Temperatures are typically in the high twenties on the south coast, with an average of nine hours of sunshine per day. Priced from £4,475pp, based on four travelling – including flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions.

Group getaway to the Sunshine State

With space to accommodate 26 people, the nine-bedroom Villa Purple Gallinule (0204 580 1178; ) – in Champions Gate, Orlando – has everything you need for multi-gen and big-group holidays. It’s less than 10 miles from Florida’s famous theme parks, and has its own outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Kick back in the games room, the two lounge areas and modern open-plan kitchen – and you can even access the local clubhouse with its own gym, another pool (with slides) and restaurants. Seven nights’ accommodation in February from £3,267 total.

Explore the Rainbow Nation

At this time of year, South Africa is an especially sweet southern escape. On cazenove+loyd’s self-guided trip (020 7384 2332; ), South Africa: Discover the Rainbow Nation’s Diversity, you’ll explore everywhere from Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the cobbled streets and colourful houses of Bo-Kaap, to coastal retreats on the Cape Peninsula reserve, with its wildlife, shipwrecks and gorgeous beaches. Join a safari in Kruger National Park, and discover the winelands on a tour and tasting day for the grown-ups. Seven nights from £3,750 per adult, excluding international flights.

Flee to Phuket, Thailand

For long sunny days and balmy evenings, Thailand is a tempting prospect in February. TUI (0203 451 2688; ) offers a selection of week-long packages featuring glorious beaches, all-inclusive dining and swish resorts – such as Cape Panwa Hotel, on the island of Phuket. It’s surrounded by coconut groves and tropical gardens, with a private white sand cove reached by funicular. Seven nights priced from £1,709 per adult over February half-term, including flights and half-board accommodation.

Feel energised in Dubai

With its unstoppable energy, outlandish looks and endless sunshine (a balmy mid-twenties at this time of year), Dubai is just the ticket in February. Away Holidays (0800 408 8000; ) has a wide selection of UAE packages, including Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Dubai – a glitzy, low-rise hotel on the Palm, with a private beachfront. Seven nights from £966pp, including flights from London and half-board accommodation; based on two adults and two children sharing a luxury room.

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Easter sunshine

When you’re sun-seeking at Easter, you can get away with medium-haul flights – giving you maximum time on the beach. 

Gentle sunshine in Lanzarote

For young families and those keen to avoid summer’s soaring temperatures, the Canaries are perfect at Easter: Lanzarote basks in dependable warmth in the low-twenties, and the crowds are yet to arrive. In Costa Teguise, the four-star Barceló Lanzarote Active Resort is a fun, fresh all-inclusive choice: it’s recently renovated, with multiple swimming pools, tons of sports and activities, and several restaurants and bars. Thomas Cook (020 8016 3295; ) has a family holiday for four from £2,599 total; includes a junior suite and flights from London Gatwick.

Wellness and warmth in Mauritius

May brings perfect beach weather to Mauritius. As well as all the watersports and activities you could wish for – snorkelling, paddleboarding, canoeing, waterskiing and more. Long Beach Hotel ( ) offers wellness experiences for all ages. While you hit the spa, the kids can enjoy mini massages, silent meditation and a daily fitness programme that includes trampolining, tennis, swimming, climbing, boxercise and Zumba. There are also healthy kids’ menus in every restaurant to keep them nourished during their stay. Throughout May half term, a Junior Suite – sleeps three – costs from £229 per night, with flights around £800 return. 

An epic California family road trip 

Explore California’s awe-inspiring Pacific coastline on a two-week family road-trip with Bon Voyage – starting in San Francisco with a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, before following the Pacific Coast Highway via pretty towns and beauty spots such as Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey, with the chance to spot sea otters and humpback whales along the way (0800 316 0194, ). The journey continues to Los Angeles, home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, while teens will also love touring Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip on a Celebrity Tour – and ends in Santa Monica and in San Diego, where you can flop, tired and happy, on the beach. Priced from £2,212.50 per person, including flights, car hire and accommodation, based on a family of four. 

A beach hideaway in Grenada

The antithesis of the Caribbean’s big resorts, Mount Cinnamon is a boutique hotel with just 37 suites and villas – with buggy access to Grand Anse Beach, one of the island’s finest stretches of sand ( ). Thanks to its abundant watersports, beach toys and complimentary Kids Club (open to children aged three to 12), this is a great choice for families – and Grenada is gorgeously sunny in April. Seven nights’ bed and breakfast, including flights from London, starts from £1,440 – based on two adults and two children sharing a One Bedroom Hacienda Suite. 

Explore an old pirate port in Morocco

From frenetic Marrakech to the old pirate port of Essaouira, Morocco’s cities are a kaleidoscope of colour, activity and culture – and pleasantly warm right now, with temperatures in the low twenties. On Intrepid’s Morocco Family Holiday (0808 274 5111; ), you’ll explore these two cities alongside more rural, relaxing locales: riding camels on the coast, hiking in the Atlas Mountains and staying with a berber family in an authentic homestay. Eight days cost from £464pp, excluding flights but including accommodation, excursions and selected meals.

Mayan adventure in Mexico

Discover the Caribbean’s wild side on Original Travel’s 12-day Mexican family adventure to the Yucatan Peninsula (020 3582 4990; ). You’ll stay in beautiful hotels, including a waterfront casa in Akumal Bay, on the so-called Mayan Riviera – a sandy, sunkissed haven of snorkelling, kayaking, scuba diving and horse-riding on the waterfront. Enjoy a private visit to Tulum, the village of Acanceh and the city of Mayapan, and swim in Mexico’s refreshing cenotes (natural sinkholes). Prices from £3,215pp, based on a family of four including flights, transfers and 10 nights’ B&B accommodation.

Try scuba diving in Cyprus

Located on the quiet west coast of Cyprus, on the dramatic Akamas peninsula, Anassa (+357 26 888 000; ) offers an impressive family-friendly offering – including a kids’ club divided into four age groups (four months to 12 years), and children’s introductory sessions for kayaking, swimming and scuba diving. From dining menus and entertainment designed especially for tots, to a wide choice of interconnecting rooms and suites, it takes care of all the essentials. A fun, fuss-free option for Easter sunshine. Garden View Rooms with breakfast cost from £425 per night during the Easter holidays.

Go wild in the Maldives

Nowhere says “special treat” quite like the Maldives – so if you’re in the mood to spoil your brood, book Original Travel ’s nine-day Soneva Fushi getaway (020 3582 4990). At this five-star private island resort, you’ll have white sand beaches mere steps from your bed, plus activities ranging from sea kayaking and windsurfing, to stargazing in an observatory and a private showing of your family’s favourite film under the stars. For an adventure, take a boat to Eydhafushi island to explore its mosques and craft shops, or go turtle and octopus spotting with a marine biologist. From  £3,730pp, based on a family of four sharing for seven nights. Includes return flights and transfers.

May half-term fun

Europe is hotting up – but prices will be rising too. Book soon to secure a getaway before fares creep up: tour operators can secure flights in advance while also offering flexibility, so book a package rather than going independent.

Watersports in Trentino, Italy

Thanks to its Mediterranean climate and abundant watersports, Trentino is a tempting prospect for May half term – with hundreds of beautiful lakes throughout the region, and a huge variety of active adventures to try. In the morning, the crystal-clear water is perfect for canoeing and rowing, while in the afternoon, when the wind starts to blow, it becomes the perfect spot for windsurfing and sailing. There are two paragliding sites close to the lake, for bird’s-eye views of the valleys and Lake Idro. A seven-night stay at the three-star Locanda alla Grotta is priced from £253 per person during May half term, based on two people sharing a double room, half-board ( ), return flights from London to Milan priced around £224 in May half term.

Active adventure in Austria

The smooth, hill-free shores of the Danube are ripe for exploring by bike – a sunny, but altogether more adventurous, option for May half term. Active on Holiday’s eight-day Danube Cycle Path for Families holiday includes a full riverside itinerary from Linz to Vienna for all ages, with bike hire, luggage transfers, accommodation and breakfast included ( ). On hot days, you can cool off in the waterparks, Aqua Parks, lakes, and public outdoor pools along the way. Ideal for those who don’t want to sit on a beach all week – with an electric bike option for those who wish they could. Priced from £978 per adult during May half term, with concessions for children; price includes a 21-speed hybrid bike; e-bike upgrades and child bikes are available on request. 

Greece in the lap of luxury

A long sandy beach, two swimming pools, tennis courts, five restaurants – it’s all on the doorstep of Eagles Place, in the northern Greece region of Halkidiki. Book now to scoop Trailfinders’ seven nights’ accommodation with return flights for £4,999 total over half term (departing May 27, 2024), based on two adults and two children travelling together – a saving of £450 (020 7368 1317, ). Expect a relaxed atmosphere, with a sun-kissed central pool surrounded by palm trees; or for the more active, a wealth of activities including watersports and tennis. 

History lesson on tour in Egypt

Part sunny break, part learning adventure, Abercrombie and Kent’s new Grand Egyptian Journey puts you among the first to visit Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum – a chance to take the history lesson out of the classroom (0207 173 6440, ). As well as three nights in the capital with a private guide and museum visit, you’ll explore the Nile river on a four-night full-board cruise – immersed in ancient history at every opportunity, in the expert company of an Egyptologist. Over May half term, prices include flights, transfers, B&B accommodation in Cairo at the Four Seasons and all guiding throughout – from £6,820pp based on two sharing.

Take the family to Florida

Book now to scoop a brilliant deal to Florida for the May break. Holiday Pirates is offering £360 off its half-term twin-centre Orlando & St Pete’s Beach trip – with free tickets to a magic show, mall vouchers, a seven-day Orlando Trolley pass and tickets for The Wheel at ICON Park thrown in for good measure ( ). You’ll be staying at the family-friendly Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa and Fish Beach Resort by TradeWinds – right on the white sand of St. Pete’s Beach. 14 nights start from £1,199 per person, including flights. 

Sneak off to Sicily

A cluster of pretty farmhouses and cottages, Le Case di Tindari estate in northeast Sicily will be basking in mid-twenties temperatures throughout May half term. Surrounded by 30 hectares of olive and oak trees, the complex – booked via Wish Sicily – features an 59-foot infinity pool overlooking the sea and the Sanctuary of Tindari; each accommodation sleeps two to seven guests ( , 0207 193 7302). The nearest beach – and day trips to the Aeolian Islands – is a few minutes’ drive away. Accommodation for 13 guests is currently priced at £4,440 per week, with return flights from the UK to Palermo or Catania (booked separately) from around £180.

Enjoy Corfu’s wild nightlife

The inspiration behind Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals , Corfu is a wildlife haven – and May brings the chance of seeing fireflies at night, as well as enjoying its pretty beaches and villages by day. Villa Eva is located on a small headland, a short stroll from Avlaki Bay, with a shaded dining terrace overlooking its infinity pool. It sleeps up to six people, and guests can also use the facilities at the beachside Bella Mare Hotel nearby – including kayak and SUP rentals, sea-breezy dining and boat trips. Simpson Travel (0208 003 6557; ) offers seven nights from £1,507pp, based on six sharing including flights, accommodation and car hire; depart May 27.

Take a screen break in Croatia

For a beach holiday with a side of adventure, look to Croatia: Audley Travel’s 10-day family tour (01993 838 234; ) encompasses time in Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split, with endless activity options for all ages. Perhaps kayak around Dubrovnik’s city walls, swim and snorkel in the Pakleni Islands, hike along Hvar’s southern coastline and zip-line over the Cetina River. Those who enjoy a slower pace can take a cable car to the top of Mount Srð for panoramic views, wander along Hvar’s waterfront promenade or simply hit the beach. The 10-day itinerary costs from £4,955pp (based on four sharing), and includes flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions.

Go all-inclusive in Turkey

Turkey is a great choice before the peak of summer, with temperatures averaging around 26C. The all-inclusive TUI Blue in Sarigerme (0203 451 2688; ) is a simple, sunny crowd-pleaser: think beachfront joys, multiple swimming pools, buffet dining and entertainment for all ages – as well as local activities including river rafting, island-hopping cruises and mud baths. Seven nights cost from £1,244pp, based on two adults and two children sharing and including return flights from Gatwick, luggage and transfers.

Chill in a Majorcan villa

Just 400 metres from the sandy cove of Calo des Pou, Villa Forte 57 (0204 580 1178; ) is designed to sleep eight guests in comfort – with sea views from its bedrooms, secluded outdoor dining and a private swimming pool. While the barbecue’s sizzling, challenge your family to a table tennis match or catch some rays on the sunloungers. You can walk to the centre of Cala Egos in just a few minutes – your go-to spot for shops, restaurants and nightlife. Seven nights in May costs from £2,580 (accommodation only). 

Nature and tranquillity on Alonnisos, Greece

From Skiathos, board a ferry to the unspoiled island of Alonnisos, a pristine island cloaked in pine forests and sweet-scented wild herbs. It is set in Europe’s largest marine reserve, home to endangered Mediterranean monk seals, turtles and dolphins. There’s even an underwater museum, where divers can explore a shipwreck from 425 BC. On the south-west coast, Marpunta Resort feels secluded but is within easy reach of the best beaches. It’s built in the style of a traditional fisherman’s village, the white-washed buildings peeking out from clouds of bougainvillaea. Jet2 (0800 408 0778; ) offers seven nights’ half-board departing from Stansted, from £1,322pp.

A summer to remember

Keen to secure advance bookings, tour operators are currently doing everything to keep summer’s prices alluring with special offers, free upgrades and more. Secure a holiday now, then relax – perhaps a little smug.

Turkey with the teens

Family travel specialist Simpson Travel (020 8003 6557; ) is offering most of its 2024 summer holidays at this year’s prices – which, in turn, have been frozen at December 2022 rates. For those with older kids in tow, its teen-friendly Turkey villa break at Villa Azra, Kalkan (which sleeps ten), is ideal for independence-hungry youngsters – with watersports and beach clubs nearby, and the town’s nightlife a short walk away. The property features a 36ft swimming pool and Jacuzzi, plus a games room – and for even larger groups, it can be booked together with the five-bedroom Villa Maya next door. As well as all the essentials, the holiday includes a complimentary hammam treatment and day-long gulet boat trip with lunch. Priced from £1,391 per person for seven nights’ self-catering, including flights and car hire – based on 10 sharing. 

The Lion King – in real life

With the new Mufasa: The Lion King movie hitting the big screen in July, the kids will be itching to see lions, giraffes and zebras up-close – so get ahead of the trend with Families Worldwide’s Kenya itinerary, new for summer 2024 (01962 302062, ). Alongside safari drives, rock climbing and paddleboarding, it also includes cultural experiences such as a Masai Mara village visit, foraging adventures and jewellery-making workshops with local tribeswomen. Add in Kenya’s longest zipline (over a mile in length), a cycling safari in Hells Gate National Park and white-water rafting on the Sagana River’s ‘Devil’s Toilet Bowl’ rapids, and you have the makings of a really wild getaway. Priced from £3,165 per adult and £2,545 per child, including seven nights’ accommodation, most meals, transfer and return flights from the UK. Departs July 27 and August 10.

All-inclusive sun in Rhodes, Greece

Book now to secure savings on Labranda Blue Bay Resort, in Rhodes: an all-inclusive haven of blue skies, family activities and gorgeous sea views, just steps from Ialyssos Beach – available via Olympic Holidays (0208 492 6868, ). Its myriad facilities include a waterpark with slides, kids’ and teenage clubs, a games centre and dedicated children’s playground – plus nightly entertainment, and an activities programme that includes archery, mountain biking, tennis, volleyball and more. Fly and flop, or get the whole family active? You decide. Seven nights with flights and all-inclusive package priced from £974 per person, travelling on August 5 – a saving of £75 per person. 

Multi-gen getaway to Menorca

Be the first to stay at CV Villas’ Finca Bonita in Menorca – a new addition to its 2024 portfolio, within easy reach of Mahon Harbour and Sa Mesquida Beach (020 7261 5400, ). It’s ideal for big multi-generational trips, with six spacious bedrooms sleeping up to 12 guests, and a whopping 30 hectares of lush gardens with a private pool and several outdoor dining areas. Make yourself at home in the large rustic kitchen, sun-drenched terrace and stylish living area – though be warned, everyone will want to bag the gorgeous master bedroom on the top floor. Finca Bonita is priced from £18,178 per week during summer; flight inclusive packages start from £1,672 per person, flying from London Gatwick.

Beaches and biking in the Algarve

On the eastern tip of Portugal’s Algarve coast, hotel Martinhal Sagres is a sure-fire hit for families – featuring an award-winning kids club, two pools, multiple restaurants and a huge variety of activities ranging from mountain biking to surfing. Choose from individual houses and villas, some even with private gardens and swimming pools – all just a few steps from a 700-metre beach. British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; )  offers a flights and hotel package with breakfast from £1,369 per adult for seven nights, throughout August, based on departing from London Heathrow ( ).

Chase the sun to Sardinia

With its pristine white-sand beach and extensive activities offering, southern Sardinia’s Forte Village is pure summer joy – set in 50 hectares of lush subtropical gardens ( ). It’s a “sports resort”, with a seemingly endless array of workshops and tournaments: think football, rugby, rowing, fencing, boxing, hockey and more, alongside courses in DJing, art and magic. Double bungalows priced from €540 (£470) per room per night, based on two adults sharing a on a half board basis, excluding drinks. Return flights from London currently priced at around £170, based on travel in August. 

Hit the beach in Cyprus

Right on Blue Flag-rated sands, with a vast lagoon-style swimming pool and kids’ club bursting with activities, the Mediterranean Beach Hotel in Cyprus’s Agios Thychonas is ideal for a simple family break – and Kuoni is currently offering up to 15 per cent off July 2024 departures (0800 294 9705, ). A seven-night stay with breakfast and return flights from Gatwick is priced from £4,999 for a family of four, based on two adults and two children under 12. 

Blaze a trail in the Cyclades

Raise a few eyebrows next summer by visiting Sifnos, Folegandros and Milos – trailblazing in the Cyclades, on a far-flung island hopping adventure. These lesser-known islands offer golden beaches and quiet coves, and are dotted with tiny white-washed towns – where the seafood is fresh, the weather is glorious and the accommodation is excellent value. Sunvil’s seven-night Island-hopping in the Cyclades trip costs from £1,866 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Gatwick, accommodation with breakfast, and all transfers (020 8758 4758, ). 

Get active in Lesvos, Greece

On the gloriously sandy Eressos beach on the south-west coast of Lesvos, Aeolian Village Beach Resort is Mark Warner Holidays’ newest hotel (0845 322 5037; ). Active guests can choose between sports on land or on the water, with conditions ideal for sailing, windsurfing and rowing. The island’s quiet roads are ideal for cycling, too. There are six age-appropriate clubs for kids aged four months to 17 years. Seven nights costs from £1,542pp, based on a family of four staying in a Village Maisonette Suite, including flights from Gatwick, half-board accommodation, transfers and various activities, tuition and fitness classes; departs Aug 21.

Run with the cowboys, Canada

From zip-lines to bear-spotting and cowboy encounters, the wonders of western Canada await on Trailfinders’ bespoke family adventure (020 7368 1317; ). This holiday works well in summer when the weather is warm, the wildlife is plentiful and the national parks are easy for the whole family to explore. Visit Whistler, Revelstoke and Banff in a hire car and stay in three to five-star hotels throughout. A stay of 13 nights cost from £2,879pp, based on two adults and two children travelling together. Includes flights, 11 days’ car hire, accommodation, Vancouver Hop-on Hop-off city tour, Whistler zip-line and bear tour, Ultimate Rockies Explorer tickets and cowboy cookout lunch.

Rock out in Tenerife

Time to shake up the fly-and-flop? With an extraordinary line-up of events, concerts and parties throughout summer, Hard Rock Tenerife is a treat for music lovers of all ages. Alongside its three swimming pools, music-inspired spa and kids’ clubs (including a teen hangout with DJ lessons), there’s an incredible amount of music history and memorabilia on show: from Elton John’s Rocketman costume to Slash’s original setlists. Seven nights with British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; ) costs from £785pp in July, based on two adults sharing. Includes return flights and accommodation.

Peruse Provence with your pals

Ideal for big groups of friends or family, The Olive Mas is a contemporary villa in rural Provence with a 20-metre long swimming pool, four en-suite bedrooms (sleeping eight) and oodles of outside space. The villages of Paradou and Maussane are a brief walk away, so the car can stay put for those evening rosé-hazy saunters and dinners out. Easy local jaunts include Les Baux de Provence, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Arles, Avignon and the beaches of the Camargue at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – famous for their wild horses. One week in August with Vintage Travel (01954 261431; ) costs from £6,791; villa only.

Botswana bush safari

A week of pure adventure, Families Worldwide’s Botswana Bush Safari (01962 302062; ) includes five nights in a mobile camp, sleeping under the stars in comfort. You’ll enjoy extraordinary scenery and wildlife encounters every day. Explore the Okavango Delta on private game drives and in traditional dug-out canoes, with the chance to see elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards in the wild. Summer departures allow for the best weather, with the dry season offering less rain and cooler nights – plus plenty of sunshine. From £2,795 per adult and £2,695 per child, excluding flights.

Kick back in Crete

Retreat to a hilltop eyrie overlooking a private sandy bay: Daios Cove, on Crete’s north-east coast. Blending a wild location with swish, secluded accommodation, this ritzy resort features one, two and three-bedroom villas set across two levels, each with a heated saltwater pool and private terrace – as well as the main infinity and children’s pools. The kids’ club will keep the tots busy with treasure hunts, beach games and craft workshops while you hit the spa, beach or tennis courts. Scott Dunn (020 8682 5080; ) offers seven nights’ all-inclusive accommodation from £6,000, based on a family of three. Includes private transfers, one kids’ club place and return flights.

Plan ahead for October

Don’t rely on Europe for autumn sunshine: the Caribbean and UAE offer far balmier climes ideal for a sunny half-term sojourn. 

Sun-kissed fun in Abu Dhabi

With temperatures in the high twenties, the UAE is a glorious prospect for October half term – and Scott Dunn’s Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas holiday will tempt even the most screen-obsessed little’un into the real world. Its newly renovated state-of-the-art Explorers Kids Club is a huge, air-conditioned space divided into two separate areas – one for under 5s and another for over 5s, equipped with sensory games, a dedicated Sleep Room, shaded outdoor play area, a splash pool and separate pool with waterslide and winding lazy river for older children. Scott Dunn offers seven nights from £6,000 for a family of four: half board, with return flights from London, private transfers and two Explorers places (020 8682 5075; )

Cruise the Caribbean

Set sail across the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, from Fort Lauderdale to the Cayman Islands’ George Town – where children can run free on its seven-mile beach – before sailing to Cozumel, Mexico. Travelling on its Celebrity Beyond ship, Celebrity Cruises’ six-night Western Caribbean and Perfect Day cruise includes two stop-offs in the Bahamas too, with one day at Perfect Day at CocoCay water park – home to North America’s tallest waterslide (0800 240 4286, ). Priced from £2,080 per person, based on two adults and two children travelling on October 27 and sharing a room with a balcony – including return flights from London Heathrow, one-night pre-cruise hotel stay and transfers.

Outdoor adventures in Barbados

Forget fly-and-flop: Barbados is a family travel paradise, balancing activities for the kids and rejuvenation for the adults – with reliable sunshine throughout October half term. Original Travel’s Barbados Getaway is an exploration of the island from top to bottom, including a quest to find shipwrecks, scuba diving on breathtaking coral reefs, and bike rides on the east coast – plus plenty of beach time on the island’s superlative sands (020 3582 4990, ). Priced from £1,335pp based on a family of four, for a nine-day trip including all flights, private drivers, car rental, transfers and seven nights’ accommodation. 

Follow Paddington’s paw-steps, Peru

The new Paddington movie is set to be released next month, so pack your marmalade sandwiches for an adventure to Peru. He’ll be venturing to his home nation, and you should too: Original Travel’s nine-day family holiday (020 3582 4990; ) includes cycling in the Sacred Valley, a pottery masterclass in Cusco, paddle boarding on Lake Piuray, touring an Inca fortress in Sacsayhuaman, visiting Machu Picchu, and even meeting Paddington’s relatives at a spectacled bear sanctuary. From £4,325pp, based on four sharing; includes flights, transfers, transport and accommodation.

Sneak off to Dubai

Spend your half-term basking in the reliable warm weather, white sand beaches and extraordinary theme parks of Dubai, staying at the Atlantis The Palm hotel. Inspiring Travel (01244 729748; ) is currently offering seven nights from £7,965 per family in October on a bed-and-breakfast basis (based on two adults and a child sharing). Includes an Ocean Room King, flights, transfers and luggage; travel between Oct 25 and Nov 3.

Yes, it’s almost a whole year away – but imagine how good it will feel to watch everyone else scrabbling for sunshine next winter while you’ve got your getaway sorted. 

Football fever in Brazil

Embark on an exhilarating family adventure to Brazil, commencing your journey in the heart of Rio with views of Sugarloaf Mountain. Visit artists’ workshops on a studio tour, explore the city by bike and play football on an Ipanema beach with a local coach. Next up is the famous Iguazu Falls and the charming arty settlement of Búzios, staying in a beautiful white house a stone’s throw from the Church of Sant’Ana and the beach. This 10-night trip with Original Travel (020 3582 4990, ) costs from £2,855pp based on a family of four; includes flights, transfers and B&B accommodation.

A Caribbean festive fancy

Give yourself – and your family – the gift of white sand beaches, endless sunshine and luxurious accommodation in St Vincent & The Grenadines. Bequia Beach Hotel (+1784 458 1600; ) is the stuff of December dreams: think punchy rum cocktails served poolside, long walks on the sand between swaying palm trees and a handful of chic rooms and suites. There’s a daily shuttle to Princess Margaret Beach, and toes-in-the-sand dining at Jack’s Beach Bar. From £453 per night; return flights with Virgin Atlantic ( ) cost from £518pp.

Christmas in the US sun

Next December, you could be basking in the mid-twenties heat of the US east coast on a family adventure in Florida. Think lazy days at the beach, sea kayaking, fishing trips – and perhaps even a day at Disney World, to celebrate with Mickey and friends. On the Punta Gorda Isles, a relaxed, waterfront community just south of Tampa, Villa Navarre (0204 580 1178; ) is a great option for families, sleeping up to six people across three spacious bedrooms. Throw in a private pool and lush garden, and you’ve got an extra-special Christmas. From £5,609 total; villa only.

Go wild in Argentina

Spring is turning to summer in Argentina, with long balmy days (in the low twenties), wild flowers and flourishing wildlife. Designed especially with families in mind, Stubborn Mule’s 16-day northern Argentina trip (01728 752751; ) will whisk you from Buenos Aires to Cafayate via canoeing in the Parana Delta, horse riding through vineyards, walking with llamas in the mountains and meeting caimans and capybara in the Ibera Wetlands. This is an action-packed adventure that’s perfect for older kids. From £3,750pp, excluding flights.

Bargain beach fun in RAK

While it’s part of the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah isn’t as glitzy as its neighbouring emirates: it specialises in adventure, tranquillity and great-value accommodation instead. On The Beach (0871 474 3000; ) offers seven nights at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island – a family favourite featuring seven swimming pools, 13 restaurants, a cabana-lined beach and mini-waterpark. It’s an hour’s transfer from Dubai, enabling flights from an impressive array of UK airports. From £1,639pp including flights and B&B accommodation.

Prices were correct when last checked on January 4, 2024.  

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World’s best 50 cities to visit in 2024 – and two in England make the top 10

  • Published : 14:27, 23 Jan 2024
  • Updated : 15:30, 23 Jan 2024

TWO UK cities have featured in a new list detailing the top cities in the world to visit in 2024.

When picking a holiday destination , it can be tempting to only consider places beyond your own country.

London was voted the fourth best city in the world to visit in 2024

But it turns out two English cities are among the ten best places to visit this year.

That's according to Time Out magazine, who released the results of their annual survey in which they look to find the 50 best cities in the world.

They asked city-dwellers around the world to tell them what it’s like to live in their hometowns at the moment.

They then take into account the opinions and insights of those locals to create their final rankings.

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From their survey this year, the fourth best city in the world to visit is London .

According to the magazine, the English capital stands out because it has "more to do here than anywhere else on Earth ".

They wrote: "Our galleries are free. Our parks are massive. Our pubs are legendary. Our kebab meat is plentiful. There’s no city like it, and if you don’t agree, we genuinely don’t care. But please visit."

As many as 94 percent of people living in London said they are happy there, while 95 per cent said they find the city beautiful.

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Winter sun city just 3 hours from the UK to be big this year & flights are £16

Winter sun city just 3 hours from the UK to be big this year & flights are £16

Brit-loved European city being 'crushed' by tourism with 'no hope' of normality

Brit-loved European city being 'crushed' by tourism with 'no hope' of normality

Six ‘second cities’ in Europe to visit instead with cheap flights and fewer crowds

Six ‘second cities’ in Europe to visit instead with cheap flights and fewer crowds

Tiny Italian shop sells 100 kinds of tiramisu - and people are obsessed with it

Tiny Italian shop sells 100 kinds of tiramisu - and people are obsessed with it

Meanwhile, nine per cent of respondents said they’d move to London if they had the chance.

London isn't the only UK city to make the list, with Liverpool coming in seventh with Time Out describing it as "one of the best places in the world to go for a guaranteed-good-time".

Its nightlife, clubs and dive bars earned a special mention, as did its restaurants and music events happening this year.

The UK was the only country to have two cities in the top 10, with the rest all spread out across the world.

In top spot on the list was New York , where 15 per cent of people surveyed said they'd like to live if they could.

Time Out pointed to the Big Apple's "constant must-see exhibits" community-led events and Broadway season among the many reasons why people should head to NYC this year.

Second in the list was Cape Town in South Africa , with its beaches, Table Mountain and its "multicultural soul" high up on the reasons to visit.

Behind it in third was Europe 's most popular city, Berlin, which they bestowed with the title of "the European capital of cool".

London followed the German capital, with another European city hot on its heels in fifth.

Madrid completed the top five, with survey participants praising its exciting nightlife, its spectacular food, its internationally renowned chefs and its vibrant culture.

The rest of the top 10 were completed by Mexico City in sixth, Liverpool in aeventh, Tokyo in eighth, Rome in ninth and Porto in tenth.


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Meanwhile, these are the six best European cities for tourists to visit in 2024.

And these are some of the world's best beach cities.

Top 50 cities to visit in 2024

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New York was named the best city in the world to visit in 2024

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best city to visit with family uk

best city to visit with family uk

Best nine UK theme parks you must visit in 2024

From thrill seeking adrenaline junkies to family days out, there's a theme park for everybody.

best city to visit with family uk

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A day out at the theme park is often what dreams are made of, and whether you're going with family, friends, or on your own, you are bound to have fun. From rollercoasters at great heights to those reaching race car speeds, theme parks are an adrenaline junkies' playground.

Even if you don't like rides or are scared of heights, there are theme parks suited to you where you don't have to battle your fears. You could ride diggers, explore safari parks and enjoy more gentle rides, maybe the tea cups?

Whatever you enjoy, there's likely to be a UK theme park to suit you. To help inspire your next trip UK theme park trip we've rounded up our nine favourites to suit all ages and experiences.

Buckle up and put your hands in the air (or on the mouse) – here are our top nine UK theme parks.

For more inspiration for your day trips and events check out our Going Out page, where you can find guides on how to get Premier League Darts tickets , the best West End shows and how to get Mean Girls musical tickets .

More like this

Best theme parks at a glance:

  • Thorpe Park , from £34
  • Alton Towers , from £35
  • CBeebies Land , from £29
  • Chessington World of Adventures , from £33
  • Legoland , from £35
  • Diggerland , from £32
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach , from £35
  • Drayton Manor , from £29.50
  • Paultons Park , from £43.50

Top nine theme parks in the UK

Here are our favourite theme parks for you to visit in the UK.

Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park is a theme park for thrill seekers and is one of the most famous in the UK. It offers guests over 30 rides to enjoy, which range from terrifying rollercoasters based on gory horror movies, to those with rapid descents and others which soak you in water. One of its many rides is the fastest roller coaster in the UK, Stealth, which reaches 0-80mph in just 1.9 seconds.

Other Thorpe Park highlights are its ten-loop coaster Colossus and the iconic Nemesis Inferno. Located in Chertsey, Surrey, around a 30-minute drive from London, Thorpe Park is surrounded by water which gives it an island feel. Thorpe Park is always looking to add to its collection of rides and this year, Hyperia will open, which will be the UK's tallest and fastest roller coaster.

Get a Thorpe Park ticket for £ 66 £34 when you book in advance with Thorpe Park

Alton Towers

Alton Towers

Alton Towers is a theme park made for people of all ages and ride preferences. It has a mixture of rides for adrenaline junkies, children, and those who prefer a more slow approach to a day out at a theme park. It is the UK's largest theme park and with 40 rides it will most definitely take you a whole day to get around.

Based in Staffordshire, West Midlands, highlights of the park include the Smiler roller coaster, the world's first 14-loop roller coaster, and the famous Oblivion (pictured above). Alton Towers has an accompanying indoor waterpark that you can buy separate tickets for and also a hotel, so it is perfect if you want to take a short weekend break.

Buy an Alton Towers ticket for £68 £ 35 when you book in advance with Alton Towers

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CBeebies Land

Cbeebies Land (2)

While CBeebies Land is part of Alton Towers, it has enough attractions and rides that we felt it was justified to include it as a separate theme park. It is one of twelve theme park areas in the Alton Towers Park and aptly describes itself as the theme park for toddlers.

You can enjoy interactive rides for the little ones, meet your favourite CBeebies characters and explore play areas. They also have a CBeebies Land Hotel on site, which is complete with CBeebies beds, chill-out areas, pillows and play areas.

Buy a parent and toddler pass for £ 68 £29 when you book in advance through Alton Towers

Chessington World of Adventures


Chessington World of Adventures describes itself as 'Britain's wildest family adventure' and we think this sums the theme park up very nicely. It is a great attraction for children and those in their early teens, with a ticket giving you access to over 40 rides plus Chessington's zoo and Sea Life aquarium. The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals, including lions, tigers, gorillas, monkeys, penguins and underwater creatures.

The theme park offers a variety of less extreme rides than the likes of Thorpe Park and Alton Towers (hence suitable for younger teens and children). Recently opened is the new World of Jumanji, which has three new rides based on the adventure films. If you want to attend Chessington World of Adventures it is located in, you guessed it, Chessington, Greater London.

Get a Chessington World of Adventures ticket for £ 66 £34 when you book in advance with Chessington World of Adventures

Legoland resort

If you're looking for a theme park for the kids then Legoland Windsor is the place to go. There are 44 Lego-themed rides and attractions to explore, from The Dragon to LEGO City Driving School, the famous Miniland to Fairy Tale Brook. Live actors roam the park and there are several shows to enjoy throughout the day.

A day of creating and making is guaranteed with a breadth of places to build and shop for Lego. As well as rides and building opportunities, you can also stay in the Lego hotel if you want an overnight break or take on four different adventure Lego mini-golf courses for an added fee.

Buy your Legoland ticket for £ 68 £35 when you book in advance with Legoland


For children and parents who aren't fussed about adrenaline-boosting rides, Diggerland is a great family day out. As the name suggests the park is based around fun with diggers and there are plenty of rides, activities and challenges for the kids to enjoy.

From rides on JCBs to digging for treasure, and mini land rovers to a soft play area, Diggerland provides fun for kids of all ages. A lot of their rides are challenge-orientated so provide good learning opportunities as well as fun. With four parks placed around the UK in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, wherever in the country you're based you can find one close to you.

Buy a Diggerland ticket for £32 each when you book in advance through Virgin Experience Days

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

blackpool pleasure beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has a great variety to suit thrill seekers as well as young families. They currently have the UK's tallest rollercoaster, aptly named The Big One, and are home to the UK’s first suspended looping coaster completely over water. As well as heart racing coasters they have a selection of family rides and a special Nickelodeon Land, full of rides for the little ones.

Located on the sea in Blackpool, the amusement park also hosts shows and live events including pantomimes and figure skating performances.

Great for a variety, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is not an amusement park you want to miss, but if you don't fancy rides check out Blackpool Dungeon , featured in our Best UK family days out guide .

Buy tickets for Blackpool Pleasure Beach for £ 50 £35 when you book in advance through Days Out

Drayton Manor

drayton manor best family days out uk

Another one for the children and early teens, Drayton Manor Theme Park has a variety of roller coasters, attractions, a zoo and Thomas Land. There are over 50 theme park rides with fan favourites including Thor, Loki, Maelstrom and the Accelerator rollercoaster, as well as Crazy Golf and the River Rapids.

Drayton Manor Theme Park is based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, which is about a thirty-minute drive outside of Birmingham. Like several of the theme parks on this list, it also has an on-site hotel which you can stay in for an added cost.

Buy a Drayton Manor Theme Park ticket for £ 45 £40 when you buy in advance from Days Out

Paultons Park

Paultons Park

Another great theme park on our list is Paultons Park, home to Peppa Pig World and over seventy rides and attractions (nine of these being Peppa Pig themed). It is great for younger kids and early teens with a mix of roller coasters, thrill rides, family rides, indoor and outdoor play areas, water splash parks and a collection of animals at their amusement park.

Located in the New Forest National Park, Hampshire, Paultons Park is a good theme park for those living in the South of England who don't fancy trekking too far up North. With cheaper tickets than the rest of the theme parks on our list, it also provides a more budgeted theme park experience (although it will still cost you over £25pp) and you have to buy in advance, not at the gate.

Buy Paultons Park tickets for £43.50 in advance when you book through Paultons Park

For some more of the best days out, take a look at our list of the best F1 experience days and the best animal experiences in the UK .

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The best hotels in Winchester for exploring the evocative cathedral city

History and endless outdoor exploring are the big draws on the edge of the South Downs

the priory gate and historic half timbered buildings in dome alley, cathedral close, winchester, hampshire, southern england, uk

Among its highlights are, of course, its spectacular 11th century cathedral – where you’ll also find Antony Gormley’s stunning sculpture Sound II – and the ruins of a castle with a surviving Great Hall housing the remains of nothing less than a 13th century replica of the legendary Arthurian round table, inscribed with the names of its famed knights.

There's history everywhere in Winchester: the 18th century Winchester City Mill, one of the country’s oldest working watermills; the ruined Wolvesey Castle or ‘Old Bishop's Palace’; the Westgate Museum telling the story of Stuart and Tudor Winchester; several military museums; Jane Austen’s house is in the pretty village of Chawton nearby; and Stonehenge is only 40 minutes away.

There's plenty of outdoor fun to be had in and around the city, too, from a round or two at the Royal Winchester Golf Club to cycling the King Alfred’s Way, a 350km circular bike-packing route.

Some of the best hotels in Winchester are right in the heart of things, surrounded by great food and shopping venues such as the artisan Winchester Bakery in its gorgeously restored 17th century building, and The Hambledon's curated independent homewares and clothing brands.

Others are in the surrounding countryside, where you’ll also find the Bombay Sapphire Distillery on the site of a former paper mill, with tours to learn about about production processes together with interactive gin cocktail masterclasses. Here are our favourite Winchester hotels.

Lainston House

best winchester hotels

Three kilometres from the centre of Winchester, this grand 17th century mansion in its own parkland offers period-style rooms with the comforts of handmade beds (some four-poster) and Italian marble bathrooms, some of which are dog-friendly . It’s also a place for outdoor adventures, with walking trails and fly-fishing in the Test Valley nearby.

Food is top-notch, both in elegant restaurant The Avenue with its view of the lime trees lining the sweeping driveway, and in The Wellhouse where everything is cooked on a wood fire or smoker. Many ingredients come from the on-site kitchen garden – and you can learn how to make best use of them yourself in the hotel’s own cookery school.

The Old Vine

a brick building with tables and chairs outside

An 18th century inn housing just six rooms, The Old Vine is a haven of peace despite being in the centre of Winchester. Some rooms have cathedral and square views; with decor that mixes Victorian, Art Deco, Arts & Crafts and contemporary pieces and includes such original features as Georgian plaster panelling.

The restaurant, bar and outdoor dining spaces serve everything from pub classics to modern plant-based global dishes, along with a drinks menu with an interesting array of Hampshire real ales.

The King's Head

best winchester hotels

In Hurlsey, 10 minutes’ drive south-west of Winchester, this pub and restaurant with rooms offers such luxe treats as Raindance showers, eco-friendly, vegan toiletries, fluffy towels, and fresh milk each morning. Options range from a snug single to the dog-friendly Spitfire Suite; some have freestanding bathtubs.

The real emphasis is on the cuisine, however, focused on locally reared beef and herbs and vegetables foraged from nearby fields and forests. Don’t miss the Sunday roasts, accompanied by bloody marys, indulgent desserts and board games.

The Running Horse

best winchester hotels

Quirkily but lightly horse-racing themed, The Running Horse is a stylishly restored village inn with just a cluster of rooms with a bright contemporary feel, some with distressed reclaimed-wood headboards in vibrant colours.

In the village of Littleton less than 10 minutes from central Winchester, the pub’s dining rooms – dog-friendly like the accommodation – have a rustic meets industrial chic. In fine weather you can sit out in the Pimms Paddock.


Hotel du Vin & Bistro

a brick building with tables and chairs outside

A lovely Georgian townhouse just off the high street, near the castle and cathedral, Hotel du Vin brings the brand’s airy modern French-inspired interiors to the heart of Winchester. Pride of place goes to the Junior and Signature suites with their deep roll-top baths at the foot of the beds.

There’s also thoroughly French wining and dining in the bistro with its reclaimed floorboards, restored fireplaces, and soft lighting, plus outdoor seating in fine weather.

The Black Hole

best winchester hotels

On the east side of the city centre, this 10-room B&B is a quirky spot drenched in historical details such as old wood-and-iron prison doors and recycled safes as bedside tables, and with its own rooftop terrace with views across Winchester. Though rooms are themed as old cells, they’re more cosy, welcoming and more stylish than that might suggest, with cast-iron bedsteads and wooden panelling or trompe l’oeil wallpaper.

The highly rated breakfasts include a properly English fry-up and there is a neighbouring pub and nearby wine bar under the same ownership.

Winchester Royal Hotel

best winchester hotels

In the heart of the city, the Winchester Royal is a local institution, with rooms decorated in a classic style – including vast suites complete with characterful antique four-poster beds.

There’s good food on offer too, from afternoon teas to global favourites including boeuf bourguignon or Moroccan vegetables with courses, served in the bright and airy Garden Restaurant or on its outdoor terrace when the weather plays ball.

Norton Park Hotel

best winchester hotels

In its own 54 acres of serene Hampshire countryside Winchester, Norton Park Hotel has fantastic facilities including a spa and health club, a restaurant, an orangery, and walled grounds.

Guests in the manor itself benefit from an intimate feel in its 13 rooms and suites; there are a further 152 in a modern wing. The hotel welcomes either one big pooch or two smaller ones for free, too.

Station Rooms

best winchester hotels

Named for its proximity to Winchester’s train station, this contemporary self-check in apart-hotel is perfect for those like simplicity, with well-designed rooms decorated in a warm modern style of neutrals and green.

They come with luxury touches, including soft waffle bathrobes and upmarket vegan toiletries with plant extracts, along with complimentary tea, coffee and water and handy fridges. Pets are welcome.

The Winchester Hotel

best winchester hotels

A 10-minute stroll from the centre, The Winchester is a popular spa-break choice with a tempting array of treatments, a swimming pool and a hot tub –and the open of combining a session there with afternoon tea.

The restaurant, Alfred’s, serves modern European food; in good weather there’s al fresco dining on its terrace. The comfortable rooms with their tactile fabrics include an airy suite with bright pops of colour and a number of dog-friendly ground-floor rooms.

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