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News inspiration Spring breaks: the best family holidays in the UK

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Spring breaks: the best family holidays in the UK

There's no need to fly thousands of miles for a family holiday when there are plenty of great times to be had in the UK. Here's our pick of the best cheap family breaks in Britain.

1. The Cotswolds in a caravan

This spring, kids go for a quid at Burford Caravan Club Site. Park your caravan and set up camp here for a week and the kids won’t go bored: you’ll be opposite the Cotswold Wildlife Park, home to rhinos, zebras and leopards (adults £15*, children aged 3-16 years £10) as well as a narrow gauge railway for any Fat Controllers in training. Take a drive out to Bourton-on-the-Water, with its Motor Museum, Model Railway and pottery making workshops for even more indoors fun if the famous British weather doesn’t play ball. The honey-stoned village of Burford is worth a wander, too – just one of the UK’s prettiest villages, as voted for by you.

Where to stay

Seven nights at Burford Caravan Club Site costs around £200 for two adults and two children. But if you’d prefer a solid roof over your head, the charming Old Manse Hotel overlooks the River Windrush in the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water. The hotel dates back to the 1700s and has cosy wood-beamed rooms a plenty.

The Cotswolds

2. Rutland for outdoor fun

Go glamping at Lantern & Larks in Exton Park and spend your days exploring the on-site, five-acre walled garden, strolling around the ornamental lake and watching ospreys catch their dinner. There’s plenty of hiking and biking nearby, especially around the huge Rutland Water, home to thousands of waterfowl. Although you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the wonderful British wild, you’re actually only a short drive to Oakham, Leicester, Nottingham and Peterborough, should you need a dose of retail therapy or to re-stock snack supplies. You won’t be roughing it here; tents are three-bedroom and have solid wood floors, wood-burning stoves, a full kitchen and plumbed in shower and toilet.

Where to stay

Holidays at Lantern & Larks Exton Park start from £365. Alternatively, The Tithe Barn in Oakham offers seven guest rooms in a beautifully rustic setting.

Normanton Church, Rutland

3. On the farm in the Isle of Wight

A short ferry journey brings you to the tranquil and unspoiled Isle of Wight. Book a stay at Tapnell Farm, near Yarmouth, and you’ll get all the fun of the farm – you may even get to feed the animals or witness a calf being born. Refuel with homemade burgers in the restaurant and let the kids loose on the ‘bouncy pillow’ or the ‘chalk cow’. You can also hire bikes to explore the local scenery – it’s just a few miles to The Needles, situated in the gorgeous Alum Bay.

Where to stay

Cabins at Tapnell Farm cost from £370 for four nights (Monday to Friday) and £513.10 for three nights (Friday to Monday). But if you’d prefer to be in town, The Belmont Hotel & Restaurant in Shanklin is a four-star bed and breakfast with beautiful white-pillared veranda.

Needles, Isle of Wight

4. Budget city break in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is gorgeous in the spring, when the warmer weather tempts you up Arthur’s Seat to look out over the city and the Forth beyond, and the castle (adults £16.50, children 5-15 £9.90) – one of the best in the UK – is framed by blue sky and blossoming daffodils atop its volcanic outcrop. Enjoy a day beside the seaside down at Portobello Beach (a number of buses go there from the city centre, including the 15, 26 and the 49) and stop by The Espy for a spot of lunch (traditional pub grub, as well as waffles and bacon brunches) overlooking the sands. Stay at Motel One, right beside Waverley train station over looking Prince’s Street, and you won’t even have to pay for the kids – they can stay in your room free up to the age of 12.

Where to stay

Rooms at Motel One Edinburgh-Princes and Motel One Edinburgh-Royal start from around £69 a night for two adults.

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Edinburgh

5. Five-star self-catering in Lancashire

Ribby Hall Village, a family-run holiday park in Wrea Green, ‘Lancashire’s Best Kept Village’ on the Fylde Coast, is just ten minutes drive from the beaches of Blackpool and Lytham St. Annesm, so a stay here will put you in good stead to explore some of Britain’s best beaches. But there’s no need to leave the village if you don’t want to. At Ribby Hall there’s 100 acres of landscaped grounds for you and the kids to explore, with a woodland trail, cycling and a lovely boating lake, plus a swimming pool with water chutes and hot tubs, an adventure playground, health and fitness classes, a spa and an indoor soft play area. Pampering for mum and dad and plenty of activities for the kids – the perfect mix for a relaxing half-term holiday.

Where to stay

A week’s stay at Ribby Hall Village costs from £429 for a family of six sharing a three-bedroom cottage. But if you want to be closer to Blackpool beach, The Golden Sands B&B provides complimentary cribs or beds for infants.

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Blackpool

6. Camping in Cornwall

Where better to let the kids run wild than on a windswept Cornish beach? Book a stay at Trevornick, near Holywell Bay, and the kids can roll down giant sand dunes, plunge into crashing waves and go wild in the woodland. The facilities are five-star here, including spa treatments, golf, fishing and surfing, and you’re within bucket and spade swinging distance of Newquay – and some of Cornwall’s very best restaurants (try Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen). Bring your own tent or book one of the pre-pitched ones. If you’re looking for inspiration for your trip, here’s our bucket-list of more must-see places in Cronwall. And you could always visit Tintagel, the supposed birthplace of King Arthur and one of the most magical places in the UK.

Where to stay

Pitches at Trevornick start from £16.50 a night, and pre-pitched Eurotents start from £46 a night. But if camping’s not your thing, try the Holywell Bay B&B, which provides beautiful views of rolling green hills from its garden and picnic area.

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Holywell Bay

7. New Center Parcs in Bedfordshire

Center Parcs’ latest village is Woburn Forest, only an hour from London (Flitwick is your stop) and nestled in a 365-acre forest. The design of this Center Parcs is the most exciting yet, complete with undulating forest landscapes, a ‘Subtropical Swimming Paradise’ and magical views over the lake and forest. The modern Lodges have en suite bathrooms with rainforest showers, flatscreen TVs and fully equipped kitchens, and there are more than a dozen restaurants and cafés in-resort, including a Café Rouge and a Starbucks.

Where to stay

A three-night stay at Woburn Forest Centre Parcs costs from £559 for up to four people in a two-bedroom woodland lodge accommodation only. But if you’re more into pampering, try the Champneys Henlow spa hotel, situated in a beautiful country house in the heart of Bedfordshire.

Bedfordshire

8. Surfing in Bridgend, Wales

After one lesson with Porthcawl Surf School we reckon the whole family will be standing tall in those Welsh waves and riding them towards the dunes at Rest Bay. The school offers a weekend package including accommodation, one surf lesson and two surf hire sessions, meaning two full days of surfing. Done with wave-riding? Go in search of wooden interactive sculptures dotted around Bridgend County on the Nature Keepers Quest – you’ll find them hidden in a wonderfully named beauty spots, such as Frog Pond Wood in Pyle and Parc Calon Lan in Blaengarw. Find the full list on the Dare to Discover app. Tick off a few more of Wales’s best beaches and check out this guide to the nation’s prettiest coastal spots.

Where to stay

A surfing weekend at Rest Bay Porthcawl costs £65 per person, based on a family of three, four or five sharing a room. But if you’d rather take it easy, The Fairways Hotel provides panoramic views of Porthcawl beach from its top-quality restaurant.

Bridgend

9. Adventure in the Scottish Highlands

Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which was written in the Cairngorms, Wilderness Scotland’s action-packed self-drive adventure visits both the beautiful west coast and the Cairngorms National Park, and includes activities such as sea kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and geo-caching. The kids will love hunting for treasure, visiting ruined castles, exploring desert islands and riding the Harry Potter steam train. For more Highland flings full of adventure, find out what other heart-racing activities await you in the Cairngorms.

Where to stay

Wilderness Scotland’s Treasure Highlands costs from £1,045 and includes six nights’ B&B accommodation, all guided activities and equipment hire. But if you’d rather explore the countryside at your leisure, the beautiful Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore provides an excellent base for hiking trips – or trips to the golf course.

Loch Avon, Cairngorms National Park

10. Road trip in a campervan and see it all!

Can’t decide where to go, or want to mix it up a little? Hire a campervan with Skyscanner and travel the UK without having to worry about co-ordinating bus timetables or finding accommodation. This Easter, pick up a campervan from almost anywhere and simply go where the mood takes you. Depending on the model you go for, you’ll have everything you need, from a gas hob and dining table to a shower and toilet so pitch up somewhere beautiful and just enjoy the view.

Where to hire

One week’s hire (April 3-9) of a campervan is available on Skyscanner from as little as £356.

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Campervan

Read on to find more tips and travel inspiration for family holidays:

The 10 best family city breaks in Europe

A city holiday with children can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are ten of the most family-friendly cities in Europe, from Paris to Copenhagen, along with ideal places to take the little ones when you get there.

10 of the best family holidays on a budget for 2017

If you’re looking for budget family holiday ideas, here are 10 cheap, child-friendly destinations that will make for a fantastic family trip.

Cheap flights for family breaks from £15

It’s raining and the kids are bored. Swap the weekly supermarket shop for a family weekend away, be it a sunny short break or a weekend in a new city, and forget having to wash smelly sports kit or cook dinners for fussy teens.

*Published March 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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