Peppa Pig and Harry Potter experiences, Bear Grylls and wildlife adventures, shows, sports and theme park thrills, I’ve got 10 great family breaks in the UK for children of all ages.
Have you a budding builder in your house? Perhaps you have an animal lover or football fanatic? With flights from Ireland to the UK from €9.99 each way, there has never been a better time to treat yourself and your family to a short break. An Post Money asked me to suggest some family breaks in the UK to suit children of all ages, and I’ve got 10 great ideas to tempt you.
Whichever short break you choose, make sure you stop by your local Post office before you go, and avail of the 0% commission on all foreign currency cash purchases. Alternatively pick up an An Post Money Currency Card, which is a prepaid Mastercard and offers 0% commission on all foreign currency transactions.
I used mine in Florida this year and found it so easy to top up my balance via the An Post Money app. You can also get access to emergency cash if you loose your card and 24/7 emergency support. You can purchase and top-up 15 currencies on one card including US, Australian and Canadian Dollars, South African Rand, Turkish Lira, UAE Dirhams, and of course, sterling. Exchange rates are locked in on the date of purchase and you can use the card at millions of shops, restaurants and ATMs worldwide.
Sign up today by downloading An Post Money app available on both Android and iPhone, or pop into your local Post Office. For more information click here or read my 5 reasons to use the An Post Money Currency Card when you travel.
1. Best for Harry Potter Fans – Warner Bros Studio Tour
Learn the secrets behind the making of Harry Potter during a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio in London. Visit Dumbledore’s office, step into the Great Hall and walk down Diagon Alley™. You’ll see actual costumes and props from all eight Harry Potter films, and the kids will love the opportunity to ride a broomstick in the green screen experience.
It is best to combine this with a night or two in London. I suggest staying around the area of Victoria. You will be within walking distance of many of London’s top landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye, and you can pick up a coach from Victoria Station directly to the Studio. Also, if you fly to London Gatwick Airport, the Gatwick Express will take you directly to Victoria Station.
If a day to Warner Bros. Studio is not enough for your family, bring a little more magic to your trip and stay in Georgian House, a Harry Potter themed hotel in Victoria.
2. Best for Lego Fans – Legoland Windsor, England
Legoland is one of the most popular theme parks for family breaks in the UK. The park is designed mainly for children aged between 3 – 12 years featuring over 55 interactive rides, live shows, and spectacular LEGO creations.
Legoland can be booked as a stand alone trip, especially during the summer months when the water park is open. Alternatively combine with a family city break to London. Legoland is located 20km from London Heathrow Airport, and also accessible from other London airports.
Read: The top things to do in London with kids and where to stay
3. Best for Animal Lovers – Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent
Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve is a place that is on my own wish list. It will not only please the animal lovers in your house, but its safari experience will make you think you have travelled to the far flung plains of Africa. Port Lympne is home to over 900 animals, including free-roaming giraffes, and the UK’s largest collection of life sized prehistoric creatures in its Dinosaur Forest.
The Reserve is a breeding sanctuary for rare and endangered species. Wherever possible, they aim to return animals born at Port Lympne to protected areas of their natural habitat. Your stay here is supporting animal conservation charity work around the world.
For one of the most memorable family breaks in the UK, why not stay in one of the luxury treehouses, wigwams, or glamping pods. I can’t decide between the amazing Treehouses or the Leopard Creek Wigwams – which have panoramic windows, underfloor heating, a large outdoor leopard viewing area, as well as a complimentary buggy to explore the reserve.
Port Lympne is located about 70 minutes from Gatwick airport by car. Trains are also available from London to Westenhanger Station.
4. Best for Sports fans – Sports Weekends
You can be pretty sure that there will be a sporting fixture of some kind on in the UK on any given day. From Premier League football matches, to yearly events such as Wimbledon, or the F1 British Grand Prix. It is best to contact a sports tours specialist such as Sports Entertainment Tours, Marathon Sports Travel or Cassidy Travel if are looking to source tickets to popular fixtures.
A football stadium tour is another popular gift idea. This tour of Old Trafford includes a tour of the stadium, entry to the Museum and a meal in the Manchester United Red Café afterwards.
5. Best for adventure lovers – Bear Grylls Adventure
Are you up for a challenge? The Bear Grylls Adventure has 11 different experiences all under one roof! From a Royal Marines-inspired assault course, to shark diving – this is the ultimate rush for adventure lovers.
All tickets include unlimited access to the Assault Course, but you can choose from a variety of other activities during your visit including skydiving, high ropes, archery and shooting. Most activities are suitable from age 8, shark diving is from 10+, axe throwing from 15+ – this is an ideal choice for family breaks in the UK for teenagers.
Bear Grylls Adventure is located in the NEC in Birmingham.
6. Best for thrill seekers – Alton Towers
Spread over 500 acres, Alton Towers is the UK’s biggest theme park and appeals to all age groups and levels of bravery, with its offering of over 50 rides and attractions. It won the theme park of the year at last year’s theme park awards, and is undoubtedly one of the best theme parks in Europe.
For thrill seekers, the infamous Oblivion and Nemesis rides are sure to leave you speechless, and you won’t know whether to laugh or cry as you make your way through the dark and terrifying Alton Towers Dungeon.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alton Towers is also home to CBeebies Land which is hugely popular with young children. In addition to the incredible selection of rides and rollercoasters, Alton Towers also has a water park located within their Splash Landings Hotel. This makes Alton Towers a top choice for family breaks in the UK.
East Midlands airport is approximately 45-minute drive and car rental is the most convenient option. Alternatively, you could take the ferry to Holyhead and drive 2 hours 45 minutes to Alton Towers. Consider an overnight stop in the lovely town of Chester and a visit to Cheshire Oakes outlet centre or a visit to Chester Zoo.
7. Best for a girls weekend – London: Shopping and a Show
From Mamma Mia to Matilda, Frozen to The Lion King, there are so many great family shows in London’s West End. Why not treat yourself and your daughter to weekend of shopping and a show in London?
London has all the popular high street stores for teenagers, as well as plenty of toy shops for younger children too. Hamleys has seven floors filled with a mind-blowing 50,000 toys and Harrods’ toy department on the fourth floor has been impressively designed into eight colourful suites each dedicated to a different toy category.
The Harry Potter Shop is home to all the merchandise you could possibly think of, and in Leicester Square you’ll find the largest LEGO Store in the world.
8. Best for toddlers – Peppa Pig World & Paultons Park
Paultons Park has 70 rides and attractions over five themed areas, and is one of the best theme parks in the UK for young children. Peppa Pig world is the most popular park with nine rides, and Peppa and George make appearances throughout the day.
Other areas popular with pre-school children are Critter Creek and the dinosaur-themed world – Lost Kingdom. Little Africa is popular with animal lovers and daily penguin feeding takes place throughout the year. The Water Kingdom is also a crowd pleaser during the summer months.
Southampton airport is just 15 minutes drive from Paultons Park which is served by Emerald Airlines (via Aer Lingus website).
9. Best for little builders – Diggerland
If you have an aspiring builder in the family then Diggerland will surely be their dream experience. Children (and adults) can ride, drive and operate real diggers and dump trucks in any of the four different Diggerland theme parks in the UK. They are are located in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, so you can combine a day out in Diggerland with a stay in your choice of cities.
Diggerland has 20 different rides, as well as a wide variety of activities with indoor and outdoor play areas. Parks are aimed at children between 4 and 14 years and some activities have height restrictions.
10. Best for little environmentalists – The Eden Project
The Eden Project is an educational charity that is located on what was once a derelict site. It is now home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world and is living proof of the environmental changes that can be made if we choose to do so.
Made up of space-age like Biomes that showcase the flora and fauna from around the world, children will learn about the best ways to look after our planet.
There are lots of fun activities to do too! England’s fastest zip wire as well as an aerial trekking course, climbing walls and a giant swing are located here. You can also go a step further and take a leap of faith on The Drop, or simulate base jumping on The Big Air. These are operated by Hangloose, a separate company that is onsite – additional charges apply.
The Eden Project is a 25 minute drive from NewQuay airport, which is served by Emerald Airlines (via Aer Lingus website) and Ryanair.
I hope this post on family breaks in the UK will inspire you to take a trip there soon. Remember to pop into your local Post office before you go, and avail of the 0% commission on all foreign currency cash purchases. Alternatively pick up an An Post Money Currency Card, which offers 0% commission on foreign currency transactions. For more information click here.
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