Cheap UK holiday inspiration for families

Holidaying closer to home is a great way to save cash while still enjoying a well-deserved break.

Here, we weigh up the essential destinations to add to your holiday shortlist and some of the reasons you should pay them a visit. 

Just remember to call ahead to check everything on your itinerary is open!

Anglesey

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Situated off the north coast of Wales, the island of Anglesey is famed for over 125 miles of scenic coastline.

Curious kids will love the opportunity to explore its countless rock pools while wading in the Irish Sea, or channelling their inner architect by building sandcastles on beautiful Blue Flag beaches.

Active families can make the most of the coast by paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking against a backdrop officially declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A host of quaint cottages, farmhouses and holiday parks are available within an affordable price range.

Holidaymakers visiting from the North of England can take the A55 North Wales Expressway from Chester. Those travelling from Cardiff and the south of England can easily reach the island using the A470, which runs from Cardiff to Llandudno.

Blackpool

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Blackpool is synonymous with the Great British holiday. It’s a seaside resort associated with donkey rides, a grand Victorian tower and the much-loved Pleasure Beach theme park.

Best of all, recent investments have revamped the famous promenade. While costs have remained affordable, standards have improved and the traditional charm remains.

The chance to enjoy wildlife is never too far away with the local SEA LIFE aquarium found at the heart of the seafront and Blackpool Zoo a short drive from the coast.

Accommodation options range from independently run B&Bs, hotels with views of the Irish Sea and local caravan parks further inland.

Visitors from both the south and the north can reach the seaside town by taking the M6 to junction 32 and joining the M55.

Sandyhills Bay

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South West Scotland is home to the Dumfries and Galloway coastline. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it combines the best of the seaside with the unspoilt wooded valley surrounding the River Urr.

The beach at Sandyhills Bay welcomes your furry family members too, so there’s no need to leave your pets at home. Holiday parks are scattered throughout the area with pitches starting from as little as £12 per night. Scandinavian-style lodges are also available just 10 minutes from the shore.

To reach the Scottish Lowlands from the south of the border, take the M6 to Gretna Green where you’ll change for the A75 towards Dumfries. The M74 to the north is the ideal route for families travelling from Glasgow, Edinburgh and most of Scotland.

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Devon

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The English Riviera is made up of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, and makes the perfect alternative to a trip to the Côte d'Azur on the Mediterranean. Here, palm trees line award-winning beaches filled with sun-seeking families.

Head north to Devon’s ‘Adventure Coast’, a rugged landscape where you can kayak through caves or pedal along rugged cycling trails. Affordable accommodation options can be found in holiday parks, family-run farms and self-catering cottages.

The A38 connects Devon all the way to Birmingham, while the A30 takes motorists from Heathrow Airport to Penzance via Exeter. Those looking for a more scenic route should take The A39, or Atlantic Highway, that cuts through the north of the county.

Eastbourne

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No destination in the UK guarantees better weather than Eastbourne. 

The seaside resort is known as Britain’s sunniest town as it consistently clocks up more hours of sunshine per year than rival destinations. And you can choose to take in the well-lit sights while strolling the fine Victorian Pier or by riding the 35-metre high ‘Eastbourne Eye’ wheel on the seafront.

If you prefer to sit back and let the sites come to you, Eastbourne’s mini-railway or Dotto, is the perfect way to rest little legs and see more of the town at your leisure. There’s always the option of adventure as the region hosts one of the country’s only mountain boarding centres. Picture an off-road skateboard ride filled with twists, turns and jumps.

Eastbourne sits on the south coast between Brighton and Hastings and is easily accessible from the A22 to the north. Families travelling from the west can join the A road by taking the A27 from as far away as Wiltshire.

Cornwall

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You’re spoilt for choice with affordable accommodation and top-class beaches in Cornwall. But your time here doesn’t HAVE to be spent supervising sandcastles and sunbathing on beaches.

Adrenalin Quarry in Liskeard is perfect for older kids who may dread the idea of a family staycation.

Its inflatable aquapark is the perfect venue to jump, swing, and climb before crashing in the water.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the option to zipwire over a flooded quarry, burn rubber at an 800 metre go-kart track, or even try your hand at splitting targets while axe throwing. Make sure you fill up on traditional pasties to fuel your fun.

Major roads to the rest of England include the A38 which crosses the Tamar at Plymouth, and the A39, or Atlantic Highway, ending in Fraddon. The A30 connects London to Cornwall’s only city, Truro, and continues on to Penzance.

Portstewart

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Portstewart Strand in Northern Ireland is the one-time title-holder of the Best Blue Flag Beach in the UK. It’s a two-mile stretch of golden sand and the pride and joy of the County Londonderry Coast.

If you ever grow bored of the idyllic views, there’s always the option to take your kids to the many attractions on offer.

Barry’s Amusements in nearby Portrush has been entertaining families since 1925. The theme park is known for Barry’s Big Dipper and fairground favourites including dodgems and a towering helter skelter slide.

Indoor activities are plentiful in this neck of the woods, including Cheeky Chimps and Alley Cats soft play centres and JumpLanes Coleraine – a fun-packed trampoline park just a short drive away.

Your route to the Portstewart coast will vary depending on where your ferry arrives in Northern Ireland. Those travelling from Larne should take the A26, while families driving from Belfast are best to take the A29. The A37 serves the rest of Northern Ireland for holidaymakers driving in from the South.

Great Yarmouth

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If you’re looking for a seaside resort that still offers plenty of activities away from the coast, Great Yarmouth is the answer.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is home to 120 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, all ready to meet equestrian fans.

Nearby Wroxham Barns has its very own junior farm, where your little ones can feed lambs or cuddle up with guinea pigs.

The SEA LIFE centre on the famous ‘Golden Mile’, lets kids come face to fin with reef sharks and other underwater wildlife in its 250,000 litre Tropical Ocean Display.

There’s no shortage of seafront hotels in the area, although you may want to book a pitch at one of the region’s caravan parks. Just remember, there are no motorways in this corner of the world.

The main trunk roads to this part of Norfolk include the A47, which intersects The Broads to the west and the A143 that carries traffic from Gorleston-on-Sea to the South.

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