Best Locations for a Bank Holiday Family Outdoor Adventure
Finding the ideal outdoor family activity that suits everyone for the Bank Holidays is difficult. If you’re travelling far for the occasion or devoting the whole day to it, you want to make sure everyone will enjoy themselves.
To help, we’ve put together a collection of what we think are the best bank holiday activities for UK family breaks. From safaris and heritage walks, to island tours and body zorbing (we’ll explain later); read on to find the best family activities the UK has to offer for bank holiday fun.
If you fancy Scotland this bank holiday, you should definitely consider the grand Edinburgh Castle. With last entry at 5pm, you have all day to enjoy the wonder of one the UK’s most important and captivating buildings.
Edinburgh Castle makes an ideal family activity, as you’ll get just as much entertainment out of it as the kids. The place is steeped in history and intrigue — from the firing of the One O’Clock Gun and viewing priceless Crown Jewels, to touring the stone vaults that were once home to prisoners of war and visiting 400 years’ worth of Scottish military at the National War Museum. Plus, there are plenty of guided tours held by experienced hosts who know exactly how to make the place come alive to spark kids’ imagination, as well as a whisky shop for adults and a cafe for a taste of Scotland’s best afternoon tea.
Islands of Adventure
The very north of Scotland is one of the UK’s best kept secrets — unfortunately. If you have the chance, try and take the children on a fun UK family break to Great Bernera on the Isle of Lewis to experience ‘Islands of Adventure’.
Here, you start by choosing from a range of action-packed, seafaring itineraries before boarding a speedboat to enjoy the stunning scenery in fast and furious fashion. Sightings of puffins, dolphins, sea eagles, and seal pups are common on ‘Islands of Adventure’ tours, which also take you to historic sites like Iron Age houses and 19th-century lighthouses. With plenty of exciting pit stops to keep kids’ interest and a picnic lunch thrown in on most tours, ‘Islands of Adventure’ is a well-planned out option for a family bank holiday activity.
Perhaps an adventure in Northern Ireland is more your way of thinking. Whether you’re from here or are just looking to go for a UK family break this coming bank holiday, Giant’s Causeway in Antrim has to be on your to-do-list. This great icon of the Emerald Isle with its basalt columns has attracted artists, scientists and holidaymakers for a long time. Giant’s Causeway is bubbling with legend, including the Camel (a basaltic dyke created from cooled lava said to have been a lively beast that was turned to stone) and the Wishing Chair (a previously ladies-only smooth and comfy throne formed completely by accident).
Kids will love clambering up Shepherd’s Steps and hiking along the clifftop for the best view of the dramatic coastline. But we suggest stopping at the Visitor’s Centre too, as you and the kids will get the chance to do interactive activities and learn about the science behind the landmark.
This interactive discovery centre in Belfast has more than 250 exhibits tailor-made for a family bank holiday. Children can speak to a life-sized robot, climb through a rocket, visit a virtual rock pool, play in a Formula One themed soft play area, build a K’nex car, and climb up a multi-storey jungle gym maze all in one day. Plus, there are always live science demos going on, which even adults enjoy. If you’re looking for a fun family day out without taking a chance on bad weather, W5 is ideal.
Snowdonia National Park
Wales is famous for its rolling hills and beautiful countryside, so make the most of its rural way of life with a visit to Snowdonia National Park — home to the largest natural lake in the country and the highest mountain in England and Wales.
There’s a huge selection of family activities you can do here. Wind along tunnels and chambers at Sygun Copper Mine, sail through a waterfall at King Arthur’s Labyrinth, or ride the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster at Greenwood Forest Park. Snowdonia National Park is, as you’d imagine, a maze of hiking and cycling trails, so you could even pull on your walking boots (or sandals, if it’s warm enough) and pack a picnic for a long stroll with the family in one of Britain’s most popular nature spots.
Heatherton World of Activities
Another perfect bank holiday activity to enjoy with kids or grandkids involves free admission and a dog-friendly park! Heatherton World of Activities includes a series of exciting activity zones that you only pay for when you’ve chosen to enjoy them. Go for:
- Family Fun Zone: where you can play minigolf, archery, bumper boats, water fights, and laser clay shooting. There’s also a hedge maze and the chance to “walk on water” inside a giant ball!
- Adrenaline Zone: which has a go-kart track, paintballing area and treetop obstacle course.
- Play Zone: great for younger kids, as they can enjoy soft play, pedalos, train rides, and an inflatable attraction.
- Golf and Bowls Zone: perfect for when the kids are kept busy in their play groups. Adults have an 18-hole golf course, driving range and indoor bowling green.
You can easily spend a full day here and manage to keep everyone entertained.
Northern England is famous for its friendly people and rich heritage, and we think there’s nowhere that fuses these two attributes as well as Beamish – The Living Museum of the North.
Beamish, found in County Durham, is an open-air museum that reenacts life from the 1820s, 1900s, and 1940s, offering a host of interactive activities and guided tours that keep kids spellbound. Buy traditional sweets and breads in town, visit pit ponies in their paddock, walk through a Georgian mansion, experience life on a World War Two farm, and ride the Beamish tramway until you reach a perfect recreation of a 1900, north-east colliery. Beamish is the quintessential family bank holiday activity.
Kielder Water & Forest Park
Another gem of the north, Kielder Water & Forest Park is home to the largest manmade lake in northern Europe and is the biggest working forest in England. If you’re looking for outdoor adventure in the wild north, this Northumberland park is it.
Starting at either Tower Knowe, Kielder Waterside or Kielder Castle (the park’s three visitor centres), you can enjoy archery, fishing, canoeing, mountain biking, and horse riding. Kids love the variety of adventure activities, like crossbowing, go-karting and body zorbing (where you play games inside a large inflatable ball), and there’s a very popular flying demonstration to watch at the Birds of Prey Centre.
Everyone’s heard of LEGOLAND in Windsor, but there are several good reasons it makes a perfect family bank holiday location. A hugely popular toy and now a massive media franchise featuring films and video games, LEGOLAND land is tailored completely to playful and creative kids.
There are more than 55 rides and attractions set around a network of fantasy themes including dragons, pirates, knights, and the pharaohs. Kids can play at the splash park, ride go-karts, see underwater creatures, go on a hair-raising 4D ride, and view the thousands of carefully put-together bricks at Miniland. Plus, there’s even the option to make a mini break of it and stay over in a LEGO-themed hotel.
Longleat Safari Park
If your kids love animals, then try Longleat Safari Park where they can see camels, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, monkeys, gorillas, meerkats, and penguins among many more.
Based between Bath and Salisbury, this place is much more than a typical zoo. Here, you can take a safari bus tour or jungle cruise to learn incredible facts about the wildlife on show, and there’s even the chance to feed animals like deer, giraffes, sea lions, and colourful parrots.
There are plenty of animal shows held throughout the day and brave youngsters can hold snakes and tarantulas if they want! From Monkey Temple and Penguin Island, to the Bat Cave and Gorilla Colony, you see the best of the world’s wildlife at Longleat Safari Park.
Kids and chocolate go hand-in-hand, so a trip to Cadbury World in Birmingham makes a great bank holiday activity. Apart from being packed with the opportunity to buy Britain’s most famous treat at the world’s largest Cadbury shop, Cadbury World is also filled with family-friendly experiences like: a 4D ride, Aztec jungle area, adventure playground, interactive chocolate-themed game zone, and tantalising chocolate-making workshop.
You can even step back in time to a replica of the street John Cadbury opened his first confectionary shop in 1824 — just make sure to stop off at Cadbury Cafe before you leave.
Heights of Abraham
One of the Peak District’s most loved and visited destinations, Heights of Abraham is a sea of adventure for kids and adults alike. This location is particularly good if you’re expecting a fair-weather bank holiday and are looking for a decent family activity to enjoy in the sunshine.
You can see spectacular views of Derwent Valley on a cable car ride or head underground and explore the weaving cave system where you learn about its turbulent mining history by the glow of candlelight. Walk up zig-zag woodland paths, have an ice cream overlooking the village, and visit The Fossil Factory during your trip. Handy play areas featuring giant slides let the kids have even more fun, while you enjoy a sit down and a cold drink, too.
Banks holidays are made for outdoor adventures with the family. To make sure you stay comfy on your feet all day, we have a selection of men’s trainers and ladies’ trainers. If it’s set to be hot weather, perhaps our men’s hiking sandals and women’s walking sandals might be the better choice to keep your feet cool. Expecting rocky terrain on the day? Check out our men’s boots and women’s boots.