2020, we’ll ALL remember this year won’t we? In the midst of a global pandemic, with ever changing quarantine regulations and holiday cancellations many of us have opted for a UK staycation this Summer.
We personally love holidaying in the UK and it offers some fab family holidays ideal if you’ve got young children like us. So, if you’re usually more St Tropez than St Ives then here is our guide for making the most of your Staycation in good ole blighty.
Rep It Out
You won’t have a holiday rep on hand to tell you the best places to visit so do your research beforehand. Choose a destination that has a few indoor places of interest nearby too. Museums, play centres or aquariums– it’s better to have a backup for rainy days out with the kids. If you’re taking your dog along for the fun, then plan ahead and be sure to find the nearest dog friendly beaches in your location.
There are some fab Facebook groups out there covering different areas and and counties that you can join (including ours, wink wink). This way it’s easy to get the low down on local attractions from other parents who have visited. Planning is key if you are travelling this year as covid-19 restrictions are still in place and many places require you to pre-book tickets online.
Ask The Kids
My boys are simple creatures and a great UK family holiday usually includes at least one the following:
- Building sandcastles
- Fish and Chips
- Staying up late
- Visiting an attraction
- Jumping waves
- Eating outdoors
- Throwing a rock into the sea
Expectation vs Reality
Unless you’re staying in a fancy hotel you’re probably going to be living out of a bag. We’ve just come back from a week spent in a very spacious caravan, I had 3 wardrobes to go at yet I still didn’t unpack fully…I’m not actually sure why, I think staying in the UK brings out the adventurer in me! So chances are you’re going to look creased, sunburn will probably feature at some point, and the sea air tends to do weird things to your hair. If you’re camping with children, you are never going to get the temperature exactly right, the tent is either going to be roasting or a bit damp and cold! BUT, some of the best memories are made this way, and the photos will be a reminder that there’s life beyond the all inclusive and picture perfect palm trees. Embrace the unpredictability!
Take it All In
The UK really is a beautiful place, the landscape is so varied and steeped in history. There is everything from some absolutely stunning beaches and coastlines to chocolate box villages and castles with a gruesome past.
Foreign holidays are great but getting there can really take it out of you, unless you really enjoy hanging around in airports with whingey kids? So use your staycation experience to explore areas close to home and cut down on your travel time. As a child, some of my happiest memories are of staying in our campervan in Manifold Valley, it felt like we were so far from home and yet as I got older I realised it was less than 20 miles from our front door!
Also if you’re not travelling too far from home you are likely to already know some great places to visit, eat out and to add in some fun you can have ‘surprise’ guests and meet up with friends and family too. Plus, think about how you’ve reduced your carbon footprint!
The only thing you’re not guaranteed
in the UK during the summer months is some sunshine. So, pack a car boot box of essentials, waterproofs and wellies that can stay in the car but will come in handy on wet days. Same goes for suncream, hats and spare pairs of socks. Consider investing in wetsuits for your beach babes as the sea can be on the chillier side, and take plenty of towels and even a blanket to wrap up in.
Don’t worry too much about the weather, there isn’t much you can do about it so wear the right clothes and get out there!
Board not Bored
There might be the odd day when you’re rained in or just want a break from screen based entertainment. We always pack a few boredom busters in the shape of board games, outdoor games and drawing kits. Travel sized sets are great for car journeys for older kids too.
We absolutely love our holidays in the UK and would get away every weekend if we could. Staycations are fun, have a fun element of unpredictability and huge sense of an adventure – the stuff that great childhood memories are made of!
BUT, don’t just take our word for it, I asked some fellow bloggers for their top tips too:
Michelle from Time and Pence says to make the most of all the free attractions in your area. Kids love to explore ruined abbeys and castles. Country parks, lakes and canals can all prove to be beautiful and fun places to walk and explore too!
Lianne from Anklebiters Adventures recommemds checking out places close to home – we have been exploring areas close to us and found so many hidden gems – we have also been going on waterfall hunts and wild swimming ! Here is a photo of one of our recent adventures at talybont in Usk south Wales
Tina from MotherGeek: My kids loved the fact that the dog could come too when we went camping, half an hour from home. The kids had an amazing time, and the dog did too!
Emily from Emily and Indiana says to treat it like a proper holiday! Eat all the ice-creams, swim in the sea (if you’re brave enough) and try to forget about home as much as possible. It really makes a difference!
Anna from Twins and Travels suggests trying to go out for some meals (covid-19 restrictions allowing) or cook some holidays favourites in your holiday house and eat outside!
Louise Jemma from Thimble and Twig loves to go on picnics- my kids love eating outside. Early morning breakfast are also fun and so are dinner picnics and a great way to beat the heat! Or get a little disposable BBQ and cook some sausages for tea!
Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie: I always research the area before we go and try to discover any fascinating weird and wonderful facts, stories or myths from the area. I then share these with the kids while we are there. I find it can really capture their imaginations, and brings the places to life. I’m not talking boring historical literature or figures, I mean funny, strange or slightly spooky stuff that kids seem to love. Fun and educational, so a win, win!
Rachel who writes at Out and About Mummy says: I asked the kids to tell me some of their favourite things to do on holiday- my three children said they wanted to fly kites, find some crabs and go to a sweet shop. I got them all a kite (Aldi has some for a fiver) and we’ve had so much fun on the beach. We even found a traditional sweet shop, they were very excited!
Lauren from That Little Outfit knows to prepare for all weathers with lots of layers.
All-in-one puddlesuits are brilliant for little ones as they’re thin but waterproof.
And finally Jenny Lynn from Peak District Kids has some valuable practical advise: Pack your day bag (picnic, drinks, etc) the day before and get out as early in the day as possible so you can get a good parking spot. Here in the Peak District, car parks can be full by 10am. It’s easy to socially distance once you’re out in the hills, the difficulty lies in finding a place to park.
So, what are you waiting for? Your Staycation adventure awaits!
All images are my own unless otherwise credited.