Top 6 family activity vacations in the UK

We’ve sorted through our booking stats and rummaged through our reviews… and the results are in for our best family activity vacations in the UK. Considering the long and ever-changing coastline of this island nation, there’s no surprise that you’ll probably end up on the water at some point – either pushing off from the sandy surf beaches of Devon, coasteering along the dramatic Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, or dipping in and out of the lochs and islands of Scotland. Keep reading to discover our top six family activity vacations in the UK.

1. Explore South Wales by horse, kayak & board

The south-west corner of Wales is a wild coastline of bright gold beaches and sheer cliffs. Ever-changing scenery equals ever-changing activities, so you can try coasteering, surfing, sea kayaking, horse riding, hiking and orienteering. Some vacations let you choose your speed, too: action-packed… or action and relax, where you get a day or two to kick back and take it all in.

Our top trip: Family adventure vacation in Wales
See all our trips: Wales vacations
Read more: Wales travel guide and family activity vacations guide

2. Get active in the Lake District

Activity vacations in the Lake District usually single out a lake to explore. Derwentwater and the Borrowdale Valley is a popular spot, where the Catbells fells surround the “Queen of the Lakes” – a scenic springboard for climbing, scrambling, hiking, abseiling, sailing and canoeing. Many vacations put you up in Keswick, with its cosy, kid-friendly pubs and independent shops.

Our top trip: Lake District family activity vacation
See all our trips: Lake District vacations
Read more: Lake District travel guide

3. Cruise the lochs of West Scotland

With its wild sea lochs, mysterious island castles and whale-friendly seas, the west coast of Scotland is an exhilarating backdrop for a family cruise. Tailor made sailings let you pick your activities, including eagle watching, fishing, swimming and guided beachcombing. Vessels range from tall ships to transformed lifeboats that can slide into narrow lochs without disturbing the resident otters.

Our top trip: Scotland family cruise vacation
See all our trips: Scotland family vacations
Read more: Scotland travel guide and Scotland small ship cruises guide

4. Sea kayak in Devon

Devon has some of the best beaches in the UK – and everyone knows it. Family activity vacations here steer you away from beautiful but busy beaches like Croyde and Saunton Sands, and instead explore soft sands and smuggling caves you can only reach by water. The accommodation is a large part of the charm: a converted barn in a 15th-century orchard.

Our top trip: Family sea kayaking vacation in Devon
See all our trips: Devon vacations
Read more: Devon travel guide

5. Paddle in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Dedicated kayaking vacations are great for families with a range of abilities – expert instructors will teach or improve your kayaking skills, no matter what level or age you are. You’ll then follow your guides out to sea in places like Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales, where towering sea stacks, secret coves and bird colonies are waiting.

Our top trip: Sea kayaking vacation in Wales
See all our trips: Wales vacations
Read more: Wales travel guide and sea kayaking travel guide

6. Watch wildlife in the Cairngorms

Explore the eastern Highlands of Scotland with the family on a wildlife watching trip that explores pine forests and lochs. An expert guide will teach you how to track otters, red squirrels, reindeer, pine martens and hares by day, and gather you all around the campfire for stories about Scottish folklore and stargazing by night. You can throw in extra activities like rafting, canyoning and horse riding too.

Our top trip: Cairngorms wildlife vacation in Scotland
See all our trips: Scotland wildlife vacations
Read more: Scotland travel guide and Scotland wildlife guide
Photo credits: [Page banner: Mikadun] [1. Explore South Wales by horse, kayak & board: Andrew] [3. Cruise the lochs of West Scotland: St Hilda's Sea Adventures] [5. Paddle in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park: Preseli Venture]