In our ‘7 Tips for Going on a Spontaneous Family Weekend Getaway’ post, we talked about how important it is to have quality time with your family, especially as your children are growing up. Even a simple weekend getaway can create memories that last a lifetime; it’s a chance to get your kids out of the house and see the world. Visit Britain notes how the UK is home to many beautiful locations and had around 40.9 million inbound visits within a pre-COVID year. With 11% of all visitors are from the US, it’s definitely a favorite overseas destination for several American families.
Why Experience the Outdoors?
According to the University of Illinois at Chicago, children who are over the age of 12 derive more happiness from experiences than possessions. This means tweens and teenagers find more value in shared experiences than they do material things. Of course, younger kids are usually ecstatic to go places too. However, they tend to remember much less, so it’s important to help them by taking photos and videos.
Now, you can always opt to visit amusement parks and museums, but haven’t you ever gone somewhere amazing and thought “I should bring my kids out here”? Taking an adventurous trip could lead to a uniquely memorable experience. Immersing children outdoors helps them develop a deep love of nature, which is important because their generation will soon take charge of all these wild places.
If you’re worried about whether or not they can handle an active trip, you can adjust your plans for your kids. And don’t underestimate your kids, children are often more capable than we give them credit for. Plus, going outdoors would let your kids challenge themselves physically, overcome their fears, and learn to manage skills — which are all essential in raising competent adults.
Top 5 UK Adventure Trips for the Family
Undoubtedly, you may be sick of the hustle and bustle of urban areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited our access to outdoor spaces in the past year, and this could have had negative effects on our mental health. The University of Exeter even found that people who were under the strictest lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic were more likely to exhibit symptoms related to depression and anxiety, compared to those who were still allowed to visit natural outdoor spaces. Ready to boost your family’s mood? Here are five amazing UK trips to choose from:
1) Explore the attractions of Sussex
Sussex is home to many seaside towns, including Brighton, Eastbourne, and Hastings. If your family isn’t ready to go out into the tougher parts, the Sussex seafront is a good option. You can visit the arcades at the pier, do some kayaking at the coast, or head inland to paddle the river at Bodiam; for more watersports, Hove Lagoon offers wakeboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and sailing. East Sussex is also home to the 1,110 Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which is one of the most biodiverse places in Britain. With 4,200 plant and animal species recorded, it can be a great place for your children to learn about plants.
2) Visit the Isle of Wight
Just over two hours from London by ferry, the Isle of Wight is a popular family holiday destination. Aside from being easily accessible, it has also been named as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, thanks to its award-winning beaches, dramatic cliffs, and dinosaur remains. On the north-western side of the island, your kids can have fun rock pooling along the coast of Colwell Bay at low tide. There are also plenty of opportunities for kayaking, jet skiing, or windsurfing. For a nature trail and waterfalls, your family can also head to Shanklin Chine for the afternoon.
3) Have a beach holiday in Cornwall
Cornwall has a milder climate and more than 300 beaches, so it makes sense that many families head there for the summer. It’s a great place for food-loving families as well, with Cornish pasties, ice cream, and clotted cream for your kids to try. You can check out Swanpool, which is a crescent of sand for sailing, snorkeling, coasteering, and more. For River Tamar, families can cruise over water through kayaking, while a visit to the underwater lake of Carnglaze Caverns will awe your children.
4) Enjoy hiking at the Lake District
Families who love the countryside will appreciate the Lake District, which is also the UK’s largest national park and a World Heritage Site. Famous for its hiking trails, the Lake District offers lots of bases you can choose from so you can start at your chosen point. Aside from scenic walks, Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests offer trails for mountain biking as well. For water activities, stick to bigger lakes like Windermere, where you can try boating, rafting, canoeing, and island-hopping.
5) Camp out at Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is Scotland’s first national park. Its diverse geography includes 21 Munros (Scottish mountains), 22 lochs (Scottish lakes), two forest parks, and over 50 designated special nature conservation sites. Throughout the year, there are plenty of things to do around the region, such as gorge scrambling, pony trekking, canyoning, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, stargazing, and climbing. It’s also a lovely place to camp, especially between April and October when the weather is warmer. If you’re planning on camping, though, it’s best to check ahead; you may need to get a permit and be briefed on the wild camping regulations.
How to Prepare Your Kids for Traveling
Travel can be disorienting for children — even if it’s fun — so keeping your children comfortable, healthy, and safe throughout your adventure is important. It can be tiring to do a lot of activities and your kids will run out of energy at some point, so come prepared by packing a stroller or a pram. The double pushchairs from iCandy illustrate how modern models even allow parents to handle both a baby and a toddler at once. With a tandem double buggy, you can have one child sitting behind the other, making it much easier to maneuver through difficult terrain. You can also insulate the stroller with blankets and a rain cover, in case of bad weather.
Truth be told, it’s wise to accept that inclement weather will define any UK trip. Make sure to pack everything you may need in case of rain. Snacks, plastic bags, baby wipes, and extra clothes could really help, and weather gear is essential. The North Face Kids make waterproof toddler raincoats that have a DryVent fabric that’s durable but extra breathable. Their three-in-one Stormy Rain Triclimate rain jacket even has a removable fleece lining to keep your kids warm and dry. Additionally, packing a basic first-aid kit with supplies and medicine is a smart move, so you don’t have to worry about visiting a pharmacy in the middle of the night.
Your kids may be mini-adventurers, but they’re still kids. If they’re concerned about traveling, talk them through what’s going to happen. With teenage children, you can even include their input for your itinerary. Setting expectations can really go a long way for having an amazing vacation, and you want your kids to enjoy every moment. Of course, you should also be open to any sudden changes — that’s what adventure is all about.