British summer holiday guide: family-friendly adventures
Enjoy fresh air and nature with our guide on the best summer family-friendly holiday activities and days out across the UK, plus craft ideas suitable for children for rainy days.
Summer has finally arrived in Britain, and many of us are planning our summer adventures on home soil. With a wealth of different landscapes on our doorstep, we needn’t travel very far to make the most of everything this season has to offer.
Here is our summer holiday guide on the best family-friendly activities and days out across the UK, plus crafty ideas suitable for children.
Hit the beach
Fancy a day on the coast? The UK is spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning beaches. From the spectacular Isles of Scilly to the rugged coasts of the Scottish Highlands, here is our guide to the most beautiful beaches in Britain.
Cook dinner on the campfire
Food from the campfire always seems to taste better! From S’mores to kebabs, campfires are a great way to encourage children to learn essential outdoor skills. Even cooking on a campfire or barbecue from your garden can feel like a summer adventure.
For some fantastic recipes you can make with kids, see our five tasty campfire recipes to make with kids.
Summer foraging and fruit picking
Go for a bike ride
Pump up your tyres and peddle through the countryside. Cycling is a great way to reconnect with nature and get off the beaten track. Take a ride on a local cycle path, or if you're a bit more ambitious, why not take a family bikepacking trip somewhere local.
- A guide to bikepacking: how to get started, essential gear and best routes for off-road cycling
- Cycling in Britain: the best places to ride, how to ride safely and where to ride
Enjoy a wild swim
On a warm summer's day, it doesn't get much better than taking a dip in the sea, lake or river. If you live in a big city, don't be put off as there are many wild swimming spots near London.
- Wild swimming in Britain: the best places to swim, water safety and how to get started
- Britain's top 10 wild swimming spots
Sleep under the stars
Pitch a tent and spend an evening beneath a starry night-sky. Wild camping allows you to escape the constant buzz of modern life and get back to basics. While not legal in some parts of the country, there are a number of smaller campsites in secluded locations, where you simply pitch up and savour the tranquility. Alternatively, kids will love sleeping in the back garden for a mini adventure.
- A beginner's guide to wild camping
- 10 great places to wild camp in Britain
- Five of the best tiny campsites in Britain
Gaze at the night sky
Cast your eyes to the skies and see how many different constellations you can see. Gaze at the stars from your back garden, or, for a really memorable experience, head to one of Britain's national parks for stunning starry skies.
Fish for your supper
Cast your rod and reel in a catch in a lake or river. You may not always catch something, but the serene surroundings will certainly make up for it. Britain is home to many traditional, idyllic fishing villages.
Go for a family walk
Get back to nature with a beautiful countryside walk. Walking is a great way to spend time together as a family and explore your local landscape. With blooming flowers, warmer weather and buzzing wildlife, summer is the perfect season to take a long walk in the countryside.
For more walking inspiration, check out our walking section
Give geocaching a go
Enjoy hiking, the countryside and treasure hunting? Geocaching might be the hobby for you. Download the free app and find one of many secret geocaches hidden in the countryside. Read our guide on how to go geocaching and start hunting.
Visit the literary countryside
Tread in the footsteps of Britain's greatest writers and explore the countryside that inspired novels such as Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. Put yourself in the shoes of your favourite characters and immerse yourself in their fictional world. Travel back in time with these historic days out, or walk in the footsteps of some of Britain's greatest poets.
Experience a sunrise and sunset
Get up early and experience sunrise, then watch it set later that evening. Wherever you are, set your alarm clocks early and make the most of the natural daylight.
Searching for a fun coastal adventure to keep the kids happy over the summer holidays? Rockpooling and hunting for crabs is an easy way to have fun with the family and introduce children to the wonders of marine ecology. Discover how to find and study crabs in rockpools in a few easy steps, plus learn more about rockpools and the equipment you need to get started.
Go on a wildlife safari
Beetles are a fascinating group of insects found widely throughout the UK – become an amateur coleopterist with our guide to some of Britain's most beautiful beetles, from the striking rose chafer to the deceptive wasp beetle. Take a look under a rock or fallen tree branch in your garden or local park and see what species you can spot.
Go on a butterfly hunt
With their bright and varied colours and beautiful markings, butterfly spotting can become an addictive pastime for some. For children who are less enthusiastic about a walk in the outdoors, going on the hunt for butterflies can be just the motivation needed to get them on the move. Take a look at our Guide to British butterflies for the best places to spot them and how to identify.
Craft projects for rainy days
Children will love crafting these fun summer projects.
Flower pressing is a great way to preserve and study the beautiful flowers grown in UK gardens. Once you’ve pressed your flowers, you can continue the creativity and make them into greetings cards or bookmarks.
Decorating pebbles is an easy summer activity, simply collect pebbles from a trip to the beach and decorate them when you get home. Once decorated, they can be used as paperweights or decorations, and make for great gifts for the family.
Similarly, you can grow your own herbs and create pretty, decorative pebble labels.
Alternatively, why not make your own pebble domino set?
Create an enchanting garden fairy jar with foraged mosses and plants – it’s a fun and crafty way to spend an afternoon and will leave you with a magical lantern to light up your night
Looking for more kids fairy craft inspiration? Our friends over at Gathered offer some great fairy garden ideas.