Fed up of the same four walls (which the kids have probably driven you up) and in desperate need of a holiday? With a 14-day quarantine now in place for overseas travel and limited flight options, a foreign vacation isn’t looking viable any time soon.
However, staycations have been given the green light from July 4 with many campsites, hotels and self-catering cottages opening their doors to grateful families once more.
But before you excitedly pack the car to capacity and hit the road you’ll need to choose the right post-lockdown holiday for you and your tribe, whether that’s a toddler-friendly farm stay or a waterfront cottage in the West Country. Amanda Statham, Editor of 101 Family Holidays, is your guide.
Best post-lockdown holidays for…Toddlers
Stay on a farm
What could be more refreshing than running around acres of farmland in the heart of the Devonshire countryside after months of being cooped up? Holiday Cottages’ Stichpool Farm Stable Cottage is a three-bedroom dream barn conversion with enough room for six on the edge of Exmoor National Park. When kids aren’t enthralled by seasonal lambing or harvesting, there are nearby beaches like Croyde and Saunton Sands or the animals at Exmoor Zoo to enjoy. There’s even a hot tub to relax in when the children are tucked up in bed.
Play on a beach
For the ultimate beach escape check out Sands Resort Hotel & Spa in north Cornwall. Overlooking the Atlantic and a short stroll from the beach, it’s toddler (and parent) utopia, with everything from splash pools, cots and soft play areas to kids’ menus, bottle warmers and family-friendly two-room suites, allowing you to travel light and maybe even get some rest – there’s a babysitting service, surely the best words in the English language right now?
Stay in a safari tent
The African plains might be off limits, but you can still create an outdoor wilderness experience with a stay in a six-person safari tent at Trevella Park in Cornwall. Other fun accommodation options include futuristic geo-domes, traditional caravans or plenty of pitches if you want to bring your own canvas. Tots will love splashing around in the outside pool or digging holes and building sandcastles on nearby Crantock Beach.
Have fun in a forest
If you’re looking for a holiday that’s peaceful, uncrowded and close to nature, New Forest Living’s charming three-bedroom Brookley Cottage ticks all the boxes. Set in the idyllic village of Brockenhurst, with the New Forest and Solent on its doorstep, it’s ideal for little ones thanks to an open-plan living space, playroom and even a toy-filled summer house in the garden.
Best post-lockdown holidays for…pre-teens
Sleep in a fortress
If it’s space you’re after, look north to Scotland where you can hire a private fortress like The Fortalice with Oliver’s Travels – sure to impress wannabe knights and princesses. This incredible property has acres of private grounds, a great hall for epic family meals, loads of indoor and outdoor games, free bikes and limited internet and phone coverage, so you might just get everyone off their screens too. And with seven bedrooms, this is ideal for a reunion holiday with the family and friends you’ve been missing.
Feed wild animals
You get the chance to hand-feed foxes and reindeer, handle snakes and fly birds of prey at five-star self-catering escape Gwel an Mor in Cornwall, where there’s an onsite farm and the county’s biggest indoor play centre, complete with climbing walls. Portreath Beach is close by and the Scandinavian-style lodges are cleaned with a misting technique developed for hospital operating theatres which reportedly kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses – peace of mind in these Covid times.
Holiday in a helicopter
Forget pricey hotels with marble bathrooms, spending the night in a converted fire engine, red double decker bus or even a helicopter (The Holicopter, see what they did there?) is as good as it gets which is what makes Blackberry Wood so special. Located at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex, it has some of the most exciting outdoor accommodation in the country (they also have gypsy caravans, treehouses and curvy log cabins), not to mention campfires, barbecues and a funky shower unit. Definitely one of the coolest UK holiday options around.
Escape to an island
It’s easy to forget Britain’s ringed by incredible islands, including the beautiful Isles of Scilly archipelago off the coast of Cornwall. Thanks to a unique micro climate it boasts white sand beaches and palm trees (yes, really) and the top place to stay is Hell Bay, a glorious New England-style hotel on the island of Bryher. Kids will appreciate the heated outdoor pool, windswept bay and games room, you may prefer the spa and fresh seafood at The Crab Shack.
Best post-lockdown holidays for…Teens
Have a go at kite-surfing
Kite-surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding and wake boarding are just some of the adrenalin-fuelled watersports available at Exmouth, three miles from beautiful waterfront cottage 1 The Quay, available through Helpful Holidays. Set at the end of a cobblestone lane in the village of Lympstone, there’s space for al fresco dining, coast paths for family hikes and the 26-mile Exe Cycle Trail linking Lympstone to Exmouth, Exeter and Dawlish on your doorstep.
Learn new skills at summer camp
Is your teen keen to drive? Then you might be interested in a seven-day learner driver course with adventure holiday company PGL. Not only will they get to drive a car off-road, they’ll also discover how to negotiate hill starts, three-point turns and steering around a slalom course, meaning they’ll be streets ahead when it comes to taking their test. And if they’re not keen on four wheels, there are plenty of other skills and chills to choose from including Adrenaline Adventure, Cooking Academy and Film Making.
Go glamping for the weekend
If you’re not ready for a full-on holiday yet, how about a weekend break instead? Kingswood offers awesome family mini breaks which will help get your travel mojo back; think two nights glamping in the grounds of Overstrand Hall in Norfolk, five meals including a campfire barbecue and up to eleven teen-friendly activities from abseiling to zipwires.
Eat homemade pizza in a treehouse
Teens won’t want to leave Rufus’s Roost in Yorkshire, a palatial treehouse with mezzanine, floor-to-ceiling windows, hot tub and pizza oven on the terrace. If they’re not impressed by the surrounding moors, dales and abundance of local wildlife, including deer and kingfishers, then you can head into the city of York, just 30 minutes away, for shopping and socially-distanced eating out. The only problem? It’s popular so you’ll need to book this beauty up for the autumn ASAP.
For more post-lockdown ideas, see 101 UK Holidays.