Undoubtedly one of the world’s great cities, London is well known as a centre of commerce, government and culture. But don’t forget that it’s got a host of amazing family attractions, too. From the fascinating draw of Madame Tussauds to the dizzy heights of the London Eye (or the dizzier heights of the Shard), it’s easy to plan family weekend breaks in the capital. You can spend it learning about the history of the capital or just having great family fun and eating at fun places. And did we mention there’s a zoo, too?
Going by train is the natural way to do it. London’s roads are notoriously congested, and you’ll have to pay a charge anyway, so get the train and a Visitor Oyster Card and you’ll have the run of the city for as long as you want.
Find trains to London
If you’ve got kids who love thrill rides, amusement arcade games, sandcastles, entertainment and all the ice cream and candy floss they can eat, you really can’t go wrong with Blackpool, the North West’s most exciting resort.
The world-famous Pleasure Beach has record-breaking white knuckle rides galore, alongside some gentler rides for those who can’t quite take the heat. Blackpool is also home to the Tower Ballroom, a Strictly Come Dancing staple.
And no trip to Blackpool is complete without a visit to the top of the Tower, and the piers and Winter Gardens, of course. And did we mention the zoo? In short, if you’re looking for fun-filled family breaks in England, there are few places like Blackpool to guarantee smiles and very satisfied kids.
Trains to Blackpool
Scotland’s capital is a place of culture and is famous around the world for its annual festival, especially the Fringe. While much of the Fringe is definitely not for minors, there are always plenty of family-friendly acts, from street performers to special children’s shows. The festival proper also has lots on offer for families, so check out the schedules for both.
Of course, for every festival-loving family, there’s one that actively avoids the busy streets and hotels every August. They come for visits to Edinburgh Castle, the Dungeons, climbing the Scott Monument or Arthur’s Seat, or just taking in the sights and sounds of the Royal Mile or going on a Harry Potter tour . And did we mention there’s a zoo? Not yet – but yes, there’s a zoo and a very good one it is, too.
Trains to Edinburgh
4. North Wales
The railway linking North West England with the Holyhead ferries and Ireland beyond has been in place for over 150 years, and many seaside resorts have popped up along the way. Names like Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Prestatyn, Conwy, Llandudno and Penmaenmawr have been synonymous with sandy beaches, castles, sticks of rock and fresh air for generations, and there’s no stopping them today.
Family weekend breaks in North Wales don’t have to stick to the North coast, of course. Inland, you’ve got the splendour of Snowdonia to explore, including a trip to the top of Snowdon on foot or even by rail. Within Snowdonia, you can reach the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed by train, which is right next to Zip World Fforest – a really fun day for families. And did we mention that there’s a zoo? You might be seeing a pattern here, but there’s a lovely place to see the animals (including pandas) in Colwyn Bay.
Trains to North Wales
5. The Lake District
Trains go right into the heart of the southern Lake District at Windermere, and once you’re there, there’s a decent bus service all over the National Park. So why not take your family to see all this beautiful part of England has to offer? Whether they like to experience breath-taking views from the top of any of the peaks or find their lake legs on a cruise or some form of watersport, it’s all here to enjoy. The region is dotted with lovely settlements too. From bustling towns like Bowness, Ambleside, Keswick and Kendal to the dozens of sleepy villages all around the valleys, each with their stories to tell, it’s a perfect place to spend a day, a weekend or a week.
Zoos? There are two of them – the Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick in the North, and the South Lakes Safari Zoo, where you can get to see big cats, giraffes, bears, birds and more from all around the globe.
Trains to the Lake District
Family weekend breaks in England, Scotland and Wales
Wherever you are in Britain, you can hop on a train and be at one of the island’s fun, fascinating or exhilarating places in a few hours. Stay for a week or a weekend, or even take a day trip to one of your neighbouring attractions – it can all be done by train, and it doesn’t cost the earth.